Parker pours $50m into a new trough to reduce waste while announcing plans for further plastics prohibitions

Having announced its plans to further restrict what we may say, the government turned to further restricting the materials used for packaging or for making goods we may buy.

And as part of the plastics announcement, Environment Minister David Parker launched a $50 million trough, enticingly named the Plastics Innovation Fund, to help support projects that reimagine how we make, use and dispose of plastics.

Funding will be available for innovative projects from designing out waste in products and packaging, or adopting and scaling up existing technologies, through to switching materials and developing recycling solutions not currently available.

Another measure with implications for civil liberties and for the wellbeing of the people affected was the extension of Alert Level 2 in the Wellington region.

At time of writing the ACT Party was preoccupied with expostulating against the speech constraints on the Ardern government’s legislative agenda, and had yet to give its views on the proposed plastics prohibitions, but the Nats and the Greens did respond critically.

The Greens, typically were disgruntled that the government hadn’t gone far enough.  But when were they ever satisfied?    Continue reading “Parker pours $50m into a new trough to reduce waste while announcing plans for further plastics prohibitions”

Breakfast brings news of Budget benefits for builders of statues (which pay tribute to Maori leaders) and four boarding schools

It’s not enough to monitor the flow of Jacinda’s Treaty Treats by visiting the Beehive website in the belief it will have registered them in the name of transparency.

Some Ministerial statements are posted on sites such as Scoop before they are posted on Beehive.govt.nz – The official website of the New Zealand Government.

A post on Scoop this morning tells readers that Budget 2021…

  • Appropriated $1 million  to build statues of Maori leaders;
  • Is investing $20 million over two years in Māori boarding schools; and
  • These are part of a Budget package of more than $1 billion for Māori.

Fair to say, the ministerial statement at Scoop (posted in the name of the NZ Government yesterday) expands on spending initiatives to benefit Maori that were declared on Budget Day in a document headed WELLBEING BUDGET 2021: SECURING OUR RECOVERY

Among the contents: Continue reading “Breakfast brings news of Budget benefits for builders of statues (which pay tribute to Maori leaders) and four boarding schools”

Rio Tinto strikes a deal with the Ardern govt on cleaning up its mess – and it brings Ngai Tahu into an array of commitments

Should we really be cheering news of a giant global company picking up the tab for cleaning up its own mess?  Surely that’s what it should be doing.

But hey, we are talking about Rio Tinto, a company widely criticised by environmental groups around the world and at least one national government for the environmental impacts of its mining activities. Or so we are told by Wikipedia.

And it has been a dab hand at persuading governments in this country to help power its aluminium smelter operations near Bluff at a modest cost.

But the PM, helped by some of her ministerial team., has urged the company to do something about its toxic waste and – hurrah – the company  has obliged.

The company has made a raft of commitments, including recognising Ngai Tahu (at least by the looks of things) as an organisation akin to a co-governor.

In fact, in the press statement from the Beehive Ngai Tahu is listed ahead of the central and local government bodies involved in the agreement. Continue reading “Rio Tinto strikes a deal with the Ardern govt on cleaning up its mess – and it brings Ngai Tahu into an array of commitments”

Govt is dishing out millions to trim Maori power bills and protect their culture – but much more money will help the America’s Cup

It’s been a good day for troughers, nicely timed to bring a bit of extra Christmas cheer to the recipients.

A yacht race, the farm sector and Maori communities (in two separate announcements) will share the goodies.

  • Applications are invited for funding to enable renewable energy technologies to be trialled on Māori housing.  Half of the $28 million in the Renewable Energy Fund is available for these projects.
  • Eighteen initiatives have been announced to support iwi, hapū, whānau and Māori communities “to safeguard at-risk mātauranga Māori, and protect indigenous knowledge from the ongoing threat of COVID-19”.  These include a new $5.7 million Mātauranga Māori Marae Ora Fund.
  • Corporate largess is being distributed in the form of the $25 million Future Ready Farms programme led by Ballance Agri-Nutrients with co-investment of more than $10 million from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food & Fibre Futures Futures fund. This aims to develop new ways of meeting national environmental targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural chemical use, and nutrient loss to waterways.
  • The opening of the America’s Cup Village in downtown Auckland serves as a reminder that the Government is investing $136.5 million in the America’s Cup and associated events and infrastructure.  The Auckland Council has allocated $113 million.  Auckland ratepayers who also pay taxes are being bitten twice.

The calling of applications for money to enable renewable energy technologies to be trialled on Māori housing was announced by Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods and Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare. Continue reading “Govt is dishing out millions to trim Maori power bills and protect their culture – but much more money will help the America’s Cup”

The PM reminds summit of state funding on tap to help farmers meet the demands of govt’s environmental agenda

The PM’s farmer and grower audience would have been heartened when she said the election success of Labour in rural New Zealand was a huge honour, but with it came huge responsibility and huge opportunities.  They would have been braced, too, for her promotion – and defence – of the government’s  environmental agenda.

The vote represented both an endorsement of the direction the government is heading and a requirement to work more closely with rural communities, Jacinda Ardern told the Primary Industries Summit.

I have made it very clear to our all our MPs, as well as those in provincial seats, that the primary sector is a key partner and stakeholder for this Government, and I want to see ideas permeate up from the grass roots as well as our engagement at a leadership level.

She then articulated three key objectives for the Government –

  • continuing to keep New Zealanders safe from Covid,
  • accelerating our economic recovery, and
  • laying the foundations for the future.

And she insisted (hurrah!):

Primary industries are at the heart of each objective. Continue reading “The PM reminds summit of state funding on tap to help farmers meet the demands of govt’s environmental agenda”

Farmers, foresters and fishing folk rejoice – the govt is fixing your wellbeing to a 10-year plan (and film-makers have not been forsaken)

Latest from the Beehive

The government’s economic engineers were hard at work yesterday.  One minister was set on establishing a base for film production in Christchurch while – much more critically for the wellbeing of the nation – a cluster of others led by the PM were unveiling their grand design for reshaping the primary sector.  If they get it wrong (and we should never be sure politicians will get this sort of thing right), our economy will be dealt a greater mischief than ever was done by a pandemic.

Environment Minister David Parker was busy in the planning business, too, announcing appointments to the newly established Freshwater Planning Process and the Expert Consenting Panels for fast-track consenting.

Wearning his Attorney-General hat he also announced a new Judge of the High Court.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, meanwhile, was announcing immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised.

This is being done by – Continue reading “Farmers, foresters and fishing folk rejoice – the govt is fixing your wellbeing to a 10-year plan (and film-makers have not been forsaken)”

We can’t have any beef with the MfE on the matter of meatless days – can we?

Personally, I would prefer every day be a meatless one…

It might not be the facile question of the day but it deserves a place as a front-runner for the title.

It came from RNZ’s Guyon Espiner when interviewing Sam McIvor,chief executive of Beef and Lamb NZ.

The interview  (HERE, duration 4′ :37″0) was a reasonable followup to an idea which won headlines and air time for James Shaw, Minister for Climate Change.

New Zealanders should eat one less meat meal a week, he suggested.

He observed that 95 per cent of New Zealanders consume meat, and this takes a toll on water, energy and land resources. Continue reading “We can’t have any beef with the MfE on the matter of meatless days – can we?”