Visual news: Minister prepares a sign-language statement to trumpet announcement about help for the hearing-impaired

The Ardern government – focused on promoting wellbeing and diversity – is obviously keen to ensure the beneficiaries of its spending decisions are not left oblivious to what it is doing for them.

Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin yesterday made one of the spending announcements that inevitably trigger the Point of Order Trough Monitor (which is programmed to alert us to government spending decisions but not to make value judgements about the worthiness of  those decisions).

In this case, the announcement related to increased funding of $9.9 million over the next four years to benefit children and young people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

To ensure the target audience was informed of what has been decided, the press statement emerged from the Minister’s office in two forms.
Continue reading “Visual news: Minister prepares a sign-language statement to trumpet announcement about help for the hearing-impaired”

PM announces a wellbeing fund for Rainbow people while greenies splash into an established fund

The Point of Order Trough Monitor has drawn attention to the creation of a brand-new fund.  How rich will be the swill is still under consideration, it seems.

In the opening sentence of the announcement, the PM says improving the mental health and wellbeing of young members of the rainbow community is at the heart of the establishment of the Rainbow Wellbeing Legacy Fund.

Further down, she says the government is “proposing” to establish a charitable trust with a one-off endowment of $1 million.

It is unclear from this whether the matter proposed is the establishment of the trust or the size of the endowment.

The monitor was triggered again when Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced a handout from the Community Environment Fund, set up “to empower New Zealanders to make a positive difference to the environment”. Continue reading “PM announces a wellbeing fund for Rainbow people while greenies splash into an established fund”

What Bridges can learn from Australia: forget about the polls and apply policy lessons

Just  as  Australians  are  absorbing the   lessons  of  Scott Morrison’s  “miraculous” return from the electoral dead, New  Zealanders  are  being told by  a prominent   Wellington  economist  Ganesh Nana  he  fears  the   Ardern government  is  about  to  back down  from “meaningful economic  reform”.

 Yet across  the Tasman   it  was  the  “ambitious”   economic reforms proposed   by   Federal  Labor  leader  Bill  Shorten   which delivered the crushing  blow   of   losing  what the pundits   called the  “unloseable” election.

Labour  in   NZ   is  probably   congratulating  itself  that  it  has   dropped  a  broad  capital   gains tax   not  just  from  its current  programme  but  for the future.For it  is clear  many  Australian  voters  rejected   Shorten’s  plan for  a   giant  tax grab across  the   economic spectrum   and  allowed   Scott Morrison to  play  mercilessly  the  line  “the  Bill  you  can’t  afford”.

Labor underestimated,    as  one  Australian pundit   put it,  the downside of

” … mucking around with the aspirations of middle Australia [through negative gearing and capital gains tax changes that stirred anxiety about falling house prices]. I think this would be the last time that the Labor Party goes anywhere near people’s homes.” Continue reading “What Bridges can learn from Australia: forget about the polls and apply policy lessons”

Comforting news for Oceana Gold – the Minister who scuttled its land purchase plan is doing her best

We learned a bit more yesterday about why Eugenie Sage flexed her ministerial muscle and scuttled part of Oceana Gold’s development plans at Waihi.

Perhaps most notably, during Question Time in Parliament, we learned she is doing her job as Minister of Land Information to the best of her ability.

But she did provide guidance to investors by acknowledging that the contribution to carbon emissions and New Zealand’s net zero target could be considered when she determines whether a proposal will provide substantial and identifiable benefit to New Zealand.

She also provided ammunition for National’s David Bennett to demand she prioritise the economy over her ideology.   Continue reading “Comforting news for Oceana Gold – the Minister who scuttled its land purchase plan is doing her best”

A Green minister finds favour with farming – in this case, to torpedo gold mining plans

It took them a few days to reflect on things, after Land Information Minister Eugenie Sage declined Oceana Gold’s application to purchase land adjacent to its Waihi mine under the Overseas Investment Act.

But Straterra, New Zealand’s minerals sector industry organisation, has publicly expressed disappointment and contends the decision was based explicitly on her anti-mining ideology.

“The application was declined by the Land Information Minister apparently on the grounds that the land would be better retained for dairying.”

If this be so, Sage will have been ideologically conflicted.

The Greens are notoriously hostile to mining – but when did they last come out in favour of dairying? Continue reading “A Green minister finds favour with farming – in this case, to torpedo gold mining plans”

Eugenie Sage splashes out (with our money) on tree planting – but how far does she think it will stretch?

The headline on a press statement from the office of Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage tripped the alarm on the Point of Order Trough Monitor.

It advised:  New funding to make a splash improving water quality

Splash?

We suspect the new funding will make little more than a ripple, although the statement made the money sound big deal:

The Government is going the extra mile backing the Sustainable Business Network’s Million Metres Streams’ project with a $200,000 funding boost, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today.

But $200,000 is good for an extra 0.003106855 miles, according to our sums – or 5 metres, if you  prefer.

The Minister is pleased with herself, nevertheless:

“I am excited to be able to announce this funding from the Community Environment Fund for the Million Metres project in time for this year’s autumn planting season.”

Then she said something which caused us to pause: Continue reading “Eugenie Sage splashes out (with our money) on tree planting – but how far does she think it will stretch?”

Treaty considerations colour the Greens’ thinking about democracy and the dilution of our voting power

The Green Party’s disappointment at the voting down of the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill was expressed in a press statement  headed Ngāi Tahu Representation Bill would have been a step forward.

A step forward to what?

Or rather, a step away from what?

Ngai Tahu gave a strong clue to the answer to the second question in 2015, when they shamelessly declared that restoring full democratic elections would be a “step backwards” for Canterbury

The Greens endorsed this sentiment when co-leader Marama Davidson said tangata whenua have guaranteed political rights on a national level but

“ … representation is often lacking or non-existent in local government. This does not always make for robust decision making and in the past has led to significant breaches of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.”    Continue reading “Treaty considerations colour the Greens’ thinking about democracy and the dilution of our voting power”