Capital rats (and other pests) beware: the Govt is pumping $7.6m more into predator elimination

Latest from the Beehive

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage features in a front-page news report – with picture – in  the Dom-Post today after announcing the handout of $7.6 million.  News of a further taxpayer-funded assault on rats and other rodents obviously went down well in the capital.

Sage announced the funding boost was expected to hasten the achievement of Predator Free Wellington.

“This $7.6 million investment, as part of the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, is expected to create 42 new jobs and will enable native plants and wildlife to thrive in Wellington,” said Eugenie Sage.

The money is being channeled to Predator Free Wellington through a Government company, Predator Free 2050 Limited, and matches similar investment over the next five years by Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the NEXT Foundation.

Hmm.  We have a few organisations to check out. Continue reading “Capital rats (and other pests) beware: the Govt is pumping $7.6m more into predator elimination”

When the Greens press party leaders to continue commitment to science, we wonder if they include themselves

Latest from the Beehive

We drew a blank, when we paid our morning visit to the Beehive website.  Nothing had been posted since Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced the Government’s plans to phase out more single-use and problem plastics to reduce waste and protect the environment.

Hmm.  Let’s check our email in-tray.

This contained advice about the PM’s next media conference – in tandem with the DG of Health – on the virus thing that has thrown politics and politicking into a bit of a tizz. The conference is at 1pm today.

Our email also brought statements (all Covid-related) headed  – Continue reading “When the Greens press party leaders to continue commitment to science, we wonder if they include themselves”

More money is on tap for minimising waste – but going online to learn about the scheme could be a time-waster

The government has replenished another trough and is calling the hogs to get their snouts into an $8 million swill.

No, this one is not under the control of Shane Jones, the Minister of Munificence whose announcements regularly trigger the Point of Order Trough Monitor.

The announcement this time was made by Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage, who emulated Jones by emphasising the employment prospects.  

Her press statement begins:

Creating jobs in the vital waste reduction sector is the focus of the latest application round for the Waste Minimisation Fund, which opens today. Continue reading “More money is on tap for minimising waste – but going online to learn about the scheme could be a time-waster”

Primary Sector Council merges science with the metaphysical in vision to guide the food and fibre sector

The Primary Sector Council’s vision for the country’s vital food and fibre sector (you can check it out here) promotes the government’s programme for blending science with the Maori belief system.

In a press statement, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor welcomed the “vision to unite the primary sector”, although he did not mention advice to unite science with matauranga Maori.

But on the vision website we learned:

By bringing together Mātauranga Māori, community based knowledge and modern science, we will form a body of knowledge that can guide and elevate our practices everyday, empowering us to elevate ourselves above compliance.

The vision describes “an active approach” and brings the metaphysical concept of “mauri” into considerations –

Kaitiakitanga (guardianship) is an active practice. Good Kaitiakitanga will involve taking action where things are out of balance and other parts of the system are being affected by resource use. Te Mauri o te Taiao provides a framework for everyone to effectively assess the mauri of all the elements within Taiao. We will look to develop assessment and monitoring tools to assist with implementing Te Mauri o te Taiao successfully. Continue reading “Primary Sector Council merges science with the metaphysical in vision to guide the food and fibre sector”

Anti-1080 lobby issues a press statement – and then it shies away from media questioning

Dave Hansford, a science and environment writer, sensed the same whiff of rat that was niggling our olfactory senses at Point of Order the other day.  He proceeded to investigate and reporteds his findings in an item, Dead rats, a mystery lab, and the very curious antics of the anti-1080 lobby, which was published on The Spinoff.

The whiff followed the release by an anti-1080 lobby of “lab tests” which – the group contended – found poison in vermin that washed up in Westport last month.

This directly contradicted the findings of Landcare Research, which had tested carcasses for 1080 and found none. (In necropsies, Massey University was unable to establish a cause of death).

Hansford set out see if the lobby’s claims stand up to scrutiny.

He failed to flush out the identity of the laboratory which did the testing: Continue reading “Anti-1080 lobby issues a press statement – and then it shies away from media questioning”

The PGF pours more millions into the regions (and corporate welfare) – and Seymour is unlikely to stop the flow

Praising NZ First for pulling its support for next year’s tobacco tax hike, Act leader David Seymour suggests Winston Peters’ party should consider opposing a range of other Labour policies.

He also suggests Peters should veto “Shane Jones’ corporate welfare machine”.

“Governments have seldom spent money better than the people who earned it, especially when giving it to businesses. Add in a series of questionable conflicts of interests with Jones’ Provincial Growth Fund, and Peters would be smart to lance the boil before it engulfs him.”

Good luck with that.

The Point of Order Trough Monitor struggles to keep up with the outflow from the PGF, which was mentioned today in a statement from Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage to mark the official opening of the Paparoa Track in Blackball.

The 55km Great Walk is a dual mountain-biking and walking track. Work began under the former government.

It has been enabled by a $12 million government investment to build 41 km of new track to join up 14 km of existing track, two new 20 bunk huts (Moonlight Tops and Pororari) and four major suspension bridges.

The Paparoa Track has been built in conjunction with the Pike29 Memorial Track, which will be opened once the Pike River Recovery Agency has completed efforts to re-enter the Pike River Mine. The site then will be handed back to DOC and work will start to build a memorial to tell the story of mine safety in New Zealand and honour the miners who lost their lives in the 2010 Pike River Mine Disaster.

Sage’s press statement mentions two troughs:

“As well as work done by DOC, the Provincial Growth Fund has funded the Greymouth District Council $3.5m to undertake work to widen the Blackball Road, which leads to the track entrance west of Blackball. The road is being widened from single lane to enable the increase in traffic expected as a result of the new Great Walk.

“The Council has also received more than $600k from the Tourism Infrastructure Fund to develop new public toilets and a public carpark, alongside work to widen roads and improve drainage which the council have funded in the township.

Continue reading “The PGF pours more millions into the regions (and corporate welfare) – and Seymour is unlikely to stop the flow”

Just in case you missed the Beehive’s news of another PGF handout, a New Zealand First MP announced it, too

The Point of Order Trough Monitor, programmed to alert us to ministerial handouts, nevertheless sounded the alarm when the latest Provincial Growth Fund spending was announced by a politician further down in the pecking order.

Accordingly we have learned that the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) has allocated $3.5 million to develop innovative predator control approaches which will reduce the need for repeated 1080 use.

The news was delivered in an embargoed press release from a New Zealand back-bencher, conservation spokeswoman Jenny Marcroft.

Perhaps she was hoping to draw attention from other matters involving her party.

Perhaps she was hoping the media were less likely to miss the announcement if it was made more than once.

Or perhaps she wanted to give greater emphasis to the role the PGF is playing in finding ways of reducing the use of 1080, the most effective way of eradicating pests such as rats and possums but a poison passionately opposed by some environmentalists.

We muse on the second two possibilities because the news was also announced – the official announcement, you could say – by Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau.

This announcement (posted on the Beehive website) says – Continue reading “Just in case you missed the Beehive’s news of another PGF handout, a New Zealand First MP announced it, too”

Don’t go looking for Treaty principles in the Treaty – they come from the courts and DoC is grappling with a new set of them

A Supreme Court judgement in August last year has led to the Department of Conservation undertaking partial reviews of the Conservation General Policy and the General Policy for National Parks, to give better effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

And what are these principles?

Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage told Point of Order:

“The principles of the Treaty of Waitangi are not explicitly stated in the articles of the Treaty itself.”

Nope.

“They have evolved primarily though jurisprudence…”  

They also have significant governance and constitutional implications.

Another stage in this evolutionary process was the Supreme Court’s ruling which   buttressed an iwi’s claim to exclusive rights to conduct commercial tours for at least five years on the Rangitoto and Motutapu islands in the Hauraki Gulf.

Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki went to court to challenge DoC’s issuing five-year tourism concessions to Fullers and the Motutapu Island Restoration Trust on the islands. Continue reading “Don’t go looking for Treaty principles in the Treaty – they come from the courts and DoC is grappling with a new set of them”

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”