Latest from the Beehive
The government has taken further steps to split the country into various camps – first, we will have vaccinated and unvaccinated Kiwis, and second, we are further developing Us and Them racial camps. One split is being explained by the government’s need to protect the nation against the spread of Covid-19, the other is being justified by a debatable interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.
When something must be done to meet the requirements of the Treaty (according to interpretations adopted by the Ardern government to promote its political agenda), most critics are likely to be silenced. To challenge the dispensation of favours to Maori or whatever has been justified by the Treaty is to risk being accused of racism.
The latest decision to split the country into vaccinated and unvaccinated camps – and to bestow rights and benefits, such as a job, on the vaccinated – affects Police and Defence personnel.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced that workplace vaccination requirements will be extended to include the New Zealand Police and Defence Force in preparation for the transition to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework on 3 December 2021. Continue reading “Covid policy divides NZ into two camps – further division (Us and Them) is created by invoking The Treaty”
The modesty of our Foreign Minister is to be admired. She announced her departure from the Middle East at the weekend in a statement headed Foreign Minister concludes successful visit to the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.
Some Ministers might have been tempted to describe their latest doings as a triumph.
Mahuta may be keeping that word on hold until four new organisations have been established with 50:50 co-governance arrangements to deliver the highly controversial Three Waters programme without her having to compromise
Mind you, it is tempting to ask by what criteria success (or failure, for that matter) is measured after a Minister visits other countries.
In this case it could be regarded as a success – a year after her being give that portfolio – that our Minister of Foreign Affairs at long last has ventured overseas.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark’s weekend achievement was to announce the Government’s decision to review the residential building supply market.
The study will enable the Commerce Commission to investigate any factors that may affect competition for the supply or acquisition of key building supplies. Continue reading “Promoting indigenous aspirations and saying “thank you” are among Mahuta’s successes on Middle East visit”
The government giveth, by backing industry restructuring (or transformation) plans – and the government taketh away, by imposing (or reimposing) imposts on Covid-beleaguered businesses.
Another word for this is meddling.
In the case of the tourism industry, the government today announced that skills shortages and career progression in the tourism and hospitality sector are the first priorities of a restructuring plan (with a whiff of social engineering) being drawn up for tourism.
The plan involves the government in forging a “partnership” between the industry and Maoridom.
Tourism Minister Stuart Nash revealed this when he outlined the next steps in the Industry Transformation Plan (ITP) for the sector, originally foreshadowed in May as part of the $200 million Tourism Communities Support, Recovery and Re-set package.
Continue reading “Nash presses on with tourism transformation plan – but DOC rocks some operators by restoring concession charges”
One ministerial announcement which invites farmers and growers to engage in consultations on fresh water matters seems to have been issued a tad late to mollify angry farmers. It coincided with news that a farmer group is planning a protest against what it describes as unworkable government regulations and interference in farmers’ lives – and interference in the work of the country’s biggest export sector.
Another announcement reflected concerns in the Beehive to mollify stressed operators in the tourism industry, no longer the country’s biggest earner of overseas revenue since it was crippled by the closing of borders to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Beehive policy-makers have figured they can’t do much to compensate flagging businesses for the billions of dollars lost when overseas visitors stopped coming here – but hey.
There IS something a “be kind” government can do. It can chip in $4.5 million to give them peace of mind – of sorts – by dealing with their mental wellbeing. Continue reading “Govt invites ideas on freshwater farm plans but irked cockies are unlikely to cancel their protest plans”
It is unlikely the $2.75 million given to the Mongrel Mob to fund a meth rehab programme will do much mischief to the public debt because much of the money may well have come from the mob in the first place.
We suggest this makes it a marvellous money-go-round – or an exercise in fiscal recycling – because …
- The money (according to a Stuff report) came from the Proceeds of Crime fund (or money seized from gangs and criminals by police) ; and
- The NZ Herald last month reported that about $2m in cash and assets, including five residential properties, vehicles, motorcycles, jet skis, cash and the contents of various bank accounts were seized in an operation that targeted senior members of the Mongrel Mob in Hawke’s Bay involved in supplying methamphetamine.
This mention of the mob in Hawke’s Bay was part of a report on the smashing of another major drug ring, with more than $44 million in drugs seized as police surpass the $500 million milestone in confiscated assets from gangs and criminals over the past four years.
This should be comforting for those of us who are keeping an eye on cavalier government spending after the Treasury warned the government that its debt is on an “unsustainable trajectory” over the coming 40 years.
That’s because of an ageing population driving up superannuation and health costs. Continue reading “The Mongrel Mob, meth supply and a marvellous money-go-round – the PM giveth what the cops hath taken away”
The mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid – a decision which is bound to trigger expressions of dismay in some quarters – is being introduced at an estimated $1.6 million cost to taxpayers.
A modest cost, perhaps, when stacked alongside the projected savings to the health budget, but it was recorded fairly well down the government’s press statement.
The much bigger investment of $1.3 billion in rail infrastructure was similarly buried.
Other Beehive announcements advise us that –
- Public sector boards are now made up of 50.9 per cent women, up from 45.7 per cent in 2017.
- Education Minister Chris Hipkins joined 54 newly appointed Workforce Development Council (WDC) members at a launch in Wellington.
- The government’s ideas of a Treaty partnership are a critical considerations in its Emissions Reduction Plan.
- Medsafe has granted provisional approval of the Janssen COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older.
The mandatory doctoring of the flour that is a key ingredient in bread-making will follow the government’s decision to approve the addition of the B vitamin, folic acid, to non-organic bread-making wheat flour to prevent spina bifida and similar conditions. Continue reading “Forcing folic acid into flour (unless it’s organic) may cost taxpayers $1.6m – upgrading rail infrastructure will cost much more”
We trust Health Minister Andrew Little got his numbers right when he addressed the Association of Salaried Medical Specialists at a Virtual Conference on Equity of Health Outcomes for New Zealand.
One figure in the speech posted on The Beehive website seriously inflates the extra spending earmarked in this year’s Budget for Pharmac (obviously it’s an innocent typo).
The team at Point of Order long ago learned to be wary, if not downright suspicious, when politicians bandy numbers. More often than not the figures they brag about will be challenged by political opponents who produce contradictory data or put matters into a very different perspective.
For example, earlier this week we reported a statement by Jacinda Ardern, Minister in Charge of Child Poverty Reduction: Continue reading “Let’s not quibble about a typo – instead we should admire Little’s readiness to list achievements with mental health spending”
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta is another member of the Ardern government who believes in the power of the law to eliminate criminal or undesirable behaviour.
But she seems to be aware that laws have their limitations: a Bill she introduced to Parliament yesterday “aims” to prevent serious criminal offending at sea.
Megan Woods, as Minister of Energy and Resources, earlier this week was much more confident about a Bill “to stop taxpayers having to fund oil field decommissions”.
“The Government is preventing taxpayers picking up the bill for the decommissioning of oil fields …”
Preventing? Or discouraging?
While Mahuta cracks down on crime on the high seas, Police Minister Poto Williams has been cracking down on gangs and criminals on land.
She proudly posted news that the Police have seized $500 million in cash and assets from gangs and criminals over the past four years.
But many New Zealanders would have been paying attention to another triumph – the Black Caps’ victory over India in the final of the inaugural Cricket World Test Championship.
The PM and Sports Minister Grant Robertson both extended their congratulations. Continue reading “Mahuta cracks down on crime at sea while Williams counts the cash and assets ($500m) seized from criminals on land”
The Government has invested $16 million in buying plots of land as part of a new partnership with Ngai Tahu, this one launched to take part in this country’s fledgling space industry.
It was described as “an exciting multi-pronged aerospace project” and – Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods proclaimed – it is coming to Kaitōrete Spit, a 25km stretch of land on the Canterbury coast.
It’s thanks to “a special commercial joint venture” between Kaitōrete Limited (Te Taumutu Rūnanga and Wairewa Rūnanga) and the Crown,
“ … which will unlock jobs – including aerospace, develop a space launch and R&D facilities, protect cultural interests and the unique bio-diversity of the area.”
But wait. There’s more:
“Project Tāwhaki is a special partnership with both Rūnanga that will rejuvenate a nationally unique environment, honour deep cultural relationships, and provide amazing opportunities to tap into the multi-billion-dollar aerospace economy. This is a very exciting day.”
We trust this venture fares better in winning the hearts and minds of local Maori than Rocket Lab has done at Māhia Peninsula in the Hawke’s Bay. Continue reading “Govt invests $16m in space venture with Ngai Tahu runanga – while protecting culture and biodiversity for good measure”
According to his critics, Damien O’Connor may well have contracted a nasty dose of foot-in-mouth disease.
Whether his personal struggle with the condition is good or bad for a bloke who happens to be our Minister of Biosecurity is arguable. The portfolio requires the Minister and his ministry to ensure against foot-and-mouth disease sneaking into the country (among a formidable list of threatening pests and diseases).
Foot-and-mouth is much more virulent than foot-in-mouth and an outbreak on our farms would be calamitous for the economy.
Foot-in-mouth, on the other hand, is common among politicians and tends to be more damaging to the afflicted politician and his/her party than to the national economy.
Accordingly, when it is detected, the authorities do not declare an emergency and immediately put down the politician and cull every other beast within a certain distance, as would happen with livestock, although a polls-sensitive PM might be tempted to demote the culprit and put him or her out to pasture on the back benches.
Mind you, a politician might be accused by Opposition politicians or media commentators of having foot-in-mouth disease when others think the accused politician’s remarks were eminently sensible.
Damien O’Connor found himself embroiled in a trans-Tasman brouhaha when he suggested Australia could improve its relationship with China by following this country’s lead and showing more respect to the Asian powerhouse. Continue reading “Biosecurity Minister shows signs of a foot-in-mouth affliction – it doesn’t require culling but will he be put out to pasture?”