Our Beehive update
Matters in the foreign affairs domain have preoccupied ministers over the past two days.
Ambassadors to Russia and the United Nations have been appointed, $100 million has been given to the Cook Islands and Fiji for COVID-19 economic support and recovery, nine southern African countries have been added to New Zealand’s list of very high risk countries after discovery of the COVID-19 variant Omicron, and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has provided a rundown on the North American leg of her 17-day overseas travels.
Mahuta has been busy. Regardless of jet lag, she has announced the new ambassadorial appointments and the economic package of $100 million, bringing COVID-19 support to the Cook Islands and Fiji to a combined total of $215 million. New Zealand this time is providing $60 million to the Cook Islands and $40 million to Fiji.
We suppose the press statements were prepared while the Minister was in managed isolation and quarantine, no doubt itching to get back to the Three Waters reforms.
A weekend statement told us the final leg of Mahuta’s travels involved “a number of high-level discussions” in the United States and Canada.
The issues discussed extended beyond the interests of indigenous peoples, the subject of her previous travel report after she meet Canadian ministers.
She mentioned these interests again in her latest statement as a measure of the importance she obviously attaches to them. But she also brought stuff such as defence, security and trade into her discussions. Continue reading “Welcome home, Nanaia – and it’s good to hear defence, security and trade stuff were discussed with big-wigs in North America”
One of the government’s myriad of troughs has been replenished, new scholarships are being provided (for those who meet a race eligibility test), and Phil Twyford has delivered another speech about arms control.
Invitations to slurp at the trough are being issued to community organisations that can deliver energy education to households in need. The money comes from the Support for Energy Education in Communities (SEEC) Programme.
$1.65 million is available in this second round.
In total, $7.91 million will be allocated through the SEEC Programme’s regular funding rounds until 2024.
The three new scholarships, for Maori students in vocational education and training (VET), are to be added to “the suite of prestigious Ngarimu scholarships”.
Over 300 scholarships have been awarded over the years to people such as VC medal recipient Willie Apiata, Māori academic Whatarangi Winiata, entrepreneur and Pīpī Mā founder Kristin Ross, and Māori language expert Pania Papa.
The Ngarimu VET Scholarships are worth $10,000 each. The closing date for the Ngarimu VET applications is September 1.
Twyford’s speech, to the AI Forum Executive, addressed the development of policy on autonomous weapons systems.
But here at Point of Order we suspect the issue that will generate the greatest debate –consternation in some circles – is the government’s announcement of new marine protection areas and significant restrictions on fishing.
Fishing folk are likely to be fuming at the effects of a raft of changes being put in place to protect the Hauraki Gulf. Continue reading “Fishing folk will be fuming after govt restricts activities in Hauraki Gulf – but greenies will be grumbling too”
Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta got a slice of action on the international front at the weekend, but not with an announcement as vituperative as Andrew Little’s rebuke of the Russians.
Mahuta’s task was much more in line with the PM’s fondness for improving the wellbeing of anybody whose wellbeing could do with a lift.
In this case, the government is providing further support to Timor-Leste following severe flooding and a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.
The only other weekend statement from the Beehive came from another Maori minister, Meka Whaitiri, who holds the Veterans portfolio.
Her news would have been of special interest to voters in Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, the electorate which she represents in Parliament.
She announced a ceremony had been held in Gisborne where the unclaimed medals of 28 (Māori) Battalion C Company soldiers were presented to their families. Continue reading “Timor-Leste is provided with more support while veterans’ families in Gisborne are presented with medals”