Little announces booster shot for Maori health while welcoming figures that show the benefits of a targeted approach

Latest from the Beehive

Point of Order’s Beehive monitors were treated to a double dose of Health Minister Andrew Little’s rejoicing today.

Little and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare announced what they called a record funding boost for Māori primary and community healthcare providers as part of $71.6 million in commissioning investments by the Māori Health Authority.

Some would call this discriminatory spending.  Little prefers to call it targeted.

The bullet points in the press statement show:

  • $29.3 million for interim New Zealand Health Plan priority areas
  • $13 million for Māori primary and community providers
  • $17.6 million for te ao Māori solutions, mātauranga Māori and population health
  • $11.7 million to support innovation, workforce development, and whānau voice.

In a second press release, Little seized on fresh New Zealand Health Survey data and told  us this shows his government’s policies are improving the nation’s health and general well-being. Continue reading “Little announces booster shot for Maori health while welcoming figures that show the benefits of a targeted approach”

ACT beats Hipkins to the draw in announcing changes to our gun licensing laws

Buzz from the Beehive

Uh, oh.  Earlier this afternoon there was nothing doing in the Beehive.  Or rather, there was nothing doing that they wanted to tell us about.

We therefore drew a blank when we checked the Beehive website to find what our servants are up to.

Nor (when we checked with Scoop) could we find anything new from the Nats or the Greens, although the Nats since then have posted a statement on the rising expense of hiring government  consultants.

ACT was given a free kick,  in effect, and scored with three statements.

First, ACT’s Firearms Reform spokesperson Nicole McKee was braying that relentless pressure from her party has resulted in the Government making much-needed changes to firearms licensing. Continue reading “ACT beats Hipkins to the draw in announcing changes to our gun licensing laws”

Covid research is funded and we get progress reports on housing-related policies (but don’t ask about the KiwiBuild target)

Buzz from the Beehive

Health and housing are among the issues tackled  on the Beehive website today.

Mind you, on the health front the government has focused some of its efforts on sexual and reproductive health in the Pacific, providing “new support” for access to contraceptives, family planning and other sexual and reproductive health services.  

This (involving an investment of “a further NZ$30 million”) was announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs during a visit to Port Moresby.

Back home,  Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall was announcing funding for 23 research projects involving staff from universities, Māori and Pacific research organisations, health and disability providers, Crown Research Institutes and Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand.

Each project is being funded for 12 months with allocations between $200,000 and $500,000. Funding comes from the COVID-19 health system response and the National Immunisation Programme.

Three announcements relate to the Government’s efforts to deliver on 2020 policy commitments, when the Labour Party said:

“We’re taking action to tackle New Zealand’s housing crisis and help more Kiwis into homes. There’s no single answer to the housing issues which were decades in the making, and it will take time to turn things around, but the policies we’re putting in place are already making a real difference.”

But the difference it is making did not satisfy the writer of an article on The Spinoff website in May

The article was headlined As Labour again fails to address the housing crisis, our most vulnerable suffer.

Guest writer Alan Johnson had been examining the Government’s 2022 Budget and complained :

“There were three notable features in budget 2022 for housing. KiwiBuild appears to have been quietly laid to rest, yet more money is to be spent on transitional housing and the provision of social housing may grow by 3-4%. Together these signal the extent of the government’s housing ambitions for the remainder of this parliamentary term and possibly for the rest of its tenure. If the government changes in 2023 then this is probably as good as it gets.”

 The government doubtless will contend that the article was unfair and today it has made three announcements.

First, as Minister of Building and Construction, Megan Woods has announced that law changes to introduce a new voluntary certification scheme for modular component, or prefab, manufacturers, and strengthen New Zealand’s building product certification scheme have come into force today.

Second, as Minister of Housing and of Building and Construction, Woods announced that work to get more people into stable housing “is continuing at pace in Christchurch”, with six additional homes delivered in partnership between the government and community housing provider Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust.

 Third, housing gets several mentions in a speech by Environment Minister David Parker on key decisions made by the Government about the new resource management system.

He explained how the new system will be more efficient and effective, and how it will enable infrastructure and development.

And he reiterated the government’s commitment to repealing the Resource Management Act and enacting the Natural and Built Environments Act and Spatial Planning Act  this parliamentary term.

Among Parker’s observations:

“To better enable development within environmental biophysical limits, including a significant improvement in housing supply, affordability and choice, and timely provision of appropriate infrastructure, including social infrastructure like hospitals or schools.”

So let’s  not be too hasty in  getting huffy about the Government’s housing policies, eh?

 Except that we were  jolted by an article posted on Kiwiblog earlier this week.  It said: 

 in 2017 promised 100,000 Kiwibuild houses in 10 years, or by 2028.

Based on their current progress, they will make their 100,000 promise in the year 2313.

She promised that by 2022 the scheme will be going so well they would be completing a massive 250 homes week or 50 every weekday.

In the last five months they have completed 21 Kiwibuild homes which is one per week.

So they promised 250 a week, and they are delivering one a week.

Latest from the Beehive

7 SEPTEMBER 2022

Support for sexual and reproductive health in the Pacific

New support for access to contraceptives, family planning and other sexual and reproductive health services in the Pacific has been announced by the Minister of Foreign Affairs during a visit to Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Māori Economy prepare for Climate Action during 2021 Growth

Māori businesses are playing a key role in Aotearoa New Zealand’s, economic recovery and climate change planning according to the Tatauranga umanga Māori: 2021 report released today by Stats NZ.” Associate Minister of Statistics, Meka Whaitiri said.

Government law changes to enable faster consenting, more prefabs, comes into force

Law changes that introduce a new voluntary certification scheme for modular component, or prefab, manufacturers, and strengthen New Zealand’s building product certification scheme have come into force today.

7 SEPTEMBER 2022

More new high-quality public homes delivered in Christchurch

The work to get more people into stable housing is continuing at pace in Christchurch, with six additional homes delivered in partnership between the government and community housing provider Ōtautahi Community Housing Trust.

Speech 

6 SEPTEMBER 2022

How the future resource management system will better enable development outcomes

This speech is the fourth in a number I have given in recent months to share some of the key decisions that have been made by the Government about the new system.

Successful funding for COVID-19 research round announced

Researchers from across New Zealand have received funding to undertake research into the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 and future pandemic responses.

Government invests in local infrastructure to support decarbonisation

Communities around New Zealand will benefit from upgraded, safer, and more people-friendly streets as the result of the Government’s Streets for People programme, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today.

 

Lessons from the past: how the state went shopping in Austria to have 500 houses assembled in Titahi Bay in the 1950s

Buzz from the Beehive

Readers who go wandering around the Titahi Bay area of Porirua may well stumble upon the consequences of the state acting both as land developer and builder of state-owned homes when the private sector failed to meet the demand for housing in the early 1950s.

In 1952 the then Minister of Housing, W.S.Goosman, approved 1000 prefabricated houses to be bought overseas.

Five hundred of the pre-fabricated dwellings came from Austria to meet state housing demand.

These were assembled in Tītahi Bay by 194 Austrian tradesmen brought in for the task. After completing their work some of them stayed on and became New Zealanders.

The Titahi Bay Community Group website says the Titahi Bay houses were pre-cut and manufactured with Austrian timber in Austria but were designed in New Zealand.   

The Austrian houses still form a distinct neighbourhood of Porirua City and the descendants of several young Austrian men who came here to work on the project live in the Bay area to this day.

Point of Order was prompted to wonder what could be learned (if anything) from the Titahi Bay initiative on reading the latest statement from Housing Minister Megan Woods

She said the Government is driving innovation and ramping up progress in Rotorua with the first six of 37 homes delivered with the fast, modern, off-site building method known as OSM (offsite manufacturing).

OSM is the construction of buildings and components of buildings offsite in a factory, which are then transported to the sites where they are needed.

Continue reading “Lessons from the past: how the state went shopping in Austria to have 500 houses assembled in Titahi Bay in the 1950s”

Fetters are slapped on “fast-track” law to ensure the country benefits from forestry conversions by foreigners

Buzz from the Beehive

Some readers might be surprised to learn from Associate Finance Minister David Parker that the law has been changed to ensure forestry conversions by overseas investors benefit New Zealand.

Did the law previously allow forestry conversions by overseas investors that would be to the country’s disadvantage?

Not necessarily.

Previously, overseas investors wishing to convert land, such as farm land, into forestry were required to meet the “special forestry test.”

Parker described this as a “streamlined” test, designed to encourage investment in production forestry.

The Overseas Investment (Forestry) Amendment Bill – which has just passed its third reading – requires overseas investors to show their conversions will benefit New Zealand by meeting the stricter “benefit to New Zealand test.” Continue reading “Fetters are slapped on “fast-track” law to ensure the country benefits from forestry conversions by foreigners”

Oh, look – Sepuloni finds some money for the arts has not been spent, but it will be put to use in a trough for cultural “regeneration”

Buzz from the Beehive

News of the PM’s next overseas travel plans flowed from the Beehive along with a fanfaronade of self-congratulation for work coming along nicely, thank you, announcements of fresh projects and programmes for consuming our taxes, and advice aimed at enhancing our wellbeing.

The overseas travel is to Samoa – Jacinda Ardern will lead a Parliamentary and community delegation to Apia from the 1–2 August to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of “the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, between Aotearoa New Zealand and Samoa”

It is government policy, apparently, to  inject the word “Aotearoa” into all ministerial press statements.  The treaty signed 60 years ago was “the Treaty of Friendship between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of Western Samoa”.

The latest spending initiatives include an announcement from Agriculture Minister Damien  O’Connor that the Government is co-investing in a $22 million programme aimed at significantly reducing agricultural greenhouse gases and nitrate leaching.

The Government has committed $7.3 million over seven years to the N-Vision NZ programme through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund. The programme focuses on three technology streams: Continue reading “Oh, look – Sepuloni finds some money for the arts has not been spent, but it will be put to use in a trough for cultural “regeneration””

GPs get a good dose of Little’s rhetoric – and a reassurance that there will be a better tomorrow

Buzz from the Beehive

Just as you we failed to find the word “democracy” in the PM’s speech to the Local Government New Zealand this week, so the word “crisis” was absent from the Health Minister’s speech to the General Practitioners conference today.

Andrew Little did acknowledge the enormous pressure that “present circumstances” are putting on GPs and their practices.

COVID-19 continues relentlessly with the predicted mid-winter surge upon us, he said, and every senior practitioner he speaks with tells him this winter flu season is the worst they’ve experienced.

“Elevated levels of absenteeism” are putting further pressure on health services, including GP practices, often on top of vacancies being carried by practices.

A disproportionate share of consultations is with elderly patients and patients with complex health needs which GPs tell Little is not accounted for in the funding they receive. Continue reading “GPs get a good dose of Little’s rhetoric – and a reassurance that there will be a better tomorrow”

Jackson takes another small step towards action at Ihumātao while Mahuta aims for the heavens with Treaty-influenced space policy

Buzz from the Beehive

Down here on Earth – more particularly, in Ihumātao – progress on doing whatever is going to be done to that disputed patch of land has been glacial.

Newsroom drew attention  to the dawdling in an article in April which noted that Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson had hoped a governance group, Roopu Whakahaere, would be up and running in February

“…  but it could now be late May before that happens”.

Or June, perhaps.

At the time Newsroom posted that article, 16 months had passed since the Government announced the controversial land – home to a long-running occupation – had been purchased by the Crown from Fletcher Building for $30 million.

Yesterday Newsroom reported that the governance group has finally met.

Almost 18 months to the date the land was purchased, the three Ahi Kā representatives have been mostly decided and the group had its first meeting with Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson late last month.

And yesterday Willie Jackson officially announced …

Drum roll, please. Continue reading “Jackson takes another small step towards action at Ihumātao while Mahuta aims for the heavens with Treaty-influenced space policy”

Rwanda travel plans for UK deportees are stymied but Prince Charles is headed there – and Nanaia Mahuta is going, too

Buzz from the Beehive

Rwanda is back in the headlines, not only for the role it is playing in the British Government’s  highly controversial plans for ridding their country of asylum seekers (the first deportation flight was cancelled after a last-minute intervention by the European Court of Human Rights, which decided there was “a real risk of irreversible harm’’ to the asylum seekers involved).

The Central African country is also embroiled in a dispute with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, each country accusing the other of firing rockets across their shared border.

According to Al Jazeera,

“This seems to have been triggered by fighting between the M23 rebel group and state forces in the country’s east.

“Both Congo and the United Nations have accused Rwanda of supporting the M23 movement.” Continue reading “Rwanda travel plans for UK deportees are stymied but Prince Charles is headed there – and Nanaia Mahuta is going, too”

World Environment Day passed while media were fixed on Platinum Jubilee – but the gold state coach did not spew fumes

Buzz from the Beehive

Congratulations to New Zealanders who were recognised for their service to the country in the Queen’s Birthday and Platinum Jubilee Honours list 2022 dominated the news posted on The Beehive website over the holiday weekend.

The 187 honours recipients included two appointments to our highest honour, The Order of New Zealand, and the appointments of three Dames and three Knights.

But while much of the media’s attention over the weekend was focussed on the celebration of the Queen’s 70 years on the throne, Environment Minister David Parker drew attention to June 5 being World Environment Day.

He honoured the occasion by handing $4.12 million of Jobs for Nature funding to a project to breathe life back into the Styx River and create jobs in Christchurch

He described this as another example of the strong action the Government is taking to tackle environmental degradation. Continue reading “World Environment Day passed while media were fixed on Platinum Jubilee – but the gold state coach did not spew fumes”