Let’s recall how NZ was surprised by signing of indigenous rights declaration – and how Mahuta criticised the Key govt’s secrecy

Announcing the completion of the first stage of the two-step engagement process to develop “a Declaration Plan”, Willie Jackson acknowledged the work was being done through race-tinted glasses.

Almost 70 “targeted engagement workshops” had been held mainly online, the Minister for Māori Development said.

“Māori rōpū represented diverse groups ranging from iwi, hapū, tāngata whaikaha Māori (disability community) and rangatahi, to groups interested in health, education, and the environment.

“There were 12 key themes from the Māori targeted engagement covering areas such as rangatiratanga, participation in government, equity and fairness. It ran from Sept 2021 to Feb 2022 and some engagement is ongoing. You can read the full report and other resources here.”

The drafting of the Declaration Plan would now begin in partnership with the National Iwi Chairs Forum’s Pou Tikanga and the Human Rights Commission

“… before being shared for public consultation later this year”.

Under the Government’s discriminatory consultation timetable, and at long last…

“All New Zealanders will get the chance to comment on the range of actions proposed in the draft Declaration Plan.”

And so the leaders of one ethnic group representing 17 per cent of the population, have been enabled over several months to give the Government a wish list which now is being curated by officials before being presented for discussion by the whole population.  Continue reading “Let’s recall how NZ was surprised by signing of indigenous rights declaration – and how Mahuta criticised the Key govt’s secrecy”

Global blues for good government

As the National party wrangles over Judith Collins’ replacement, they might take a crumb of comfort from the fact that a few of their corresponding centre-right political parties are also living dangerously.

Boris Johnson’s leadership of the Conservatives is being savaged by colleagues as Britain’s living standards sag (and poll ratings with it).  But at least he is in office, with a healthy parliamentary majority.

Continue reading “Global blues for good government”

The WHO review – it’s a task that will put Helen Clark between an American rock and a Chinese hard place

You can’t keep a good woman down and Helen Clark is no exception. Her new appointment, as co-chair of a review of how the World Health Organisation handled the coronavirus pandemic, will test her formidable political skills.

Sitting with her is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberian president, who handled the Ebola outbreak in her country six years ago. She is even more formidable than Clark, given her success in Africa.

The appointment is not without risks and challenges. Clark will have to manage both China and the US.

President Donald Trump served notice this week of the US withdrawal from WHO. He brands coronavirus “China virus”.  President Xi Jianping has been fierce  in defending Beijing’s response.

In effect, Clark will end up being ground between two massive stones, one from Washington DC and the other from Beijing.   Will this produce risks for NZ?.

In the US, Clark is well-known as an old leftie, given her links to the various anti-US movements that sprang from the Vietnam war. She was a member of the Labour government which effectively took NZ out of the ANZUS Alliance.

The US declined to support her campaign to become Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Around New York, it was said this was largely because in her job running the UN Development Programme she paid little heed to the US ambassador to the UN. She dealt with presidents and prime ministers only.

The present US administration rates PM Jacinda Ardern. She got on well with President Trump when they met at the UN General Assembly.   And Washington knows Clark no longer represents a NZ government. But if  the  report  is  anodyne,  the  reaction  may  be  chill.

On the  other  side, should the  conclusion  contain  any element of condemnation  of China,   the  mood in Beijing   could be sour.

The NZ Government is dancing cautiously around its relations with China, driven largely because of the vast economic importance of the trade relationship. Foreign Minister Winston Peters has been the only minister to question the role of the Chinese government in foreign policy.

If Clark  and her co-chair land heavily on China and the US in her findings,  probably it would matter more to the former than the latter. Then NZ will discover – as has Australia recently – what happens when you twist the dragon’s tail.



The PM (and culture minister) has funding for waka buffs – but what does she think about the fate of RNZ Concert’s crew?

World-renowned opera singer Dame Kiri te Kanawa is leading the chorus of outrage over a proposal that will gut RNZ Concert in favour of a youth-focused radio station.

Losing the station would be “an inestimable blow to the arts in New Zealand”, she said.

“So many of our young artists have become known to a wide audience thanks to broadcast on RNZ Concert. I sincerely hope that the powers that be in RNZ will reconsider the backward step announced in the media today.”

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark has added her voice to the chorus of criticism.

But the current PM (and minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage), Jacinda Ardern, seems to have been egregiously silent.

Toby Manhire, at The Spinoff, today examines what’s going on at RNZ in a post headed RNZ is overhauling its music network, and a lot of people are mad as hell.

The article was published before the Government affirmed it has officially begun looking into the creation of a super-sized public media entity, likely combining TVNZ and RNZ into one company.

Broadcasting Minister Kris Faafoi said this morning that Cabinet has approved the creation of a business case which will look into the formation of a new public media entity.

Accountancy firm PwC has been hired by ministers to carry out the work, which is due back around the middle of this year – before the September election.

Manhire’s analysis begain:

Concert FM is to be stripped down in favour of a new station for youth, even as the government prepares bigger plans for restructure.  

It will become an automated round-the-clock station online and on AM – unless parliament is in session. Its FM stereo frequency is to be taken over by a new music station targeting younger, more diverse audiences.

The thinking, as explained by RNZ CEO Paul Thompson, is to “allocate the FM where the bigger opportunity is”; to be “thinking five, 10, 15 years ahead [so] we can connect with younger New Zealanders”.

For the RNZ music team, this looked like a bloodbath: 20 jobs erased, including just about everyone at Concert, and a welter of redundancies, with impacts beyond Concert and into the numerous music curation and storytelling elements that are part of RNZ National.

In its 2019 Statement of Intent, Manhire notes, RNZ signalled an ambitious goal.

Having achieved its earlier target of reaching an audience of a million New Zealanders per week, it now sought to expand that audience to half the population by 2023. “RNZ’s mission is to develop lifelong relationships with the all people of Aotearoa,” it said. “RNZ plans to grow both the size and diversity of its audiences to 1-in-2 (2.4m people) New Zealanders a week.”

The Spinoff understands that RNZ staff were told on Wednesday they needed to attract “completely new and different” New Zealand audiences in pursuit of that goal. Concert FM offered “little potential for meaningful growth with younger, or more diverse audiences”, staff were told. “We will not be able to connect with young, diverse audiences through our current live music brands.”

The answer was a “new RNZ music brand”, run out of Auckland.

Manhire brings Clark’s concerns into his considerations:

The plan to whittle Concert back to an automated operation “equates to a dumbing down of cultural life in NZ”, wrote Clark, who as prime minister also took on the portfolio for arts, culture and heritage.

“Reasons given by RNZ management don’t stack up: one doesn’t have to destroy the Concert Programme to establish youth radio services and broaden audiences. This combined with demolition of overseas collection at the National Library NZ and cutbacks at Archives NZ represents significant cultural setback.”

Manhire then quotes a response to Clark from Grant Robertson, finance minister, associate minister of arts and culture “and Flying Nun aficionado”.

 “Hope ministers will take an interest in this very concerning @radionz decision,” she had said, tagging in her once-adviser Robertson and the broadcasting minister, Kris Faafooi.

Robertson responded: “We will Helen. I am advised it is still a consultation and we will be talking to RNZ about their options.”

Manhire observes:

It’s fair to say that the arts and culture community in New Zealand is on the whole unimpressed with the Ardern government’s delivery for the sector in this term of government – “the cultural infrastructure is still waiting for its big investment”, in the words of one sector figure. It’s a fair bet that the current minister for arts, culture and heritage – one Jacinda Ardern – will be looking to repair some bridges in her election-year budget.

But Point of Order today could find no expressions of concern or approval from her.

We visited the Beehive website to check what she has been saying as Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

This year only two statements have been posted.  Neither hinted at a fondness for Bach, Beethoven or Mozart, nor opera, jazz or hymns (all served by the Concert Programme).


Government invests in kaupapa waka hourua

More New Zealanders are set to learn about the incredible navigational and voyaging prowess of early Māori and Pacific settlers who arrived here more than seven centuries ago.

31 JANUARY 2020

Waitangi Day marked by community events

New Zealanders will come together at community events across local marae, parks, schools and atop maunga to commemorate Waitangi Day, Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern said today.

Point of Order went looking for an idea of how much money RNZ spends on the Concert Programme.

Kiwiblog’s David Farrar had a figure, but he posted it some five years ago in an item which suggests he will approve RNZ’s decision:

Now I happen to quite like my Mozart, but you don’t need a $5 million station for New Zealanders to be able to listen to it. Almost every piece of classical music in history is available for free and can be streamed, made into playlists and the like.

Our quick search through RNZ’s 2018/19 financial statements failed to winkle out a more up-to-date figure.

PM’s perfect pitch wins plaudits on the world stage and piles up political capital at home

Has any NZ prime minister ever generated the vast international kudos and admiration as Jacinda Ardern has gathered in the wake of the Christchurch massacre?

Few of those of us who have covered NZ politics for decades can think of anyone who could come near her.

Most of all, it has been all her own work, by her own hand and instinct.  In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, she declined draft statements prepared by her office and wrote them all herself.

She achieved a perfect pitch and tone that continue to echo around the world.  NZ’s embassies report universal admiration for her demeanour.  Many have been visited by inter-faith groups offering praise and support and invitations to attend Friday prayers. Continue reading “PM’s perfect pitch wins plaudits on the world stage and piles up political capital at home”

It’s too soon to put some GGs out to pasture – so let’s put them in charge of inquiries

Governor-generals  in  an earlier  era  ended their terms and  retired  gracefully  and   anonymously,  perhaps carrying  a few more medals than when they started.

Now  they are  being  pressed  into  service   to  head  up   some  of the scores  of inquiries, reviews  and studies  the  Labour-NZ  First  have launched.

Clearly an  ex-Governor  lends a certain cachet   to  such  events. Continue reading “It’s too soon to put some GGs out to pasture – so let’s put them in charge of inquiries”

Find a post for Helen Clark, by all means – but in London rather than Washington

David Farrar last week posted an item on Kiwiblog headed “Jacinda should appoint Helen Ambassador to the US.”

He noted that Helen Clark once ran New Zealand.  She then went on to run the UN Development Programme.

“Now her main activity seems to be picking fights with Eden Park.

“She’s obviously bored and needs a job. To spare us the daily headlines about what Helen has tweeted on any issue, I propose Jacinda gives her a decent job to keep her busy.

“Why not Ambassador to the US? They are huge on hierarchy so nothing works better than a former PM. She gets to be called Prime Minister Clark for her duration there”.

Here at Point of Order, we don’t think Foreign Minister Winston Peters would agree with Farrar on this.  Continue reading “Find a post for Helen Clark, by all means – but in London rather than Washington”

Finding a job for Helen Clark – what about a posting to London?

The Ardern govt has invited a former PM, Jim Bolger, to head up the working group on fair pay agreements, as part of the Labour Party’s policy to reform workplace bargaining. No-one doubts the vast experience Bolger brings to the task: he was Minister of Labour in the Muldoon govt, and then PM when the National govt abolished the national awards system and banned compulsory unionism through the Employment Contracts Act.

Labour’s idea is to set up a new type of industry-wide employment agreement, to set minimum wages and conditions in particular occupations. It’s a very different concept from that implicit in the Bolger govt’s legislation, which some might think would require a degree of mental flexibility to accommodate.

But not all PMs are like Margaret Thatcher, who famously described herself as a “lady not for turning”. Continue reading “Finding a job for Helen Clark – what about a posting to London?”