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” →
Monitoring the Ministers
Two sets of key public-sector appointments have been announced by the ministers who serve us, since we last reported on our monitoring of the Beehive website.
Old white blokes – by the way – did not get a look-in, when it came to landing these jobs.
Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced three additional members have been appointed to the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board to provide representation for the youth, disability and Pasifika communities.
The board, set up in January, provides independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children as work begins to “reset” the organisation.
Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams-Eade and Alfred Filipaina – the new appointees – join board chair Matthew Tukaki, Dame Naida Glavish, Sir Mark Solomon and Shannon Pakura
“… and will work alongside Oranga Tamariki to change our child care and protection system.”
A new action plan to implement the board’s initial recommendations has been put in place and work is well under way in talking to communities about how they see the future of child protection, Davis said.
“I firmly believe the answer lies in Oranga Tamariki taking a back seat and working in true partnership with communities who know best for their young people.”
Readers on the right of the political spectrum should be chuffed. Davis is saying the best place for the state is to get out of our lives.
Health Minister Andrew Little and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare announced the two chief executives to lead New Zealand’s two new (racially segregated) health agencies. Continue reading “Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance” →
It looks like our government leaders have decided there’s one thing the disgraced US President Donald Trump can teach them. It’s to turn to the Twitosphere for communicating with their people.
Press statements have been spurned in recent days and they are tweeting to tell us what they think – for example – on mob rule in Washington and the dismantling of democracy in Hong Kong.
Their disapproval (as it happens) is disappointingly lacking in outrage.
On the positive side, their tweeting means they could dispense with the services of their press secretaries and trim the executive wage bill.
On the negative side, it means their official positions on the big issues of the day are not being recorded at Beehive.govt.nz, a website which claims to be and should be
… the best place to find Government initiatives, policies and Ministerial information
Not any more. Continue reading “Trumpian twitter catches on Down Under – our PM and Foreign Minister are tweeting to transmit their thoughts on the big issues” →
When shunted out of Parliament at the general election (their likely fate if Shane Jones fails to win Northland), New Zealand First’s MPs at least will be able to look back at their contribution to the revitalisation of the country’s railways.
Mind you, they are doing this with our money and the billions of dollars debt we will be expected to pay back. And whether the revitalisation makes good economic sense is open to argument because the investment has been huge.
The Government has already committed more than $4 billion to bring New Zealand’s rail network back from the brink after decades of under-investment, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones said in a press statement which he and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters released to announce the latest investment.
This is a $39 million investment to build a new rail maintenance facility in Christchurch, which will support hundreds of construction jobs and ensure a strong future for South Island rail, they said.
Almost 300 people will be needed to construct the new facilities in Waltham over the next two to three years and (Peters said) KiwiRail has assured him it will be using local civil contractors and material suppliers wherever possible in addition to its own staff. Continue reading “Keeping track of our railways investments: more than $4bn has gone into a revitalisation programme including a new maintenance facility” →
Latest from the Beehive –
Hard on the heels of the government promising help for the Southland economy in the wake of Rio Tinto’s decision to close the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, it was announcing the delivery of more money to the North, at the other end of the country.
Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced a somewhat modest $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) for waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones (we suspect he wouldn’t bother getting out of bed to announce a sum of that size) more grandly announced a multi-million-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects:
“More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package aimed at kick-starting the post COVID-19 economic rebuild.
“The funding is an investment in the wellbeing infrastructure of Whangārei, covering a group of projects identified by the region as priorities. They include a cultural centre, new mixed transport pathways and sports and trades training facilities.
“Building infrastructure is a key component of our economic recovery plan. It creates jobs and provides much-needed economic stimulus. Money invested now will reap rewards later as we take care of our communities.”
Another big announcement came from Housing Minister Megan Woods in connection with her job in charge of Covid-19 quarantine management. Continue reading “Woods calls in the cops, Peters calls in the doctors and – is this news any more? – millions are pumped into Northland” →
Intelligence officials are discounting Helen Clark’s pronouncement that NZ has lost its “independence” through its participation in the Five Eyes intelligence arrangement that links NZ with Australia, Canada, the UK and the US. Her enthusiasm as prime minister for the flood of intelligence is well remembered by the intelligence community.
Rather, they say, in an increasingly troubled world, the arrangement is extending the flow of information and provides Wellington with a stronger voice. It has become a useful tool for promoting shared values and it remains an international forum in which NZ can play a significant role in shaping policy
Earlier this month, as China announced its final assumption of power in Hong Kong, the group issued a rebuke as Washington, London, Ottawa and Canberra criticised China for undermining the “one country, two systems” framework that was meant to determine Hong Kong’s future for 50 years after its handover from British rule in 1997. Continue reading “Five Eyes – it gives NZ a stronger voice as well as providing insights for shaping policy” →
How long does it take to acknowledge that you have a problem? The steps being taken by the Chinese government to subvert Hong Kong’s institutions will be the moment of truth for a few more people.
It’s almost astonishing to recall the fullness of the pledges made by the Chinese government in the 1984 Sino-British treaty to respect Hong Kong’s autonomous institutions and the rule of law.
So perhaps a couple of belated cheers are due for the British politicians and diplomats who negotiated those dishonoured commitments, and some more for their current replacements who are talking about giving UK residency to those born in Hong Kong before the 1997 handover – no small commitment given pressures to reduce immigration numbers.
But if the first step is accepting you have problem, the second is understanding what kind it is. Continue reading “The Chinese government’s actions in Hong Kong are not an event – they are a process” →
Creative Kiwis and cockies are among the beneficiaries of government decisions announced yesterday.
The creative crowd was given support amounting to $95 million (or so), announced by Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern, who said thousands of artists and creatives at hundreds of cultural and heritage organisations have been given much-needed support to recover from the impact of COVID-19.
“The cultural sector was amongst the worst hit by the global pandemic,” Jacinda Ardern said.
The grand total was not highlighted in the press statement but these numbers help us work it out –
$25 million for Creative New Zealand
$1.4 million for the Antarctic Heritage Trust
$11.364 million to Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga
$18 million for the Museum of New Zealand Te papa Tongarewa
$2 million for the Museum Hardship Fund to be administered by Te Papa
$31.8 million for Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision (including funding to prevent the loss of the audio and visual collection which is rapidly deteriorating)
$2.03 million for Royal New Zealand Ballet
$4 million for Waitangi National Trust Board Continue reading “The Beehive pumps out more millions – some of it for the cultural sector but a bigger lump to clean up waterways” →
The way is being opened for householders to avoid council poohbahs and revenue grabbers. when they want to do a bit of do-it-yourself building work on their properties. It is being opened, too, for the promoters of projects promising to quickly employ plenty of people to get their snouts into the Provincial Growth Fund.
Both announcements from the Beehive professed to be designed to keep the dole queues as short as possible and help the country’s recovery from Covid-19.
They vied for public attention alongside statements which –
- Expressed New Zealand’s concerns with legislation in China relating to national security in Hong Kong;
- Announced the theme for the 2020 Samoa Language Week; and
- Declared that a programme to protect one of New Zealand’s most critically endangered birds is paying off after almost 40 years, with a record number of adult kakī/black stilt recently recorded living in the wild.
Continue reading “If you don’t benefit from DIY without having to jump consent hurdles, you might be in line for repurposed PGF slops” →
As the song goes, it used to be so easy. China was liberalising, we could buy cheap stuff, the world was becoming a better place. Now we’ve got more to think about, and it’s much harder.
Consider the following. Continue reading “Questions about China?” →