Buzz from the Beehive: No place to hide (at least, not if govt gets it right with money-laundering law changes)

The Government is intending to force the disclosure of the real owners of companies and limited partnerships with legislation to curb money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism financing.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said the legislation – to be introduced later this year – will make it mandatory for the beneficial owners or controllers of companies and trusts to be identified.

Other announcements from the Beehive deal with …

  • Mental health: a recruitment campaign has been launched, targetting “the next generation of mental health nurses”.
  • Horticulture: public funding is being pumped into the trial of a new hydroponic growing technique that aims to have higher yields and a lower impact on the environment.
  • The war in Ukraine: New Zealand will provide a further $5 million contribution of “non-lethal military assistance” to support Ukraine and are making available a range of surplus defence equipment to share with Ukraine at their request.
  • Biosecurity: This year’s New Zealand Biosecurity Awards winners have been announced.

The Bill to “crack down” on global and domestic criminals who use businesses to hide money laundering, tax evasion and the financing of terrorism gel with the Government’s National Security Priorities to help identify threats, risks, and challenges to New Zealand’s security and wellbeing, David Clark said. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: No place to hide (at least, not if govt gets it right with money-laundering law changes)”

Northern NZ 4, Ukraine 2: a measure (in millions of dollars) of Ardern govt’s help for Kiwi sport and for helping Putin’s victims

 

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Whose turn is it for funding in the name of Covid-19 relief and the government’s sense of need to help people adversely affected financially by it?

Oh yes. Sport and recreation – but only in some parts of the country.

The Government is providing $4 million of support for sport and recreation organisations in the Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions financially affected by the extended COVID alert level restrictions between August and December last year.

An hour or so after this was announced, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced New Zealand was providing humanitarian aid to support the people of Ukraine.

This aid will help deliver essential humanitarian assistance, with a focus on supporting health facilities and meeting basic needs (such as provision of food and hygiene items) in a country being mercilessly bombarded and battered by troops unleashed by the despotic Vladimir Putin.

It amounts to $2 million, which is half the amount of financial assistance allocated to support local and regional sport and recreation organisations and providers.

The government’s help for Putin’s victims might also be compared with the $12 million from the Jobs for Nature fund for “a suite of projects”  in the Hokianga Catchment area announced last week by Environment Minister David Parker.

Charity palpably beings at home, but fair to say, Mahuta said this is “an initial $2 million”.

Furthermore, New Zealand provides annual funding to the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, which has announced it has allocated $20 million to help humanitarian agencies scale up their Ukraine response.

On the other hand, it should be noted that – yet again – Mahuta has denounced the Russian invasion of Afghanistan without mentioning President Putin.

In other Covid-19 news from the Beehive, Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio has delivered something headed “Intervention Speech delivered online for UN High-level Thematic Debate on Universal COVID-19 Vaccination”.  

Intervention suggests he had to interrupt someone else’s speech, although speech-language pathologists use early speech intervention to tackle problems among children with speech impediments.

Sio told his audience that here in New Zealand,

 “… we believe in — and are bound by — the value and responsibilities of whanaungatanga: this value speaks to our deep connections and sense of belonging as human beings and our geneaological ties. We share as whanau, or family, through history, experiences (good, bad & sad), cultures and working together.

  “Whanaungatanga underpins our place in the Blue Pacific Continent, as neighbours, and as part of the Pacific family. It also underpins Aotearoa New Zealand’s place as part of a global family. And when our family suffers, we have a duty — a responsibility — to respond. Our elders often say – in times of crisis – we put aside our differences and support one another – for we are one body, we are flesh and blood.” 

The team at Point of Order must confess we did not realise we believed in and were bound by something called Whanaungatanga. 

We thus have been enlightened on this matter and appreciate that when our global family suffers, we have a duty — a responsibility — to respond.

But Sio wasn’t about to tell us about our response to the suffering being inflicted on Putin’s orders in Ukraine.  News of that (as we noted earlier) came from Nanaia Mahuta, who said New Zealand stands by the people of Ukraine impacted by Russia’s unprovoked invasion. 

“It is deeply disturbing to hear reports of the growing numbers of deaths and injuries from this conflict. The harrowing and horrific images of displaced, or suffering civilians, in Ukraine speak volumes of this unfolding tragedy, and underlines the consequences of Russia’s unprovoked aggression.” 

New Zealand was providing an initial $2 million but: 

“These are early days and we will continue to monitor events closely as the scale of the conflict, and the resulting humanitarian crisis, becomes clearer. We know the consequences of Russia’s actions will be significant, and tragically many of these will fall on innocent civilians.” 

Sio, however, was speaking of New Zealand doing all it can to meet the World Health Organisation’s 70 per cent vaccination target by June, this year. 

“And, we will continue to work alongside the World Health Organisation and COVAX to ensure all communities can access the vaccines they need. We encourage all donors and vaccine companies to do the same.”

 The only other fresh announcement posted on the Beehive website today (at time of writing) came from Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

They announced the horticulture and winegrowing sector will have access to 1,600 more workers this season after the Government agreed to increase the Recognised Seasonal Employment Scheme (RSE) cap to 16,000. 

“We’ve increased the cap for the 2021/2022 season from 14,400 to 16,000 so employers in the horticulture and winegrowing sector can access more labour to help with planting, maintenance, harvesting, packing and winter pruning. It will also help set the sector up for the next season,” Damien O’Connor said. 

Returning to the news which opened this post, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced the $4 million of support for sport and recreation organisations in the Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions financially affected by the extended COVID alert level restrictions between August and December last year.

The new fund, which has been allocated from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package comprises $4 million:

  • $2.2 million for Aktive Auckland Sport and Recreation
  • $485,000 for Sport Waikato
  • $315,000 for Sport Northland.

A contingency of $1 million will also be available across all three regions if required.

The “investment” follows $5.3 million in funding announced last October to support sport and recreation organisations, outdoor education providers and whānau in Auckland and elsewhere financially affected by last year’s lockdown. 

Latest from the Beehive

Aotearoa New Zealand announces initial humanitarian support for Ukraine

New Zealand is providing humanitarian aid to support those in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. 

Further financial support for sport and recreation organisations

The Government is providing more support for sport and recreation organisations in the Auckland, Northland and Waikato regions financially affected by the extended COVID alert level restrictions between August and December last year.

Boost in RSE numbers to help hort sector grow

The horticulture and winegrowing sector will have access to 1,600 more workers this season after the Government agreed to increase the Recognised Seasonal Employment Scheme (RSE) cap to 16,000.

Speech 

Intervention Speech delivered online for UN High-level Thematic Debate on Universal COVID-19 Vaccination

Tena koutou katoa, talofa lava, warm Pacific greetings to you all.

The Big Boost aimed to combat Covid but Ngāti Hauā have been given a boost, too – $1.12m to grow a blueberry business

The first ministerial press statement posted on the Beehive website after Point of Order had published its latest roundup of Beehive news dealt with something the government grandly dubbed The Big Boost.

No, this was not another boost for farmers or growers from Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor (although he was busy dishing out $1.12 million from his ministry’s Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund to a Waikato-based Maori tribe, Ngati Haua).

The Big Boost on which we are focussed was an exercise in vaccination, booster shots and  – let’s face it – political hype, if not propaganda.

“New Zealanders have rolled up their sleeves in droves as part of The Big Boost nationwide call to action – but we’re not done yet, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

“As predicted, Omicron cases are increasing across New Zealand and it’s critical we get as many people as possible boosted in February to slow the spread of the virus and protect our communities…”

The timing was a tad unfortunate.  On the same day Family First published the results of a nationwide poll which found –  Continue reading “The Big Boost aimed to combat Covid but Ngāti Hauā have been given a boost, too – $1.12m to grow a blueberry business”

Govt is fired up on Maori education and supporting a Maori apple-growing venture but toughens up on gun crime

The government delivered a shot in the arm for Maori education nationwide and for Maori enterprise in Wairoa but fired another shot across the bows of gun owners (those who commit certain crimes) in its announcements yesterday.

Press statement headlines summed things up:

  • A new dawn for Māori education
  • Government invests in major horticulture project in northern Hawke’s Bay
  • Government takes next step in tackling gun crime

Associate Minister of Education Kelvin Davis delivered the news that work will soon begin on a revamp of the Māori medium and Kaupapa Māori pathways programme.

Legislation is “likely” to be introduced in early 2023 to provide a regulatory framework for growing the sector.

The declared aim (in general terms) is “to reconnect more Māori young people with their language and culture” and (more specifically) “at seeing 30 per cent of Māori learners participating in Kaupapa Māori/Māori medium education by 2040”.

Davis’s rhetoric suggests another aim is to separate Maori education from the state education system: Continue reading “Govt is fired up on Maori education and supporting a Maori apple-growing venture but toughens up on gun crime”

The High Court finds fault with the Waitangi Tribunal (and a breach of The Treaty) while Jackson is congratulating it

Our Beehive bulletin

While Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson was addressing members of the Waitangi Tribunal,  the High Court was setting aside a tribunal decision to return $800m in state-owned land to an iwi because it had failed to follow tikanga Māori and breached the Treaty

Good grief!

The tribunal breached “the Treaty”?

Apparently so.

According to Newsroom:

Crucially, Justice Francis Cooke declared the tribunal had been in breach of the Treaty of Waitangi and not followed tikanga when it decided lands transferred to state-owned enterprises or in Crown forests in the central North Island should be returned to the Ngāti Kahungunu iwi.

The disputed tribunal ruling on the $800m of public lands accordingly has been overturned (although the judgement may be appealed).

Jackson’s speech to the tribunal members, telling them what a splendid job they were doing and giving them an idea of the future work that lies in store for them, was posted on the Beehive website along with – Continue reading “The High Court finds fault with the Waitangi Tribunal (and a breach of The Treaty) while Jackson is congratulating it”

Government is supportive at home and abroad but the help for horticulturalists comes too late for one grower

Our Beehive bulletin

Being supportive was the order of the day in the Beehive. Ministers announced support for Papua New Guinea, support for trades involved in rebuilding, and support for the horticultural sector (in the case of fruit growers “wellbeing” came into considerations, too).

The support for horticulturalists, alas, seems somewhat meagre in dollar terms and has come too late for one grower. 

The news came on the same day as it was reported that one of the country’s largest strawberry growers – a forthright critic of Government policies keeping the crucial Pacific Island labour force locked out – is calling it a day.

Stuff understands that Francie Perry of Perrys Berrys has chosen to walk away from forty years in horticulture after repeatedly calling on the Government to give growers a break and let more Registered Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme workers into the country.

One other statement from the Beehive advised that a Deed of Settlement has been signed between the Crown and Ngāti Paoa settling the historical Treaty of Waitangi claims of the iwi.

The money dished out in this case was compensation rather than support.  Continue reading “Government is supportive at home and abroad but the help for horticulturalists comes too late for one grower”

Muller should examine the first few names on the Honours list if he needs further lessons in the place of race

Showing National’s new leader what his front  bench should look like, if only he shared Labour’s ideas of a politically agreeable gender and ethnic mix, wouldn’t have been the objective of the Queen’s Birthday honours list.  The list would have been prepared long before the place of Maori in Todd Muller’s team triggered widespread criticism.

But the list gives a good idea of Labour’s approach to turning talk about diversification into action.

It was not posted on the Beehive website.  You will find it on the site of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 

But one statement posted on the Beehive site since Point of Order reported yesterday does express delight at the number of Pasifika recipients of honours.

Aupito Williams, Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, said the list provides “an abundance of examples that Pacific people’s leadership capability is unquestionable in Aotearoa”.

In total 178 people have received Queen’s Birthday honours this year, with three new dames and two new knights.

One of the dames and one of the knights are Maori.

The Maori Party quickly highlighted the political significance of the Honours List when it issued a press release: Continue reading “Muller should examine the first few names on the Honours list if he needs further lessons in the place of race”

The Trough Monitor is stretched as Ministers dispense (or squander) more millions of our money

Wow – the Point of Order Trough Monitor struggled to keep count of the money being thrown around today and the goodies being dispensed to the government’s chosen industry groups in a flurry of Beehive announcements.

Not all the announcements related to money being dished out.  To the contrary, Deputy PM Winston Peters brought news of revenue being foregone:  the betting levy is being repealed.

The racing industry will benefit from having more money to invest in its revitalisaion.

Peters’ colleague, Shane Jones, meanwhile was dipping into the Provincial Growth Fund to find goodies for a few lucky beneficiaries.

Here’s what we learned from the Trough Monitor, which does not distinguish between good and bad investments of our tax monies. It’s your money they are spending (or squandering).  You decide the merits… Continue reading “The Trough Monitor is stretched as Ministers dispense (or squander) more millions of our money”