Buzz from the Beehive: $55 million for a bashful bunch of builders and a belated patch-up on the Solomon Islands

Another day, another Crown:iwi partnership, this time a deal between the Government and Toitū Tairāwhiti to build homes for families “who need them most”.  In this case ethnicity is the critical factor in determining this need.

On the international front, meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahua has named a new high commissioner to Solomon Islands, presumably (and belatedly) to repair the “relationship failure” she acknowledged when she confirmed that New Zealand, Australia and other Pacific nations were caught out by China’s security deal with Solomon Islands.

Mahuta said of the appointment:

“Alongside our Pacific neighbours, New Zealand remains committed to supporting stability in Solomon Islands and promoting a peaceful and secure Pacific region. We know ensuring strong diplomatic relationships is more important than ever as we continue to address the need for cooperation and cohesion across the region.”

The government isn’t telling us much about its partner in the housing venture in which it is investing $55 million..

Housing Minister Megan Woods gives us its name:

“Our commitment to working with partners like Toitū Tairāwhiti on the critical issue of improving housing for Māori is stronger than ever.”

And

“Through this innovative partnership, $55 million of investment from the Whai Kāinga Whai Oranga fund has been approved to enable Toitū Tairāwhiti to deliver up to 150 new homes.”

She further says Toitū Tairāwhiti were identified through the National Iwi Chairs Forum last year as an iwi ready to partner with the Government to deliver Māori housing in their rohe.

They have already built 51 new homes for whānau in the Eastern Bay of Plenty/Tairāwhiti region. This investment will help them to build 150 more.

But when Point of Order searched for Toitū Tairāwhiti on the internet, we failed to find a website with that name.  We did find a link to the Minister’s press statement, however – it was at the top of the list of Google’s responses.

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development gives us a steer,  describing Toitū Tairāwhiti as six Iwi groups that stretch across the East Coast region which

“… has produced a plan to develop immediate housing outcomes where no current supply exists.”

News of the handout for housing and the diplomat headed for Honiara was among a handful of statements posted on the Beehive website since our previous report on what ministers are doing.

Others dealt with new sanctions targeting disinformation and those responsible for cyber attacks on Ukraine and the protection of whistleblowers.

Latest from the Beehive

11 MAY 2022

Government partners with Toitū Tairāwhiti to deliver up to 150 new homes for whānau

Up to 150 new homes will be built for whānau who need them most thanks to a new partnership between the Government and Toitū Tairāwhiti, Minister of Housing Hon Dr Megan Woods and Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare have announced.

10 MAY 2022

New sanctions target disinformation and malicious cyber actors

As part of the Government’s ongoing response to Ukraine, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced new sanctions targeting disinformation and those responsible for cyber attacks on Ukraine.

Government bolsters protection for whistleblowers

Significant improvements are being made in New Zealand workplaces to better protect whistleblowers.

New High Commissioner to Solomon Islands announced

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Jonathan Schwass as New Zealand’s next High Commissioner to Solomon Islands.

Buzz from the Beehive: Kiwis are stuck with a Red light while more of Putin’s mates are given a red card

Location, location, location can be a strong influence on our general wellbeing as well as the value of our real estate.  The outlook for people still living in Mariupol, for example, is much more parlous than it is for people living – let’s say – in Motueka.

The era in which we live is important, too. We are better off today, despite the pandemic, than we would have been had we had to deal with the Bubonic Plague in Europe in the 14th century.

But what about our wellbeing a few decades from now?  The warming of the climate suggests life could become more challenging than now, depending on what is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

How well off we are – or the quality of our wellbeing – perhaps is a matter of putting hardship in perspective too.

In this country, Hospitality NZ says the government’s decision yesterday to hold the traffic light setting at Red indefinitely is “gutting” for many businesses.

But if that is gutting, how should the people of Ukraine describe their plight as revelations about Russian atrocities cause widespread dismay around the world?

As for the era in which we live, according to a new report from climate-change scientists, we are headed for a global catastrophe unless firm action is taken now to cut emissions.

Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Kiwis are stuck with a Red light while more of Putin’s mates are given a red card”

Buzz from the Beehive: Enhancing numeracy skills will enable students to work out taxpayers’ share of compensation offer

Taxpayers and Wellington ratepayers will be picking up the tab for yet another political decision that has resulted from the breakdown of law and order and the surrendering of the grounds around Parliament to protesters for three weeks.

Wellington City Council and the Government have agreed to support inner-city Wellington businesses which lost significant revenue during what they described as “the illegal occupation at Parliament grounds”  with a $1.2 million business relief fund.

In line with previous contributions to council-led response funds, the Government is contributing $200,000. The City Council is investing $1 million in the fund.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster is disappointed.  He says he originally asked for $6 million to bolster central-city businesses which either had to close, or experienced a huge drop in revenue after the protests.

Instead, the Government offered $200,00 for the $1.2m package that will offer any business which suffered a 50 per cent drop in revenue a one-off $30,000 payment.

A more significant announcement tells us of a Government plan to improve how and what our kids are learning at school. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Enhancing numeracy skills will enable students to work out taxpayers’ share of compensation offer”

Buzz from the Beehive – there’s some help for Ukrainians but charity begins at home (funding spiritual healers, for example)

Further government responses to the cataclysmic events in Ukraine loomed large in the latest Beehive announcements.  A new 2022 Special Ukraine Policy was introduced and more humanitarian aid is being provided to support people in that war-torn nation.

Parents and wider family members offshore of Ukrainians in New Zealand will be able to come here under a policy benefitting around 4,000 people (which at first blush doesn’t seem to be too generous).

And Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced “our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine” while announcing that NZ will be providing an additional $4 million in funding to support Ukrainian communities.

This funding is in addition to the initial $2 million already provided “and will help those immediately on the ground while we continue to look at options for further support,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

Charity plainly begins at home and much more money than that – $22 million- is being channelled through the race-based interim Māori Health Authority to providers of health services. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – there’s some help for Ukrainians but charity begins at home (funding spiritual healers, for example)”

The PM is coy about her fiance’s dalliance with RATs but not about the Duke of York’s defrocking Down Under

Our leaders have enough to deal with without the indiscretions of family members raising their stress levels.

In this part of the world, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is refusing to comment on claims her fiance tried to do his friends a favour by getting rapid antigen tests (RATs) for them even though they were not eligible.

In Britain, the Queen is dealing with a scandal surrounding her son, Prince Andrew, the Duke of York, who faces a US civil action over sexual assault allegations

He has consistently denied the allegations against him, but the Queen is not counting on silence being the smart way to deal with this.  Buckingham Palace has announced the Duke’s military titles and royal patronages have been returned to her.

The BBC says Prince Andrew, 61, will stop using the style His Royal Highness in an official capacity.

A statement released by the Government  on the implications for New Zealand tells us the prince has been defrocked in this country, too.   .

The statement, emailed to Point of Order in the name of Jacinda Ardern, is headed  Duke of York’s NZ military patronage appointment ends.

Continue reading “The PM is coy about her fiance’s dalliance with RATs but not about the Duke of York’s defrocking Down Under”

Sepuloni tackles a matter of gender imbalance – but do women really want a bigger share of payments from the ACC?

 Monitoring the Ministers

We suspect women don’t aspire to gain equality with men in all measures of gender disparities.

Prison musters provide an obvious example.

In September this year males accounted for 94.3% of the prison population. 

This clearly means women were far behind with just 5.7% – and that percentage was lower than the 7% recorded in September 2018.

Elsewhere in our criminal justice system, changes to help women are being effected through the passage of the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill, which will:

  • entitle sexual violence complainants to use alternative ways of giving evidence, including by pre-recording their cross-examination evidence in appropriate cases;
  • ensure evidence about a complainant’s past sex life is off limits, unless it is clearly highly relevant; and
  • require judges to talk to the jury to dispel any misconceptions relating to sexual violence (often called ‘rape myths’) that might be brought into a case.

Mind you, Justice  Minister Kris Faafoi dispelled any impression there is a gender bias in the  legislation.  It includes changes to benefit all witnesses, not just those in sexual cases, he said. Continue reading “Sepuloni tackles a matter of gender imbalance – but do women really want a bigger share of payments from the ACC?”

$6.1m housing deal is signed and the govt commits $17m to investment fund to foster Pacific commerce

Monitoring the Ministers

An iwi in Porirua is a key player in and beneficiary of a housing deal announced on the Beehive website today.  Maori and Pacifika people will be given priority to benefit from a new investment fund for the Pacific region that  was the subject of another announcement.

The housing announcement is that the first funding deal for the Government’s Infrastructure Acceleration Fund has been signed, enabling over 400 additional homes in Porirua.

The $6.1m deal was signed between Kāinga Ora, Porirua City Council and Te Rūnanga o Toa Rangatira (Ngāti Toa Rangatira).   

Ngāti Toa Rangatira view this development as critical to supporting and realising the housing strategy for their iwi, Housing Minister Megan Woods said.

The Ngāti Toa Community Land Trust Model will be implemented with the aim of delivering one third to public housing, one third to the affordable housing sector, and one third to market housing. Continue reading “$6.1m housing deal is signed and the govt commits $17m to investment fund to foster Pacific commerce”

The PM pops up in a summit for “democracy” – but we wonder if she grasps her dilemma when she also favours “partnership”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – we were heartened to learn – has participated in the Summit for Democracy, hosted by United States President Joe Biden.

This was a “virtual” summit and (it so happens) “virtual” means “almost or nearly as described, but not completely or according to strict definition”.

This fairly well describes this country’s democracy under a government which is tempted to make “democracy” subordinate to Treaty” considerations.  

In  a guest post earlier this year, political commentator Barrie Saunders cautioned: 

At present New Zealand has a quality democracy.   We have fairly-drawn electorates, an easy voting system, and a reasonable level of political literacy.  Money struggles to buy Government policy, which is all as it should be. 

However, we have no reason to be smug, because this democracy is under threat. Governments since 1987 and the Courts have been entrenching a modern view that the Treaty of Waitangi means there is an ongoing “partnership between the Government and Iwi”.

The post was headlined:  Democracy or partnership – which do we want, because we can’t have both? Continue reading “The PM pops up in a summit for “democracy” – but we wonder if she grasps her dilemma when she also favours “partnership””

The PM would not be standing by while house prices soared – and look what happened

In January this year Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern insisted: “We can’t stand by while house prices increase at the unsustainable rates we saw in 2020.”

So   what  has  happened  since?

During Auckland’s level 4 and level 3 period – August to November – house prices rose $113,000, or 8.3%.  In the 12 months to November, Auckland prices rose 27.9%.

The  speed at  which house prices have  risen  in  NZ  has  even attracted   the  attention of The  Economist.  It  noted  recently  that

“… in  the  past year, prices in NZ  have  shot  up at a  pace of  more than NZ2000  a  week.  Costs in  big  cities have been  going  up  for years, propelled by a  mix of  cheap  borrowing and  a scarcity  of  new homes”.

The  pandemic  has  made matters worse:  lockdowns  boosted  demand while   labour  and materials shortages constrained  housing  supply. Continue reading “The PM would not be standing by while house prices soared – and look what happened”

Buoyed by bureaucrats’ bullish projections, our Govt likes to keep racing yachts afloat and now (maybe) it’s on to another winner

Monitoring the Ministers

A year ago, as Minister of Economic and Regional Development, Stuart Nash popped up to announce the opening of the America’s Cup Village in downtown Auckland and declare it marked the start of an exciting summer of action on and off the water.

Today he has announced New Zealand has secured a four year deal to bring the new high-tech global sailing competition SailGP to our shores.

Lyttelton Harbour in Christchurch will host the first Sail Grand Prix season ever held in New Zealand.  This will be part of Season Three, to be held across ten countries during 2022-23.

Auckland and Christchurch will then host alternate races in following seasons.

And will taxpayers have to chip in as part of the deal?

Of course (but a comparatively modest sum).

Delve deep enough into the press statement and you will learn: Continue reading “Buoyed by bureaucrats’ bullish projections, our Govt likes to keep racing yachts afloat and now (maybe) it’s on to another winner”