Big Sister (and her ministers) take “an extraordinary step” by making it mandatory for some workers to be vaccinated

In Britain, an outfit called Big Brother Watch has been lobbying British MPs to vote against making double coronavirus vaccinations mandatory for people working in adult care homes.

It is arguing:

This is a seismic legal change and the crossing of the Rubicon for medical choice, medical confidentiality and bodily autonomy in England – vital components of the right to privacy.

And:

We have sent every MP our briefing, which warns against this unnecessary, dangerous and discriminatory plan.

In this country we must keep an eye on Big Sister, too.

She and her government have issued an amended Health Order which extends compulsory Covid jabs to private sector staff in jobs considered too high risk to be left unprotected.

This now includes aviation security staff working in managed isolation hotels.

According to a Radio New Zealand report, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was aware of the significance of what she had endorsed when she announced the new directive yesterday. Continue reading “Big Sister (and her ministers) take “an extraordinary step” by making it mandatory for some workers to be vaccinated”

Don’t worry, folks – ‘He Puapua’ is not the plan, and we will all be allowed a say (eventually) in the promotion of indigenous rights

In a speech delivered at his Ngā Whare Waatea marae, titled The next steps for the United Nation Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,  Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson was reassuring about the next steps on the government’s agenda for promoting the interests of Maori.

He Puapua (the report which champions much more co-governance) is not the government’s plan.

Furthermore:

The Declaration was never meant to divide us. It is not a tool for separatism. It is not something to be afraid of.

That’s what’s made the recent uproar both confusing and disappointing.

The speech was posted on The Beehive website along with news of – Continue reading “Don’t worry, folks – ‘He Puapua’ is not the plan, and we will all be allowed a say (eventually) in the promotion of indigenous rights”

Minister brags about the July 1 wellbeing boost but (oblivious to govt’s borrowing) Greens press for even bigger benefits

A swag of Ministers joined in proclaiming a raft of initiatives which kick in today, all intended (but not necessarily guaranteed) to support New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid, while addressing child poverty, housing, and climate change.

“Together, today’s initiatives deliver on our priorities of lifting more children out poverty, improving the state of rental housing and reducing our climate emissions while supporting our economic recovery from COVID,” Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni said.

The Green Party responded by saying

  • It welcomes the 1 July changes to support families and children, but
  • The main benefit increase must go further to help pull New Zealanders out of poverty.

The Greens’ spokesperson for Social Development & Employment, Ricardo Menéndez March, referenced a new poll published today which shows a majority of New Zealanders from different backgrounds think the Government should increase income support beyond what was announced in Budget 2021.

Did the poll gauge the willingness of these respondents to pay extra taxes to raise the readies? Continue reading “Minister brags about the July 1 wellbeing boost but (oblivious to govt’s borrowing) Greens press for even bigger benefits”

Consultations begin on proposals to penalise some vehicle owners and to rewrite matters of public record

Various consultations were triggered in weekend announcements from the Beehive, among them a consultation on government proposals to hasten the public’s purchase of low-emission vehicles to help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target (and – of course – “to create jobs to support the economic recovery”).

Among the proposals are rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, to start on July 1 with up to $8,625 for new vehicles and $3,450 for used.

Sounds good – and that’s no doubt what the spin doctors intended.

To pay for this, imported cars with high emissions will cost extra from January next year.

Ah – and there’s the catch. 

The Automobile Association reckons Kiwis will pay roughly a $3000 penalty for their favourite utes from 2022 under the new rules.

The penalty under the Clean Car Discount package will apply to the likes of the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger – two of the top selling cars – and will come into effect in January 2022.

Another set of consultations has started on a Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), which will support the long-term direction of New Zealand’s housing and urban development system.

The Government’s climate change policies and aspirations come into play here, too.

And so does the government’s acquiescing to the yearning among some Maori for their own programmes, shaped and administered by Maori for Maori, helping to create an “us” and “them” society. Continue reading “Consultations begin on proposals to penalise some vehicle owners and to rewrite matters of public record”

APEC leaders learn about waka and Aucklanders hear it cost $30m to encourage walking and cycling on just one street

We confess to being bemused by some of the latest Beehive announcements and pronouncements.

Auckland became a harbour of waka, in the PM’s remarks to APEC leaders who – we suspect – might not know what a waka looks like.

Then there are moves afoot to protect us – from what?

To protect us from what we might read, view or hear, it transpires.

Less puzzling was news of Government tax proposals that – it is sure – will dampen investor demand for existing houses and so bring down house prices.

“The proposals we are releasing today will help to achieve that goal,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.  

His confidence is admirable.

Oh, and we learned how much it has cost – $30 million – to widen the footpaths of Karangahape Road and reduce the roadway to discourage emission-spewing motor vehicles by establishing cycle paths.

Nurses, meanwhile, are bridling against their  pay … Continue reading “APEC leaders learn about waka and Aucklanders hear it cost $30m to encourage walking and cycling on just one street”

PM brings news of partnerships with Spain (for global strategic reasons) and the Sallies (to provide housing on the home front)

The PM has announced one partnership – a strategic partnership between the governments of New Zealand and Spain – and welcomed the fruits of another, a partnership with the Salvation Army to deliver public housing.

Our attention was drawn more to the strategic partnership with Spain, because that country doesn’t normally command much attention Down Under.

Indeed, it’s a measure of Spain’s importance that the trade statistics – should you check them out on the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade website – are dated  2014.

The total trade in goods between the two countries at that time was $723 million.

It was an imbalanced trading relationship – our exports to Spain were worth $170 million (although these did not include New Zealand goods such as kiwifruit that might have been shipped to Spain from another country).

We imported Spanish goods worth $553m.

The other partnership mentioned by the PM, with the Sallies, has just delivered 68 new public housing places for Aucklanders and their families. Continue reading “PM brings news of partnerships with Spain (for global strategic reasons) and the Sallies (to provide housing on the home front)”

Govt reports it is doing nicely, thank you, at getting us into houses – but it warns it must also find ways of getting us out of our cars

Whoa, there – she’s bolted!

We refer to Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson, who this morning dropped another media statement into our email in-tray as Associate Housing Minister.

It was her third while she has been wearing the Housing ministerial hat.

She did issue another statement as recently as May 6 but that was as Minister responsible for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence and – in the same capacity – she has delivered two speeches.

In her statement today she didn’t actually announce anything. Rather, she said the Government welcomed the release of the second progress report on the Homelessness Action Plan and the progress it records.

More politically provocative was a statement from Climate Change Minister James Shaw and Transport Minister Michael Wood, although they, too, did not announce a new policy.

Rather, they invited public feedback on a range of policies being mooted to reduce emissions and make big big changes to our motoring habits and lifestyles.  They grimly warned “there will be some hard choices to make…” but “it’s obvious we can’t continue with business as usual.” Continue reading “Govt reports it is doing nicely, thank you, at getting us into houses – but it warns it must also find ways of getting us out of our cars”

Govt allocates $13.1m to buy 400 cars – but they will be climate-friendly and help drive the public service to carbon neutrality

Good news for car dealers – if they are in the business of selling electric cars, at least.  Some of them are about to strike it lucky:  the Government is going on a $13.1 million shopping expedition to keep civil servants mobile while helping the public service become carbon-neutral.

Good news for teachers in the early-learning lark, too.  Some of them will get a pay rise in an initiative aimed at achieving pay parity, announced in the same week that the government is sorting out who will and who won’t get pay rises under the policy (clumsily announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson) of curbing state wage increases. 

And good news for people looking for housing in Christchurch (but only if they are Maori, apparently).  The government has converted an old hostel into apartments in another initiative to deal with the housing crisis.   

Finally, the government is arranging annual gatherings to discuss ways of keeping us safe from terrorists (although the shocking experience of shoppers at a supermarket in Dunedin this week showed it’s not only terrorists who threaten our wellbeing).

Here’s what we have learned from the latest Beehive announcements. Continue reading “Govt allocates $13.1m to buy 400 cars – but they will be climate-friendly and help drive the public service to carbon neutrality”

Cook Strait ferry trips are to become more eco-friendly but trans-Tasman flights (to NSW, temporarily) become less inviting

Travel on the ferries between the North and South Islands is to become more eco-friendly, helped by the fast-tracking of the consent process for the upgrade of the Picton terminal.  

Quarantine-free travel between New South Wales and New Zealand, on the other hand, is being paused – albeit temporarily.

Further bulletins from the Beehive bring news of more houses being built and of changes to our immigration regulations to deal with issues related to Covid-19 are being extended. Continue reading “Cook Strait ferry trips are to become more eco-friendly but trans-Tasman flights (to NSW, temporarily) become less inviting”

Public service pay will get scant lift from Robertson – but let’s see if the Budget can keep govt’s poll support in the clouds

The  Ardern   government  is  cruising  along with  poll ratings  still far  above those of  its  opponents  and a  leader   enjoying  almost cult  status.

Her  deputy, Grant   Robertson,  wears  a  matching  suit  of  political  armour,  although one-time Labour  Minister (and then ACT  leader) Richard  Prebble contends  he is   the worst  finance minister  since  Rob Muldoon.

Until  now  the  government  has  been borne   along   on  a  cloud  originating  in  the successful  deflection  of  the  Covid  pandemic.  Its  policies  have  escaped   any   deep  scrutiny from  mainstream media,  partly  because of  preoccupation  with  the  pandemic,  and  partly because of  the  teflon  aura surrounding Ardern.

Even   when  there  is a  stumble,   as  happened this  week with her  speech  on NZ-China  relations  and  the  latest  chapter  in the  Mallard story, she  is  within hours  back  on  her  cloud. Continue reading “Public service pay will get scant lift from Robertson – but let’s see if the Budget can keep govt’s poll support in the clouds”