We can discuss waste management as one people – but consultation on indigenous rights is segregated (and iwi come first)

Latest from the Beehive –

The last item we recorded after monitoring the Beehive website yesterday was headed E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka tū ā tērā tau.  The accompanying news dealt with a government decision to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Māori language petition and Māori Language Day as a major anniversary next year

“The Māori language petition, supported by 30,000 signatories, was presented to Parliament on the 14th September 1972 by representatives of Ngā Tamatoa, Victoria University’s Te Reo Māori Society and the NZ Māori Students Association. This is an important opportunity to pay further tribute to their hard mahi.”

This doesn’t mean the government approves so glowingly of all hard mihi that goes into gathering signatures for petitions.

Earlier this year it rammed into law the Local Electoral (Māori Wards and Māori Constituencies) Amendment Bill, which removes the right for a petition signed by five per cent of electors or more in a local authority area to trigger a binding poll on the introduction of Māori wards.

More changes that comprehensively change the country’s democratic constitutional and governance arrangements and the management of public services are in the offing. Continue reading “We can discuss waste management as one people – but consultation on indigenous rights is segregated (and iwi come first)”

Govt unveils its guide to housing policies and investment – but check out who gets partnerships and who gets relationships

Border controls have been eased in two government announcements over the past day or so.  Megan Woods, meanwhile, has been busy issuing statements variously as minister of Housing, of Research, Science and Innovation, and of Energy and Resources.

As Housing Minister she drew attention to the Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), which will guide government policies and investments in tackling the housing crisis.

But she announced yet another government initiative – the National Māori Housing Strategy – which is grounded in the government’s highly political interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi, an interpretation which has given rise to a spate of race-based “partnerships”.

The place of non-Maori in the Ardern government’s policy-making pecking order is plain from the language in Woods’ press statement:

“The housing crisis we inherited is a challenge the Government can’t tackle on its own.

“We need to pursue meaningful partnerships with iwi and Māori as Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners to make progress.

“We also need to cement resilient relationships with community housing providers and other non-government organisations, local government, the private sector, and communities.”

It’s a “partnership” with Maori and “relationships” with everybody else. Continue reading “Govt unveils its guide to housing policies and investment – but check out who gets partnerships and who gets relationships”

Untangling the packed warehouse problem – dare we suggest it? – might solve the building materials problem

We wonder if there is a need for our Minister of Building and Construction  to arrange for a chat with the Minister of Transport and whoever else might help in getting building supplies from the place where they are stored to the places where they are needed.

We ask because on Tuesday we spotted a headline that advised:

Building materials shortage: Tradespeople unable to offer fixed prices due to shortages

Two days later we were drawn to the news that…

Warehouses in Auckland ‘completely full’ with building materials

The first story said housebuilders are being deterred from offering fixed prices on jobs by escalating prices and critical shortages of materials. Continue reading “Untangling the packed warehouse problem – dare we suggest it? – might solve the building materials problem”

Was that the Nashing of teeth we heard, as Amazon announced our sweeteners weren’t enough to keep Tolkien blockbuster in NZ?

While the PM and her team were setting out their programme to reconnect us with the rest of the world, Amazon was advising the government of its plans to pull the plug  – both from our film-making facilities and from the government’s generous subsidies.

And whereas yesterday’s “Latest from the Beehive” posts included two speeches and a press statement on (eventually) the reopening of our borders, today’s posts include news of the Government’s response to Amazon’s withdrawal.

Amazon’s decision was reported more than 12 hours ago by The Guardian (which wasn’t necessarily the first to break the news).

Amazon has made the surprise decision to move production of its $1bn-plus Lord of the Rings series from New Zealand to the UK, rejecting tens of millions of dollars in incentives to shoot the TV show in the same location as the blockbuster films.

And:

The government was informed of Amazon’s decision to pull out of New Zealand on Thursday. The economic development minister Stuart Nash said it was disappointing, especially for the local film industry.

Maybe our disinclination to reconnect with the world just yet was a factor in Amazon’s decision to disconnect.

The Guardian says:

One additional factor is the strict Covid policies that continue to operate in New Zealand, which Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, said would mean the country’s borders would effectively remain closed until the end of the year.

Any time a member of the cast or crew left the country – roughly half the cast is from the UK – they would have to quarantine for 14 days and there are limits on how many people can leave the production at any given time.

It looks like a big setback the wellbeing for our film industry.

But Nash has gone on the front foot, as you can see from the most recent posting (at time of writing) of press releases on The Beehive website:

Latest from the Beehive

The Lord of the Rings season two

The New Zealand Government will no longer proceed with part of the deal to support the Lord of the Rings TV Series, following the decision by Amazon Studios to shift production of future seasons to the United Kingdom.

Other recent Beehive posts tell us …

Prison Kapa Haka a great success

After six weeks of performances across New Zealand prisons, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis has congratulated Tongariro Prison as the overall winner of the 2021 Hōkai Rangi Whakataetae Kapa Haka.

 Opening comments for Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World Forum

Today we will be discussing some of the big questions facing us as we continue to protect New Zealanders against COVID-19, while at the same time preparing to gradually and safely reopen to the world.

Government sets out plan to reconnect New Zealanders to the world

The Government will use the second half of 2021 to vaccinate as many New Zealanders as possible and safely conduct a self-isolation trial for vaccinated New Zealanders in order to prepare for a phased resumption of quarantine-free travel, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

Speech to Reconnecting New Zealanders to the World Forum

I want to start by thanking Professor Skegg and your group of experts for the important scientific contribution you have made to this discussion and the Government’s decision making about reopening our borders.

Big tick for Taranaki taonga species

Projects aimed at protecting taonga species, including kiwi, kokako and hihi, are among a number of Taranaki-based initiatives receiving a boost through the Government’s Jobs for Nature programme, Minister of Conservation Kiri Allan says.

Community Housing Providers to get upfront funding to deliver new builds faster

Community Housing Providers (CHP) will now to be able to access up-front funding in the early stages of new build developments to help bring on more public housing at pace, the Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced following a roundtable of CHP leaders in Wellington last night.

By now the government’s border-opening programme has become the subject of nation-wide discussion and debate through other media.

Point of Order today will focus, rather, on the announcement that the government will no longer proceed with part of the deal to support the Lord of the Rings TV Series.

That’ll show ’em, eh?

Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash said he was disappointed by the decision.

“Amazon Studios advised that post-production work on Season One will continue in New Zealand till June 2022. However, Season Two will be filmed in the UK as part of a strategy by the studio to expand its production space and consolidate its footprint in the UK.

“I am enormously proud of the New Zealand screen sector. The Amazon Studios’ decision in no way reflects the capabilities of our local film industry or the talents of the people who work in it. This is a multi-national company that has made a commercial choice.

“With Season One, the New Zealand screen sector has proven its reputation for offering a world-class workforce, globally competitive sound stages and post-production facilities, and a safe destination with outstanding scenery and friendly and welcoming people.”

Nash then got down to business:

“The previously agreed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Amazon Studios will no longer proceed in its current form. The five percent incentive previously offered on top of the standard 20 percent rebate for all international film productions is withdrawn.”

Amazon Studios – like every other international production – is eligible for a 20 per cent rebate on its qualifying production expenditure in this country, under the terms of the International Screen Production Grant.

Amazon Studios’ qualifying local expenditure is estimated to total around $663.74 million so it could potentially be eligible for a $132 million rebate under the 20 per cent rule.

“The international film sector is incredibly competitive and highly mobile. We have no regrets about giving this production our best shot with government support. However, we are disappointed for the local screen industry. Work will continue across government on ways to keep supporting the sector,” Stuart Nash said.

Which means work will continue to find other financial lures to bring the movie moguls to this country.

Now let’s check out The Guardian’s account of what has happened.

The newspaper  says Amazon, which four years ago paid $250m to secure the TV rights to JRR Tolkien’s works after founder Jeff Bezos demanded a Game of Thrones-style hit for its streaming service, chose to film the first series in New Zealand after competitive bids from around the world.

But whereas we Kiwis like to believe this country is the land of the Hobbit, the descendants of Lord of the Rings author JRR Tolkien have other ideas:

It is understood that the Tolkien estate had been keen for the series to be shot in the UK, the land that inspired JRR Tolkien’s original books, although did not have any right to determine the TV production’s location.

Production will continue in New Zealand until June next year with the premiere of the first series, which has reportedly cost $465m, scheduled for 2 September next year.

The Guardian notes that the production has not been without controversy in New Zealand.

Earlier this year, the government had to defend its deal with Amazon Studios following criticism that it was ‘bending over backwards’ for one of the richest companies in the world, by offering it multimillion dollar rebates to bring its production to the country.

The UK offers attractive rebates for TV series that cost more than $1m an episode to shoot and is the home of many high-profile Amazon productions.

The New Zealand Film Commission chief executive David Strong said the Amazon production had employed nearly 2,000 New Zealanders.

“It’s a shame and I feel for everyone who has put their hearts into this production. Season two was expected to begin later in 2022, so our role now is to work hard to keep the Kiwi screen sector employed.”

 Strong said the Studio’s departure will open up avenues for other international productions to shoot in New Zealand.

 

 

 

NZ is beefing up its defence commitment to UN work in South Korea (a reminder that the Korean War has not technically ended)

Three of the latest Beehive announcements pertain to this country’s relationships with countries in South-east and East Asia, giving pointers to our foreign affairs geopolitical priorities.

One statement signalled “a suite of meetings” between Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her ASEAN and East Asia Summit counterparts, starting with the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last night.

Mahuta said she would be urging action on Myanmar and she said tensions in the South China Sea continue to be a concern for New Zealand.

Another statement hailed the opening of the New Zealand High Commission in Colombo next week.

And then there was the announcement of an increase in New Zealand Defence Force commitment to the United Nations Command in the Republic of Korea and its Military Armistice Commission.

Moreover, the mandate for New Zealand’s longstanding deployment to the Republic of Korea has been extended to August 2023. The NZDF has contributed the United Nations Command and its Military Armistice Commission since 1998. Continue reading “NZ is beefing up its defence commitment to UN work in South Korea (a reminder that the Korean War has not technically ended)”

At last – a commissioner to serve the elderly (the cohort which remembers the role of the hyphen in compound adjectives)

A splendid demonstration of the usefulness of  the compound adjective can be found on The Beehive website today.

A headline among the latest announcements  says:

Progress in establishment of Aged Care Commissioner

Without a hyphen in “Aged-care” to show this is a compound adjective, an element of uncertainty can creep into considerations.

Is the government intending to recruit an aged person to become a commissioner whose job will be “care”?

As we all know, this would be in keeping with the programme of a government which is committed to kindliness and the wellbeing of all and would suggest the commissioner would be responsible for caring for everybody.

All members of the Point of Order team happen to be card-carrying superannuitants and, for good measure, we are very caring people. We fancy we would be great candidates for the job.

But fair to say, there’s ample evidence in the first paragraph of the press statement to shake out any ambiguity and affirm an intention to appoint somebody (younger than us, no doubt)  to care for Kiwis at the more mature end of the age spectrum: Continue reading “At last – a commissioner to serve the elderly (the cohort which remembers the role of the hyphen in compound adjectives)”

Woods scores a new portfolio (apparently) while the Govt gives Wallabies a free pass through our Covid defences

We were reminded yesterday of an article published by The Spinoff on 1 August last year headed Megan Woods, the minister for everything.

The article referred to her “slew of portfolios”.

It kicked off by saying Woods’ public profile

“… has exploded thanks to her new role as the minister in charge of border isolation and quarantine, but Megan Woods has long been known as the most reliable pair of hands in government.”

After the election Woods was appointed Minister of Housing, Minister of Energy and Resources, and Minister of Research, Science and Innovation, as well as Associate Minister of Finance.

As Housing Minister, she was keen to inform us yesterday about how she and her government are keeping people warm.  And today she made an announcement as Minister of …

Well, see for yourself: Continue reading “Woods scores a new portfolio (apparently) while the Govt gives Wallabies a free pass through our Covid defences”

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”