O’Connor goes to Paris (will they make a movie of it?) while his colleagues spend millions back home and crimp liquor sales

Buzz from the Beehive

Damien O’Connor has been busy with international duties. At the weekend he met with Aussie ministerial counterparts in Queenstown to discuss the advancement of trans-Tasman cooperation under the Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Trade Agreement before packing his bags to head for Paris where he will co-chair an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ministerial meeting.

The Beehive website has recorded the thrust of his weekend talks on the bilateral relationship between New Zealand and Australia and his plans to fly to Paris along with posts which tell us how he and his colleagues have been earning their keep.

The website tells us they have been (or, in his case, will be) …

 The latest post on the website when we checked in mid-afternoon tells us Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor will travel to Paris tomorrow to co-chair the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Committee on Agriculture Ministerial meeting on 3-4 November. Continue reading “O’Connor goes to Paris (will they make a movie of it?) while his colleagues spend millions back home and crimp liquor sales”

Govt is opening the borders further with its visa policies to (hopefully) attract more workers

Buzz from the Beehive

The Government has announced it is reopening the skilled migrant and parent visa categories as part of its plans for reconnecting New Zealanders to the world. And to help businesses crying out for workers (so long as they don’t need qualified nurses, it seems).

Immigration Minister Michael Wood announced the changes in a speech to members of the business and migrant community in Auckland today.

 “We are listening closely to the concerns of businesses, many of whom have approval to hire migrants but are finding it difficult to recruit internationally in a constrained labour market. Today’s changes work in tandem with the immigration changes already made and will help further relieve labour shortages, and ensure an competitive edge to attract talent to New Zealand.”

Will the new deal help you and your business?

We suggest you check out the press statement, which has been posted on the Beehive website along with news that ministers are …  Continue reading “Govt is opening the borders further with its visa policies to (hopefully) attract more workers”

Ayesha Verrall travel mystery: Australia isn’t on her itinerary but she has written a speech for a health congress – in Adelaide?

Buzz from the Beehive

Just one policy initiative has been posted on the Beehive website since Point of Order last monitored the goings-on and comings and goings of our ministers.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood has announced measures intended to support the hospitality and tourism sectors and a change to the requirements for recruiting chefs.

But we were fascinated more by the travel plans and intentions of Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall.

On Saturday, she advised us she would be departing at the weekend   for Europe and Singapore to attend global cancer and mental health meetings and building research, science and innovation connections with the European Union.

Today, she sent us a copy of her speech to the Population Health Congress in Australia.

Headed Public Health – Lessons from New Zealand’s COVID-19 response and opportunities for the future, it comprises some 3540 words, which would take around 30 minutes to deliver.

We were surprised.  Her press release on Saturday made no mention of a stop-off in Australia to address this congress. Continue reading “Ayesha Verrall travel mystery: Australia isn’t on her itinerary but she has written a speech for a health congress – in Adelaide?”

More Russians on the sanctions list – that will punish Putin’s cronies, but what might he do next to express his displeasure?

Buzz from the Beehive

Wow.  The long weekend seems to have been a powerful pick-me-up for our politicians, who have pumped out a raft of statements over the past two days.

Most of their press releases were to alert us to decisions to improve our wellbeing, although we wonder if that’s the case when we retaliate against President Putin for his antics in Ukraine.  He is threatening to up the ante by unleashing some of his nuclear weapons, after all.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta nevertheless has announced the imposition of further sanctions on members of Putin’s inner circle and other representatives of the Russian political elite, as part of the Government’s ongoing response to the war in Ukraine.

Since the passing of the Russia Sanctions Act in March, New Zealand has imposed sanctions on over 1000 individuals and entities,

“… a key part of our efforts to hold Russia accountable and support Ukraine,” Nanaia Mahuta said. Continue reading “More Russians on the sanctions list – that will punish Putin’s cronies, but what might he do next to express his displeasure?”

Govt paves the way for wealthy immigrants to come here – but will this initiative be more successful than efforts to lure nurses?

Buzz from the Beehive

Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash and Immigration Minister Michael Wood have announced the official opening of the new Active Investor Plus visa category, created to attract “high-value” investors.

They described this initiative as a key milestone in the Government’s Immigration Rebalance strategy.

All going well, the wealthy migrants who come here with their millions will be willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in where help is needed as well as invest where their money is needed.

According to a Stuff report this week, businesses are desperate to attract staff:

The struggle to find and keep staff is repeated all over the country in many industries, and just under 11,000 employers have applied for accreditation to bring in almost 53,000 migrant workers.

It has been  a busy week for Wood.

It was his job as Workplace Relations and Safety Minister to announce the Bill establishing Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day has passed its third reading.

The passing of the Queen Elizabeth II Memorial Day Bill designates 26 September 2022 as a one-off public holiday.  The holiday will coincide with the State Memorial Service, to be held in Wellington Cathedral. This will be televised and live-streamed.

The decision to hold a one-off Public Holiday in the Queen’s honour is in line with similar holidays in the UK and Australia. Continue reading “Govt paves the way for wealthy immigrants to come here – but will this initiative be more successful than efforts to lure nurses?”

Now that regeneration has become important in Govt policy considerations, let’s see it regenerate the health work force

Just a few days ago, RNZ was reporting about frustrated New Zealand-trained migrant nurses planning to leave the country because they cannot find an immediate path to residency, just as the government was trying to entice foreigners to fill thousands of jobs in hospitals, aged care  homes and clinics.

The report reminded us that nurses had been excluded from the government’s new straight-to-residence Green List.  They must work in the profession for two years first.

Sandeep Kaur told RNZ she had spent years separated from her two young sons in India while studying for a nursing degree in New Zealand.

She said she was devastated the profession was excluded from super-fast residency visas under the new immigration Green List, months after her graduation late last year.

She and her husband were preparing to move to Australia where she could gain residency quickly and reunite her family.

Figures released to the National Party at that time showed just 18 migrant nurses applied to come to New Zealand in the first six weeks of the new residency visa, compared to a monthly average of 57 under the previous critical purpose visa. Continue reading “Now that regeneration has become important in Govt policy considerations, let’s see it regenerate the health work force”

NZ deploys troops to the UK and despatches Mahuta to the Pacific (but non-Maori speakers may be puzzled about her intentions)

Buzz from the Beehive

Comings and goings were the common factor in the latest Beehive announcements.

Immigration Minister Michael Wood handled the “inward” movements by regurgitating migrant statistics he presumably wanted to crow about.

The “outward” movements are recorded in three statements – a further deployment of 120 New Zealand Defence Force personnel to the United Kingdom to help train Ukraine soldiers, the naming of a new High Commissioner to Kiribati, and a visit by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta to Niue and Tonga this week.

Mahuta says her travels are “to engage kanohi ki te kanohi with counterparts”.

We imagine this is a legal form of behaviour among consenting adults and look forward to the television coverage. Continue reading “NZ deploys troops to the UK and despatches Mahuta to the Pacific (but non-Maori speakers may be puzzled about her intentions)”

Oh, look – Sepuloni finds some money for the arts has not been spent, but it will be put to use in a trough for cultural “regeneration”

Buzz from the Beehive

News of the PM’s next overseas travel plans flowed from the Beehive along with a fanfaronade of self-congratulation for work coming along nicely, thank you, announcements of fresh projects and programmes for consuming our taxes, and advice aimed at enhancing our wellbeing.

The overseas travel is to Samoa – Jacinda Ardern will lead a Parliamentary and community delegation to Apia from the 1–2 August to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of “the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, between Aotearoa New Zealand and Samoa”

It is government policy, apparently, to  inject the word “Aotearoa” into all ministerial press statements.  The treaty signed 60 years ago was “the Treaty of Friendship between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of Western Samoa”.

The latest spending initiatives include an announcement from Agriculture Minister Damien  O’Connor that the Government is co-investing in a $22 million programme aimed at significantly reducing agricultural greenhouse gases and nitrate leaching.

The Government has committed $7.3 million over seven years to the N-Vision NZ programme through the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) fund. The programme focuses on three technology streams: Continue reading “Oh, look – Sepuloni finds some money for the arts has not been spent, but it will be put to use in a trough for cultural “regeneration””

Buzz from the Beehive: pre-Budget speeches, a border re-opening and a black mark for new Green List

Pre-budget speeches from the PM and her Minister of Finance feature in the latest posts on the Beehive website.  Both speeches mention  the re-opening (hurrah) of the country’s borders.

The re-opening was the highlight of a package of initiatives announced in a press statement in the names of four ministers, Jacinda Ardern (PM), Chris Hipkins (Education), Stuart Nash (Tourism) and Kris Faafoi (Immigration).

“New Zealand is in demand and now fully open for business,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealand’s international border will reopen to all tourists and visa holders two months earlier than planned on 31 July.”

The package included significantly simplified immigration processes intended to provide faster processing for businesses and a new “Green List” that includes over 85 hard-to-fill roles created to attract and retain high-skilled workers to fill skill shortages.  

Hipkins got a second lick at the border-re-opening with an announcement that international students are welcome back – from July 31 – and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector.

This statement further advised that Hipkins will travel to the USA, Chile and Brazil to promote studying here.

In his speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce today, Finance Minister Grant Robertson spoke of “our immigration rebalance” and border reopening

“… in a way that embodies our objectives as a Government. A green list will provide a streamlined pathway to residency for workers with skills that are in high demand. This approach will enable us to support the development of high-value industries and to alleviate some of the supply constraints that are present in areas such as construction.”

But the green list has earned the government a black mark from nurses and midwives and sparked an accusation of sexism: 

Nurses and midwives say an immigration shake-up privileges male dominated professions, is “sexist”, and will do little to help fill hundreds of vacancies in New Zealand.

It’s a completely sexist model, all the doctors are in the privileged group,” hospital midwives union co-leader Jill Ovens said.

Latest from the Beehive

12 MAY 2022

New Zealand poised to welcome international students back

New Zealand is fully reopening to international students and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

Speech

Pre-Budget Speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce

I want to start by thanking our hosts the Wellington Chamber of Commerce who graciously do this every year as we lead into the Budget.

11 MAY 2022

Lower card fees on way for business, consumers

A Bill to help lower the fees charged when credit and debit transactions are made, will save New Zealand businesses around $74 million a year.

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua Claims Settlement Bill passes first reading – Kua hipa te Pire Whakataunga Kokoraho mō Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua i te pānuitanga tuatahi

I te whare pāremata ngā uri o Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua i tēnei rā kia kite, kia rongo hoki rātou i te hipanga o te pānuitanga tuatahi o te Pire Whakataunga Kokoraho mō Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua.

Poroporoaki: Harerangi Meihana (Harry Mason)

Kua hinga ngā kapua pōuri i runga i Taranaki maunga. Kua wehe atu rā te Tumuaki o te Hāhi Ratana, arā ko matua Harerangi Meihana.

Speech

PM Pre-Budget Speech to Business New Zealand

Thank you to Business New Zealand and Fujitsu for hosting us here today, and I am grateful to be joined by Minister Faafoi, and Minister Hipkins.

Fully open border and immigration changes speed up economic growth

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced a major package of reforms, which include an early opening of New Zealand’s border and a simplification of immigration settings, to address the immediate skill shortages in New Zealand and speed up the economic recovery from COVID-19.

Buzz from the Beehive – or what are they up to now? (besides bruising local body democracy)

We had only just posted our Buzz from the Beehive report yesterday when Nanaia Mahuta banged out an announcement which buttressed her track record as a minister strong on democracy (with her rhetoric as Minister of Foreign Affairs) but lukewarm if not disdainful of it (with her actions as Minister of Local Government).

She said the Tauranga City Council will be run by commissioners until July 2024. This means the citizens and ratepayers of that city won’t get to elect a mayor and councillors to govern them at the next local government elections. 

Two other announcements over the past 24 hours or so deal with issues at the border, deciding who can come into this country as critical or skilled workers to work in manufacturing or tourism. 

Outward travel was the subject of an announcement that New Zealand and Australian public Anzac Day services will return to Gallipoli next month.

Tourism will further benefit from one of three spending announcements.  The other beneficiaries are a seaweed programme and Maori housing. 

And Finance Minister Grant Robertson told us he had hosted a call with his counterparts from Australia and the United States.   Canada and the United Kingdom were represented by deputies.  Did he tell them about this country’s robust economic performance, thanks to his stewardship as Minister of Finance?

Latest from the Beehive

12 MARCH 2022

Workforce pressures eased for manufacturing

Workforce pressures in the advanced manufacturing sector are to be eased with the approval of spaces for 100 critical workers to enter under a special immigration arrangement.

Return of working holidaymakers a boost to economic recovery

The return of working holidaymakers and more skilled workers from this coming Monday will accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19 by helping to fill workforce shortages and support tourism.

11 MARCH 2022

Anzac Day Services to Return to Gallipoli in 2022

Minister for Veterans’ Meka Whaitiri has confirmed today that New Zealand and Australian public Anzac Day services will return to Gallipoli next month.

Land-based seaweed trial a nationwide first

A land-based seaweed trial aiming to help restore our waterways is about to kick-off with Government investment beside the Firth of Thames wetland, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

10 March Joint Meeting of Finance Ministers

Finance Minister Hon Grant Robertson yesterday hosted a call with his counterparts from Australia and the United States. Canada and the United Kingdom were represented by deputies.

Delivering on our commitment to Māori housing

Today the Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare released the Implementation Plan for the National Māori Housing Strategy – MAIHI Ka Ora.

Support for new winter festivals in lower South Island Te Waipounamu

Two new winter festivals in the lower South Island are getting government backing through an annual fund that supports start-up events to become internationally significant.

Commission to be appointed to Tauranga City Council beyond October 2022

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has today announced her intention to appoint a Commission to the Tauranga City Council until July 2024.