* Dr Bryce Edwards writes –
The Labour Government has once again proven itself to be very competent in a crisis. Cyclone Gabrielle has allowed Prime Minister Chris Hipkins to demonstrate his impressive disaster management communication.
Labour is very good with the political firefighting required to deal with such disasters – as they have shown in the past with their response to the Christchurch mosque attack, the Whakaari White Island eruption, and the initial stages of Covid.
And, in fact, the last National Government wasn’t too bad at crisis management either. John Key and Bill English received plaudits for the way they dealt with the global financial crisis, the Pike River disaster, and the Canterbury earthquakes.
And yet, both Labour and National have proven to be atrocious at longer-term planning and investment in the things that really matter. The big problems of society never get the attention they deserve and, slowly but surely, those problems mount up, unaddressed, and actually start producing more and more crises – such as the disasters of the last month – which politicians are then forced to react to. Continue reading “Bryce Edwards’ Political Roundup: Our politicians are competent firefighters, but terrible builders” →
Having declared he would be “absolutely focussed” on the cost-of-living crisis, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has another crisis even more pressing on his hands, and perhaps longer lasting, as the country reels under the ravages of Cyclone Gabrielle.
New Zealanders could scarcely credit what they were seeing when television news programmes presented the visual evidence of the damage wrought by the storm.
In the hardest-hit regions, thousands of homes were plunged into darkness, and hundreds of people had to be rescued from the roofs of their homes as flood waters raced past. In Auckland 80 roads had to be closed. Continue reading “Risks – and rewards – are high as Hipkins and his team begin the task of reconstruction” →
The government has declared a state of national emergency, only the third in NZ’s history, as the country absorbs the full fury of ex-tropical cyclone Gabrielle.
Almost certainly, the cost of restoring damaged homes, infrastructure and industries will run into many millions.
Food supplies could be disrupted as farmers and horticulturalists assess the damage to their crops, and, in many cases, their stock.
Already climate change warriors are proclaiming the need for a “managed retreat” from the onslaught of global warming, and, importantly, its consequences.
At the helm of government, NZ has a rookie Prime Minister Chris Hipkins who is now confronted with a crisis different from but only equalled this century for John Key with the Christchurch earthquake.
Continue reading “Baptism of fire for rookie PM Hipkins and his sidekick McAnulty as they declare a state of national emergency” →
Buzz from the Beehive
Politicians keen to curry favour with Māori tribal leaders have headed north for Waitangi weekend. More than a few million dollars of public funding are headed north, too.
Not all of this money is being trumpeted on the Beehive website, the Government’s official website.
Just one ministerial statement was posted there yesterday, to tell of “multiple housing investments” delivering thousands of new homes for the people living in “multiple Northland communities”.
This nicely buttered bit of Beehive beneficence was brayed by Housing Minister Megan Woods.
But Carmel Sepuloni, as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, more coyly was investing in Northland too. She despatched a press statement headed Government Investment Safeguards Waitangi Treaty Grounds which said: Continue reading “Govt is safeguarding Treaty grounds (for $3m) but Hipkins may be embroiled in spat about when he can talk about it” →
Buzz from the Beehive
Sorry, folks (although – on second thoughts – you might regard this as good news).
There has been no buzz from the Beehive since January 9, when Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall announced that a vaccine for people at risk of mpox (or monkeypox) will be available to people who meet eligibility criteria from January 16.
This does not mean other politicians have nothing to say. A visit to the Scoop website shows Opposition MPs have been issuing press statements, no doubt hoping to attract the attention of the government-subsidised mainstream media while the Beehive buglers have been silent.
The ACT Party today exploited the public’s increasing disquiet about crime by launching the next phase of its ‘We hear ya’ campaign’ (a slogan which should disqualify ACT politicians from taking over the Education portfolio in any future government in which they are a coalition partner). Continue reading “While the Beehive is silent, Seymour steals a march by railing against the Ardern team’s law-and-order performance” →
Buzz from the Beehive
It was the equivalent of a double feature produced (with our money) by the munificent Stuart Nash, Minister of Economic and Regional Development.
First, on Friday, he announced the Government’s approval of
- a $2 million loan from the Queenstown Economic Transformation and Resilience Fund to enable an outfit called Target 3D Ltd to upscale the Queenstown Digital Studio; and
- a loan of up to $1.25 million for Queenstown-based Loaded Reports Ltd.
But wait. There’s lots more where that came from – and later in the day Nash (this time with other ministers clamouring to share the limelight) reminded us the government has invested $30 million through the Infrastructure Reference Group in upgrades to the Auckland Film Studio
The occasion was the completion of the upgrades which (the ministers insisted) will provide an economic boost for Auckland and the country as a whole.
The project was also funded by Auckland Council. Continue reading “Lights, cameras, action – and Stuart Nash gets to co-star with fellow ministers by bankrolling movie-makers” →
Latest from the Beehive
Point of Order’s Beehive monitors were treated to a double dose of Health Minister Andrew Little’s rejoicing today.
Little and Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare announced what they called a record funding boost for Māori primary and community healthcare providers as part of $71.6 million in commissioning investments by the Māori Health Authority.
Some would call this discriminatory spending. Little prefers to call it targeted.
The bullet points in the press statement show:
- $29.3 million for interim New Zealand Health Plan priority areas
- $13 million for Māori primary and community providers
- $17.6 million for te ao Māori solutions, mātauranga Māori and population health
- $11.7 million to support innovation, workforce development, and whānau voice.
In a second press release, Little seized on fresh New Zealand Health Survey data and told us this shows his government’s policies are improving the nation’s health and general well-being. Continue reading “Little announces booster shot for Maori health while welcoming figures that show the benefits of a targeted approach” →
Buzz from the Beehive
“Critical” infrastructure projects to kick-start new housing developments and accelerate growth in eight parts of the country are being enabled by a $192 million Government investment.
The words “three waters” are generously sprinkled through the announcement from Housing Minister Megan Woods.
They are mentioned in every allocation recorded in a table in the press statement which shows how much is being dished out for what purpose for favoured projects in Lower Hutt, Nelson, Rangiora, Ngāruawāhia, Hastings, Motueka, Whanganui and Lake Hāwea.
Here’s hoping voters remember at voting time next year, eh?
The investment is expected to enable around 11,500 homes across several housing developments over the next 10 to 15 years, Megan Woods said.
Notes accompanying the press statement tell us the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund (IAF) is a contestable fund “of approximately $1 billion”.
Approximately? Don’t they know how much exactly?
Continue reading “Woods hails “massive” investment in infrastructure – and details show how “three waters” loom large in allocating the lovely lolly” →
Buzz from the Beehive
The death of Queen Elizabeth II and the flow of tributes from party leaders inevitably has dominated the political news this morning.
The critical constitutional consequence of the Queen’s death at the age of 96 is that New Zealand has a new head of state, King Charles III.
This was noted by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, in a statement headed PM mourns death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The statement concluded:
The new King becomes New Zealand’s new Head of State immediately on the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
New Zealand’s representation at Her Majesty’s funeral service will be confirmed “shortly”.
Flags will fly at half-mast.
Further information about mourning observances will be available on the Governor-General’s website, at www.gg.govt.nz.
The Prime Minister expressed New Zealanders’ deep sadness at the Queen’s passing, describing Her Majesty as a monarch with an unwavering sense of duty. Continue reading “Tributes are paid after the death of Queen Elizabeth by Catholic bishops, a Republican, and by NZ’s political party leaders (but not yet by all of them)” →
Buzz from the Beehive
The government’s immigration policies have come under heavy fire in recent weeks, even though the shortages of key workers — nurses for example — have become acute.
One response to the critics – included among the latest Beehive announcements – is something the government is calling its “Immigration Rebalance strategy”. But one flaw quickly becomes obvious.
More of that later.
For now, let’s note that the Immigration Rebalance strategy is vying for media attention, analysis and debate along with
- The latest ministerial bragging about benefits continuing to fall;
- A message to the biggest polluters that they will have to do more to help meet climate targets because of changes the government is making to decade-old settings (these settings “have allocated far too many free climate pollution credits to New Zealand’s largest emitters”, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said);
- The launch of the country’s first nationwide tsunami evacuation map (perhaps to heighten our anxieties as we increasingly observe the impacts of climate change around the world);
- The provision of $179m of government funding to seven centres around the country for groundwork infrastructure such as pipes and roads that will enable over 8,000 new homes to be built;
- A speech from the PM to the Local Government New Zealand conference (our team is struggling to find nuggets of hard news in the contents).
Continue reading “Govt lures migrants with millions to invest – but its “rebalanced” policy is still weighted in favour of English speakers” →