While the Beehive is silent, Seymour steals a march by railing against the Ardern team’s law-and-order performance

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”

Lights, cameras, action – and Stuart Nash gets to co-star with fellow ministers by bankrolling movie-makers

 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”

Little announces booster shot for Maori health while welcoming figures that show the benefits of a targeted approach

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”

Woods hails “massive” investment in infrastructure – and details show how “three waters” loom large in allocating the lovely lolly

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”

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 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)”

Govt lures migrants with millions to invest – but its “rebalanced” policy is still weighted in favour of English speakers

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”

Budget unleashes laments from groups that were overlooked or short-changed (including hopes of Human Rights empire-building)

And how did the people react to the boost in spending announced in this year’s Budget to promote our wellbeing?

In some cases by pleading for more; in other cases, by grouching they got nothing.

But Budget spending is never enough.

Two lots of bleating came from the Human Rights Commission, which somewhat draws attention to the potential for a $15 million a year saving by abolishing the agency – a budget-trimming measure advocated by the ACT Party.

One statement – in the name of Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero – said Budget 2022 has pluses and minuses for the disabled community.

On the plus side,there was considerable investment in the new Ministry for Disabled People and other funding which has the potential to benefit the disabled community.  And there was some funding for community-based services which support the disabled community. Continue reading “Budget unleashes laments from groups that were overlooked or short-changed (including hopes of Human Rights empire-building)”

Buzz from the Beehive – but you will need a translator (increasingly) to find out what ministers are saying

You can quickly tell from the headline and/or first paragraph of a press statement – sorry, most press statements – what the government is up to.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta clearly stated in the opening sentence of a statement in the past 24 hours that further sanctions are being imposed on Russian politicians and defence entities supporting Putin’s actions in Ukraine, as part of the Government’s ongoing response to the war.   You can learn more on the MFAT website: www.mfat.govt.nz/Russia-Sanctions

COVID-19 Response Minister made plain in the first few sentences of a statement today the Government is broadening the ability for residence class visa holders to re-enter New Zealand.   Residence class visa holders not vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to enter New Zealand from 6 May. New Zealand Permanent Residents, and Australian Citizens ordinarily resident in New Zealand then will be able to travel in and out of the country.

Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson posted a statement headed Strategy highlights pathway to reduce infrastructure deficit. 

So far, so good.  But he proceeded to say the Government has welcomed Te Waihanga/New Zealand Infrastructure Commission’s first infrastructure strategy as a major milestone in building a more prosperous, resilient and sustainable future for all New Zealanders.

Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa – New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy 2022–2052 set out the infrastructure challenges and opportunities facing New Zealand over the next 30 years. It draws on research, consultation and the views of more than 20,000 New Zealanders to set a path for this future.

More detail can be found in something headed Speech to Te Waihanga Symposium.

But if you didn’t know Te Waihanga and the NZ Infrastructure Commission are one and the same – well, you may well have moved on to something more readily digestible.

But the speech told us something – about the tabling of the document in Parliament – that we had missed (if it’s there) in the press statement:

Today we are tabling in Parliament and releasing Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa, the 30-year New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy from Te Waihanga, the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission. 

Then there was the joint statement from Maori Crown Relations Minister Kelvin Davis and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Kiritapu Allan headed Mānawatia a Matariki – te whakanui i a Matariki.

Matariki comes to the Manawatu, perhaps?

Maybe the first par will give us a clue.

Then again, maybe not:

I tāpaea i te rangi nei Te Tohu o Matariki ki te iwi tūmatanui e te Minita mō te Kōtuinga o Ngāi Māori me te Karauna: Te Arawhiti, Kelvin Davis rāua ko te Minita Tuarua mō te Toi, te Ahurea, me te Tukuihotanga, a Kiri Allan.

The first 428 words were in te reo, which means they could not be understood by the great majority of citizens.

Were we enlightened when the ministers eventually tried reaching out to an English-speaking audience?

Not immediately.  The first paragraph said:

Te Tohu o Matariki was presented to the public today by Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Kelvin Davis and Associate Minister for Arts, Culture & Heritage Kiri Allan.

What exactly was presented?

The linguistically challenged team at Point of Order admits defeat.

Latest from the Beehive

3 MAY 2022

Broadened criteria for returning visa holders

The Government is broadening the ability for residence class visa holders to re-enter New Zealand, Minister for COVID-19 Response Chris Hipkins has announced.

Mānawatia a Matariki – te whakanui i a Matariki

I tāpaea i te rangi nei Te Tohu o Matariki ki te iwi tūmatanui e te Minita mō te Kōtuinga o Ngāi Māori me te Karauna: Te Arawhiti, Kelvin Davis rāua ko te Minita Tuarua mō te Toi, te Ahurea, me te Tukuihotanga, a Kiri Allan.

Speech

Pre-budget speech to Rabobank breakfast

I want to thank Rabobank for hosting us this morning, and all of you for making it along for an early start.

Budget 22: New fiscal rules to be put in place

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has unveiled new fiscal rules to ensure New Zealand continues to maintain a world-leading Government financial position.

Strategy highlights pathway to reduce infrastructure deficit

The Government has welcomed Te Waihanga/New Zealand Infrastructure Commission’s first infrastructure strategy as a major milestone in building a more prosperous, resilient and sustainable future for all New Zealanders.

2 MAY 2022

More political elites and defence entities sanctioned, and prohibitions extended

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has today announced further sanctions on Russian politicians and defence entities supporting Putin’s actions in Ukraine, as part of the Government’s ongoing response to the war.

Speech to Te Waihanga Symposium

Today we are tabling in Parliament and releasing Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa, the 30-year New Zealand Infrastructure Strategy from Te Waihanga, the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission.

Buzz from the Beehive: NZ is warned to brace for climate warming and its costs

From a self-interest perspective, one of the latest Beehive announcements was warmly welcomed by the veteran scribes in the Point of Order newsroom.  It was the news of the Government’s Older Workers Employment Action Plan, aimed at supporting older people to stay in the workforce and transition their skills as they age and their circumstances change.

Recognising that older workers make up around a third of the New Zealand workforce and almost half of all New Zealanders aged 65 to 69 are employed, the plan focuses on people aged 50 and over.

But the announcement with the most significant nation-wide implications was the invitation to all New Zealanders to have their say on a proposed National Adaptation Plan to help communities across the country adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

The consultation document is HERE. 

The draft plan outlines the actions the Government will take over the next six years in response to the priority climate-related risks identified in the 2020 National Climate Change Risk Assessment, so that all sectors and communities are able to live and thrive in a changing climate. The consultation also outlines proposals for flood insurance and managed retreat policies.

Oh – and Climate Change Minister James Shaw warned that councils and property owners must shoulder some of the costs.

On the other hand, the Government will spend $1.4 billion on infrastructure for five Auckland suburbs.  Around 400 urban renewal projects in Mt Roskill, Mangere, Tāmaki, Oranga and Northcote will receive funding from the Government’s $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund (HAF) to develop build-ready land to enable up to 16,000 homes in the suburbs over the next five to 16 years.

Latest from the Beehive

28 APRIL 2022

Government supports extra housing development

The Government is funding further infrastructure for five Auckland suburbs undergoing regeneration to support new and existing housing for New Zealanders and their families, Housing Minister Dr Megan Woods has announced.  Around 400 urban renewal projects in Mt Roskill, Mangere, Tāmaki, Oranga and Northcote will receive funding from the Government’s $3.8 billion Housing Acceleration Fund (HAF) to unlock more housing.

27 APRIL 2022

Government puts port safety under the spotlight

The health and safety practices at our nation’s ports will be investigated as part of a range of actions taken by the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety in response to two

New Government plan helps support older workers

Supporting older people to stay in the workforce and transition their skills as they age and their circumstances change is a key part of the new Older Workers Employment Action Plan.

Flora, fauna and communities set to flourish through Jobs for Nature

An initiative that has provided tourism workers with alternative employment into the lead up to New Zealand’s borders reopening is being extended to ensure staff are retained.

Supporting communities to prepare for climate impacts

From today New Zealanders can have their say on a proposed National Adaptation Plan to help communities across the country adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.

The nation that Jacinda aims to rebuild – and the economy that can’t return to business as normal

Will  these  words  come  back  to  haunt the Prime  Minister?:

 “When we look back on this period in our country’s history, I don’t want us just to reflect on how we weathered the storm of a pandemic, but what we built after”.

Furthermore, she  told Parliament yesterday:

“Our economy cannot afford to return to business as usual, because the status quo is unsustainable”.

And  she concluded her Prime Ministerial statement with this  ringing commitment:

“New Zealand has entrusted the government with the responsibility of bringing this country through our current crisis,  and we will continue to do that. But we will do more than that. We’ll provide stability, a united team, and a singular focus on a recovery that, even after a crisis, leaves New Zealand better than we found it”. Continue reading “The nation that Jacinda aims to rebuild – and the economy that can’t return to business as normal”