KiwiSaver cash is to be kept away from oil and gas industries and tourists are to be kept apart from homeless people housed in motels

A gush of statements and speeches from the Beehive ranges in significance from Damien O’Connor’s trip to London and Brussels to press on with free trade negotiations to  Chris Hipkins dealing with the way schools are organised in Harewa.

Changes to the Kiwisaver scheme include measures to discourage or disallow us from trying to make a buck from the oil and gas industries.

Oh – and change is in the offing in Rotorua for homeless people who are given emergency housing in motels.   One of the consequences will be to separate these motel dwellers from the tourists.

Then there’s a major change for the tertiary education sector – six new Workforce Development Councils have been formally established with an interesting guarantee from Education Minister Hipkins – he said they will “ensure” people graduate with the right skills at the right time to address skill shortages.

Let’s see …  Continue reading “KiwiSaver cash is to be kept away from oil and gas industries and tourists are to be kept apart from homeless people housed in motels”

Kushner and Blair (maybe more than Trump’s magnetism) helped secure Middle East accord

It defeated US Presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama but this week Donald Trump did the almost-impossible: bringing two Arab states together with Israel. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump’s foreign policy achievements had  counted for zero.

Not since the Camp David accords of 1978 and 2000 or the 1994 peace accord between Israel and Jordan has there been any tangible progress in resolving the Middle East’s most intractable issue until this week when Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates signed up to normalise relations with Israel.

Modestly, Trump attributed this to his own personal magnetism and ability to “do a deal.”   Rather more, it was actually the work of son-in-law Jared Kushner and a contact group led by former British PM Tony Blair. 

The White House and  Kushner may not have brought peace to the Middle East, but they’ve taken a huge step towards it. Now the real prize is Saudi Arabia.  Riyadh will be a harder nut to crack but the Saudis have taken an initial step by allowing UAE airliners to transit its air space, something unthinkable and impossible a month ago. Continue reading “Kushner and Blair (maybe more than Trump’s magnetism) helped secure Middle East accord”

We will put money on Peters getting his racing bill to the winning post – but dissuading Israel from its annexation policy is much more demanding

Latest from the Beehive

Police Minister Stuart Nash had something to crow about – the Police had announced ten arrests and the seizure of eight prohibited firearms and six Molotov cocktail explosive devices in an action against a mob known as the Mongols.

Health Minister David Clark reminded us he still has a role to play in conquering Covid-19 by announcing the government is stepping up New Zealand’s Covid-19 testing system at the border as more New Zealanders arrive from overseas.

And Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters dismayed the Israeli government (well, it would be great to think he did) when he expressed the New Zealand government’s serious concern about its proposed annexation of parts of the West Bank.

We suspect it is more likely Clark will vanquish Covid-19 single-handedly with both hands tied behind his back – and maybe win a Nobel Prize for medicine – than Peters will dissuade the Israelis from an annexation programme which he said would gravely undermine the two-state solution, breach international law, and pose significant risks to regional security.

But we would put our money on Peters triumphing on another front, as Minister of Racing, with his plans to restructure the racing industry.  He treated us, in a despatch from the Beehive, to a copy of his second reading speech for the Racing Industry Bill which revokes the Racing Act 2003. Continue reading “We will put money on Peters getting his racing bill to the winning post – but dissuading Israel from its annexation policy is much more demanding”