Govt highlights benefits for Tauranga in funding deal – but (in smaller type) beneficiaries learn they must repay the debt

Buzz from the Beehive

Geography, ethnicity and your occupation will determine the extent to which you might benefit from the latest hamper of goodies to be distributed by the Beehive.

But be warned. Being a beneficiary may result in levies being imposed.

Roughly interpreting the latest announcements, the beneficiaries are (or appear to be)- 

  • Tauranga people (but there’s a taxing sting in the tail); 
  • Homeless families in Tauranga’s suburbs (but not many and they must be Maori);   
  • Rural people living in just some parts of the country and engaged in the right work;
  • A few favoured food and fibre producers;
  • An even more select group – some Maori businesses in the primary sector;  
  • People needing mental health services (but they must live in the Gisborne area).

The press statements don’t put it quite that  way, of course:  Continue reading “Govt highlights benefits for Tauranga in funding deal – but (in smaller type) beneficiaries learn they must repay the debt”

Take that, Mr Putin: More support for Ukraine is to be provided by NZ

Buzz from the Beehive

Sticking it to the Russians by providing more support for Ukraine  was the most significant news item officially posted on the Beehive website since our previous report.

An announcement about immigration regulations and visas might have nudged it as a headline grabber, butit didn’t mention “nurses”.

The latest posts tell us our hard-working ministers have been –

Appointing the next Ambassador to Argentina announced

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced the appointment of Kathryn Beckett as New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Argentina.

Kathryn Beckett has most recently served as the Unit Manager of the United Nations, Human Rights and Commonwealth Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. She has also served as Counsellor at the New Zealand High Commission in Vanuatu and as First Secretary at the New Zealand Embassy in Viet Nam.

She will be accredited to Uruguay and Paraguay, based at New Zealand’s Embassy in Buenos Aires and takes up her position in April.

Extending and enhancing our assistance to Ukraine

The names of the PM, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare are attached to this announcement.

They said New Zealand is extending its defence commitments and providing further support and personnel to assist Ukraine, as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion.

New Zealand will contribute $1.85 million to the World Food Programme for emergency assistance across the globe.

“This builds on earlier food security support to other countries in early 2022,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

The decisions made:

  • Training: Extend New Zealand’s support to the United Kingdom armed forces-led operation to train Ukrainian personnel, with the deployment of one infantry training team numbering up to 66 NZDF personnel from 30 November 2022 to 31 July 2023.  At present the NZDF has two infantry training teams totalling 120 personnel training Ukrainian personnel in the UK.
  • Intelligence: Extend the NZDF’s existing intelligence contribution of up to 12 personnel in the UK, as well as New Zealand-based open source intelligence staff, from 30 November 2022 to 30 June 2023. In addition the NZDF will provide two additional support positions to the UK for the same period.
  • Command and administration support: The deployment of up to eight NZDF personnel to Europe from 30 November 2022 to 31 July 2023 to assist deployed NZDF personnel throughout Europe supporting Ukraine’s self-defence efforts.
  • Logistics: Recommence the deployment of four personnel from 30 November 2022 to 30 June 2023 to a logistics hub in Europe to support Ukraine.
  • Liaison: Extend the NZDF’s existing liaison officer contributions in the UK and Europe from 30 November 2022 to 30 June 2023.
  • Global food security support: $1.85 million to the World Food Programme to help address global food insecurity, which has been exacerbated by the crisis in Ukraine.
  • NATO Trust Fund: Additional $1.85 million contribution for non-lethal military equipment and supplies for Ukraine’s self-defence during the northern winter.

More information about sanctions, travel bans, and export controls against Russia; as well as diplomatic, military and economic support to Ukraine can be found on the MFAT site here.

Granting  more visas through a resumption of the parent category

Immigration Minister Michael Wood announced the Government is ensuring skilled migrants can resettle in New Zealand with their families

It  is resuming selections of the Parent Category Expressions of Interest (EOIs), to make New Zealand an even more attractive destination for high skilled migrants looking to resettle long term.

The first selection of EOIs has been made and will continue to be selected in date order with the oldest EOIs being selected first. Selections will take place every quarter, with up to 2,000 visas a year granted to people with existing expressions of interest.

More information on the Parent Category and EOI process can be found on the Immigration New Zealand website.

Appointing a Judge and Associate Judge of the High Court

Attorney-General David Parker announced High Court Associate Judge Peter Andrew has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, and Tauranga King’s Counsel Grant Brittain has been appointed an Associate Judge of the High Court.

They will take up their appointments on 21 November 2022, sitting in Auckland.

Buzz from the Beehive: Pacific is discussed in PM’s chat with Biden while Nash has ‘Plan’ to transform manufacturing

This country’s relations with the Pacific were the subjects of two fresh statements from the Beehive and were mentioned in despatches from Washington, although nothing suggested Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta would be headed to look up our near neighbours any time soon.

Mahuta’s contribution was to announce the appointment of Don Higgins as the next Administrator of Tokelau.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is first and foremost a Pacific nation. We value the strong and enduring relationships that we have with countries throughout the region, and I know these will only continue to grow,” Nanaia Mahuta said. 

The Administrator’s role is to support the Tokelau Government to deliver quality public services to the people of Tokelau, and to help manage the relationship between our countries.

Higgins will also oversee New Zealand’s development assistance to Tokelau, which is focused on strengthening Tokelau’s resilience to climate change, and includes “major investments” in education, internet connectivity, and renewable energy. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Pacific is discussed in PM’s chat with Biden while Nash has ‘Plan’ to transform manufacturing”

If the world misses its climate change target, we won’t have to worry too much about checking the housing target in 436 years

Latest from the Beehive

Remember the Government’s former flagship housing policy for the 2017 general election and its initial target of 100,000 homes in 10 years?

In May last year, the Dom-Post published a progress report under the heading KiwiBuild will take more than 400 years to reach original target

The report said:

The number of KiwiBuild homes built to date stood at 393 at the end of March, equating to roughly 19 homes built each month since the scheme began in June 2018.

At that rate it would take 436 years to complete the remaining 99,607 houses that remain from the 100,000 target.

We were reminded of this while monitoring the latest Beehive announcements, which included  a bold climate change target:

New Zealand will significantly increase its contribution to the global effort to tackle climate change by reducing net greenhouse emissions by 50 percent by 2030, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today on the eve of the United Nations climate conference in Glasgow.

 The statement explained that Under the Paris Agreement, each country adopts an international target known as a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). This sets out the contribution the country will make towards the goals of the Paris Agreement. Continue reading “If the world misses its climate change target, we won’t have to worry too much about checking the housing target in 436 years”

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)”

Mahuta welcomes report which portends the local authority reforms (and Treaty partnerships) she seems keen to promote

The announcement we were expecting yesterday came later in the day, but not from the PM.  Rather, it came from Ayesha Verrall, Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation, who said government and businesses are working together to pilot the use of rapid antigen testing in workplaces.

But readers who believe that all citizens in a democracy should have the same entitlements and voting rights and the same ability to hold to account the people who govern us should look beyond Covid to another threat.

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has welcomed the interim report on the Future for Local Government Review.

In her press statement, she says

“.. our system of local democracy and governance needs to evolve to be fit for the future.” 

You could say it has been fast evolving already (or eroding, perhaps) on Mahuta’s watch in the local government portfolio. She has been instrumental in

  • removing the rights of citizens to challenge electoral arrangements which displease them, such as the introduction of Maori wards by local council;  and
  • pushing on with the highly contentious Three Waters reforms, which include arrangements for Maori to become co-governors (unaccountable to the majority of citizens) of four new water-administering authorities.

Continue reading “Mahuta welcomes report which portends the local authority reforms (and Treaty partnerships) she seems keen to promote”

Mahuta spurns call from civic leaders to go with the flow – and go slow – with contentious Three Waters programme

A press statement we received from Nanaia Mahuta, speaking as Minister of Foreign Affairs, dealt with the findings of an independent review into New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries.

Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the report calls for stiffer rules.

It found the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has managed the export of these goods in line with legislative requirements, but the design and implementation of the system falls short of contemporary best practice in several respects.

The review is available on the MFAT website.

But statements from Mahuta of much greater concern to our wellbeing are not to be found on the Beehive website. Rather, they are to be found in Hansard’s record of proceedings during Question Time in Parliament yesterday.  

She expressed an autocratic determination to press on with the Three Waters reforms, regardless of the strength of public and local authority opposition. Continue reading “Mahuta spurns call from civic leaders to go with the flow – and go slow – with contentious Three Waters programme”

Covid-19 gets into most Beehive spin these days, including the Catalist Market, climate change and predator eradication

While small- and medium-sized enterprises (and many others) were grappling with the massive implications of the Climate Change Commission’s report, more agreeable news has emerged from the Beehive.

The government has granted a licence to a new share trading market, Catalist Markets Ltd, which has been described as a stock exchange for smaller companies.  It is expected to provide a simpler and more affordable ‘stepping stone’ for SMEs to raise capital.

Catalist​ chief executive Colin Magee told Stuff the NZX was only economic for larger companies, not the high-potential smaller companies Catalist would be trying to attract with an initial value of $6million to $60m.

In the first five years Catalist was aiming to get up to 200 companies, Magee said.

In time, he hoped, a portion of some KiwiSaver funds would be invested in shares in companies on the Catalist market. Continue reading “Covid-19 gets into most Beehive spin these days, including the Catalist Market, climate change and predator eradication”

Figures flow when Woods answers questions about housing and govt targets – and look, they show a hefty rise in the waiting list

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

While Housing Minister Megan Woods was being grilled at Question Time in Parliament about the government’s performance in her portfolio domain, the Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito Williams Sio, was announcing new  initiatives to provide housing. 

Attorney-General David Parker, meanwhile, was announcing the appointments of three new District Court Judges, all of them in the Auckland region.   

The appointees are

Kirsten Lummis, lawyer of Auckland – appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Auckland. 

Nick Webby, lawyer of Auckland – appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Manukau. 

Ophir Cassidy, a lawyer of Auckland – appointed as a District Court Judge to the Waitakere District Court with a general jurisdiction warrant to sit as Youth Court Judge and to lead the Rangatahi Courts at both Hoani Waititi and Orakei Marae.                                                  

 The housing announcement for Pacific people from Sio includes: Continue reading “Figures flow when Woods answers questions about housing and govt targets – and look, they show a hefty rise in the waiting list”

Smelter company negotiates deal to get govt money for waste clean-up – Ngapuhi gets $150 million while negotiations drag on

The government is doing things by halves with public money in the south while going all out to set a $150 million precedent to win Ngapuhi favours in the north.

The negotiations resulting in public spending down south were  overseen by Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook, following legal action brought by the Environmental Defence Society to determine ownership and responsibility for removing toxic waste, called ouvea premix, stored in Mataura.

The Minister for the Environment – good for him, eh? – joined the proceedings to facilitate a solution for removing the material.

The Ministry for the Environment and New Zealand Aluminium Smelters will contribute up to an estimated $500,000 each for clean-up costs.

The government is pumping a much bigger sum – $150 million – into establishing an Investment Fund for the benefit of the Ngāpuhi tribe in the hope (it seems) that this might encourage progress in acrimonious treaty negotiations that have dragged on for years. Continue reading “Smelter company negotiates deal to get govt money for waste clean-up – Ngapuhi gets $150 million while negotiations drag on”