Being advised to contact Fig might have a fruitful outcome but perhaps we have gone to the wrong translator

It looked – for a few moments – as if the government was again favouring something from The Bible when looking for Te Reo names for its agencies and programmes.

One thing they want to avoid, for reasons only they can explain, is to connect the name too directly with the actual work done.

In the good old days, a visitor to this country who saw a sign that said “Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade” could reasonably conclude this was the agency whose staff handled the country’s foreign affairs and trade activities.  Likewise, the prosaic but uncomplicated names of the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Health effectively and unambiguously signal the nature of the work undertaken by those state agencies.

In short, these are user-friendly names.

But if you are told you might benefit from attending a state-funded Piki programme – what help or service should you expect? Continue reading “Being advised to contact Fig might have a fruitful outcome but perhaps we have gone to the wrong translator”

If we go where Britain goes – well, it’s bad news for the champions of more bikes and fewer cars

We bring disquieting news to Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter, the government she serves and all advocates of cycling to save the planet, improve our health … whatever.   Walking and cycling rates in Britain have not improved in nearly two decades,  throwing UK Government targets to boost “active” travel into doubt.

Figures published by the Department for Transport reveal cycling accounted for just 2 per cent of all journeys made in England last year.  The overall distance travelled on bicycles was the same as in 2002.

The Daily Mail tells us:  

The national travel survey also found the number of cycling trips made per person each year dropped from 18 in 2002 to 17 last year.

The stagnant figures come despite millions being invested in new cycle lanes – and suggest it is likely to fall well short of its target to double cycling trips between 2013 and 2025.

The number of journeys made on foot has remained steady over the 17-year period, standing at 264 in 2002 and 262 in 2018.

But the distance in miles walked per person each year has risen by 2 per cent in the same period, the DfT report said.

Cars are still the most common mode of transport, accounting for around 61 per cent of average miles travelled. The number of car journeys made between 2015 and 2018, both by drivers and passengers, was up 3 per cent.

Car ownership has also risen from 1.09 cars or vans per person in 2002 to 1.21 in 2018.

Continue reading “If we go where Britain goes – well, it’s bad news for the champions of more bikes and fewer cars”

Proposals to put the brakes on climate pollution run into a red light from Taxpayers’ Union

One lobby group spoke up on behalf of low-income people, when the government announced it is proposing to make electric, hybrid and fuel efficient vehicles more affordable.

Another – which speaks for car dealers – expressed a willingness to talk about the government’s plans.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced the policy, aimed at enabling families to “choose a vehicle that’s better for the climate and their back pocket”.

Presumably this will be done by calling on taxpayers to pick up a part of the tab.

Genter said the cars, utes and vans we use every day are also the fastest-growing source of harmful climate pollution and account for nearly 70 per cent of our transport emissions.  Continue reading “Proposals to put the brakes on climate pollution run into a red light from Taxpayers’ Union”

Genter stalls on question about NZTA safety campaign costs – so what does this tell us about her performance?

Julie Anne Genter, Minister of Women and self-appointed minister for culling old white blokes from board rooms, brings performance into considerations when she champions a policy of government intervention to get the gender mix right in the public service workplace.

She has brought the fairness argument into her rhetoric (having more women in leadership “is the right thing to do”) but further asserts

“… diversity helps organisations function more effectively”.

And:

“More women in leadership means better decision making, better organisational resilience and better performance.”

Better performance by what measure?

Point of Order wonders  about this in the light of Genter’s performance at Question Time in Parliament yesterday. Continue reading “Genter stalls on question about NZTA safety campaign costs – so what does this tell us about her performance?”

Getting the numbers right in Genter’s drive (long-distance) to zero road deaths

Catching up on our ministerial press statements after the Christmas break, we noted a small glitch – which was quickly corrected – in something from Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter’s office.

The corrected version said the official holiday period had ended with nine people tragically killed in crashes on New Zealand roads.

This was three people fewer than the 12 who died in the previous holiday season.

The original version of the statement had said nine was two people fewer than the 12 who died last holiday season. Continue reading “Getting the numbers right in Genter’s drive (long-distance) to zero road deaths”

Greenpeace gets heated over decision to protect exports and keep farming out of ETS

Greenpeace  has  got its  knickers  in a  twist  over the government’s decision   not to include  agriculture  within  the emissions trading scheme  as part of   reforms   which the government  says  will  help  improve the  operation of  the  scheme.

But  Greenpeace registers  “disbelief”   that what it calls  the country’s biggest polluter  is  still being excluded from the  scheme.

Point of Order,  noting the  increasing   stridency  of Greenpeace lobbying  on  climate change, believes it  reflects the organisation’s dismay  that the  Green  Party  is  not  doing its  job  (as Greenpeace  sees it) on  climate  change.

Almost  certainly  Winston Peters, as  leader of NZ  First,  put the   kibosh on  bringing  agriculture into the ETS. He  knows it would  not only  choke  the country’s leading export industries   but   kill  off  any support  NZ First  has tried to  win by  portraying itself  as  the “saviour”  of  failing provincial  economies. Continue reading “Greenpeace gets heated over decision to protect exports and keep farming out of ETS”

The Trough Monitor: $490,000 for bike park in Tourism Minister’s home patch

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones isn’t the only one to be bringing good cheer to those deemed worthy of benefiting from the Provincial Growth Fund.

The Point of Order Trough Monitor drew attention to Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis dipping into the fund to bring good news to his Te Tai Tokerau patch yesterday.

The announcement came in a press statement headed PGF invests in final push to complete Waitangi Mountain Bike Park,

The Government seems keen to get us pedalling.   Just a few days earlier Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced the NZ Transport Agency will provide $23 million over the next three years to expand the Bikes in Schools and cycle skills education to get more Kiwi kids on their bikes.

Davis announced a more modest sum: 

The Government is backing a high-arenaline tourism project in Northland by investing $490,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund towards the final stage of the Waitangi Mountain Bike Park, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced today.

Funding for the $2.1 million project has come from a variety of sources and it is anticipated that the project could create over 160 jobs after 10 years. When completed, the community-owned park will offer mountain bikers 72 kilometres of trails catering to all abilities, and is expected to attract 15,000 new visitors to the region after three years.

“This will be a premium tourist attraction for the Bay of Islands that will create jobs in the long term and support the success of surrounding businesses,” Kelvin Davis said.

“Cycle tourism is a growing part of the market. The Waitangi Mountain Bike Park will complement Northland’s other major cycling attraction – Pou Herenga Tai Far North Cycle Way – and the long term plan is to connect the two attractions.”

Continue reading “The Trough Monitor: $490,000 for bike park in Tourism Minister’s home patch”

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