According to the blare from the Beehive, the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme will be further extended to 31 December, a new $162 million package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs, and the PM has delivered a speech to the party faithful.
We imagine Kelvin Davis is being hailed for his services to Maori through his portfolio as Minister of Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti but perhaps not so much for his services to tourism as Minister of Tourism.
At least, not when the headline numbers of handouts and help for Maori and for tourism are spotted.
Concerns throughout the country about tourism and its adverse impacts – crowded towns, clogged roads, dangerous drivers, filthy freedom campers, congested trails – were examined by Mike White in Noted in August. He asked if we need to limit the number of tourists coming here, a question supported by the statistics he produced.
A hundred years ago, 8000 overseas visitors came here (each year, presumably).
By the early 1960s, that had risen to 100,000; then 500,000 in the 1980s. Through the 1990s, international tourist numbers rocketed by 85% to 1.8 million. There were static years after the 2007-2008 global financial crisis, but recently things have boomed again. Encouraged by cheaper jet fuel, more airlines flying here, and the middle classes of China and India beginning to travel, there has been a 40% growth in overseas visitors in the past five years, to 3.9 million a year at present. That’s predicted to expand to 5.1 million by 2025. Nobody is suggesting the growth will stop there.
White acknowledged that tourism is our biggest earner, reaping $39 billion last year ($16 billion from overseas tourists – 20% of our exports – and $23 billion from Kiwis holidaying at home). More than 200,000 people are directly employed in tourism, about 8% of the workforce.
It’s unquestionably a cornerstone of the country’s economy.
The unnamed bloke who strangled British backpacker Grace Millane in a case of “rough sex” taken too far (according to his defence lawyer) was found guilty of her murder yesterday.
He is scheduled to be sentenced in February.
There was a time when he could expect to be sentenced to life imprisonment, a misnomer for a jail term that might result in his being detained at her majesty’s pleasure for 20 years or so – perhaps less.
This would make him a prisoner or prison inmate. But not on Kelvin Davis’ watch as Minister of Corrections.
Davis is keen to have miscreants’ mana restored in establishments where prison officers are encouraged to regard the people in their custody not as a ‘prisoner’ or ‘offender’ but as ‘men in our care’ (at least in a prison for men).
Google may well need to spend more time in a Maori immersion course.
We suggest this because we have just asked it to translate “Hokai Rangi” for us. This happens to be the name the Corrections Department has given to its widely publicised strategy for reducing (a) prison inmate numbers and (b) the high percentage of Maori in the prison population.
Google’s answer to our request for a translation, somewhat surprisingly, was one word: Heaven.
In tune with the new philosophy being adopted to prison management, that simple answer suggests inmates henceforth should be known as Heavenly Creatures,
This may well be handy for the mana of someone who who has just been banged up for several years for, let’s say, aggravated robbery or some other form of serious violence. When the offspring at home ask where dad has gone, mum can say he has gone to Heaven.
Yesterday was Friday so Shane Jones and his bag(s) of goodies should have been in ….
Oh, yes. Back on his home patch of Northland and (no surprise) he returned to distribute money.
Meningitis was there, too, as a political rival , Whangarei MP Shane Reti, pointed out.
An agenda item for next week’s Northland District Health Board meeting confirms that there has been another case of Meningitis W in Northland, Reti said in a press statement.
“This brings the total to two this year after a seven month old child contracted the disease earlier in the year. There were seven cases of Meningitis W in Northland last year and an outbreak was declared on 8 November, resulting in one death.”
Reti had “grave concerns” that meningitis would flare up again over winter.
Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones can’t be in two places at once and so had to share the headlines today, as more handouts from the Provincial Growth Fund were announced.
Jones took care of announcing a dip into the fund to boost economic growth in Otago.
Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis shared the limelight. He enthused about Clutha Gold being one of the 22 Great Rides of Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trail “and we’re delighted to be encouraging more people to get on a bike and experience the beauty of Central Otago through this investment,” he said.
The press statement says the PGF will provide a “grant” of $6.5m to the project and the Government’s Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund will provide an additional $1.5 million.
A press statement from the office of the Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau, meanwhile, drew attention to a more modest bucket of PGF goodies for the Wairarapa.
In this case New Zealand First’s Ron Mark had the pleasure of making the announcement in Carterton. He is a former mayor of Carterton.
A “strategic investment into the development of whenua” was another announcement today.
Budget 2019 allocates $56.1 million over four years towards implementing the Whenua Māori Programme which Mahuta announced in February.
We were alerted to these goings-on with taxpayers’ money by the Point of Order Trough Monitor, which keeps tabs on Beehive announcements of government spending, investments, handouts, giveaways – and so on.
No – and there was more than one delivery of Easter goodies.
This lot did not go to the Far North.
The Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau, delivered his largess (paid for by taxpayers) to the top of the South Island. The Point of Order Trough Monitor was immediately alerted.