Brian Easton:  Christmas briefing papers — what was the PM reading in the runup to Election Year?

Dr Brian Easton writes:

It’s the summer break. Everyone settles down with family, books, the sun and some fishing. But the Prime Minister has a pile of briefing papers prepared just before Christmas, which have to be worked through.

I haven’t seen them. Here is my guess at some of the headline items – in alphabetical order. (The identified ministers are those who were responsible at Christmas.)

Co-governance is being taken out of the active political policy process – ‘kicked down the road’ – until after the election. But it won’t go away.

Everyone has different understandings of what ‘co-governance’ means. It appears to be giving Māori a privileged role in the government of the country, which seems to undermine some central tenets of liberal democracy. Continue reading “Brian Easton:  Christmas briefing papers — what was the PM reading in the runup to Election Year?”

Sepuloni is chuffed about reduction in numbers on benefits – but more than 300,000 Kiwis are being succoured by the state

Social Development  and  Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni  was  quick  off  the mark to announce  the government’s  achievement in  getting  more  people off benefits. She  says the government’s response to COVID-19 has helped keep people in work, with March Quarter Benefit statistics showing a further fall in the number of people receiving a main benefit and jobseeker assistance.

There were 19,883 fewer people on a main benefit, compared with December, with near-record numbers of people moving into work, Sepuloni said.

The figures also showed an annual fall of 4.8 per cent in the number of people receiving a main benefit.

She  claims  it  was the government’s quick response to COVID-19  that had worked, with initiatives such as the Wage Subsidy and the economic support packages keeping people in work and delivering record low unemployment. Continue reading “Sepuloni is chuffed about reduction in numbers on benefits – but more than 300,000 Kiwis are being succoured by the state”

More co-governance – this time it is providing 30 jobs (instead of just 15) as the govt fortifies its role in the labour market

A co-governance system of administration is being introduced to the job-training and employment sector.

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni has announced a raft of co-chair appointments for the country’s 15 permanent Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLG).

Doubling up on chairs has the great merit of providing more jobs than when you have just one chair:  the groups will be headed by 30 co-chairs rather than 15 chairs.

One co-chair (the Crown’s representative in a Treaty-based arrangement, presumably) is nominated through an Expressions of Interest process, the other is selected in consultation with regional iwi and Māori.

Chairs will be appointed for up to three years.

This initiative seems to be fortifying the influence of central planning in the labour market.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website says Regional Skills Leadership Groups were formed a year ago to identify and support better ways of meeting future skills and workforce needs in our regions and cities.​

“They are part of a joined-up approach to labour market planning which will see our workforce, education and immigration systems working together to better meet the differing skills needs across the country.”

Sepuloni says appointing the co-chairs is the first step in establishing permanent RSLGs and developing Regional Workforce Plans.

These plans will explore the labour supply and demand trends for each region allowing us to better plan for, and address, future skills shortages, she says.

“The groups will focus on planning and addressing labour market issues in our regions, and once they are fully up and running will become a valuable resource for Government as we seek to accelerate our recovery from COVID-19.  

“The RSLGs will identify what change is needed from regional and national stakeholders in order to achieve a high-skill regional labour market.”

More information on RSLGs can be found here

Latest from the Beehive

Covid -19

Wellington to return to Level 1; QFT pause with Australia to lift for some states and ACT from Sunday

Cabinet agreed yesterday to shift the Wellington region to Alert Level 1 from 11:59pm last night.

The pause on Quarantine Free Travel from South Australia, ACT, Tasmania and Victoria will be lifted at 11.59pm (NZT) on Sunday 4 July.

A risk assessment has been completed for each state and territory. New South Wales is currently seen as the most risk, Queensland, Western Australia and Northern Territory are higher risk than the government is comfortable with, and South Australia, ACT, Tasmania and Victoria are consistent with New Zealand’s green flights category.

Travellers must have a test no more than 72 hours before their scheduled departure time, which means they have to have a sample taken and result returned within the three day time period.

Passengers should also:

  • understand the current public health measures that are in place,
  • wear face coverings on the aircraft and at the airport,
  • make a health declaration,
  • know they are subject to random temperature checks.
  • know the importance of downloading the COVID tracer app, and
  • self-isolate and be tested immediately if they have any symptoms of illness.

Further details of pre-departure requirements can be found on the COVID-19 website.

Child welfare

The Inter-yeti – taking the internet by storm to teach kids online safety

Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti announced an initiative to help children learn about online safety.

Gunther the Inter-yeti and his trusty friend Byte feature in an interactive ebook to help children understand what to do when they come across bullying trolls, scary content, and ‘friends’ who may not be who they say they are.

$2.1 million was granted from the Covid-19 Recovery Fund to develop this phase of the Keep It Real Online, with the help of young Kiwis aged 5-12 years old. The story is narrated by Stan Walker.

Labour market

Co-chairs appointed to Regional Skills Leadership

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni has announced the co-chair appointments for the permanent Regional Skills Leadership Groups (RSLG).

Appointing the co-chairs is the first step in establishing permanent RSLGs and developing Regional Workforce Plans.

The process for standing up interim RSLGs was fast-tracked as a result of COVID-19 to support the recovery of labour markets.