Nats flush Minister of Motels into the open at Question Time but ACT have yet to flush out figures they seek on new houses

The headline on a press statement from ACT – Megan Woods In Hiding On Housing – suggested the Minister of Housing had gone to ground somewhere. It quickly became apparent she hadn’t .

The press statement was posted on Scoop at 1:38 pm.  Before long, Woods was in the House answering questions about her housing portfolio, albeit from National, not ACT, and about the numbers of people being housed in motels rather than about the numbers of new houses forecast to be built this year.

The replies provided material for a press statement from the Nats later in the day, to highlight figures showing more than $1 million of taxpayer money is being spent each day on motels for emergency housing. 

Maybe there’s a case for Woods becoming Minister of Motels.   

According to the Nats’ press statement the Government spent $82.5 million, or $917,000 a day, in the past quarter on emergency housing grants for people to live in motels and similar accommodation. This is on top of the $155,000 a day the Government is spending on motels for transitional housing purposes.

This is a more than ten-fold increase on what was being spent on emergency housing when Labour came into office, National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says. Continue reading “Nats flush Minister of Motels into the open at Question Time but ACT have yet to flush out figures they seek on new houses”

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”

Woods sticks to her script (a list of what the government has done) after economist rails about housing

As Minister of Housing, she is acutely aware of how decades of under-investment in infrastructure and the building of affordable homes has led us to where we are today, Megan Woods said yesterday.

Great.  But what is being done about it?

Plenty – but nothing that hasn’t been announced already, it seems.

At least, not according to the speech which Woods delivered to the InfrastructureNZ conference.

Woods ticked off a list of programmes already under way and legislation already passed, and she reiterated the Government’s intention to replace the Resource Management Act.  But an audience of infrastructure buffs hoping to be the first to hear of new initiatives would have been disappointed.

Woods’ speech was among the new posts on the Beehive website, since we last checked.

Among the others: Continue reading “Woods sticks to her script (a list of what the government has done) after economist rails about housing”

Housing Minister is chuffed about latest building stats – but “housing chaos” grabbed the headlines

It wasn’t the best of days for Megan Woods to be braying about the latest residential building statistics.

Her press statement from the Beehive was vying for public attention with an RNZ report – which the NZ Herald carried on its website this morning – drawing attention to a claim about the country’s housing crisis becoming “housing chaos”.

The claim came from an emergency housing provider, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust chief executive Bernie Smith, who said his organisation should never have been allowed to grow so big over the years.

“In 2016, we had 30 properties today we’ve got 400 properties, we’ve got 300 families waiting for a home and it just saddens me, particularly when children are involved,” he said.

The public housing register had more than tripled from 5844 in September 2017 to 19,438 in July 2020.

Smith said families were spending between 60 and 80 per cent of their household incomes on rent, forcing many out of the private rental market.

“When Labour was wanting to be elected and they called it a crisis, we called it a crisis, but it has gone beyond the crisis,” he said. Continue reading “Housing Minister is chuffed about latest building stats – but “housing chaos” grabbed the headlines”

Fingers crossed about the border being made Covid-tight but let’s salute the further assault on Taumurunui’s housing shortage

Our daily check with the Beehive website revealed nothing new until this afternoon, and then we found just one new announcement.

It came from – guess who?

Yep.  Shane Jones was again demonstrating his munificence, providing $7.78 million for the Ruapehu District Council to “jump-start” its Housing Options programme.

But a statement with much greater national significance had been made by Housing Minister Megan Woods and despatched to the Point of  Order  email intray.

Woods advised us the government is reducing its reliance on private security guards and increasing its use of Defence Force personnel, especially in the highest risk facilities, to fortify the Managed Isolation and Quarantine System and maritime border and further bolster (we hope) protections against community COVID-19 spread.    

The defence personnel will staff higher-risk security areas such as entry and exit points and public areas.

But the private sector isn’t being forsaken. Woods said:

Continue reading “Fingers crossed about the border being made Covid-tight but let’s salute the further assault on Taumurunui’s housing shortage”

While Megan Woods plugs leaks in the quarantine system, we may wonder who is delivering the transformation promised in 2017

An epic  failure,  or  just   “missteps”  in  NZ’s  border  controls?   The painful discovery  of  a lack of rigorous testing  in the quarantine regime against Covid-19 has enabled media columnists to rail against one of  the  more spectacular  bureaucratic blunders  of  the  modern  era.      

In answer to our question, the columnists  have been  virtually  unanimous  it  was  the  former although the NZ  Herald, more kindly, in  its  editorial  judged  them to be   just  missteps.

Opposition  politicians, too,  were  not  slow  to  join the  contest:  ACT’s  David  Seymour led  the way, labelling   it  the   “Dad’s Army routine  at  the  border”.

Whether   it  has  taken  the  gloss  off   Jacinda  Ardern’s  political  leadership  is  another  question. Most  of  the  critics  distributed  the  blame  more  widely,   pointing the  finger    at  Health  Minister   David  Clark  or   the  Director-general  of  Health,  Dr Ashley  Bloomfield   (lauded previously as  “saintly”),   and even  to  those  supposedly   tasked, as  one   columnist said, with carrying  out the restrictions  within  the  quarantine  protocol. Continue reading “While Megan Woods plugs leaks in the quarantine system, we may wonder who is delivering the transformation promised in 2017”

NZ’s border systems were “rigorous” (until two infected women exposed their flaws) – now they are being made “robust”

Latest from the Beehive

Housing Minister Megan Woods has vowed  “robust systems” will be put in place to ensure the managed isolation and quarantine of returning New Zealanders, RNZ reports. And there will be consequences for people who break those rules.

Robust systems will be put in place?  But none other than the PM had led us to believe we already had them.

Correction.  She led us to believe the systems were rigorous.

On April 19, discussing what was being considered by the government before a decision was made next day on whether to extend the level 4 lockdown, Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand’s quarantine and border measures were thought to be “absolutely” sufficient to move into level 3.

“They’re very, very rigorous. We have currently 1601 individuals who are in facilities managed by the government,” she said.

Woods now was appearing at a media briefing and promising a robust  system after the PM gave her Ministerial responsibility for Managed Isolation and Quarantine and appointed Air Commodore Darryn Webb as Head of Managed Isolation and Quarantine.

The politically embarrassing reason for those appointments was the exposure of serious weaknesses which made the system somewhat less than rigorous.  Continue reading “NZ’s border systems were “rigorous” (until two infected women exposed their flaws) – now they are being made “robust””

Critics of the oil industry should be careful about what they wish should happen to it

When  Energy  Minister  Megan  Woods  announced  in February the government was  taking action  which   would lead to  lower petrol prices,  she  probably  didn’t  envisage  the outcomes delivered to the  fuel  market  by the impact of   the Covid-19  lockdown.

Z Energy   which has  45%   of  the  market  has just announced  a  loss of  $88m for the year.

So the  government  which  has argued  since being elected    that  motorists were  being “fleeced”    and  blamed   the  petrol  resellers   for  their high margins  now  has a different  problem  on  its  hands.

Instead  of  the   huge  revenue  flows   it  extracted  from  motorists  for  the various  taxes  it  imposed  on petrol  (which  sent  prices  soaring) it  has  a  big  hole  opening   in the  National  Land Transport  Fund.  The   government  may now  have to  find    other   means  of  funding  transport projects  either under  way  or planned. Continue reading “Critics of the oil industry should be careful about what they wish should happen to it”

Science Minister draws attention to a new trough (which now has more money in it than at the time of its establishment in March)

The Point of Order Trough Monitor has alerted us to a new trough, except our monitor obviously needs fine tuning because the trough is not quite as new as it seemed at first blush.

By the time it was announced yesterday by Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, the fund had been up and going for several weeks and its administrators had been distributing generous servings from it.

It’s the COVID-19 Innovation Acceleration Fund, aimed at the fast development of new products and services that could help to detect, diagnose, treat or prevent COVID-19, by supporting research and development, prototyping and pre-production activities.

But the puzzling aspect of the Minister’s statement is its acknowledgement that: Continue reading “Science Minister draws attention to a new trough (which now has more money in it than at the time of its establishment in March)”

$13m granted to teach Siri to speak Te Reo – but some of it will be directed to the British and US boffins whose help is needed

The Taxpayers Union promptly picked up on the spending of millions of dollars of public money, almost beating the Point of Order Trough Monitor to sound an alert.

The union focussed on just one of four projects to be funded from a trough labelled “Strategic Science Investment Fund”.  This project – to receive $13 million of taxpayers’ money – aims to teach Siri to speak Te Reo.

Siri (Wikepedia explains) is a virtual assistant that is part of Apple Inc.’s iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, macOS, tvOS and audioOS operating systems.   

Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Wood made special mention of Siri in her press statement.

The Taxpayers Union, however, challenged the wisdom of this spending in a press statement headed $13 million teaching Siri to use Te Reo is an IT boondoggle.

boondoggle (for those unfamiliar with the expression) is a project that is considered a waste of both time and money, yet is often continued due to extraneous policy or political motivations. Continue reading “$13m granted to teach Siri to speak Te Reo – but some of it will be directed to the British and US boffins whose help is needed”