Covid policy divides NZ into two camps – further division (Us and Them) is created by invoking The Treaty

Latest from the Beehive

The government has taken further steps to split the country into various camps – first, we will have vaccinated and unvaccinated Kiwis, and second, we are further developing Us and Them racial camps.   One split is being explained by the government’s need to protect the nation against the spread of Covid-19, the other is being justified by a debatable interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi.

When something must be done to meet the requirements of the Treaty (according to interpretations adopted by the Ardern government to promote its political agenda), most critics are likely to be silenced. To challenge the dispensation of favours to Maori or whatever has been justified by the Treaty is to risk being accused of racism.

The latest decision to split the country into vaccinated and unvaccinated camps – and to bestow rights and benefits, such as a job, on the vaccinated – affects Police and Defence personnel.

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood announced that workplace vaccination requirements will be extended to include the New Zealand Police and Defence Force in preparation for the transition to the new COVID-19 Protection Framework on 3 December 2021. Continue reading “Covid policy divides NZ into two camps – further division (Us and Them) is created by invoking The Treaty”

What must be embedded to modernise our research and science system? The treaty, of course (and don’t forget mātauranga Māori)

Latest from the Beehive

What had become a surge of ministerial announcements this time yesterday had turned into a tsunami at time of writing (around noon today).  Frankly, we can’t keep up.

We ended yesterday’s roundup of Beehive announcements with a statement on the PM’s virtual attendance at the East Asia Summit.  Since then, ministers have posted 16 new statements.  Several were Covid-related.

This was a good time for a smart press secretary to unload news of dubious government spending, hoping it will be buried by the other stuff, including Grant Robertson’s latest boast about how well the government’s finances are being managed.

Sure, core Crown expenses at $31 billion were $3.2 billion above forecast in the three months to the end of September – but, hey, that was all to do with Covid and the payment of wage subsidies and COVID-19 resurgence support payments.

But how well is spending being keep under control?

We wonder about this after Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti got to announce the news we were all bursting to hear – that Fifty Kiwi Kidsongs have been launched through the Ministry of Education’s Arts Online website. The project is a collaboration with Music Education New Zealand Aotearoa (MENZA). Continue reading “What must be embedded to modernise our research and science system? The treaty, of course (and don’t forget mātauranga Māori)”

Check out what is missing from climate reporting law – but Govt has ensured the Treaty plays a part in trade deal with UK

Latest from the Beehive

Press statements and ministerial speeches were flowing into Point of Order’s email in-tray faster than the government’s publicists could post them on the Beehive website this morning. 

The outpouring included news that the parts of Waikato in Alert Level 3 will remain at that alert level till Wednesday.  

More significantly, the PM addressed the nation in Churchillian terms:

 Today I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders to share a plan that will help us stay safe from COVID-19 into the future.

 A future where we want to continue to protect people’s lives, but also to live our lives – as safely as possible.

This speech was accompanied by other ministerial speeches and announcements dealing with something the PM described as 

 “… the new framework we will use to help us minimise the impact of COVID, and protect ourselves”.

It included an economic support package (especially for supporting Auckland businesses) and a plan (with more money) to accelerate Māori vaccination rates.

Inevitably this did not satisfy the government’s political opponents. Continue reading “Check out what is missing from climate reporting law – but Govt has ensured the Treaty plays a part in trade deal with UK”

Child care and protection is in for a shake-up but Davis accepts there will still be a need (“as a last resort”) for the state to intervene

A damning review has found that Oranga Tamariki is a “weak, disconnected and unfit” agency – and the Government says it will cease the controversial tactic of child uplifts.

So says NZ Herald political reporter Michael Neilson in the first paragraph of his account of the shake-up in store for the beleaguered Orangi Tamariki child welfare agency.

The Government has accepted all recommendations from the Ministerial Advisory Board which was set up earlier this year to provide advice on how to fix the country’s child care and protection system.

But the press statement from Kelvin Davis does not portend an end to the “uplifts” of children who need to be protected from their parents or care-givers.  

It does say:

Changes will see a major shift in decision making and resources at a local level, empowering communities to work together with Oranga Tamariki in the prevention of harm against children.

Oranga Tamariki has also been given a clear direction that uplifts, or without notice orders, should only be used as a last resort. Continue reading “Child care and protection is in for a shake-up but Davis accepts there will still be a need (“as a last resort”) for the state to intervene”

MPs (socially distanced) will be back in Parliament tomorrow – meanwhile Ministers have been appointing and spending

It looks like Parliament will be sitting again tomorrow – whoopee – although the MPs who turn up will be socially distanced rather than sitting virtually.

Who made the decision seems to be a matter for conjecture.  Thomas Coughlan, reporting in the NZ Herald, noted the ACT Party announcement that Parliament will return to sit this week in socially distanced form.

 But that was news to speaker Trevor Mallard who, along with many MPs this morning, found out about Act’s plans via press release.

Act leader David Seymour said he “welcomed the parliamentary business committee decision that a socially distanced Parliament will go ahead next week”.

Mallard, however, said Parliament’s business committee had not actually decided anything when it met on Friday night. Rather, it had not decided to delay Parliament or progress with another plan. Continue reading “MPs (socially distanced) will be back in Parliament tomorrow – meanwhile Ministers have been appointing and spending”

Don’t worry, folks – ‘He Puapua’ is not the plan, and we will all be allowed a say (eventually) in the promotion of indigenous rights

In a speech delivered at his Ngā Whare Waatea marae, titled The next steps for the United Nation Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,  Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson was reassuring about the next steps on the government’s agenda for promoting the interests of Maori.

He Puapua (the report which champions much more co-governance) is not the government’s plan.

Furthermore:

The Declaration was never meant to divide us. It is not a tool for separatism. It is not something to be afraid of.

That’s what’s made the recent uproar both confusing and disappointing.

The speech was posted on The Beehive website along with news of – Continue reading “Don’t worry, folks – ‘He Puapua’ is not the plan, and we will all be allowed a say (eventually) in the promotion of indigenous rights”

Get used to FPAs, if you are employing staff – and brace yourself to losing control over shaping what is a fair deal

We are tempted on occasion to cry: come back, Winston, all is forgiven. Big chunks of our society would benefit from a tempering influence of the sort exercised by New Zealand First – through its coalition agreement – on Labour-Green policy development and implementation from 2017-20.

Yes, they got in the way of some policies we would have welcomed.  But the Peters party frustrated policies to give effect to curiously separatist interpretations of the Crown’s Treaty obligations.  And it is credited (or discredited, depending on your perspective) with frustrating the introduction of Fair Pay Agreements (or FPAs, as the alphabet soup aficionados prefer).

But nowadays the Ardern government has a majority in the House, there’s no need for compromises, and she and her team are full steam ahead with Maori wards, a Maori Health Authority and – on the labour market front – a bill to introduce Fair Trade Agreements next year.

FPAs are a set of terms and conditions – including wages and working hours – which employers in a particular sector will be forced to abide by, with the overall aim of raising workplace standards.

We get a whiff of what’s up (a pong, if you are an employer) from a Newshub report which foresees a return to National Awards, a long-abandoned system of wage negotiation based on the principle that basic terms and conditions were best established by the collective workforce. Continue reading “Get used to FPAs, if you are employing staff – and brace yourself to losing control over shaping what is a fair deal”

After a flurry of wellbeing initiatives for Kiwis, the Govt lifts the wellbeing (and profit hopes, presumably) of Amazon movie-makers

The screen industry – or some of its more well-heeled operators – today learned the government is keen to improve its wellbeing.  This followed several blasts  of Beehive trumpeting about initiatives to improve the wellbeing and wellness of we Kiwis.

The announcements yesterday included the heartening news that the Government’s COVID-19 response has meant a record number of people moved off a Benefit and into employment in the March Quarter, with 32,880 moving into work in the first three months of 2021.

We further learned that

  • More children will be able to access mental wellbeing support with the Government expansion of Mana Ake services to five new District Health Board areas.
  • New measures are being proposed to accelerate progress towards becoming a smokefree nation by 2025.
  • Aupito Williams Sio announced Pacific people in New Zealand will be better supported with new mental health and addiction services rolling out across the Auckland and Wellington regions. 

This somewhat suggests Pacific people in the Auckland and Wellington regions will be better supported with new mental health and addiction services, rather than Pacific people across New Zealand.

But hey.  This was a press statement, right? Continue reading “After a flurry of wellbeing initiatives for Kiwis, the Govt lifts the wellbeing (and profit hopes, presumably) of Amazon movie-makers”

Besides creating a travel bubble, the govt was heaping more parental costs on taxpayers and easing the rates burden on Maori land

Our Beehive bulletin

The mainstream media – after eagerly awaiting the announcement – have made much of the news that quarantine-free travel between New Zealand and Australia will start on April 19.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins made the announcement, confirming that conditions for starting to open up quarantine free travel with Australia have been met.

The Dominion-Post gave it front-page treatment today but Point of Order  staff are sifting through its columns to find reports of Parliamentary action on other fronts, including the passage of legislation to give effect to another Treaty settlement that corrodes the country’s democracy with a new co-governance arrangement.

The “Treaty partnership” (a modern-day construct of judges and politicians that divides the country into Maori and non-Maori) was invoked in some of the day’s ministerial statements.

The announcements include –  Continue reading “Besides creating a travel bubble, the govt was heaping more parental costs on taxpayers and easing the rates burden on Maori land”

Report makes case for more money for our mental wellbeing (but it is presented in a maddening mix of Te Reo and English)

welcomed the Initial Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission’s assessment that transformation of New Zealand’s approach to mental health and addiction is under way.

“This is an important step in the Government’s work to provide better and equitable mental health and wellbeing outcomes for all people in New Zealand after years of underfunding,” Andrew Little said.

His statement didn’t mention how many millions are being devoted to mental health and wellbeing to remedy this under-funding.  The report does provide that information and (no surprises here, surely) it makes the case for more money.

The report (again, no surprises because it has become common practice for the state sector) has been published in a bizarre and formidable blend of English and te reo.

More than formidable, it can be almost impenetrable in places:

Continue reading “Report makes case for more money for our mental wellbeing (but it is presented in a maddening mix of Te Reo and English)”