Recovering our relationships with China, ASEAN and Samoa while grappling with climate change and protecting the kauri

Buzz from the Beehive

New Zealand’s relationships with China, the ASEAN countries and Samoa were embraced by speeches and announcements that flowed from the Beehive after Disarmament Minister Phil Twyford had delivered his Statement to the 2022 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor addressed the China Business Summit, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departed for the Indo-Pacific region for a programme of talks on security and economic issues, and the PM announced the launch of a new climate change partnership with Samoa and confirmed support for the rebuild of the capital’s main market.

The PM’s announcements were accompanied by $15 million to support Samoa’s response to climate change and $12 million toward the rebuild of the Savalalo Market in Apia

Ministers with a domestic focus meanwhile were getting on with telling us about their legislative and regulatory agendas and other programmes.

A major item was the launch today of New Zealand’s first National Adaptation Plan, designed to ensure communities have the information and support they need to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

But our lives will also be affected – for better or worse – by:- Continue reading “Recovering our relationships with China, ASEAN and Samoa while grappling with climate change and protecting the kauri”

Fonterra puts electric tanker on the road while Hyundai and NZ Post turn to hydrogen (thanks to govt co-funding)

Buzz from the Beehive

It’s great to have Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods – while “celebrating” the launch of two initiatives for energy decarbonisation in the transport sector in New Zealand – give as an idea of what happens to handouts of government money.

Too often, the handouts are announced – and that’s the last we hear of it.

In this case Woods has drawn the public’s attention to two projects  which (she contends) were

“… made possible with the help of Government funding”.

This implies they would have been impossible if Government funding had been denied.

Really?

Whatever might have happened without the state’s investments,Woods could boast that the money has resulted in –

  • New Zealand’s (and possibly the world’s) first electric milk tanker entering Fonterra’s fleet; and
  • Hyundai and NZ Post getting the country’s first hydrogen truck on the road.

Continue reading “Fonterra puts electric tanker on the road while Hyundai and NZ Post turn to hydrogen (thanks to govt co-funding)”

Buzz from the Beehive: While climate change assault is outlined, DoC Minister plants a kauri and Mahuta rocks Belarussia

The big news from the  Beehive in the past day has been the announcement of the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan to put the country on track to meet its first emissions budget, securing our environment and economy.

More of that in our next post.  For now, suffice to say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared:

“This is a landmark day in our transition to a low emissions future  

“We’ve all seen the recent reports on sea level rise and its impact right here in New Zealand. We cannot leave the issue of climate change until it’s too late to fix.” Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: While climate change assault is outlined, DoC Minister plants a kauri and Mahuta rocks Belarussia”

Buzz from the Beehive: the lights are changing and mandates going as PM declares Covid success (but how will Daniel react?)

 In a letter to the Dominion-Post today, a Daniel Smith from Lower Hutt tells us what he thinks of at least one aspect of National Party policy on Covid-19.

He says recent calls by Chris Bishop and Christopher Luxon to immediately withdraw Covid-19 mandates at a time when the majority of New Zealand is still experiencing very high rates of hospitalisation

“… beggars belief and is nothing less than irresponsible.

“Have these people not seen what has occurred in the multitude of other countries with limited pandemic control measures in place?  If not, they need to start paying attention.”

“Clearly the opposition parties in New Zealand, which are supposed to be advocating for greater accountability, don’t feel they should be held accountable [for] their own poor-quality policy proposals.  We deserve better.”

Whether or not things are better under Jacinda Ardern is open to debate.  But they are different.

The PM has resisted the call to immediately withdraw Covid-19 mandates.  No, she informed us today – they won’t be withdrawn until April 4 (with some exceptions remaining in place).

ACT staffers were monitoring the announcement, resulting in this press statement:

“No wonder we have a productivity problem when even the Prime Minister takes 22 minutes to deliver 2 minutes of information,” says ACT Leader David Seymour. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: the lights are changing and mandates going as PM declares Covid success (but how will Daniel react?)”

Buzz from the Beehive: No place to hide (at least, not if govt gets it right with money-laundering law changes)

The Government is intending to force the disclosure of the real owners of companies and limited partnerships with legislation to curb money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism financing.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said the legislation – to be introduced later this year – will make it mandatory for the beneficial owners or controllers of companies and trusts to be identified.

Other announcements from the Beehive deal with …

  • Mental health: a recruitment campaign has been launched, targetting “the next generation of mental health nurses”.
  • Horticulture: public funding is being pumped into the trial of a new hydroponic growing technique that aims to have higher yields and a lower impact on the environment.
  • The war in Ukraine: New Zealand will provide a further $5 million contribution of “non-lethal military assistance” to support Ukraine and are making available a range of surplus defence equipment to share with Ukraine at their request.
  • Biosecurity: This year’s New Zealand Biosecurity Awards winners have been announced.

The Bill to “crack down” on global and domestic criminals who use businesses to hide money laundering, tax evasion and the financing of terrorism gel with the Government’s National Security Priorities to help identify threats, risks, and challenges to New Zealand’s security and wellbeing, David Clark said. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: No place to hide (at least, not if govt gets it right with money-laundering law changes)”

Govt orders wages up and urges Kiwis out – or how to heap a burden on bosses while making escape from Ukraine a dilemma

First, there was good news for low-paid workers, although it wasn’t so good for employers.  The government announced it was raising the minimum wage 6 per cent from $20 to $21.20 an hour from April 1.

Next day, the government was issuing something it presumably regarded as good advice for New Zealanders in an overseas trouble spot, but this had a disconcerting dimension to it.

These New Zealanders were urged to get out of Ukraine fast as Russian troops amass on the border.  The snag is that getting back into New Zealand won’t be as easy as getting out of Ukraine.

The rise in the minimum wage was described by Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) chief executive Brett O’Riley as  a “kick in the guts” for many businesses.  This was ironic – he contended – because business groups had been discussing with Treasury what extra support might be available for sectors struggling with constraints imposed by the red-setting response to Covid-19.

But one business sectors probably was mollified by the news it was being given special government help. The Events Transition Support Payment scheme will be extended to 31 January 2023 and expanded to include business events.

Another sector, digital technologies, would have been distracted by the release of a draft Industry Transformation Plan for consultation. Continue reading “Govt orders wages up and urges Kiwis out – or how to heap a burden on bosses while making escape from Ukraine a dilemma”

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”