Dogs decision delayed – but the horse-racing industry looks like a good bet (at least for now) after TAB’s competitors are nobbled

Buzz from the Beehive

Money was profusely flowing or generously being committed in a raft of ministerial announcements and speeches over the past 24 hours.

If we tallied all the dollar signs in all the new press statements on the government’s official website, billions would be involved.

But in some cases, the ministers didn’t bother to tell the public how much their projects are costing. Maybe they don’t know.

In another case, the hundreds of millions involved will fund the racing industry by cocooning the TAB against overseas competition.

Regional Development Minister Kiri Allan said the opening of the Matawii reservoir was the first of three significant water security projects being delivered in Northland, to boos regional business and climate resilience.  A $68 million Government investment supported the construction of the reservoir, along with two other water storage and distribution projects being developed by Tai Tokerau Water Trust in Kaipara and the Mid North.

Small Business Minister Ginny Andersen announced the launch of a “a new tool to help small business owner-operators manage and improve their mental wellbeing”.

Can this be tax relief? Continue reading “Dogs decision delayed – but the horse-racing industry looks like a good bet (at least for now) after TAB’s competitors are nobbled”

Incomes are lifted for many Kiwis and Maori mountain managers in Taranaki get $35m – but “Egmont” is being expunged

Buzz from the Beehive

The big bread-and-butter issue of pay packets and weekly incomes was at the core of three ministerial statements since Point of Order’s previous monitoring of the Beehive website.

Andrew Little was earning his keep, meanwhile, by delivering a speech in which he discussed co-governance.

He was involved in a Treaty-based exercise aimed at having a mountain declared a person, for legal purposes, although it is not clear if we could sue it or have it arrested in the same way we can sue or prosecute real people.

But much more is happening, according to Little’s speech.

The main peak of Mt Taranaki/Mt Egmont will be renamed Taranaki Maunga and Egmont National Park/Te Papakura o Taranaki will become Te-Papa-Kura-o-Taranaki,

But whoa.  This is not so much a renaming but rather an excision of words rooted in colonisation like “Egmont”, “park” and “mountain”.

For good measure, the taxpayers who have had no say in this deal will provide $35 million for Taranaki tribes to do whatever they intend doing to restore their mana, exercise their sovereignty and so on.

The statements dealing with incomes are –

Over a quarter of New Zealanders to get cost of living relief from tomorrow

From tomorrow over 1.4 million New Zealanders are expected to receive a little extra to help with the cost of living as a result of changes made by the Government.

Thousands of community nurses getting April pay boost

Over 8000 community nurses will start receiving well-deserved pay rises of up to 15 percent over the next month as a Government initiative worth $200 million a year kicks in.

 Government takes next step to lift artists’ incomes

The Government is introducing a scheme which will lift incomes for artists, support them beyond the current spike in cost of living and ensure they are properly recognised for their contribution to New Zealand’s economy and culture.

The last of those announcements is worth closer examination.

Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, recalled that – in line with New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with the UK – the government last year announced the Government was establishing an Artist Resale Royalty Scheme.

Now it is introducing a Bill that will ensure creators of visual arts are recognised and rewarded when their work is resold on the secondary art market.

She said:

“Artists have some of the lowest median incomes in New Zealand and have limited opportunities to benefit from their work on an ongoing basis.

“It will establish an Artist Resale Royalty Scheme, which ensures a five percent royalty is collected every time an artist’s work is re-sold, meaning artists will benefit from their creations on an ongoing basis.

More than 80 countries, including Australia, the UK and all EU nations, have a similar royalty scheme in place for their artists.

Another new ministerial statement deals with Pacific language weeks –

Dates announced for 2023 Pacific language weeks

Minister for Pacific Peoples Barbara Edmonds has announced the 2023 Pacific Language week series, highlighting the need to revitalise and sustain languages for future generations.

When (we wonder) will the Government launch Mandarin Language Week, or Hindi Language Weekk, or Urdu Language Week – or umpteen other possibilities to consume public funding and keep bureaucrats in work?

And then there’s Andrew Little’s speech, delivered as Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations –

Speech to Taranaki Chamber of Commerce and TOI Foundation breakfast

Today is an important day for Taranaki, and for all of its people – including this boy from New Plymouth.

Little was speaking about the Crown’s agreement with Taranaki tribes that would result – later this morning – in Okaiawa, Ngā Iwi o Taranaki and him (as the Crown representative) initialling the final historical Treaty of Waitangi redress deed affecting the Taranaki region.

This  is the Taranaki Maunga Collective Redress Deed, Te Ruruku Pūtakerongo,

The main elements:

  • The Crown will make an apology for its historical breaches of the Treaty of Waitangi. The apology will include:
    • The Crown is sorry that the promise of partnership that arose in 1840 so quickly became a history of conflict, confiscation, and neglect;
    • The Crown will profoundly apologise for its confiscation of Taranaki Maunga in 1865;
    • The Crown hopes that through this apology the connections to ngā maunga can be restored and strengthened, so that future generations might again look to Taranaki as a symbol of resilience and hope, rather than of loss.
  • Next, the official name of the national park will be changed. It will be Te-Papa-Kura-o-Taranaki, meaning ‘the highly regarded and treasured lands of Taranaki’. The name Egmont will be removed completely. The main peak will be known as Taranaki Maunga.
  • Other ancestral peaks on the mountain and across the ranges will also be recognised: Pouākai, Patuhā, Kaitake and Panitahi (Fantham’s Peak).
  • The Mount Egmont Vesting Act 1978 (under which the mountain was vested in the Taranaki Māori Trust Board and then gifted back to the Crown) will be repealed and a new legal framework established for the mountain. This framework involves recognising the mountain as a legal person, and other structures created to support governance and kaitiakitanga  of it).
  • The national park will continue to be administered under the National Parks Act 1980.
  • There will be a $35 million contribution made to the iwi collective entity, Te Tōpuni Ngārahu, to assist in exercising its statutory functions and support the health and wellbeing of the maunga.
  • The deed also includes an agreed historical account which sets out in more detail the history of Crown Treaty breaches in relation to Taranaki Maunga and the surrounding lands.

Little explained that the eight Taranaki tribes will have a new collective body, named Te Tōpuni Ngārahu, to act on behalf of them all.

The national park including the mountain and the surrounding peaks will be vested in its own legal entity named Te Kāhui Tupua, meaning ‘the collective of ancestors’.

This will have all the rights, powers, duties and responsibilities of a legal person – a similar arrangement to what has been done before, such as with the Whanganui River and Te Urewera, which tells us a powerful precedent was set with the Whanganui settlement. The river became a living person, legally, without much murmuring of dissent.

Little said:

And as has been the case with those previous examples, a representative entity will be established to act as the human face and voice of Te Kāhui Tupua (which, remember, is the mountain, the national park, and the surrounding peaks).

That representative body will be made up of four Crown appointees and four iwi appointees, all of whom must act in the best interests of the maunga. This entity will be named Te Tōpuni Kōkōrangi.

What these new arrangements mean is that the responsibility to care for this most special of places rests with us all. It reflects the mana of local iwi over their maunga.

And it upholds the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty, on behalf of all New Zealanders.

Little proceeded to discuss the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Treaty was not an agreement between Pākeha and Māori, he said – it was an agreement between the Crown and Māori, he said.

Making the agreement work required finding ways through difficult issues together.

This led to Little bringing co-governance into considerations.

Some call joint arrangements “co-governance”. Others just call it partnership. Mostly I – and I know my predecessors of various political stripes in this portfolio – have found it’s really just about working together to make New Zealand better.

This agreement is just the latest of many examples of partnership.

Co-governance arrangements are a form of partnership with groups of special standing or expertise. They are about governments working together with communities, experts or other partners to provide direction over a sphere of shared interest to achieve better outcomes.

They have taken many forms, and have been used to get the best outcomes for our land, resources and for our communities.

That’s why successive governments have entered into them, and why they have endured.

Little then drew attention to the views of Christopher Finlayson, his predecessor in the Key Government, on the important role that co-governance agreements play.

He makes the point that government is not the only source of wisdom and knowledge. If we want the best decisions then we need the best possible input, including the longstanding historical links tāngata whenua have with our natural resources.

Little proceeded to discuss some of the larger and better-known examples of the Crown working in collaboration with Maori tribes around New Zealand.

He mentioned  the Te Urewera Board, established in 2014. Its board comprises six Tūhoe appointees and three Crown appointees who act as the representative of that legal person and oversee the activities in Te Urewera;

But he opted to focus on and enthuse about the success of the Waikato River Authority, established in 2010, represented by five Crown members and five iwi members.

Chris Finlayson, let the record show, recently wrote an article for The Listener about power sharing.

There have been “teething problems” and “a few controversies”, he acknowledged.

Perhaps he had been reading Point of Order (HERE and HERE)

He said that, in hindsight…

I think one major thing went wrong. The word “co-management” morphed into “co-governance” I do now know they.  It was never intended to mean anything different, but in hindsight, it was regrettable.  The problem is that the word “governance” is too close to the word “govern”.

Finlayson insisted “co-governance” was meant to describe the agreements he discussed in his article,

… subject in nearly all cases to local authority control.  No more, no less.

He noted that National leader Chris Luxon has spelled out out what a National Government would to with regard to partnership with Māori tribes to deliver services.  Luxon favours the tribes providing leadership at a local level rather than being over-governed from Wellington.

Hipkins responded by accusing Luxon of stoking fear (“an accusation reported uncritically by most of the media”) and told him to reflect on his behaviour.

In contrast to Luxon, Hipkins has provided no detail about his view on co-governance, and wasn’t even asked to provide one. How depressingly predictable.

Finlayson concluded that co-governance is a limited, successful concept intended to address treaty grievances.

But it has morphed into a source of genuine concern for some New Zealanders

These people are owed an explanation by the government as to why it has allowed this situation to arise, Finlayson says.

Take that, Iran – but what must countries do to be considered unfit for sitting on the UN Human Rights Council?

Buzz from the Beehive

China is a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, along with countries such as Eritrea, Somalia and Libya, despite their shabby records when it comes to political rights and civil liberties.

We can only conjecture on what they must do to rile our government – and others – and be kicked off the council.  

But today we can celebrate the news that Iran has been booted off the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women, the first time a member state has been removed, according to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

She welcomed the news in a statement headed –

Iran removed from Commission on the Status of Women

New Zealand is welcoming the successful removal overnight of Iran from the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women, the first time a member state has been, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. Continue reading “Take that, Iran – but what must countries do to be considered unfit for sitting on the UN Human Rights Council?”

Little’s speech to nurses draws attention to the matter of language and comprehension as well as to visas and wages

 If the delegates at a conference of nurses yesterday serve as a guide, when it comes to our telling them what ails us and describing the symptoms, we should worry about how many cannot comprehend English and how many prefer to communicate in te reo.

This question of language and communication has been raised after Health Minister Andrew Little kicked off his address to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Toputanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa Conference.

He chose words that are incomprehensible if you happen to have no grasp of te reo.

Tēnā tātou katoa

Ki te reo pōwhiri, kei te mihi

Ki a koutou ngā pou o te whare hauora o Aotearoa, kei te mihi

He taura tangata, he taura kaupapa e hono ana i a tātou katoa i tēnei rā,

Arā, ko te New Zealand Nurses Organisation Toputanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa annual conference.

Mauri ora ki a tātou katoa.

Little’s speech has been posted on the Beehive website along with news that ministers have been… Continue reading “Little’s speech to nurses draws attention to the matter of language and comprehension as well as to visas and wages”

Budget unleashes laments from groups that were overlooked or short-changed (including hopes of Human Rights empire-building)

And how did the people react to the boost in spending announced in this year’s Budget to promote our wellbeing?

In some cases by pleading for more; in other cases, by grouching they got nothing.

But Budget spending is never enough.

Two lots of bleating came from the Human Rights Commission, which somewhat draws attention to the potential for a $15 million a year saving by abolishing the agency – a budget-trimming measure advocated by the ACT Party.

One statement – in the name of Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero – said Budget 2022 has pluses and minuses for the disabled community.

On the plus side,there was considerable investment in the new Ministry for Disabled People and other funding which has the potential to benefit the disabled community.  And there was some funding for community-based services which support the disabled community. Continue reading “Budget unleashes laments from groups that were overlooked or short-changed (including hopes of Human Rights empire-building)”

Govt data tells us the size of bigger Crown debt but Sepuloni is silent about how welfare spending might further lift it

A familiar refrain was warbled among the latest posts on The Beehive website this morning.  It was posted in the name of Finance Minister Grant Robertson, who said the resilience of the economy continues to be reflected in the Government’s financial accounts and puts the country in a strong position to respond to the ongoing pandemic.

But at Point of Order, we have become conditioned to expect Robertson will chirrup about the economy’s resilience each time the financial statements are published, which is regularly.

We were looking out for news of big or dubious spending by a government which (according to the Crown accounts) has lifted the net core Crown debt to 36.8 per cent of GDP.

We are unable to tell if we found such news in a social welfare spending announcement under the heading Government Provides Stability for Whānau Self Isolating. 

The statement said the Government is providing additional support for people and families who must self-isolate, helping them to access the services they need as Omicron cases start to ramp up and more New Zealanders are affected by the virus. Continue reading “Govt data tells us the size of bigger Crown debt but Sepuloni is silent about how welfare spending might further lift it”

Cheering news for Aucklanders (as they brace for govt’s latest Covid response) – art therapy might lift sagging self-esteem

We learned of the government’s latest dip into the $374 million Covid trough from the Taxpayers’ Union, before we had read the official announcement from Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

The union was scornfully disapproving.

Spokesman Louis Houlbrooke railed against the Government’s appropriation of COVID-19 response funds for ‘creative spaces’ as evidence of how bizarre its ‘Arts and Culture COVID Recovery Programme’ has become.

Creative NZ had begun chewing into the $374 million by giving grants to art projects that could be progressed during lockdown, Houlbrooke recalled.

Many of the projects were of dubious value, but at least there was a clear link to the pandemic.

Now Creative NZ has announced more millions are being spent

“… for ‘creative spaces’ so wannabe artists can ‘build up their confidence and self-esteem’ and gain ‘a sense of fulfilment’.   

“Sorry to say it, but art therapy is not an established cure for COVID-19. Nor does art therapy work as an economic response to the pandemic when there are more vital projects in health and infrastructure.” Continue reading “Cheering news for Aucklanders (as they brace for govt’s latest Covid response) – art therapy might lift sagging self-esteem”

Not all the millions offered by the Ardern govt have been accepted – let’s see how it fares with new law on aversion therapy

Several million dollars have been dished out for projects to build schools, control wilding pine control and what-have-you.

Nurses – on the other hand – have turned down the money they were offered.

In their case,  Health Minister Andrew Little is obviously bemused and frustrated.  

He was advised last night that Nurses Organisation members had voted to reject the latest proposal to settle their collective agreement.

“Let me be clear: the proposal was one they put to the Government. The Nurses Organisation rejected their own proposal,” he huffed this morning. 

We don’t expect the rejection of these announcements: Continue reading “Not all the millions offered by the Ardern govt have been accepted – let’s see how it fares with new law on aversion therapy”