Buzz from the Beehive – lots of spending, some foreign affairs initiatives and (be nervous, readers) a review of our electoral laws

Just in case the affected voters and constituencies haven’t bothered to check how much funding they are being given in Budget 2022 (or how much they have  lost in some cases), ministers have been letting them know in post-Budget press statements.

At least, they have been letting them know when the sums have been increased. They tend not to draw attention to budgets that have been cut.

Today we learn that – Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – lots of spending, some foreign affairs initiatives and (be nervous, readers) a review of our electoral laws”

Buzz from the Beehive: Kiwis are stuck with a Red light while more of Putin’s mates are given a red card

Location, location, location can be a strong influence on our general wellbeing as well as the value of our real estate.  The outlook for people still living in Mariupol, for example, is much more parlous than it is for people living – let’s say – in Motueka.

The era in which we live is important, too. We are better off today, despite the pandemic, than we would have been had we had to deal with the Bubonic Plague in Europe in the 14th century.

But what about our wellbeing a few decades from now?  The warming of the climate suggests life could become more challenging than now, depending on what is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

How well off we are – or the quality of our wellbeing – perhaps is a matter of putting hardship in perspective too.

In this country, Hospitality NZ says the government’s decision yesterday to hold the traffic light setting at Red indefinitely is “gutting” for many businesses.

But if that is gutting, how should the people of Ukraine describe their plight as revelations about Russian atrocities cause widespread dismay around the world?

As for the era in which we live, according to a new report from climate-change scientists, we are headed for a global catastrophe unless firm action is taken now to cut emissions.

Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Kiwis are stuck with a Red light while more of Putin’s mates are given a red card”

Russian envoy gets a “dressing down” while Mahuta focuses on Indo-Pacific Forum – but other wars are being fought in NZ

A Stuff headline suggests Russian Ambassador Georgii Viktorovich Zuev was treated like a naughty schoolchild, when Foreign Affairs officials told him what this country thinks about Russia’s provocative incursion into another country this week.  It said NZ scolds Russian ambassador over Ukraine encroachment. 

The report proceeded to say Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta had instructed government officials to give the Ambassador “a dressing down” over the military incursion into Ukraine.

A dressing down.  Is that it?

On the other hand, Stuff has reported:

Professor Bethan Greener of Massey University said despite this country’s size, calling in Russia’s ambassador on Wednesday was “still in fact an act of global significance.”

“Calling in the ambassador is highly symbolic in foreign policy and is one of the strongest diplomatic signals available to the Government, short of other more forceful measures that may now be on the table,” Greener said.

Our check with The Beehive website for an update on this country’s official response to events unfolding in Ukraine drew a blank.  Continue reading “Russian envoy gets a “dressing down” while Mahuta focuses on Indo-Pacific Forum – but other wars are being fought in NZ”

We’re on top of the world for being free (more or less) of corruption – but Ministers have other things to brag about, too

A bit of bragging can be found on the Beehive website today, along with a plan for doing battle with Omricon.

But what is the government’s position as tensions mount and war is threatened on the Ukraine-Russia border?

We have recorded this in our previous blog post but we can’t find an announcement on the government’s official website.

Rather, ministers are bragging about –

  • The Government’s Family Package continuing to deliver for New Zealanders.  Has there been any suggestion it might do otherwise?
  • New Zealand has retained top spot in global anti-corruption rankings.  We share the top spot, actually, among the world’s least corrupt countries:  the 2021 Corruption Perceptions Index released by global anti-corruption organisation, Transparency International, ranks New Zealand first equal with Denmark and Finland, with a score of 88 out of 100.

Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall – it’s fair to suggest – was into bragging, too, when she said “testing improvements see New Zealand well prepared for Omicron”.  This came in an announcement that New Zealand’s PCR testing capacity can be increased by nearly 20,000 tests a day to deal with a surge in cases as part of our wider COVID-19 testing strategy. Continue reading “We’re on top of the world for being free (more or less) of corruption – but Ministers have other things to brag about, too”

Omicron threat prompts the PM to resurrect her pitch for togetherness and appeal to the Team of Five Million

An update on the government’s response to the Tongan disaster and news about its response to the spread of  Omicron have dominated the flow – or rather, the trickle – of Beehive announcements since our previous report on what our ministers are doing.

New Zealand is giving an additional $2 million in humanitarian funding for Tonga as the country recovers from a volcanic eruption and tsunami last weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Defence Minister Peeni Henare said on Friday (they haven’t reported on developments since then).

That brought New Zealand’s contribution to $3 million.

But the announcement with a much more profound impact on the wellbeing of many more people – much closer to home, too – came from the PM.

The headline, New Zealand to move to Red from 11.59pm today, was not a reference to the state of the government’s finances (they look likely to go much deeper into the red).

No, the PM was saying all of New Zealand would move to the Red setting of the Covid Protection Framework (CPF) at 11:59pm last night “because Omicron is potentially now transmitting in the community”. Continue reading “Omicron threat prompts the PM to resurrect her pitch for togetherness and appeal to the Team of Five Million”

The PM is promising “progress” and Sepuloni is reporting it on the welfare front – but doubts are raised by her benefits data

The PM’s first speech of the year, delivered to Labour MPs in New Plymouth at their annual caucus retreat, largely focused on Covid-19 and the Omicron variant, according to RNZ.

Jacinda Ardern insisted the government has and is continuing to prepare for an Omicron outbreak in the community.

“But it will not be without its challenges, though, we are facing a trickier enemy given it keeps evolving.”

Despite the challenges thrown up by the pandemic, Ardern said, the government must continue to make progress in other areas.

Does this include progress in dismantling our democratic structures in favour of so-called Treaty-based and provocatively race-based co-governance arrangements?

Perhaps, but RNZ said:  Continue reading “The PM is promising “progress” and Sepuloni is reporting it on the welfare front – but doubts are raised by her benefits data”

Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance

Monitoring the Ministers

Two sets of key public-sector appointments have been announced by the ministers who serve us, since we last reported on our monitoring of the Beehive website.

Old white blokes – by the way – did not get a look-in, when it came to landing these jobs.

Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced three additional members have been appointed to the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board to provide representation for the youth, disability and Pasifika communities.

The board, set up in January, provides independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children as work begins to “reset” the organisation.

Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams-Eade and Alfred Filipaina – the new appointees – join board chair Matthew Tukaki, Dame Naida Glavish, Sir Mark Solomon and Shannon Pakura

“… and will work alongside Oranga Tamariki to change our child care and protection system.”

A new action plan to implement the board’s initial recommendations has been put in place and work is well under way in talking to communities about how they see the future of child protection, Davis said.

“I firmly believe the answer lies in Oranga Tamariki taking a back seat and working in true partnership with communities who know best for their young people.”

Readers on the right of the political spectrum should be chuffed.  Davis is saying the best place for the state is to get out of our lives.

Health Minister Andrew Little and  Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare announced the two chief executives to lead New Zealand’s two new (racially segregated) health agencies. Continue reading “Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance”