Diplomatic eyebrows were raised when PM Jacinda Ardern named Nanaia Mahuta as Minister of Foreign Affairs. She is the first woman to hold the portfolio and she got the job ahead of more highly ranked figures including Andrew Little and David Parker, who were understood to be interested in steering policy in this field.
Mahuta’s only international experience seems to have been as associate trade minister in the previous government but Beehive insiders say David Parker – as Minister of Trade and Export Growth – was loath to let anything of substance out of his reach in that field. In the past three years every press statement in this portfolio was released in Parker’s name except for a few released in the name of Damien O’Connor as Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth. We found none released in Mahuta’s name, although she did issue some trade-related statements as Minister for Maori Development.
The Point of Order Trough Monitor has alerted us not to the latest bucket of government handouts (seasonally gift-wrapped) but to an observation from American economist Thomas Sowell which mentions both government grants and Santa Claus in a few pithy sentences.
We were tempted to draw Shane Jones’ attention to Sowell’s observation but – hey – it’s Christmas. And why pick on him for special mention?
All ministers have some say in the redistribution of the billions of dollars collected by the Inland Revenue Department.
The word “targeted” – when the Government brays about its spending decisions – can camouflage a great deal.
In the case of “targeted social support funding for 450 Manawatū-Whanganui whānau“, announced during the week, it camouflages the government’s emphasis on ethnic considerations.
The statement was issued in the names of Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Whānau Ora Minister Peeni Henare, who said the expansion of an iwi, community and government initiative will improve the wellbeing “of 450 of our most vulnerable Manawatū-Whanganui families”.
But it appears that non-Maori – no matter how desperate their plight or how vulnerable they might be – aren’t too high on the list of the 450 selected to have their wellbeing improved.