Mahuta and Henare – key appointments which show NZ no longer should be regarded as a European outpost

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.

As  a  politician  she has been   relatively  self-effacing, although in her  own  fields   she  is  said  to  be   thorough   and  careful.  but  Ardern  offered  a  powerful  rationale   for  Mahuta’s  elevation to  one of the  key  ministries, pointing to her aptitude  for  building  strong relationships.  She  might   also  have mentioned  that  Mahuta  listens  carefully to  her  advisers. Continue reading “Mahuta and Henare – key appointments which show NZ no longer should be regarded as a European outpost”

Xmas thoughts on the redistribution of our wealth: tax collectors have the claws to grab it for politicians to play Santa

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Thomas Sowell … he shares his thoughts on Santa and political handouts.

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.

And we note that Civil Defence Minister Peeni Henare yesterday confirmed an extra $50,000 to assist the Whakatāne community with immediate needs following the eruption of Whakaari White Island.

The contribution will be made to the Whakatāne District Council Mayoral Relief Fund and follows an earlier Government contribution of $50,000 to the fund. Continue reading “Xmas thoughts on the redistribution of our wealth: tax collectors have the claws to grab it for politicians to play Santa”

It helps to be targeted, when the govt sets out to improve the wellbeing of a few vulnerable citizens

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.

This impression was strengthened when the Ministers said:
Continue reading “It helps to be targeted, when the govt sets out to improve the wellbeing of a few vulnerable citizens”

Watching the troughs: how did the politicians dish out our money this week?

Point of Order is keeping an eye on how taxpayers’ money is being spent – or given away – by the Ardern Government.

Ministers typically get a warm glow from announcing spending decisions, grants or the establishment of new troughs within the authority of their portfolios.

Last week we added up the figures they injected into their press statements over the previous seven days. Our tally was $290.6 million (much of this accounted for in one grand announcement for scientific research from Megan Woods).
Continue reading “Watching the troughs: how did the politicians dish out our money this week?”