We don’t recall Ministers drawing attention to their new road-block laws – but Hone Harawira is making the most of them

There were no new statements on the Beehive website when we checked today, which means ministers have nothing fresh to announce – or rather, nothing they want to boast about or let us know about.

Matters such as changes to the Covid laws which determine who can mount road blocks to stop people going where they might want to go.  

The COVID-19 Public Health Response Amendment Act (No 2) 2021 was enacted on 20 November 2021.

According to the  Ministry of Health website, this legislation mainly continues to enable the Minister for COVID-19 Response to issue Orders to respond to COVID-19 in a flexible and agile way.  

Many of the changes made by this Amendment Act are technical in nature. These include clarifying some terms in the Act and improving transparency around decision making.

And:

Most of the changes in this Amendment Act will not immediately have direct impacts on the general public. However, future Orders made under the Act using these changes may impose obligations or requirements on individuals to ensure the Government can supress and minimise the impact of COVID-19 and reconnect New Zealand.

The one change that will have a more immediate direct impact on all New Zealanders is the increase of infringement penalties for people who breach orders under the Act. The Government believes these higher penalties will more accurately reflect the risks associated with breaching an Order. Continue reading “We don’t recall Ministers drawing attention to their new road-block laws – but Hone Harawira is making the most of them”

The people represented by Poto Williams loom large in consultations on Police’s Tactical Response Model

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Poto Williams  –  a few months ago – was telling us who had influenced her refusal to support the general arming of police.

At that time, a man who admitted murdering Constable Matthew Hunt during a routine traffic stop was on trial.  He was denying the attempted murder of a second officer.

A Hamilton officer had been injured by a firearm during a routine traffic check earlier that  month, police in Hamilton and Auckland had been confronted by armed offenders, and Police Association president Chris Cahill was calling for more frontline police to be armed because of a growing number of criminals carrying guns.

Poto Williams’ reason for sticking to her guns (so to speak) and for resisting any clamour for the general arming of the police?

The Māori and Pacific Island communities she represents did not want it, she insisted.

Williams told Newstalk ZB’s Mike Yardley she supported police officers being armed when they needed to be, but did not think it should extend to the permanent arming of the force.

This was because she had listened to overwhelming feedback from the Māori, Pacific Island and South Auckland communities who didn’t want it.

The communities she represented – Māori and Pacific – who were telling her “loud and clear” that the general arming of police and the Armed Response Teams (ARTs) were a real concern to them and had been distressed to learn armed police were routinely patrolling their streets, she said. Continue reading “The people represented by Poto Williams loom large in consultations on Police’s Tactical Response Model”

Mahuta says there’s more talking to be done on three waters reforms – but let’s see if that means she is listening

A bemusing press statement  flowed this morning from the office of Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta on the highly contentious matter of “three waters reforms”.

Under these reforms, the country’s 67 local and regional councils’ drinking, waste and storm water assets would be taken over and administered by four large regional entities, each of which would include iwi leaders with extraordinary co-governing powers.

In return, the government would pay for billions of dollars’ worth of much-needed infrastructure and repairs.

But as the NZ Herald noted two days ago

“… mayors up and down the country are far from convinced, with major reservations about losing local control over such vital assets.”

That report said Mahuta may allow for more council influence in the contentious water reforms,

“… but still refuses to rule out changing the law to force councils to sign up.” Continue reading “Mahuta says there’s more talking to be done on three waters reforms – but let’s see if that means she is listening”

Yes, the govt will invest in Police response teams but the emphasis will be on tactics (and dogs) rather than firearms

Police Minister Poto Williams – explaining her opposition to Armed Response Teams  a few weeks back – said she would not be backing down on her strong stance not to support the general arming of police because the Māori and Pacific Island communities she represents do not want it.

But whoa.  As MP for Christchurch East, isn’t she supposed to represent the people of that community of many ethnicities?

And as Minister of Police, isn’t she supposed to have some regard for the wellbeing of our police officers?

Well, yes.

And today (lest anyone might doubt it ) she said the Government is committed to keeping the country’s frontline police officers safe, so they in turn can keep New Zealanders safe. Continue reading “Yes, the govt will invest in Police response teams but the emphasis will be on tactics (and dogs) rather than firearms”

While we wonder who Poto Williams represents, let’s muse on why Greg O’Connor missed out on the Police post

Newstalk ZB broadcaster Mike Yardley, writing about his recent interview with Police Minister Poto Williams,  said he had been keen to learn why she was so dead against Armed Response Teams.

Good question.

But some of Williams’ replies during the interview raised another issue:   who does the Member for Christchurch East represent?

We emailed that question to her office last Wednesday.  We have yet to receive a reply.

In the Newstalk ZB interview, Yardley put it to Williams that – along with the Police Commissioner – she was placing far too much stock on the woke radical pressure groups who purport to represent the public pulse on policing issues.

He mentioned lobby groups such as Just Speak, Action Station and People Against Prisons Aotearoa, describing them as

“… a bit like the cycling lobby, highly organised, highly adept at capturing councils, flooding them with submissions, and courting favour.”

Yardley reckons these groups are driving the anti-cop agenda and fuelling the hostility to armed police. Continue reading “While we wonder who Poto Williams represents, let’s muse on why Greg O’Connor missed out on the Police post”

Arming the police: Police Minister’s explanation about her stance triggers questions about representation

It has been a quiet week in The Beehive, since the Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau Andrew Little expressed New Zealand’s condemnation of malicious cyber activity by “Chinese state-sponsored actors”.

Ominously quiet.

What are they hatching now (we wonder) and when will they announce it?

Mind you, when we say it has been a quiet week in The Beehive, we don’t mean Ministers have been quiet.

Speaking as Minister of Police (for example), Poto Williams said she will not be backing down on her strong stance not to support the general arming of police because the Māori and Pacific Island communities she represents do not want it.

We kid you not.

And there we were thinking she was the MP for Christchurch East, a community of many ethnicities.

The graph we found on Parliament’s website suggests Maori and Pacific Islanders comprise a minority in the electorate and the substantial numbers of “European” residents comprise a bigger percentage of the total population (around 70,000 people) than they do nation-wide.

Source: Parliamentary Library using data from Stats NZ

Continue reading “Arming the police: Police Minister’s explanation about her stance triggers questions about representation”

Police and their Minister duck Maori Party question which drew attention to something troubling about children and the cops

Yes, we are aware of the Maori Party’s aversion to Parliamentary questions from Opposition MPs which aim to flush the PM and her government into the open on their programme of incorporating the “Treaty partnership” in their reform programme.

The Maori Party insists those questions are racist and has pressed the Speaker to rule them out of order.

It has also challenged the Speaker and Parliamentary protocol through expressions of dissent which culminated in one co-leader being ordered from the House for performing a defiant haka and the other walking out to show her support for her colleague.

This has won headlines around the world.

Not bad for an outfit which won 1.2 per cent of the party vote at the 2020 general election.

Māori Party co-leaders Debbie Ngarewa-Packer and Rawiri Waititi have also won publicity this week by declaring their intent to fight the Government’s proposed laws targeting gangs. Continue reading “Police and their Minister duck Maori Party question which drew attention to something troubling about children and the cops”

Peace and goodwill? Not in the Maori Council’s Christmas message to the Police

The dearth of Beehive news suggests the ministers we  employ to serve us have packed up and headed for home for their Christmas holidays. 

The only statement posted on the beehive website this morning was another ministerial safety message, this time urging Kiwis to take care in the water.   

Political lobby groups around the country seems to have packed up too.

Our visit to the Scoop “politics” page found just three statements posted since Tuesday.

One of these was a Maori Council expression of no confidence in the Police and Independent Police Conduct Authority, an ominous hint that we should brace for demands that these public services  – like the state child welfare agency – be controlled by Maori . 

The headline was Call For Independent Inquiry Into Racial Profiling By Police – Maori Council Furious At Police And The IPCA

In the accompanying statement, council  executive director Matthew Tukaki commented on the illegal taking of photos of Maori youth in the Wairarapa by the Police. Continue reading “Peace and goodwill? Not in the Maori Council’s Christmas message to the Police”

Taumarunui looks more alluring, now the housing shortage has been tackled – but don’t fall ill there

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Cabinet’s preoccupation with the re-emergence of Covid-19 in the community – we suppose – explains why there has been a lack of pronouncements from the Beehive over the past day or two.

We found only three new posts on the Beehive website since we last reported.  The  Deputy PM released two of them.

The other announced government help to deal with the housing shortage in Taumarunui.

Taumarunui?  A housing shortage?

We went looking for media reports to give us an idea of the extent of it.

True, our googling was somewhat cursory.  But we learned only that a Taumarunui landlord in September last year had been ordered to pay almost $6000 to tenants from two separate tenancies after evicting them both when they complained about mould and a woman was being evicted from her Taumarunui home in January after illegally renting out the garage to a man who allegedly had frequent visits from gang members.

More to the point of the wellbeing of the good people of Taumarunui,  we learned that getting medical treatment might be more challenging than finding a home.

A retired doctor said people in Taumarunui were waiting three or four weeks to see a GP.  Continue reading “Taumarunui looks more alluring, now the housing shortage has been tackled – but don’t fall ill there”

Auckland Light Rail comes off the tracks – and we can only imagine where Twyford might be shunted

Latest from the Beehive –

Winston Peters was chuffed by prospects for New Zealand horse sales, Stuart Nash and Eugenie Sage went out to bat for endangered dolphins, and Carmel Sepuloni and Damien O’Connor were campaigning to introduce Covid-19-affected workers to farm animals.  In the case of help for Covid-19-affected workers, we imagine the ministers were talking about workers who have lost their jobs because of the government’s extreme measures to combat the pandemic rather than workers who have been infected by Covid-19.

Meanwhile Phil Twyford was putting lame ducks into the headlines by announcing a Cabinet agreement to end the twin track Auckland Light Rail process and refer the project to the Ministry of Transport for further work.

Despite extensive cross-party consultation, the said when revealing his latest political setback, government parties were unable to reach agreement on a preferred proposal. The future of the project will now be decided by the government following September’s general election.

Twyford said two credible and deliverable proposals had been received. But neither was sufficiently credible or deliverable – we may suppose – to pass muster with the Cabinet (or New Zealand First components of the Cabinet). Continue reading “Auckland Light Rail comes off the tracks – and we can only imagine where Twyford might be shunted”