Buzz from the Beehive – a batch of new judges and a crackdown on slavery (does that mean we bloggers will be paid?)

Here’s what our Ministers have been up to (at least, here’s what they have proclaimed, announced or disclosed in press statements) since we last checked on them…

Latest from the Beehive

8 APRIL 2022

Supreme Court judge among three senior appointments

The Honourable Justice Stephen Kós has been appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court and the Honourable Justice Mark Cooper will replace

High Court Judge appointed

Rotorua barrister and solicitor Kiri Tahana, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Makino and Tapuika (Te Arawa), has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today.

Three District Court Judges appointed

Attorney-General David Parker has announced the appointment of Janey Louise Forrest of Wellington, Alexander Rangiheua Henry Laurenson of New Plymouth and Sarah Margaret Morrison of Wellington as District Court Judges.

Response to Productivity Commission report

The Government has responded to recommendations from the Productivity Commission’s report into Frontier Firms and will update existing programmes to support the growth of firms exporting innovative products at scale.

Govt helps fast-track organic medicinal cannabis industry

The Government has partnered with the country’s largest and only organic certified medicinal cannabis grower to accelerate the growth of the industry.

Business, Government and NGOs join to end Modern Slavery and Worker Exploitation

The Government is taking steps to protect vulnerable workers, strengthen trade and champion human rights through new proposals released today.

Conservation and sustainability a priority for Palau Ocean Conference

Minister for Pacific Peoples and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs Aupito William Sio is travelling to Palau this weekend to reinforce Aotearoa New Zealand’s commitment to the conservation and sustainable use of the Pacific at the Our Ocean Conference.

How can NZ get the most from immigrants? Teach them te reo and bring the Treaty into policy considerations, report says

If  the government believed   it   would  gain  some profound insights   into immigration  policy  when  it  sought  a  report from  the  Productivity  Commission,  it  may  have  to look  elsewhere.

ACT leader David  Seymour  was one  of  the  first  out of the  blocks  to  give the  report  (and  the  government)  a  whack, saying   the Productivity Commission’s latest report confirms Labour isn’t seriously committed to growing productivity.

The commission has proposed that migrants should learn te reo to gain

“… insights into te ao Māori and tangata whenua […] promote better understanding of New Zealand’s bicultural nature [and] acknowledge the status of te reo as an official language and taonga.”

Seymour said this is a nice-sounding idea, but the purpose of the commission is to lift productivity, not to improve race relations. Continue reading “How can NZ get the most from immigrants? Teach them te reo and bring the Treaty into policy considerations, report says”

Immigration policy changes to be announced soon (presumably before the Productivity Commission has reported back)

The Productivity Commission will hold an inquiry into immigration settings to ensure New Zealand’s long-term prosperity and wellbeing.

This was announced today in a statement which signalled changes would be made to immigration rules this year, as the government prepares for the opening of our borders and aims to tilt the balance further away from low-skilled work, by attracting high-skilled migrants and meeting genuine skills shortages.

“I expect to announce the direction of more immediate changes in the coming weeks,” Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said.

This statement – which he made in tandem with Finance Minister Grant Robertson – was the only item containing hard news to be posted on the Beehive since we last reported.  The other items were speeches, two of them delivered (by the PM and by Trade Minister Damien O’Connor) to the China Business Summit.

The inquiry announced by Grant Robertson and Kris Faafoi will be the first under the new Productivity Commission chair, Dr Ganesh Nana.

It will focus on immigration policy as a means of improving productivity in a way that is directed to supporting the overall well-being of New Zealanders. Continue reading “Immigration policy changes to be announced soon (presumably before the Productivity Commission has reported back)”

Taking stock: Govt should pump more into science to lift farm production as animal numbers are reduced

Here’s  a  conundrum for  New  Zealand: pastoral farming last year produced more  than 40% of  the country’s export income, but  the Climate Change Commission is calling   for  a  15%  fall in the  national headcount of    sheep and  dairy and beef cattle by 2030  and  another 5% by 2035.

Even if the  productivity  of  the animals  can  be  improved, the  commission appears to be  saying that  NZ  will have to adjust  to a  flattening out  of  its export income  from farming, and  therefore to a  slower  rate of  what already is a slow rise in living standards.

So  what is  going to fill  the gap  when the  headcount of dairy  cows  falls?

Or  (a better question, surely) is  there  a  better  way of  meeting  NZ’s  emission reduction  targets  than the  methods  the  commission  recommends?

It’s   a  fact  that  methane  emissions  comprise  49%  of  NZ’s  total  emissions  but methane, although a potent greenhouse  gas, has  a  relatively short-lived impact.

Dairy farmers  who argue that  their work, besides providing  them with their livelihoods, benefits the national economy  through  foreign  exchange earnings, will find  this doesn’t wash  with  the  wider community .

As  Brian  Fallow in the  NZ  Herald put it,  NZ is  internationally accountable for its emissions and  if  those who profit from  them  continue  to escape  any  cost and therefore  receive no price signal to reduce  them, then  that  is a subsidy from the rest of us. The subsidy’s days  are numbered. Continue reading “Taking stock: Govt should pump more into science to lift farm production as animal numbers are reduced”

How NZ’s productivity growth might be fostered by finding what makes “frontier firms” tick

We suspect some readers – maybe many – faltered when Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced he has approved the terms of reference “for an inquiry into the economic contribution of New Zealand’s frontier firms”.

Frontier firms?  What are they and give us some examples?

Robertson explained that these are the most productive firms in the domestic economy within their own industry.

“These firms are important as they diffuse new technologies and business practices into the wider New Zealand economy.

“While we do have some world-leading firms, we need them to lift performance and productivity to create a pathway for more firms to succeed on the world stage,” Grant Robertson says.

He referred to work undertaken by the Productivity Commission in 2016 which suggested that New Zealand’s firms – on average – were about one-third less productive than international firms in the same industry. Continue reading “How NZ’s productivity growth might be fostered by finding what makes “frontier firms” tick”

Megan Woods fails to spark when answering questions about energy hardship

Is Megan Woods  setting herself   up  to be  the   next  Minister to follow Clare Curran on to Labour’s back benches? No, that wouldn’t be  right:  Meka Whaitiri  appears  to  be  next  in line there.

But  Energy and Resources Minister Woods  has hardly  been an   impressive  performer, even though  she’s on the  government’s front bench.  Remember  her performance over  the  banning of  any further  offshore   oil and gas  exploration?

This week  she tied herself  in  knots   answering  questions  in Parliament  on retail  electricity  prices.

Continue reading “Megan Woods fails to spark when answering questions about energy hardship”