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.
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”
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)”
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”
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”
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”