Climate could provide Peters and his party with a platform for warming voters and bouncing back at the next election

Peters  is   back,  the  headlines  shouted.

Well,  not  quite.  Winston Peters  may  have  stepped  into  the political  limelight  again, after  a  spell  in political  darkness – but he  and  his  party  are a  long  way  from  Parliament.   And  even  though  he  looks  fit  and  well,   can he – at the age of 76 –  find  the  spark  which  will fire  up  the  NZ  First  engine  again?

His  disciple,  Shane Jones,  is  firmly  convinced  he  can.  Furthermore, Jones believes the  party can forge a  new  crusade  out  of  the  “perfidy”  of  what  the Climate  Change  Commission is  doing  to  NZ.

Jones   sees  the  commissioners  as  “ideological  termites”,  who  hold  sway  over  the  government  with  “mad  ideas”  of the sort that could  required us all as if we  are  all  going to  ride  bikes

Jones  cites the  example  of 10,000 bikers in  Birkenhead  exerting  their power  on the  government  to build a bridge  for them over  the Auckland  harbour.

Continue reading “Climate could provide Peters and his party with a platform for warming voters and bouncing back at the next election”

Another gin maker is given an expansionary tonic with help from the PGF

The government is pumping more public money into the booze business.    

The beneficiary of an $800,000 loan is BeGin Distilling, in New Plymouth, which makes Juno gin.  It is borrowing the money to expand its operations, employ more staff and provide greater opportunities for local farmers.

In other words, the Ardern Government is borrowing to lend money to BeGin and other businesses which become the recipients of loans through an array of developmental programmes.

The Reefton Distillery Co last week became the recipient of a $928,000 loan for its expansion.  

 The South Taranaki museum,  and a Pasifika building firm will benefit, too, from Government investments totalling more than $1 million announced yesterday by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says.

Continue reading “Another gin maker is given an expansionary tonic with help from the PGF”

$1.69m goes to Maori landowners for tree planting (and the govt will be hoping for a harvest of votes)

The Government has made another pitch for the Maori vote (presumably with borrowed money) by dipping into the One Billion Trees trough.

It has proclaimed it is backing Maori landowners with this contribution to their wellbeing (and the environment’s) and it is fair to suppose it would appreciate the landowners backing it in return on election day.

Whether such backing might be  expressed in electoral support for Labour or New Zealand First is a matter for conjecture, but the announcement was made by Forestry Minister Shane Jones, a prominent and generous benefactor from the New Zealand First side of the coalition.

He announced up to $1.69 million will be provided through the One Billion Trees programme to Māori landowners to make their land more productive through the planting of forests, “both native and exotic”, and improve economic and environmental outcomes.

Around 1.5 million ha of land in New Zealand is in Māori ownership, Jones pointed out, but large tracts are returning little direct commercial value to Māori landowners, “nor much in the way of positive climate, soil, water or biodiversity outcomes”.

So what have the owners done to this land to rob it of positive climate, soil, water or biodiversity outcomes? Or did the land never generate much of those environmental benefits? Continue reading “$1.69m goes to Maori landowners for tree planting (and the govt will be hoping for a harvest of votes)”

Fingers crossed about the border being made Covid-tight but let’s salute the further assault on Taumurunui’s housing shortage

Our daily check with the Beehive website revealed nothing new until this afternoon, and then we found just one new announcement.

It came from – guess who?

Yep.  Shane Jones was again demonstrating his munificence, providing $7.78 million for the Ruapehu District Council to “jump-start” its Housing Options programme.

But a statement with much greater national significance had been made by Housing Minister Megan Woods and despatched to the Point of  Order  email intray.

Woods advised us the government is reducing its reliance on private security guards and increasing its use of Defence Force personnel, especially in the highest risk facilities, to fortify the Managed Isolation and Quarantine System and maritime border and further bolster (we hope) protections against community COVID-19 spread.    

The defence personnel will staff higher-risk security areas such as entry and exit points and public areas.

But the private sector isn’t being forsaken. Woods said:

Continue reading “Fingers crossed about the border being made Covid-tight but let’s salute the further assault on Taumurunui’s housing shortage”

Jones mucks in with a $19.5m loan to help with the mushrooming of a Te Mata company

Commercial mushroom growers can be a feisty bunch, a Newsroom report in 2017 suggests. We wonder, therefore, how rival companies will respond to the Government’s favouring one of their number with a $19.5 million loan to increase its production (to their detriment in the marketplace, we imagine).

In a report which dealt with an industry row over the importing of plant manure from Europe that contained traces of horse and chicken poo, Newsroom observed:

The deeper you dig into this murky world of manure, the more you find a tale of intrigue involving anti-competitive behaviour, a government department under threat of a judicial review now dragging its heels on an import licence it’s already granted and revoked,  job losses, and worse – production stalled on tonnes of high-quality super-food vegetables that could drive mushroom prices down and become a thriving export industry. But there is also a deep-seated fear from a wide range of New Zealand farmers and food producers who know that it doesn’t take much of a bio-security slip-up to devastate an industry. 

Mercer Mushrooms was importing substrate – or mushroom compost – from The Netherlands. To get the substrate into New Zealand Mercer had persuaded the Ministry for Primary Industries to re-write the import laws on this product.

Continue reading “Jones mucks in with a $19.5m loan to help with the mushrooming of a Te Mata company”

Northland doesn’t reject the millions Jones brings to his home patch – but polls suggests it will reject him

Latest from the Beehive

Here’s hoping the hundreds of millions of dollars pumped into Northland from the Provincial Growth Fund and other government programmes do much more to promote the region’s economic and social wellbeing than they are doing to enhance Shane Jones’ election prospects.

He is bound to be disappointed.  Besides channelling substantial loans and grants into his home patch, Jones has staunchly championed the region in other ways – by promoting the proposal to move Auckland’s port to Whangarei, for example.

But a new Q+A/Colmar Brunton poll suggests Jones is running a distant-third behind the incumbent National MP Matt King and Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime.  It showed King on 46 per cent support for the seat vote, Prime on 31 per cent, and Jones on 15 per cent.

Labour was ahead in the party vote within the electorate at 41 per cent, with National not far behind at 38 per cent, ACT next at 8 per cent, and NZ First at 7 per cent.

How much more money (we wonder) would make Jones a shoo-in? Continue reading “Northland doesn’t reject the millions Jones brings to his home patch – but polls suggests it will reject him”

Hawke’s Bay airport gets a Crown loan whereas an innovation park in Northland gets a PGF investment (much more money, too)

Latest from the Beehive – 

While National’s Todd Muller was thinking hard about his future as leader, the government was getting on with the job of governing and redistributing taxpayers’ money.

At least, we presume that’s what Muller was doing .  He was also giving a highly instructive  lesson in how to keep a secret and prevent leaks – it’s done by not telling anybody.

Shane Jones, in contrast, wanted to the whole world  (the voters of Northland, at least) to hear his news that more millions are being poured into his home patch.

Hawke’s Bay was the beneficiary of a favourable funding decision, too, but in its case the money is a loan.  In Northland it’s an “investment”.

It’s not immaterial, furthermore, that in the Hawke’s Bay case the money is being loaned to a company in which the government is the major shareholder.

Deputy PM Winston Peters and Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced the Crown will lend money to Hawke’s Bay Airport for the same reasons inevitably trundled out these days to justify government funding decisions – the loan is  “to ensure it can trade through COVID-19 economic impacts, support the region’s recovery and protect up to 200 jobs”.

The Crown has a 50 per cent shareholding in Hawke’s Bay Airport Limited; Napier City Council holds 26 per cent and Hastings District Council 24 per cent.

The airport requires financial support of up to $9 million due to reduced passenger numbers and revenue due to COVID-19. The Crown will loan up to $4.5 million on commercial terms, while the councils provide up to a further $4.5 million.

“It’s important that we retain an important regional asset which will enable the Hawke’s Bay to stay connected and support the recovery of the domestic tourism and aviation sectors,” Winston Peters said.

“Hawke’s Bay Airport experienced a significant drop in revenue due to COVID-19. The request was made to shareholders to provide financial support to ensure the airport remained viable and to allow completion of the terminal redevelopment, an important part of the airport expansion project, which was started before the onset of COVID-19.”

Grant Robertson said it was appropriate for the Crown – as the major shareholder in Hawke’s Bay Airport – to provide a loan to support cash flow.

“This ensures the terminal redevelopment can proceed, protecting up to 200 jobs including those of contractors already working on the project. As a Government we support investments that will help our regions and local economies to continue their recovery and to rebuild.”

The loan is expected to be repaid within two years and is considered fiscally neutral.

There will be no impact on net core Crown debt over the period of the loan, and the capital expenditure associated with the appropriation will not impact the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

But $4.5 million is small change to the generous Jones.

Wearing his Regional Economic Development hat, he announced the Provincial Growth Fund is providing up to $19.5 million to boost innovative primary sector businesses and create training and job opportunities for Northland locals through the construction of an innovation and enterprise park at Ngawha.

The  investment will go towards finalising pre-construction work at the site near Kaikohe and building infrastructure and services such as earthworks, roading, water and power.

“The construction of the Ngawha Innovation and Enterprise Park will be a major infrastructure project for the region which could change the lives of many locals in an area of high economic deprivation,” Shane Jones says.

When stage 1 of the park is up and running it is expected to provide around 250 new full-time jobs and 50 training roles a year. These numbers are expected to grow to around 500 as further development takes place.

The park, to be located on a 204ha former dairy farm, aims to bring together complementary businesses which can scale up manufacturing high-value primary sector products and invest in research and development.

“Like-minded, innovative businesses will create economies of scale through co-location at the park and benefit from new infrastructure and low energy costs. There are plans for the park to include an innovation and education centre to train and develop locals, and on-site labs,” Shane Jones said.

Building could start on the park this year, creating around 150 construction jobs.

Potential park tenants include businesses in food manufacturing, bioenergy, horticulture, research and development, and trades training for the production of low-cost, pre-fabricated timber social housing.

“This park, which has the backing of stakeholders including local iwi will be a game-changer for Kaikohe which has struggled to attract private investment in the past due to its relative distance, lack of infrastructure and trained workforce,” Shane Jones said.

At Point of Order we often wonder if Jones ever wonders why the factors that discourage private investors should be of no relevance to the people who decide on the prudence of a state investment.

Far North Holdings, the commercial arm of the Far North District Council, will receive the funding. The PGF provided $897,000 to Far North Holdings towards a business case for the park in 2019.

Release

13 JULY 2020

District Court Judge appointed

Stephen Clark, Māori Land Court Judge of Hamilton has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Hamilton, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.

Hon David Parker

Attorney-General

Release

13 JULY 2020

Hawke’s Bay Airport agreement protects jobs, safeguards terminal development

The Crown will provide a loan to Hawke’s Bay Airport to ensure it can trade through COVID-19 economic impacts, support the region’s recovery and protect up to 200 jobs.

Rt Hon Winston Peters Hon Grant Robertson

Deputy Prime Minister

Finance

State Owned Enterprises

Release

13 JULY 2020

Government backs Northland innovation and enterprise park

The Provincial Growth Fund is providing up to $19.5 million to boost innovative primary sector businesses and create training and job opportunities for Northland locals through the construction of an innovation and enterprise park at Ngawha, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.

Hon Shane Jones

Regional Economic Development

 

Let’s hope health and safety measures ensure applicants aren’t trampled in their rush to slurp at a new trough

Latest from the Beehive

We were a tad puzzled on learning the government is supporting fair and safe workplaces as more and more New Zealanders get back to work in Level 1.

The implication in a Beehive press statement yesterday – unintended, we trust – is that the government is now giving this support but it had not been supporting fair and safe workplaces previously.

Less ambiguously, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway advised us that (a) more taxpayers’ money is being pumped into health and safety and (b) a new trough is being established for oinkers.

Come to think of it, there is a health and safety issue here – the danger of applicants being trampled in a rush to the troughs which ministers eagerly promote.

Lees-Galloway mentioned the establishment of a $3 million contestable fund for business organisations, unions and community providers

“ … to access funding for initiatives that support workers and workplaces to manage employment impacts and position themselves for recovery following Covid-19.” Continue reading “Let’s hope health and safety measures ensure applicants aren’t trampled in their rush to slurp at a new trough”

Strong dairy receipts help lift the primary sector’s export growth – and its boost to the economy

The Covid-19  pandemic has  put  enormous  pressure  on  the country’s  primary  sector,  yet it  has  managed to  expand  export  receipts  by  $1.7bn  over  the previous year.

The  government,  or  at   least  several ministers  in it, are  celebrating  the  effort  of  the  primary sector  in  doing so,  and   recognise  the  sector  is a  key  driver  in rebooting  the  economy.

Yet  the  government,  with   its climate  change  measures  hitting    agriculture’s methane  emissions  and  its freshwater  reforms, has  done   little to  encourage  farmers to  expand  production.

When  Agriculture  Minister  Damien O’Connor says the government is focused on creating more demand, pursuing greater market opportunities to generate higher export returns and growing rural communities with new jobs,   the  response  down on the farm may be   no more than a  one-handed  clap.

Farmers  are  more  likely  to  be   grumbling  over the   government’s failure   to  drive down the  exchange rate.  Or  to do  more to build irrigation  schemes. Continue reading “Strong dairy receipts help lift the primary sector’s export growth – and its boost to the economy”

Northland projects get a further boost from the PGF trough – and Jones hasn’t forgotten his forestry ambitions

New Zealand First ministers seem to be doing nicely, thank you, in demonstrating to the good people of Northland that they have the best interests of the local economy at heart.

The Point of Order Trough Monitor has recorded two fresh press releases announcing more millions of public monies headed north for projects already boosted by Provincial Growth Fund money in that part of the country.

Isn’t that the home patch for some New Zealand First leaders? We do believe it is.

The PGF late in 2018 provided $13.9m towards the construction of the Hundertwasser Art Centre in Whangarei.

And yesterday – hurrah! – Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced an additional $4.5 million for the centre.

The Ministers said the art centre will house two galleries. The first will be only gallery outside of Austria to house a permanent display of artist Friedrich Hundertwasser’s art, worth millions of dollars. The Wairau Maori Art Gallery will become the national home to the best examples of contemporary Māori art.

“The art centre is estimated to bring in an economic benefit of $26 million to the region and more than 250,000 visitors to Whangarei annually, in line with the number of visitors the Hundertwasser toilets attract in Kawakawa,” Mr Jones said.  Continue reading “Northland projects get a further boost from the PGF trough – and Jones hasn’t forgotten his forestry ambitions”