Buzz from the Beehive – the PM is busy in Singapore and Mahuta is diverted (for a bit) from Three Waters

MINISTERS burst back into action yesterday after the four-day Easter break.

Mind you, the PM accounted for much of the action recorded on the Beehive website with four press statements and a copy of her speech notes after she arrived in Singapore.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta was busy too, announcing a fresh batch of sanctions against Russian banks and financial institutions and naming the new high commissioner to Tonga. This will have diverted her – at least for a while – from her Three Waters programme.

Latest from the Beehive

19 APRIL 2022

Kūwaha unveiled at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay by Prime Minister

A carving celebrating the long-standing friendship between Aotearoa New Zealand and Singapore was today unveiled by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.

Speech

Opening remarks at joint press conference with Prime Minister Lee

Prime Minister Lee – thank you for the very warm welcome to Singapore.

NZ, Singapore Prime Ministers meet in Singapore

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Singapore counterpart Lee Hsien Loong discussed global and regional challenges and opportunities, their countries’ responses to COVID-19 and the next steps to enhancing the bilateral relationship when they met in Singapore today.

Russian banks targeted under latest round of sanctions

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced new sanctions against Russia’s largest banks and financial institutions, as part of the Government’s ongoing response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Joint Statement by the Prime Ministers of New Zealand and Singapore

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong hosted Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern on an Official Visit to Singapore on 19 April 2022.

50 projects fast-tracked under Govt scheme

The Government has approved three more projects under the fast-track consenting process, bringing the number of projects that are eligible to apply for resource consents to 50.

NZ to expand Working Holiday Scheme with Singapore

New Zealand is relaunching and expanding its Working Holiday Scheme with Singapore and will welcome applications from May 5, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

New High Commissioner to Tonga announced

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of Matt Howell as new High Commissioner to Tonga.

New Chair to lead Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board

Respected Māori leader Tā Mark Solomon has been appointed Chair of the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board, Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis has announced.

The co-governance debate – why Singapore would eschew such a model (and look how well the people of that nation are doing)

Peter Dunne, who was leader of United Future and served as a minister in former National and Labour governments, is right to remind us that “co-governance” is not a new idea, It has been at the heart of many of the successful treaty settlements of the past 30 years, he points out in an article posted on Newsroom.

“In the specific instances where it has been applied, it has generally worked well.”

A recent Stuff headline echoed this:  How co-governance is already working

The accompanying article began:

Co-governance is back in the headlines. Glenn McConnell looks at what it means and how it’s already working.

McConnell began by recalling the passage of the Waikato River Settlement Act in 2010 which (a) called for government funding to clean up the Waikato River and (b) established a co-governance board to manage the river’s restoration.

The resultant Waikato River Authority is governed by 10 board members – five appointed by the Crown, the other five from Waikato tribes.  Continue reading “The co-governance debate – why Singapore would eschew such a model (and look how well the people of that nation are doing)”

Covid is now one problem among many 

Yesterday’s announcement that Australia will re-open its international border in November marked another step in the walk-away from zero Covid.

It’s harder in NZ to appreciate the extent to which this is happening.  In England and Wales, the most recent weekly statistics showed 850 deaths with a Covid linkage (although the fact that deaths were 2,000 above the seasonal average is perhaps of more concern).  But there seemed to be more interest in the latest slimming of Covid-bureaucracy to make it easier for Brits to travel.

Continue reading “Covid is now one problem among many “

First came the $2.5bn water package (or bribe?) and then the govt gets behind mayors on employment task force

The government is getting in behind local government leaders, not only to win hearts and minds on the Three Waters reform programme but also in  encouraging job schemes.

Yesterday it announced a $2.5 billion package (critics call it a bribe) to support local government transition through the reforms to New Zealand’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services.  Point of Order has looked at this here.

Today the government has signed a new memorandum of understanding with the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, intended to strengthen the partnership to get more young people into work.

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash meanwhile was announcing that five South Island areas have been prioritised in the latest round of decisions from a tourism fund that is supporting infrastructure projects from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island and the Chathams.

Details of 57 nationwide projects to receive support from the fund  have been released.

Nash explained that the Tourism Infrastructure Fund supports local communities under pressure from tourism, especially those with small ratepayer bases Continue reading “First came the $2.5bn water package (or bribe?) and then the govt gets behind mayors on employment task force”

Covid casts a long shadow but Singapore’s ministers see light beyond

Believers of logic in policymaking must get frustrated by governments’ wildly diverse, frequently changing and often conflicting Covid responses and ask themselves how long these differences will persist.  Unfortunately the discovery process does require you to make it up as you go along.

This means that the high-vaccinating UK is moving full steam towards unlocking on 19 July, with PM Boris Johnson saying “pretty much life before Covid” is very likely.  A shrewd guess is that this means some manageable adaptations (e.g., vaccine passports) with contingency plans for local restrictions in case of flare-ups.

Continue reading “Covid casts a long shadow but Singapore’s ministers see light beyond”

Nash enthuses at the nearing of a billion-dollar milestone while Peters brings us up to date with a ferry story

Two statements from the Beehive yesterday were enlightening for taxpayers trying to keep tabs on the burgeoning billions being spent on facilitating the economic recovery.

One statement told us how much is being handed out to small businesses.

Correction.  One statement told us how much is being loaned to small businesses:  it’s almost $1 billion in interest-free loans.  “Around” $960 million to be a bit more precise.

The other advised us of progress on the investment in two new Cook Strait ferries.

The relevant figures in the press statement tell us:

The $400 million towards the ferries and KiwiRail’s land-side infrastructure builds on a $35 million investment in last year’s Budget for ferry design and procurement work. It is part of the Government’s overall $4.6 billion-dollar investment in rail.

 The only other announcements from the Beehive Ballyhoo Brigade yesterday advised us that: Continue reading “Nash enthuses at the nearing of a billion-dollar milestone while Peters brings us up to date with a ferry story”