Covid is still with us, so don’t expect gang violence and ram raids to be eradicated now that Hipkins has the Police portfolio

Buzz from the Beehive

On the Beehive website, news of Kris Faafoi resigning from Parliament preceded news of the PM reshuffling her cabinet.   Indeed, Faafoi’s resignation – along with news of Trevor Mallard stepping down as Speaker of the House – provided the rationale for the PM’ reshuffle.

The timing in our email in-tray was different.  First (at 3.14pm), we learned of the Cabinet reshuffle and then (at 3.16pm) we were advised of Faafoi’s  resignation.

No matter.  The PM’s press statement said she has made changes to her Cabinet line-up following the decision of senior Minister Kris Faafoi to resign from Parliament and Speaker Trevor Mallard’s nomination to a European diplomatic posting.

There will be no mucking about with the reshuffle (which is more substantial than generally had been expected).  The changes will take effect after a ceremony at Government House this  afternoon.    Continue reading “Covid is still with us, so don’t expect gang violence and ram raids to be eradicated now that Hipkins has the Police portfolio”

Buzz from the Beehive: nine NZ personnel head for Europe while peace-keeping deployment in Solomons is extended

The PM has been focussed on the horrors of the war in Ukraine and on offering Kiwi help while her Foreign Affairs Minister – doubtless with a wary eye on China – has been fixed on helping maintain peace and stability in the Solomon Islands.

Two of their colleagues, meanwhile, were fascinated by the glitz of Hollywood and the pizzaz of the Academy Awards presentation (although this was not without a moment of violence).

On the home front, other members of the Ardern team variously were announcing –

  • The introduction of the Fair Pay Agreements Bill to Parliament.  These agreements are intended to improve wages and conditions for employees, encourage businesses to invest in training, “and level the playing field so that employers who are trying hard to offer fair terms don’t get undercut and disadvantaged”. This means the government aims to reduce a company’s ability to compete.
  • Awards of funding (described as a $3.6 million investment) to 16 national and regional organisations to increase opportunities for young people with disabilities in sport and recreation. Moreover, Sport and Recreation minister Grant Robertson has dipped into “my Ministerial Discretionary Fund” to support Special Olympics with a $44,000 grant.
  • The closure of depleted scallop fisheries in Northland and most of the Coromandel to allow them to recover.

What might have sounded like a bold decision to provide further military support to Ukraine as it defends itself against Russian invaders actually entails the dispatch of nine Defence Force staff to other countries in Europe. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: nine NZ personnel head for Europe while peace-keeping deployment in Solomons is extended”

A shakeup for civil defence; more funding for sporting organisations and for projects to improve wetlands

Monitoring the Ministers

We had expected to hear braying from Sports Minister Grant Robertson about funding announced for New Zealand’s high-performance athletes over the next three years.

He must have been busy with balancing the books or some such because High Performance Sport New Zealand chief executive Raelene Castle did the announcing.

High Performance Sport New Zealand will fund 44 of the country’s National Sporting Organisations (NSO’s) to the tune of $131 million over the next three years.

In addition to the $131m, HPSNZ is investing $19m in performance support services such as psychology, strength and conditioning, nutrition, medical, physiotherapy, massage therapy, and athlete life coaching, which support athlete well-being.

Turning our attention back to the Beehive, we did hear – twice – from KiriAllan.

She announced new legislation will ensure the country’s emergency management system

“… is inclusive, modern and fit-for-purpose”.

Inclusiveness – we note  – comes before fitness for purpose in the Minister’s considerations. Continue reading “A shakeup for civil defence; more funding for sporting organisations and for projects to improve wetlands”

Maori Ministers announce $23.5m of vaccine spending – and RNZ raises questions about the causes of disparities

Latest from the Beehive

How many Ministers are needed to announce the spending of millions of dollars on vaccinations for Maori?

The names of three Ministers were attached to the statement on October 22, announcing the Government has established a $120 million fund to accelerate Māori vaccination rates and support communities to prepare for the implementation of something it called “the new COVID-19 Protection Framework”.

The old framework had reached its use-by date, presumably.

The statement bore the names of the Associate Minister for Health (Maori Health), Peeni Henare, the Minister for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti, Kelvin Davis, and the Minister for Māori Development, Willie Jackson.

Among other things, they enthused at a commitment “to work with Māori providers, for a by Māori for Māori solution”.

The same three Ministers popped up today to announce the Government has approved $23.5 million from this funding for eight Māori organisations and iwi aimed at boosting Māori vaccination rates. Continue reading “Maori Ministers announce $23.5m of vaccine spending – and RNZ raises questions about the causes of disparities”

Woods reminds us she still has science among her ministerial jobs – and she dishes out $244m in grants for good measure

A big hurrah, today, for the first statement from Megan Woods as Research, Science and Innovation Minister since – let’s see.  Oh yes:  June 1.

On that occasion she announced Project Tāwhaki, a special partnership with two rūnanga in Canterbury that would

“…  rejuvenate a nationally unique environment, honour deep cultural relationships, and provide amazing opportunities to tap into the multi-billion dollar aerospace economy.”

Kaitōrete Limited and the Crown had entered into a Joint Venture partnership to purchase critical parcels of land (1,000 hectares) near Banks Peninsula. The Crown  contributed $16 million to secure the land. The Crown and the Rūnanga would each own 50 percent shares in the land and project. Continue reading “Woods reminds us she still has science among her ministerial jobs – and she dishes out $244m in grants for good measure”

It’s all about reducing inequities -and so Maori wellbeing is a big consideration in research funding and hospital administration

The Government has dished out public money on two fronts in its mission to reduce inequitable outcomes in health statistics.

On one front, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Andrew Little joined a ceremony to bless the site and workers for Phase Two of the redevelopment of the Bay of Islands Hospital in Kawakawa yesterday,

The Government has invested $14 million in a project intended

“… to help the Northland District Health Board address inequitable health outcomes for Māori, by making services easier to access for communities,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“It is unacceptable that the place you live should determine the sort of healthcare get.”

Does this mean the Point of Order team can move to Stewart Island and be assured of the same health services that are being provided for the people of Kawakawa?

Oh, and let’s note that the local district health board in the Far North is being shunted aside for this development.  Continue reading “It’s all about reducing inequities -and so Maori wellbeing is a big consideration in research funding and hospital administration”

Mahuta cracks down on crime at sea while Williams counts the cash and assets ($500m) seized from criminals on land

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta is another member of the Ardern government who believes in the power of the law to eliminate criminal or undesirable behaviour.

But she seems to be aware that laws have their limitations:  a Bill she introduced to Parliament yesterday “aims” to prevent serious criminal offending at sea.

Megan Woods, as Minister of Energy and Resources, earlier this week was much more confident about a Bill to stop taxpayers having to fund oil field decommissions”.

She insisted:

“The Government is preventing taxpayers picking up the bill for the decommissioning of oil fields …”

Preventing? Or discouraging?

While Mahuta cracks down on crime on the high seas, Police Minister Poto Williams has been cracking down on gangs and criminals on land.

She proudly posted news that the Police have seized $500 million in cash and assets  from gangs and criminals over the past four years.

But many New Zealanders would have been paying attention to another triumph –  the Black Caps’ victory over India in the final of the inaugural Cricket World Test Championship.

The PM and Sports Minister Grant Robertson both extended their congratulations. Continue reading “Mahuta cracks down on crime at sea while Williams counts the cash and assets ($500m) seized from criminals on land”

Our court system (we are told) is highly regarded overseas but Govt won’t let that stand in the way of a programme of transformation

Judges and court officials should brace for changes that enable them to contribute to the government’s wellbeing agenda.  If they didn’t know this already, they should know it now after Courts Minister Aupito William Sio delivered a speech to …

Well, the speech notes don’t tell us who was privileged to hear from the Minister.  But he discussed the government’s aim of shaping the criminal justice system “for the betterment of all citizens of Aotearoa-New Zealand” (we suppose this includes members of the criminal classes) “with a determined focus on those most affected, both historically and systematically”.

The speech was one of three new posts on the Beehive website.

The others were:

  • The allocation of $5.7 million to create better-quality experiences for disabled young people.  The investment, via Sport NZ’s Disability Plan, will result in $2.1 million provided to 15 Parafeds/D-Sport and seven National Disability Sport Organisations (NDSOs) over the next three years and $3.6 million for two new contestable disability funds.
  • A government acknowledgement of Western Australia’s decision to end its lockdown, with limited restrictions still in place.

Continue reading “Our court system (we are told) is highly regarded overseas but Govt won’t let that stand in the way of a programme of transformation”

Sports organisations score from govt handouts but truck shop operators are nobbled by new lending rules

Finance Minister Grant Robertson, wearing his Sport and Recreation ministerial hat, can show he can be a big spender and draw voters’ attention to his largess each time he dispenses money from the funds under his control – or the control of an agency within his ministerial bailiwick.

Yesterday he announced the first distributions from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package, in contrast to colleague Kri Faafoi, who was winning his brownie points by crimping the incomes of mobile traders and truck shops.

Faafoi advised us that mobile-traders and truck shops since June 1 are covered by the lending protections in the Credit Contracts and Consumer Finance Act. This means that all mobile-traders must meet requirements such as assessing affordability, before agreeing to sell any goods on credit.

We can only wonder why it took Faafoi a few days before he cranked up his publicity machine to inform us how borrowers are being protected – by a cap on interest and fees at a maximum of 0.8% a day, for example. Continue reading “Sports organisations score from govt handouts but truck shop operators are nobbled by new lending rules”