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”

Prisoners with a flair for kapa haka are among the beneficiaries of the govt’s latest efforts to promote our wellbeing

Our Beehive bulletin

Enhancing the wellbeing of people banged up in our prisons was the subject of one Beehive announcement yesterday.  Enhancing the wellbeing of farm animals was the subject of another.  And enhancing the wellbeing of all of us by protecting us from terrorists was the subject of a statement from the PM.

Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Twyford – more grandly – had the welfare of the whole world in his considerations when he addressed a workshop on lethal autonomous weapons systems.

From our monitoring of The Beehive website we learned –

  • Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis announced the joyous news that – for the first time – all 18 prisons in New Zealand will be invited to participate in an inter-prison kapa haka competition.
  • Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor brought less joyous news to some farmers when he announced the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years. He acknowledged the economic benefit some farmers get from the trade, but I also noted that “support of it is not universal within the sector.”
  • The PM issued a stocktake undertaken by France and New Zealand which shows “significant global progress” under the Christchurch Call towards its goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. 
  • Disarmament and Arms Control Minister Phil Twyford addressed a workshop on lethal autonomous weapons systems, explaining that New Zealand has strongly supported the development of 11 Guiding Principles by the Group of Governmental experts on this issue. He provided a snapshot of what New Zealand has done on this issue and where we stand now.
  • Racing Minister Grant Robertson announced he is appointing Liz Dawson as Chair of the interim TAB NZ Board.  The interim board is responsible for the governance of TAB New Zealand until the substantive board of directors is appointed. 

Continue reading “Prisoners with a flair for kapa haka are among the beneficiaries of the govt’s latest efforts to promote our wellbeing”

Nash heads south but the news was muffled by yacht racing hoopla and the promise of more state funding to keep Team NZ afloat

Our Beehive bulletin

Here’s good news from the Beehive for South Island tourism operators, desperate for an economic pick-me-up after their turnovers were shrunk by the closing of the borders in March last year.  More visitors are on their way.

Not many, mind you.  Just one Minister of the Crown and whatever entourage he might take to carry his bags.  But it’s the Minister the tourism operators most want to talk with:

South Island regions hardest hit by the closure of international borders are the focus of a visit by Tourism and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash over the next two days.

We don’t know how closely Nash’s ministerial colleague, James Shaw, monitors the emissions generated by political travel.  But Shaw and his officials do keep tabs on emissions pricing and have just announced the first auction of emissions allowances.

This news and news of Nash’s travels, alas, have been squeezed out of the big headlines by the result of a boat race in Auckland, which triggered a nationwide blast of ballyhoo and jingoism.

The Beehive was not immune.  Indeed, the PM and her team were so exuberant that they did not wait for a request before they announced they would invest more millions of our money in the next defence of the  America’s Cup.    

Among other news: Continue reading “Nash heads south but the news was muffled by yacht racing hoopla and the promise of more state funding to keep Team NZ afloat”

RITA was counting on a 2019/20 net profit of $165.8 million – but did they expect being nobbled by a virus?

According to a Stuff report:  New Zealand might be in lockdown but at a time when problem gamblers are at their most vulnerable, the TAB and online gambling sites are open for business.

Might be in lockdown?

We wonder where sports writer Mat Kermand was when he wrote that sentence as a prelude to a somewhat huffy article about taking bets not being listed as an essential service.

Kermand noted that under level four of the Covid-19 scale – which says “only businesses absolutely essential to ensure the necessities of life”  can operate – the TAB can trade online because it can run its business with staff working remotely during the Coronavirus outbreak.

He went on:

Lotto is also available online only and overseas gambling and gaming websites are not restricted by New Zealand law despite it not being illegal for Kiwis to use them.

PGF Services entered the narrative with spokesperson Andree Froude calling on all online gambling services to step up their host responsibility, because (apparently) the hundreds of thousands of Kiwis off work, unable to leave home, with excess spare time on their hands, will be to blow whatever money they can struggle to find in these straitened times. Continue reading “RITA was counting on a 2019/20 net profit of $165.8 million – but did they expect being nobbled by a virus?”

Racing industry put money on NZ First but Peters has yet to come home a winner

Can Winston Peters revive  the   NZ   racing  industry?

Last  year  he famously said: “I’ve got no interest in being the Minister of Racing presiding over a dead horse.”  But  many  within  the  industry fear  that   unless  he  moves  swiftly,  the animal,  despite  its staying  power over the  decades,  will  indeed  expire.

The Deputy Prime Minister last year commissioned John Messara, described as a top administrator and stud owner in Australia, to review the NZ industry, which has been ailing  for the past decade.

After he  received  the report  last August, Peters noted Messara’s  warning  that thoroughbred horse racing “is at a tipping point of irreparable damage” and declared:

“My  intention is to have officials produce a Cabinet paper with a set of recommendations for decision. While it is too early to say what Cabinet will agree upon, the severity of the situation means the status quo is unlikely to prevail.It’s reform or die, there’s no off-course substitute”. Continue reading “Racing industry put money on NZ First but Peters has yet to come home a winner”