Buzz from the Beehive: pre-Budget speeches, a border re-opening and a black mark for new Green List

Pre-budget speeches from the PM and her Minister of Finance feature in the latest posts on the Beehive website.  Both speeches mention  the re-opening (hurrah) of the country’s borders.

The re-opening was the highlight of a package of initiatives announced in a press statement in the names of four ministers, Jacinda Ardern (PM), Chris Hipkins (Education), Stuart Nash (Tourism) and Kris Faafoi (Immigration).

“New Zealand is in demand and now fully open for business,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealand’s international border will reopen to all tourists and visa holders two months earlier than planned on 31 July.”

The package included significantly simplified immigration processes intended to provide faster processing for businesses and a new “Green List” that includes over 85 hard-to-fill roles created to attract and retain high-skilled workers to fill skill shortages.  

Hipkins got a second lick at the border-re-opening with an announcement that international students are welcome back – from July 31 – and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector.

This statement further advised that Hipkins will travel to the USA, Chile and Brazil to promote studying here.

In his speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce today, Finance Minister Grant Robertson spoke of “our immigration rebalance” and border reopening

“… in a way that embodies our objectives as a Government. A green list will provide a streamlined pathway to residency for workers with skills that are in high demand. This approach will enable us to support the development of high-value industries and to alleviate some of the supply constraints that are present in areas such as construction.”

But the green list has earned the government a black mark from nurses and midwives and sparked an accusation of sexism: 

Nurses and midwives say an immigration shake-up privileges male dominated professions, is “sexist”, and will do little to help fill hundreds of vacancies in New Zealand.

It’s a completely sexist model, all the doctors are in the privileged group,” hospital midwives union co-leader Jill Ovens said.

Latest from the Beehive

12 MAY 2022

New Zealand poised to welcome international students back

New Zealand is fully reopening to international students and the Government is committed to help reinvigorate and strengthen the sector, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

Speech

Pre-Budget Speech to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce

I want to start by thanking our hosts the Wellington Chamber of Commerce who graciously do this every year as we lead into the Budget.

11 MAY 2022

Lower card fees on way for business, consumers

A Bill to help lower the fees charged when credit and debit transactions are made, will save New Zealand businesses around $74 million a year.

Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua Claims Settlement Bill passes first reading – Kua hipa te Pire Whakataunga Kokoraho mō Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua i te pānuitanga tuatahi

I te whare pāremata ngā uri o Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua i tēnei rā kia kite, kia rongo hoki rātou i te hipanga o te pānuitanga tuatahi o te Pire Whakataunga Kokoraho mō Ngāti Kahungunu ki Wairarapa Tāmaki nui-ā-Rua.

Poroporoaki: Harerangi Meihana (Harry Mason)

Kua hinga ngā kapua pōuri i runga i Taranaki maunga. Kua wehe atu rā te Tumuaki o te Hāhi Ratana, arā ko matua Harerangi Meihana.

Speech

PM Pre-Budget Speech to Business New Zealand

Thank you to Business New Zealand and Fujitsu for hosting us here today, and I am grateful to be joined by Minister Faafoi, and Minister Hipkins.

Fully open border and immigration changes speed up economic growth

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today announced a major package of reforms, which include an early opening of New Zealand’s border and a simplification of immigration settings, to address the immediate skill shortages in New Zealand and speed up the economic recovery from COVID-19.

Firing the flops in her Cabinet (we suggest) might spark a return to the fold of 2020 voters who have cooled to the PM

So  what’s  happened  to  the  widely admired  crisis management  skills that  elevated  Jacinda Ardern   so  far above  other New Zealand  politicians and  won her re-election in 2020 with  a 50-year  record result for Labour?

She sounded almost  forlorn  as  she  spoke  on Monday of  how Covid  will  increase  “and  rapidly”  and  conceded “there  will be  disruption and  pressure  from Omicron”.

Just  as 2019   was  to be the “year of delivery” and 2021 the “year of the vaccine”, this is to  be  the  “year  of  moving  forward”.   But  moving forward to  what?

Well,  once Covid  reaches its peak and starts to come down, she says

“… we can start to move towards a life that feels a little more like a new normal that we can all live with”. 

Oh dear.

Ardern   says her  primary goal is to manage Covid with few restrictions and accelerate the economic recovery while continuing to ensure that lives and livelihoods are protected.

She  sounded positively elegiac in this  final  stanza: Continue reading “Firing the flops in her Cabinet (we suggest) might spark a return to the fold of 2020 voters who have cooled to the PM”

PM’s announcement of a Covid lockdown might trigger more Jacindamania – but Govt gaffes have triggered a slide in support

New Zealand’s first Covid community case  in many months struck  just as  the  country  has  been  fretting over  how  the  government   might  frame  its  re-opening to  the  world after the  pandemic.

The government’s response – another Alert Level Four lockdown – was announced (eventually) during  a prime ministerial press conference, televised live, which dominated 6pm news programmes.

Whether this will provoke  a  fresh  bout  of  Jacindamania, like that New Zealand  experienced  before the  last  election,  is  far from  certain.

The  mood  of the nation has   been  shifting  in  recent months,  showing  the  signs  of  tetchiness  that  should  put  any government  on high  alert.

Coincidentally,  a new  poll  by UMR  has   pointed  to  Labour’s  support  sliding from  48%  in  July  to 43%  this  month,  with  the  Greens  on  7%,  down  one.

On the  other  side  of the political  fence,  National has risen  4 points  to 28%  and ACT  to 13%,  up 2%, but that still leaves a  big  gap  to  be  closed  by  the  centre-right  parties. Continue reading “PM’s announcement of a Covid lockdown might trigger more Jacindamania – but Govt gaffes have triggered a slide in support”

The Mongrel Mob, meth supply and a marvellous money-go-round – the PM giveth what the cops hath taken away

It is unlikely the $2.75 million given to the Mongrel Mob to fund a meth rehab programme will do much mischief to the public debt because much of the money may well have come from the mob in the first place.

We suggest this makes it a marvellous money-go-round – or an exercise in fiscal recycling – because …

  • The money (according to a Stuff report) came from the Proceeds of Crime fund (or money seized from gangs and criminals by police) ; and
  • The NZ Herald  last month reported that about $2m in cash and assets, including five residential properties, vehicles, motorcycles, jet skis, cash and the contents of various bank accounts were seized in an operation that targeted senior members of the Mongrel Mob in Hawke’s Bay involved in supplying methamphetamine.

This mention of the mob in Hawke’s Bay was part of a report on the smashing of another major drug ring, with more than $44 million in drugs seized as police surpass the $500 million milestone in confiscated assets from gangs and criminals over the past four years.

This should be comforting for those of us who are keeping an eye on cavalier government spending after the Treasury warned the government that its debt is on an “unsustainable trajectory” over the coming 40 years.

That’s because of an ageing population driving up superannuation and health costs. Continue reading “The Mongrel Mob, meth supply and a marvellous money-go-round – the PM giveth what the cops hath taken away”