Campbell has gone from Health job, we hear, but Verrall has not officially posted news of his sacking

Buzz from the Beehive

Kiwiblog’s account of the sacking of Rob Campbell kicked of with a Radio NZ report:

Health New Zealand’s board chairperson Rob Campbell has been sacked over a political attack he made about the National Party’s Three Waters policy.

On Checkpoint tonight, RNZ was reporting on the likelihood of Campbell also being sacked as chair of the Environmental Protection Authority.

But here’s the thing.  We can find no record of the Health sacking announcement – by Health Minister Ayesha Verrall – on the Beehive website. Continue reading “Campbell has gone from Health job, we hear, but Verrall has not officially posted news of his sacking”

Our PM features in Netflix series on “inspirational leaders” but distances herself from Harry and Megan’s role in the production

Buzz from the Beehive

Uh, oh.  It’s a prime ministerial statement we can’t find on the Beehive website.

But you can read it in full in Britain’s Daily Mail, which has posted it in an article headed Jacinda Ardern distances herself from Harry and Meghan: Office for New Zealand PM says her involvement in new Netflix show on ‘inspirational leaders’ was not to do with Sussexes.

The report begins:

Jacinda Ardern today issued a statement about her appearance in a new Netflix ‘docuseries’ presented by Meghan and Harry, with New Zealand’s PM insisting she was unaware of the couple’s involvement when she agreed to take part. 

Point of Order – in its check this morning on ministerial press statements on the Beehive website – found just two new releases:

Wage consistency for school bus drivers   

Additional funding will be available to make the wage rates of rural school bus drivers consistent with those who drive for comparable public transport services, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. 

Great Walks to see great numbers visiting this summer

The Department of Conservation expects a busy season this summer with the return of overseas visitors and high numbers of New Zealanders taking time out in nature. Continue reading “Our PM features in Netflix series on “inspirational leaders” but distances herself from Harry and Megan’s role in the production”

How the Treaty of Waitangi is determining the direction in which state-funded science will be taken (or dragged back?)

Buzz from the Beehive

We have come – or gone – a long way, in the past two decades. In which direction is open to discussion.  

Writing for The Independent Business Weekly on 22 January 2003, I noted how a localised Māori belief in a taniwha had obliged Transit New Zealand to stop work on a stretch of new expressway near Meremere for several weeks.

The Environmental Risk Management Authority was consulting people about ways to incorporate Māori spiritual values in a revised policy. The authority (according to newspaper reports at the time) might regard Māori spiritual concerns as sufficient reason for rejecting research applications for genetic research approvals, even if there was no physical biological risk.

A Biosecurity Council discussion document had set out a biosecurity strategy which called for the protection of land-based industries and the facilitation of exports and tourism as well as

… maintaining the relationship between Māori and their culture and traditions with ancestral lands, waters, sites, wahi tapu and taonga.

Responsiveness to Māori should recognise “the special nature of taonga,” the document explained, and it noted that Māori believed native plants and animals possessed spiritual qualities. Continue reading “How the Treaty of Waitangi is determining the direction in which state-funded science will be taken (or dragged back?)”

Govt cheerleaders whoop the good news (at last) of resource management reform – but keep an eye on the Treaty’s role

Buzz from the Beehive

It was rather like listening to ministers crowing about the goodies being distributed to programmes within their portfolios before, on and after Budget Day.

It was the joyous response from a gaggle of cheerleading ministers to the unveiling of legislation to replace the wretched Resource Management Act.

Environment Minister David Parker made the key announcement and summed up its features under these bullet points:

  • The system is broken, consent fees have almost doubled, and consenting time frames increased by 50%
  • New standardised conditions will see fewer “bespoke” consents and speed up the process
  • Time to consent will shorten, and fast track process retained
  • On a conservative estimate costs will fall 19% a year ($149m) or $10b over 30 years
  • Environmental protection increases, based on new targets and limits.
  • The National Planning Framework will provide consistency and certainty
  • 100 RMA plans will reduce to 15

Continue reading “Govt cheerleaders whoop the good news (at last) of resource management reform – but keep an eye on the Treaty’s role”

New appointees will get to sit around the table with Tipa Mahuta, no matter which health authority board they are joining


Buzz from the Beehive

We were reminded today of the formidable influence exercised by Tipa Mahuta, sister of Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

Tipa’s name popped up – twice – in a press statement from Health Minister Andrew Little, who has made more appointments to the boards of the authorities that run the country’s health services.

She is named as the chair of the Maori Health Authority board and a member of the  Health New Zealand board.

Nanaia Mahuta is proud of her family’s talents and has brushed off questions of nepotism when this or conflict-of-interest issues have been raised:  

“As long as any conflicts are dealt with by the book [there is] no issue. Just an opportunity for attempted political point-scoring.”


“I’ve got a talented whanau. Conflicts have been declared, managed appropriately, and in accordance with the Cabinet Manual.”

Little’s press statement has been posted on the Beehive website along with news that his hard-working colleagues have been – 

Finding a cheaper way of borrowing to enable Kāinga Ora to build more houses

Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced Cabinet’s agreement to increase Kāinga Ora’s borrowing capacity by NZ$2.75 billion for the 2022/23 financial year and to enable the state housing agency to borrow directly from the Crown through New Zealand Debt Management (NZDM), rather than from private markets. 

NZDM will meet all the future financing requirements of Kāinga Ora, including refinancing existing borrowings as they mature.

Robertson said Cabinet agreed it makes more sense for Kāinga Ora to borrow from the NZDM because it’s cheaper and provides more certainty than borrowing from private sources.

This news prompted Point of Order to dig out a recent NZ Herald report about Housing Minister Megan Woods being warned not to grant any future Budget bids to Kāinga Ora for a time, after fears of unsustainable debt levels.

Reporter Thomas Coughlan referenced a leaked document from the Ministry for Housing and Urban Development which showed spiralling construction costs had led to a debt blowout at Kāinga Ora.  Concerns were raised about the Government being unable to completely repay the increase in debt over the next 60 years.   

Keeping us safe by spending $1.4bn on an emergency communications network

Police Minister Chris Hipkins announced the roll-out from next year of a new digital communications network for emergency service workers, describing this as the most significant advance in New Zealand’s public safety communications in decades.

The Public Safety Network will deliver emergency services with a single secure digital radio network and greatly improved mobile broadband access.  

The government will invest $1.4 billion over 10 years to build and operate the network, roll out new devices to emergency services staff, stations and vehicles, and decommission the existing network  This cost was mentioned in the 11th paragraph of the 13-paragraph  press release. 

New Zealand’s Emergency Services are made up of about 35,000 staff and volunteers who attend over 5 million calls for help every year.

The successful bidders who will build the Public Safety Network are a Tait Communications and Kordia joint venture, and Hourua (a Spark and Vodafone NZ (One NZ) joint venture).

More information about the Public Safety network can be found on the NGCC website: 

Calling tourism hogs to dip into a $54m trough to encourage low-carbon innovation

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced applications are open for the Innovation Programme for Tourism Recovery “that will support unique and transformative ideas that will improve our tourism sector”. 

“We want to see projects that are sustainable, low carbon and that can deliver on our goals for a high skilled and high wage sector.”

 Nash said COVID has been a difficult time for the industry, even with government support through the $400 million Tourism Recovery Package and $200 million Tourism Communities Plan.

The $54 million Innovation Programme aims to support projects that: 

  • Reduce carbon emissions resulting from tourism or have a positive impact on the climate.
  • Improve the environmental sustainability of tourism through enhancing our natural environment and biodiversity. 
  • Improve the resilience of tourism to future changes, impacts and shocks. 
  • Lift productivity or capability of the tourism sector through technology. 
  • Promote and protect Taonga Māori throughout the New Zealand-Aotearoa visitor journey (where the project is led or delivered by iwi / hapū or Māori enterprises). 

Nash said the second phase of the Tourism Industry Transformation Plan which focuses on addressing the environmental challenges and opportunities for tourism has started with a draft action plan expected to be released mid-next year.

This phase of the encompasses three pillars:

  • Climate change adaptation – understanding the impact that climate change will have on the tourism industry and taking action to ensure the industry can adapt to climate events.
  • Climate change mitigation – transforming the New Zealand tourism industry into a low carbon emissions industry.
  • Fostering positive ecological outcomes, such as biodiversity and ecosystem restoration.

Appointing experts (based on their ethnicity) to guide Māori-led climate action

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has announced a new Interim Ministerial Advisory Committee to develop a framework for Te Ao Māori responses to the climate crisis. 

He said a Māori ‘climate action platform was promised as part of the Emissions Reduction Plan to help ensure whānau, hapū and iwi are at the forefront of the Government’s work to respond to climate change. 

He has invoked “Te Tiriti” to validate his appointments and unabashedly mentions the government’s mission to merge science with mātauranga Maori: 

“Our government is committed to an equitable low carbon transition that upholds the promise of Te Tiriti o Waitangi. The new advisory committee we are announcing today will help ensure Te Ao Māori plays a central role guiding our transition to a climate-friendly future,” said the Minister of Climate Change, James Shaw. 

“One of the core commitments that runs throughout this Government’s climate plan is to ensure an equitable transition for Māori, led by Māori. 

“Māori are kaitiaki of their whenua, leaders in their communities, decision makers, and land and business owners – and it is crucial we work together as equal partners on our climate response. 

“However, we know Māori are both disproportionately and uniquely affected by a warming planet. Which is why it is so critical that we apply a tikanga Māori lens to the work we are doing to transition Aotearoa to a low emissions economy. 

“Through this lens we can better understand the distributional impacts of climate policies and work to balance some of the risks, the costs and benefits to Māori of the transition. Mātauranga Māori can also help us to learn and better inform our decision making.” 

Assuring us that public funds have been well spent on Pacific learners

Associate Education Minister Aupito Sio has drawn attention to an interim evaluation Report on Pacific Education Support and Innovation funds.

He says the report has found that many of the education projects led by Pacific Providers have been extremely effective [which suggests some have not] . 

Budget 20 provided for two key funds;

Pacific Education Support Fund – $39.7m over four years

Established to fund community providers, groups and organisations to support learners and their families to meet education related and wellbeing needs arising from and/or exacerbated by COVID-19. The fund aims to support Pacific learners and families to engage in education during the COVID-19 response, and help learners and families access support services.

Pacific Education Innovation Fund – $6m available each year until 2023/24 across 10 regions

Targeted for innovative practices that support Pacific learners’ and their families wellbeing and curriculum needs which have been affected by COVID-19. Pacific bilingual and immersion education are key focuses of the fund.

As of June 30, 2022 a total of $23.1m has been allocated across 10 regions for the Support and Innovation funds.

​​​​​​​Appointing new health authority board members (whichever board they sit on, they will work with Tipa Mahuta) 

Health Minister Andrew Little announced GP Dr Jeff Lowe and former Inland Revenue Commissioner Naomi Ferguson have been appointed to the board of the organisation that runs the country’s public hospitals, Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand.

Steven McJorrow (Ngāti Kahungunu) was appointed to the board of Te Aka Whai Ora – the Māori Health Authority.

The press statement draws attention to the influence exercised by Tipa Mahuta, a member of the talented Mahuta family. 

Dr Lowe and Naomi Ferguson join Rob Campbell (chair), Amy Adams, Tipa Mahuta, Dame Karen Poutasi, Vanessa Stoddart and Dr Curtis Walker on the board of Health New Zealand.

The other members of board the Māori Health Authority are Tipa Mahuta (chair, Waikato, Maniapoto, Ngāpuhi), Sharon Shea (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Hauā, Ngāti Hako), Fiona Pimm (Ngā Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha), Awerangi Tamihere (Ngāti Kauwhata, Rangitane, Ngāti Porou, Rongowhakaata, Kai Tau), Dr Mataroria Lyndon (Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Wai, Waikato) and Dr Sue Crengle (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Waitaha). The remaining vacancy on this board will be filled in the New Year.

Tipa Mahuta has other jobs to keep her busy when the workload in health gives her some down time.

She is

  • Chair of the five-member Maori Advisory Board which has two members on the seven-member board of Taumata Arowai, the new Water Services Regulator. According to the regulator’s controlling legislation, whatever the Maori Advisory Board decides, the regulator must enact – or explain why it has not done so. As chair of the Maori Advisory Board, Tipa Mahuta therefore holds one of the most powerful positions in Three Waters.  

Notes about Tipa Mahuta on the river authority’s website say she  has held a wide range of governance roles including Iwi and local government positions.   


Poto prefers “Piopiotahi” – does this portend “Milford Sound” being purged from promotions, or is perplexity part of the plan?

Buzz from the Beehive

What’s in a name?

Millions of dollars, when it comes to promoting places like “New Zealand” and “Milford Sound” as international tourist destinations over many years.

But whoa. Our international marketing will need overhauling to deal with the confusion generated by political linguistics.

Our monitoring of The Beehive website today threw up a headline that read:

Ministers outline next phase of Milford Opportunities Project

The opening sentence of the press release in the names of Conservation Minister Poto Williams and Tourism Minister Stuart Nash advised us of

“… a productive visit to Piopiotahi to hear directly from tourism operators, iwi and the unit undertaking feasibility planning.” 

Piopiotahi and Milford Sound – of course – are the same place.  Whether overseas tourists appreciate this is a moot point. Continue reading “Poto prefers “Piopiotahi” – does this portend “Milford Sound” being purged from promotions, or is perplexity part of the plan?”

More Russians on the sanctions list – that will punish Putin’s cronies, but what might he do next to express his displeasure?

Buzz from the Beehive

Wow.  The long weekend seems to have been a powerful pick-me-up for our politicians, who have pumped out a raft of statements over the past two days.

Most of their press releases were to alert us to decisions to improve our wellbeing, although we wonder if that’s the case when we retaliate against President Putin for his antics in Ukraine.  He is threatening to up the ante by unleashing some of his nuclear weapons, after all.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta nevertheless has announced the imposition of further sanctions on members of Putin’s inner circle and other representatives of the Russian political elite, as part of the Government’s ongoing response to the war in Ukraine.

Since the passing of the Russia Sanctions Act in March, New Zealand has imposed sanctions on over 1000 individuals and entities,

“… a key part of our efforts to hold Russia accountable and support Ukraine,” Nanaia Mahuta said. Continue reading “More Russians on the sanctions list – that will punish Putin’s cronies, but what might he do next to express his displeasure?”

Now that regeneration has become important in Govt policy considerations, let’s see it regenerate the health work force

Just a few days ago, RNZ was reporting about frustrated New Zealand-trained migrant nurses planning to leave the country because they cannot find an immediate path to residency, just as the government was trying to entice foreigners to fill thousands of jobs in hospitals, aged care  homes and clinics.

The report reminded us that nurses had been excluded from the government’s new straight-to-residence Green List.  They must work in the profession for two years first.

Sandeep Kaur told RNZ she had spent years separated from her two young sons in India while studying for a nursing degree in New Zealand.

She said she was devastated the profession was excluded from super-fast residency visas under the new immigration Green List, months after her graduation late last year.

She and her husband were preparing to move to Australia where she could gain residency quickly and reunite her family.

Figures released to the National Party at that time showed just 18 migrant nurses applied to come to New Zealand in the first six weeks of the new residency visa, compared to a monthly average of 57 under the previous critical purpose visa. Continue reading “Now that regeneration has become important in Govt policy considerations, let’s see it regenerate the health work force”

The case for introducing the Jargon-noughts – a police force to reduce public service jargon and pap to zero

Buzz from the Beehive

Kiwiblog has drawn attention to a bit of legislation proceeding through Parliament which the blog headlines as The stupidest bill this year.

We didn’t learn about this private bill from the Beehive website because it is the work of Labour backbencher Rachel Boyack, who says professionals working in public services and Crown agencies often struggle to write in plain language.

This (Boyack says) acts as a barrier for many – including migrants, the disabled and those with English as a second language – from understanding what society is asking of them.

Her plain language bill, which passed its second reading in the House on Thursday, aims to make all public sector agencies use clear, concise language when communicating with the public.

It would require every public service and Crown agency to ensure they communicate in plain language and have a designated plain language officer.

Kiwiblog references a Stuff report which says:

This sweeping move would impact hundreds of workplaces. Continue reading “The case for introducing the Jargon-noughts – a police force to reduce public service jargon and pap to zero”

Govt has dived into Covid-19 recovery funds to help build aquatic centre that – gosh! – may bring world champs to Hastings

Buzz from the Beehive 

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has been busy in the past 24 hours, joining the PM for the opening of a new aquatic centre, enthusing about data from the latest visitor statistics and announcing a new industry strategy.

The Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities Priyanca Radhakrishnan was in the business of announcing strategies, too.  She welcomed the Ministry for Ethnic Communities’ release of its first strategy, setting out the actions it will take over the next few years to achieve better wellbeing outcomes for ethnic communities.

In the Education domain, Associate Minister Jan Tinetti was chuffed about the success of the programme for providing “free” period products in schools, while fellow Associate Minister Aupito William Sio announced the recipients of the Tulī Takes Flight scholarships. These were a key part of last year’s Dawn Raids apology. Continue reading “Govt has dived into Covid-19 recovery funds to help build aquatic centre that – gosh! – may bring world champs to Hastings”