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”

While some talk of recession, Nash has cheering news (and a $54m trough) for the tourism sector – or for favoured operators, at least

Buzz from the Beehive

Businesspeople gathered in Christchurch for a national trade show called MEETINGS were treated to a cheering-up speech from Stuart Nash, Minister of Economic and Regional Development and of Tourism.

MEETINGS is described as the only national tradeshow in New Zealand for the business events industry, organised by Business Events Industry Aotearoa (BEIA). Once a year, the conference, meetings and events, exhibition and travel incentive sector come together to discuss new business opportunities across the country.

And – in this case – they heard from Nash about the sums the government is providing to boost the industry.  A trough, in other words.

More ominously (if you happen to be bothered about the futures of industries which become subjected to central planning) he enthused about the government’s strategy for the tourist sector and policies which determine what sort of tourists should be encouraged to come here.  

It was the same day that StatsNZ added to a stream of disquieting economic news (a 10 per cent rise in food prices, a stock market crash and so on)  by reporting New Zealand’s GDP fell 0.2 per cent in the March 2022 quarter, worse than most economists had forecast. Continue reading “While some talk of recession, Nash has cheering news (and a $54m trough) for the tourism sector – or for favoured operators, at least”

Buzz from the Beehive: Aussie PM is congratulated, US trade mission is announced, and a quintet gives war criminals cause to quaver

The country’s international relationships have loomed large in Beehive announcements since Friday.

One press statement – from the PM – congratulated Anthony Albanese and the Australian Labor Party on winning the Australian Federal election.  Jacinda Ardern said:

“Australia is our most important partner, our only official ally and single economic market relationship, and I believe our countries will work even more closely together in these tumultuous times.”

Ardern hopes to meet Albanese “in the near future” and looks forward to working with him on a range of issues including supporting New Zealanders living in Australia, making trans-Tasman business even easier, deepening our partnership with our close friends in the Pacific, and advancing our interests on the world stage.

A statement this morning announced the PM will lead a trade mission to the United States this week to support export growth and the return of tourists post COVID-19. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Aussie PM is congratulated, US trade mission is announced, and a quintet gives war criminals cause to quaver”

Buzz from the Beehive – and our science minister proudly declares her position on mātauranga Māori

Here’s what our Ministers have been up to over the past 24 hours (at least, here’s what they have proclaimed, announced or disclosed in press statements).

One statement landed in our in-tray around the same time as we were posting our report on the tohunga and the knowledge he brings to the challenge of fog dispersal at airports.  It came from Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, who declared she was proud to be backing mātauranga Māori scientific research.

In effect, she has also declared where she stands in the controversy  that has split the science community on mātauranga Māori and science.

Latest from the Beehive

13 APRIL 2022

COVID-19 research fund for future health planning

Researchers looking at the COVID-19 pandemic are being invited to apply for grants from a new fund.

C-130 Hercules departs for Europe to support Ukraine

A New Zealand Defence Force C-130H transport aircraft departed for Europe today to help partner militaries support Ukraine defend itself against Russia’s invasion, Defence Minister Peeni Henare

12 APRIL 2022

Winter tourism gets a lift with new ski workers

Winter tourism is getting a lift from a Government decision to allow 275 experienced workers to enter the country to support businesses operating ski fields and snow sports destinations.

Chris Black, Ruth Dyson appointed as Chair, Deputy Chair of EQC Board

Recently retired chief executive of the Farmers’ Mutual Group, Chris Black, and former Christchurch MP, Ruth Dyson have been appointed Chair and Deputy Chair of the Earthquake Commission Board.

Government delivering improvements to children’s lives

The Government has released its first statutory Annual Report for the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and its third Child Poverty Related Indicators Report.

Proud to be backing mātauranga Māori scientific research

Sixteen projects including a horticultural and food enterprise, a study into intergenerational iwi knowledge, and ways of bringing traditional and modern engineering streams together will receive funding through the latest round of the Te Pūnaha Hihiko: Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund.

Buzz from the Beehive: Enhancing numeracy skills will enable students to work out taxpayers’ share of compensation offer

Taxpayers and Wellington ratepayers will be picking up the tab for yet another political decision that has resulted from the breakdown of law and order and the surrendering of the grounds around Parliament to protesters for three weeks.

Wellington City Council and the Government have agreed to support inner-city Wellington businesses which lost significant revenue during what they described as “the illegal occupation at Parliament grounds”  with a $1.2 million business relief fund.

In line with previous contributions to council-led response funds, the Government is contributing $200,000. The City Council is investing $1 million in the fund.

Wellington Mayor Andy Foster is disappointed.  He says he originally asked for $6 million to bolster central-city businesses which either had to close, or experienced a huge drop in revenue after the protests.

Instead, the Government offered $200,00 for the $1.2m package that will offer any business which suffered a 50 per cent drop in revenue a one-off $30,000 payment.

A more significant announcement tells us of a Government plan to improve how and what our kids are learning at school. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: Enhancing numeracy skills will enable students to work out taxpayers’ share of compensation offer”

Buzz from the Beehive: the lights are changing and mandates going as PM declares Covid success (but how will Daniel react?)

 In a letter to the Dominion-Post today, a Daniel Smith from Lower Hutt tells us what he thinks of at least one aspect of National Party policy on Covid-19.

He says recent calls by Chris Bishop and Christopher Luxon to immediately withdraw Covid-19 mandates at a time when the majority of New Zealand is still experiencing very high rates of hospitalisation

“… beggars belief and is nothing less than irresponsible.

“Have these people not seen what has occurred in the multitude of other countries with limited pandemic control measures in place?  If not, they need to start paying attention.”

“Clearly the opposition parties in New Zealand, which are supposed to be advocating for greater accountability, don’t feel they should be held accountable [for] their own poor-quality policy proposals.  We deserve better.”

Whether or not things are better under Jacinda Ardern is open to debate.  But they are different.

The PM has resisted the call to immediately withdraw Covid-19 mandates.  No, she informed us today – they won’t be withdrawn until April 4 (with some exceptions remaining in place).

ACT staffers were monitoring the announcement, resulting in this press statement:

“No wonder we have a productivity problem when even the Prime Minister takes 22 minutes to deliver 2 minutes of information,” says ACT Leader David Seymour. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: the lights are changing and mandates going as PM declares Covid success (but how will Daniel react?)”

Buzz from the Beehive – PM broadcasts a bulletin about the breakdown of border barriers to boost tourist businesses

Good trade news has flowed from the office of Damien O’Connor in the form of a report showing how this country’s high-tech exports are faring in the United States.  But much better in terms of the immediate economic boost was news from the PM that the Government is bringing forward the date for opening the border to tourists in time for the Australian school holidays.

Accompanying this, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced a new tourism marketing campaign is being launched in Australia this week to build demand for travel here.

Nash’s statement gave no hint of the costs involved.  It did say:

  • Historically, 71 per cent of all international tourists who came to ski have been Australians, who generated more than $211 million in winter spending; and
  • The government will keep rolling out direct investment from its two tourism support packages worth $600 million in targeted spending. Further details are due shortly.

These announcements were timely.  The latest official statistics today show the seasonally adjusted current account deficit widened to $6.5 billion in the December 2021 quarter, from $4.7 billion in the September 2021 quarter.   Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – PM broadcasts a bulletin about the breakdown of border barriers to boost tourist businesses”