Mahuta spurns call from civic leaders to go with the flow – and go slow – with contentious Three Waters programme

A press statement we received from Nanaia Mahuta, speaking as Minister of Foreign Affairs, dealt with the findings of an independent review into New Zealand’s export controls system, which regulates the export of goods to foreign militaries, police forces or paramilitaries.

Produced by David Smol, a former Chief Executive of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the report calls for stiffer rules.

It found the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has managed the export of these goods in line with legislative requirements, but the design and implementation of the system falls short of contemporary best practice in several respects.

The review is available on the MFAT website.

But statements from Mahuta of much greater concern to our wellbeing are not to be found on the Beehive website. Rather, they are to be found in Hansard’s record of proceedings during Question Time in Parliament yesterday.  

She expressed an autocratic determination to press on with the Three Waters reforms, regardless of the strength of public and local authority opposition. Continue reading “Mahuta spurns call from civic leaders to go with the flow – and go slow – with contentious Three Waters programme”

Roll up for more money, says Nash, but the Nats remind him tourist companies must keep their doors closed

We are sure Tourism Minister Stuart Nash thought it was big deal, when he announced details of how businesses can apply for help under two initiatives from the $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Re-set Plan announced in May.

On the other side of the political divide, National’s tourism spokesman, Todd McClay, harrumphed that this was a “reannouncing” of a business support scheme for some South Island regions which provides nothing new for struggling tourism operators.

More particularly, McClay reminded the Minister that much of the country will be dropping to Alert Level Three late tonight.  This does not mean a return to business as usual.

The announcement (or reannouncement) was one of two new posts on the Beehive website since your Point of Order monitors last checked. Continue reading “Roll up for more money, says Nash, but the Nats remind him tourist companies must keep their doors closed”

Supermarkets should check the Treaty – it might entitle them to a place among the decision-makers who shape their future

The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by the government as “a major milestone”. It is providing ammunition for Opposition criticisms of government economic and commerce policies, too.

Commenting on the report, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said the draft findings indicate there are problems in the market and (did he need a special inquiry to find this out?) inform him

“… that New Zealanders would get better prices, ranges and quality if there was increased competition in the grocery sector.”

The Act response is here and the National response is here. 

But supermarket operators were not the only subjects of a statement from the Beehive which portends substantial regulation for some businesses.

The futures  of tourism operators – Ngai Tahu is among the big players – will be affected by plans to address visitor pressures and safety at Milford Sound.

The Milford Opportunities Project (MOP) Masterplan unveiled in Te Anau yesterday follows four years work by cross-agency representatives, mana whenua, commercial interests and the wider community.

The project now moves to stage 3 and a new governance structure will oversee the next steps.

A ministerial group covering Tourism, Transport and Conservation portfolios will oversee the formation of a new Establishment Board to be chaired by the leader of the expert MOP group, Dr Keith Turner. Continue reading “Supermarkets should check the Treaty – it might entitle them to a place among the decision-makers who shape their future”

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”

Govt invites ideas on freshwater farm plans but irked cockies are unlikely to cancel their protest plans

One ministerial announcement which invites farmers and growers to engage in consultations on fresh water matters seems to have been issued a tad late to mollify angry farmers.  It coincided with news that a farmer group is planning a protest against what it describes as unworkable government regulations and interference in farmers’ lives – and interference in the work of the country’s biggest export sector.

Another announcement reflected concerns in the Beehive to mollify stressed operators in the tourism industry, no longer the country’s biggest earner of overseas revenue since it was crippled by the closing of borders to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Beehive policy-makers have figured they can’t do much to compensate flagging businesses for the billions of dollars lost when overseas visitors stopped coming here – but hey.

There IS something a “be kind” government can do.  It can chip in $4.5 million to give them peace of mind – of sorts – by dealing with their mental wellbeing. Continue reading “Govt invites ideas on freshwater farm plans but irked cockies are unlikely to cancel their protest plans”

A helping hand from the State for a range of causes, from the tourist industry (some operators, anyway) to Pasifika festivals

A bundle of statements and speeches has emerged from the Beehive in the past 24 hours.

We can’t closely examine all of them but suggest public servants whose pay is being frozen or subject to a stiff test before it is increased might take a look at some of the Government’s spending decisions.

Spending on cultural festivals, for example.

Here’s our attempt at giving readers a record of what has been done with their money or to improve their wellbeing … Continue reading “A helping hand from the State for a range of causes, from the tourist industry (some operators, anyway) to Pasifika festivals”

Take the heat off Megan Woods, folks – we must all pitch in and help nail (or fund) a resolution to the housing crisis

Housing Minister Megan Woods perhaps hopes to take the political heat off herself and the government on the matter of the shortage of houses, rampant real estate prices and soaring rents.

She acknowledges there is a crisis.   And – in a speech to the Palmerston North Housing Forum 2021 -she said it’s up to all of us to fix it.

The speech was among several items posted on the Beehive website since Point of Order last monitored what Ministers of the Crown are doing and how they are spending our money.

Further north, Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson was demonstrating that the housing crisis has been resolved for six families in Pāpāmoa, in the Bay of Plenty.

And his press statement reminds us that, if we are paying taxes, we already are doing our bit.

We are funding a raft of government programmes, several of them tailored to help people based on their ethnicity. Continue reading “Take the heat off Megan Woods, folks – we must all pitch in and help nail (or fund) a resolution to the housing crisis”

Davidson posts a press statement on housing (hurrah) but Nash is quiet about the role of animism in vision for the tourist industry

Our Beehive bulletin

There was great excitement in the Point of Order office this morning when one of the team checked the emails.  He bellowed the news to his colleagues as if it were a headline:  “Davidson breaks her duck”.

Yep.  She had runs on the board, if you regard her Beehive website as the official scoreboard for this sort of thing.  .

Our excitement almost distracted us from other Beehive news, including the welcoming of a Tourism Futures Taskforce report which sets out a long-term vision and direction.

It emphasises the need to prioritise sustainable tourism that enhances community wellbeing, tourism Minister Stuart Nash said.

In fact it does much more than that by promoting a fundamental cultural and spiritual transformation – social engineering is another way of putting it – for the tourism sector.  For example:

“We have Mauri – we carry a life force that connects all living things. Our Mauri is what binds us to the land.”  

In other words, the future of the tourist industry should be based on animism, or the belief that objects, places, and creatures all possess a distinct spiritual essence.

And where did the taskforce get that idea? The report makes no secret of the answer:

“This is a taskforce and report that from day one has been inspired by the Te Ao Māori perspective. The wisdom and guidance received from Māori leadership has been incredibly significant to the thinking along the journey towards these recommendations”.

Nash has already signalled the industry is about to undergo a transformation, as the government prepares for borders to re-open and international visitors to return when it is safe.

The Taskforce report is HERE. 

In other news from the Beehive:

  • Conservation Minister Kiri Allan declared the North Island kokako has been brought back from the brink of extinction. Protection of this species began in the late 1990s, after the kōkako population dropped to as few as 330 breeding pairs – around 1000 individual birds –scattered across the North Island.  There are now 2000 breeding pairs.
  • Three ministerial speeches have been delivered (see below for further information).

As we said, these posts were crowded out in our considerations by what seemed to be the triumph of Marama Davidson getting runs on the board.

But not only did we find a record of the statement that had been emailed to us this morning, when we visited the website.  We found records of other announcements and speeches in Davidson’s name  –

Release

26 MARCH 2021

$4M to reduce homelessness in five locations

Associate Housing Minister Marama Davidson today announced funding support for new initiatives that will prevent and reduce homelessness in Whangarei, Auckland, Napier/Hastings, Rotorua and the Hutt Valley.

 Speech

15 MARCH 2021

Speech to the 65th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women Side Event, March 15 2021

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa.

Release

24 FEBRUARY 2021

Government delivers 1,000 more transitional housing places

The Government has added 1,000 more transitional housing places as promised under the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan (HAP), launched one year ago.

 Speech

28 NOVEMBER 2020

Opening Address, Pacific Women’s Watch (New Zealand) Annual Conference on Disability – Creating a level playing field between ALL women in Aotearoa New Zealand

One of the greatest opportunities to improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders is to reduce New Zealand’s high rates of violence and ultimately to reduce and stop family violence

We are sure we found nothing on the site when we looked just a few days ago, prompted by a question in the House, and reported we had found a blank slate.

But maybe we were wrong – and maybe Davidson has been wronged by critics who question what she has achieved (although Davidson could take lessons from Kiri Allan on how to keep the press up with the play with a steady flow of press releases).

Her announcement today was the allocation of more than $4 million of funding support for new initiatives intended to prevent and reduce homelessness in Whangarei, Auckland, Napier/Hastings, Rotorua and the Hutt Valley.

This is the first round of funding from the Government’s $16.6 million Local Innovation and Partnership Fund, which is a key part of our Homelessness Action Plan.

The fund allows Government to partner with local providers or organisations who are doing innovative work to reduce homelessness in their area.

It also allows the government to pitch for political support among Maori and gays.

As Davidson said:

“The initiatives funded in this first round have a strong focus on Māori, rangatahi and the rainbow community.

“They offer new and tailored strategies to disrupt the cycle of homelessness for communities experiencing discrimination and isolation.”

For example, one of the recipients, Rainbow YOUTH, will partner with the housing and homelessness sector in Auckland to reduce the barriers LGBTQIA+ face when accessing mainstream housing services. Another, a partnership between Te Taiwhenua o Heretaunga Trust and Whatever It Takes in Hastings, Napier will provide support, positive relationships and connection using tikanga Māori to help people who have experienced long-term homelessness and move people into permanent housing.

Round two of the Local Innovation and Partnership Fund is expected to open in mid-2021.

The full list of successful applicants for round one funding is below.

Successful Local Innovation and Partnership Fund grant recipients

Latest from the Beehive

26 MARCH 2021

Taskforce emphasises sustainable tourism

Milestone for kōkako as population soars

$4M to reduce homelessness in five locations

25 MARCH 2021

Speech

Third Reading Speech – Local Government (Rating of Whenua Māori) Amendment Bill

Speech

2021 ANZSOG First Peoples conference final session speech

 Speech

Learning Support Coordinators forum – Speech

Biosecurity Minister shows signs of a foot-in-mouth affliction – it doesn’t require culling but will he be put out to pasture?

According to his critics, Damien O’Connor may well have contracted a nasty dose of foot-in-mouth disease.

Whether his personal struggle with the condition is good or bad for a bloke who happens to be our Minister of Biosecurity is arguable.  The portfolio requires the Minister and his ministry to ensure against foot-and-mouth disease sneaking into the country (among a formidable list of threatening pests and diseases).

Foot-and-mouth is much more virulent than foot-in-mouth and an outbreak on our farms would be calamitous for the economy.

Foot-in-mouth, on the other hand, is common among politicians and tends to be more damaging to the afflicted politician and his/her party than to the national economy.

Accordingly, when it is detected, the authorities do not declare an emergency and immediately put down the politician and cull every other beast within a certain distance, as would happen with livestock, although a polls-sensitive PM might be tempted to demote the culprit and put him or her out to pasture on the back benches.

Mind you, a politician might be accused by Opposition politicians or media commentators of having foot-in-mouth disease when others think the accused politician’s remarks were eminently sensible.

Damien O’Connor found himself embroiled in a trans-Tasman brouhaha when he suggested Australia could improve its relationship with China by following this country’s lead and showing more respect to the Asian powerhouse. Continue reading “Biosecurity Minister shows signs of a foot-in-mouth affliction – it doesn’t require culling but will he be put out to pasture?”

Communities to lose their voice in decision-making on fluoridation – the job will be centralised under the D-G of Health

The government has struck another blow against the rights of communities to decide what is best for local citizens, but with a stronger case in support of its intervention than when it wiped out the entitlement of citizens to challenge local government decisions to change their electoral procedures.

This time the intervention is science-based:  changes to a Fluoridation Bill are aimed at  ensuring a safe, effective and affordable approach is taken to improving children’s oral heath.

Decision-making would sit with the Director-General of Health.

Another statutory change affecting the wellbeing of children is the amendment of the Child Support Act “to reduce the scheme’s complexity, improve fairness and increase compliance”.

The aim is to prepare the child support scheme to transition to Inland Revenue’s new technology platform and to further simplify the scheme’s administration.

Down south, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash set out his tourism priorities in a speech at the Otago University Tourism Policy School conference in Queenstown this morning, telling his audience that planning is under way “for a new-look tourism sector” post the COVID19 vaccination programme and when international borders re-open.

The $400 million Tourism Recovery Package in 2020 was an emergency intervention, he said. Further, structural support will be needed this year, “before we make changes to prepare for a new landscape in 2022 and beyond”.

Other Beehive releases tell us – Continue reading “Communities to lose their voice in decision-making on fluoridation – the job will be centralised under the D-G of Health”