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”

Buzz from the Beehive – or what are they up to now? (besides bruising local body democracy)

We had only just posted our Buzz from the Beehive report yesterday when Nanaia Mahuta banged out an announcement which buttressed her track record as a minister strong on democracy (with her rhetoric as Minister of Foreign Affairs) but lukewarm if not disdainful of it (with her actions as Minister of Local Government).

She said the Tauranga City Council will be run by commissioners until July 2024. This means the citizens and ratepayers of that city won’t get to elect a mayor and councillors to govern them at the next local government elections. 

Two other announcements over the past 24 hours or so deal with issues at the border, deciding who can come into this country as critical or skilled workers to work in manufacturing or tourism. 

Outward travel was the subject of an announcement that New Zealand and Australian public Anzac Day services will return to Gallipoli next month.

Tourism will further benefit from one of three spending announcements.  The other beneficiaries are a seaweed programme and Maori housing. 

And Finance Minister Grant Robertson told us he had hosted a call with his counterparts from Australia and the United States.   Canada and the United Kingdom were represented by deputies.  Did he tell them about this country’s robust economic performance, thanks to his stewardship as Minister of Finance?

Latest from the Beehive

12 MARCH 2022

Workforce pressures eased for manufacturing

Workforce pressures in the advanced manufacturing sector are to be eased with the approval of spaces for 100 critical workers to enter under a special immigration arrangement.

Return of working holidaymakers a boost to economic recovery

The return of working holidaymakers and more skilled workers from this coming Monday will accelerate New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19 by helping to fill workforce shortages and support tourism.

11 MARCH 2022

Anzac Day Services to Return to Gallipoli in 2022

Minister for Veterans’ Meka Whaitiri has confirmed today that New Zealand and Australian public Anzac Day services will return to Gallipoli next month.

Land-based seaweed trial a nationwide first

A land-based seaweed trial aiming to help restore our waterways is about to kick-off with Government investment beside the Firth of Thames wetland, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor said.

10 March Joint Meeting of Finance Ministers

Finance Minister Hon Grant Robertson yesterday hosted a call with his counterparts from Australia and the United States. Canada and the United Kingdom were represented by deputies.

Delivering on our commitment to Māori housing

Today the Associate Minister of Housing (Māori Housing) Peeni Henare released the Implementation Plan for the National Māori Housing Strategy – MAIHI Ka Ora.

Support for new winter festivals in lower South Island Te Waipounamu

Two new winter festivals in the lower South Island are getting government backing through an annual fund that supports start-up events to become internationally significant.

Commission to be appointed to Tauranga City Council beyond October 2022

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta has today announced her intention to appoint a Commission to the Tauranga City Council until July 2024.

 

The trade news is good, the climate-warming news is grim – and a bellbird is enlisted in rhetoric to pacify a tyrant

Developments overseas account for much of the latest ministerial announcements and speeches posted on The Beehive website.

The good news (at first blush) is that New Zealand and the United Kingdom have signed a Free Trade Agreement.  The two governments are aiming for this to enter into force by the end of the year, after both partners have ratified it through their respective parliaments.

The bad news – grim would be a better word – is that the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment report is a stark reminder of why New Zealand should brace for the worst effects of climate change.

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta meanwhile has posted New Zealand’s Statement to the UN Human Rights Council which condemns Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.  And again,  Vladimir Putin has not been named, as if denying him the oxygen of publicity might change things.

Back on the home front, the Government has announced it is removing the self-isolation requirements for vaccinated travellers to New Zealand and enabling Kiwis to come here from the rest of the world sooner.

It also is stepping in to support local communities build up tourism facilities through a new funding round with a special focus on Matariki commemorations. The sum of  $16.5 million was allocated for this funding round in the $200 million Tourism Communities: Support, Recovery and Reset Plan last year.

And the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine will soon be available to people aged 18 and over, following Cabinet’s confirmation yesterday. Continue reading “The trade news is good, the climate-warming news is grim – and a bellbird is enlisted in rhetoric to pacify a tyrant”

Govt rushes freedom-crimping measures past close scrutiny – ministers then go spending big bucks to tackle Covid-19

Latest from the Beehive

Fresh from the legislative outrage of rushing the “traffic lights” bill through Parliament, the government poured $504.1 million earlier today into initiatives to help Kiwis deal with Covid-19 in its latest responses to the reality that Covid-19 is something we must learn to live with.

That was the sum when Point of Order first checked the Beehive website this morning.

By the time we were wrapping up this post an announcement from Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall had increased this by almost $1 billion on measures for testing, contact tracing and case investigation

Quicker testing will be among the consequences.

“Delta is here, so we are ensuring we have the tools in place to support the transition to the new framework, and to help minimise the spread of COVID-19,” Ayesha Verrall said.

Yep.  The government has waved the flag of surrender in its efforts to beat the virus and has changed the rules for trying to constrain its spread.

Most controversially,  this is being done by constraining Kiwis freedoms – if they have not been vaccinated – under legislation which has been passed in indecent haste.  Continue reading “Govt rushes freedom-crimping measures past close scrutiny – ministers then go spending big bucks to tackle Covid-19”

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”