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:
Little’s press statement has been posted on the Beehive website along with news that his hard-working colleagues have been –
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.
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: www.ngcc.govt.nz
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.
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.”
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.
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.
- 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.