PM condemns disinformation and upholds democracy in speech in Madrid – now let’s see what happens back in NZ

Buzz from the Beehive

Legislation to tighten things, legislation to relax things and a speech which reminds us of threats to our democracy – from the PM, we are delighted to note – feature in the latest posts on the Beehive website.

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark has had a busy day, announcing two lots of legislation.

  • Legislation that bans major supermarkets from blocking their competitors’ access to land to set up new stores, to pave the way for greater competition in the sector, is the first in a suite of measures after a Commerce Commission investigation found competition in the retail grocery sector is not working.  The Commerce (Grocery Sector Covenants) Amendment Bill amends the Commerce Act 1986, banning restrictive covenants on land, and exclusive covenants on leases. It also makes existing covenants unenforceable and enhances the Commission’s information-gathering powers.
  • The Financial Markets (Conduct of Institutions) Amendment Bill, which has passed its third reading, will establish a new financial conduct scheme that ensures financial institutions put customers before profits.  This follows reviews by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Financial Markets Authority which found banks and insurers in New Zealand lack focus on good customer outcomes, and have insufficient systems and controls to identify, manage and remedy conduct issues. The FMA will work with financial institutions to ensure they are prepared for the new regime, and licensing applications are expected to open in mid-2023. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment will develop supporting regulations. The regime is expected to come fully into force in early 2025.

Continue reading “PM condemns disinformation and upholds democracy in speech in Madrid – now let’s see what happens back in NZ”

Govt action against climate change includes pouring millions into troughs and inviting private sector to line up for a slurp

Buzz from the Beehive

Foreign affairs, agriculture, health and transport are among the burning issues which have been keeping our ministers, their policy advisers and their press secretaries busy in recent days.  Inviting oinkers to new freshly filled troughs was on the agenda, too.

Ministers had issued 13 new press statements when Point of Order checked this morning.  At time of writing the number of new statements had increased to 16, on subjects ranging from the agriculture sector’s agenda for dealing with climate change to the race-fixated restructuring of the health system.

On the foreign affairs front, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta was announcing additional sanctions on Russian state-owned enterprises and defence entities in response to the ongoing brutality in Ukraine, the PM was announcing a visit here this month by Samoa Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mataʻafa 60 years after the Treaty of Friendship between the two countries was signed, and the PM was further announcing she will travel to Sydney this week for “an in-person meeting” with new Australian Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese. Continue reading “Govt action against climate change includes pouring millions into troughs and inviting private sector to line up for a slurp”

Buzz from the Beehive – the PM goes batting for democracy while her Maori ministers announce more Budget boosts

Oh, look.  More goodies from the government.

Today we learn of a $10 million boost for landowners, a $27.6 million investment over the next four years in research and innovation and a $30 million investment for primary and community health care providers.

Budget 2020 is the budget that just keeps on giving.

But those announcements are competing for media attention with news that an independent assessment of stewardship land on the West Coast is delivering recommendations for revised land classifications.

“Stewardship land” is the term given for land that was allocated to DOC when it was formed in 1987 but had yet to be given a specific land classification. Panels were set up last year to reclassify stewardship land to ensure appropriate layers of protection for future generations to enjoy. Public notification will open next week on those recommendations.

But the biggie on the Beehive website today surely must be the PM’s Harvard Commencement Speech – Democracy, disinformation and kindness.  You can watch her deliver it HERE and gauge for yourself the audience’s response. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – the PM goes batting for democracy while her Maori ministers announce more Budget boosts”

Budget unleashes laments from groups that were overlooked or short-changed (including hopes of Human Rights empire-building)

And how did the people react to the boost in spending announced in this year’s Budget to promote our wellbeing?

In some cases by pleading for more; in other cases, by grouching they got nothing.

But Budget spending is never enough.

Two lots of bleating came from the Human Rights Commission, which somewhat draws attention to the potential for a $15 million a year saving by abolishing the agency – a budget-trimming measure advocated by the ACT Party.

One statement – in the name of Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero – said Budget 2022 has pluses and minuses for the disabled community.

On the plus side,there was considerable investment in the new Ministry for Disabled People and other funding which has the potential to benefit the disabled community.  And there was some funding for community-based services which support the disabled community. Continue reading “Budget unleashes laments from groups that were overlooked or short-changed (including hopes of Human Rights empire-building)”

Buzz from the Beehive: While climate change assault is outlined, DoC Minister plants a kauri and Mahuta rocks Belarussia

The big news from the  Beehive in the past day has been the announcement of the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan to put the country on track to meet its first emissions budget, securing our environment and economy.

More of that in our next post.  For now, suffice to say Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared:

“This is a landmark day in our transition to a low emissions future  

“We’ve all seen the recent reports on sea level rise and its impact right here in New Zealand. We cannot leave the issue of climate change until it’s too late to fix.” Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: While climate change assault is outlined, DoC Minister plants a kauri and Mahuta rocks Belarussia”

Buzz from the Beehive: Kelvin Davis does not mention the $5m cost of handouts (and we wonder what’s “trough” in te reo?)

The Point of Order Trough Monitor almost missed the handout of some $5 million to Māori tribes, the announcement of which was preceded by a press statement headline and 300 words of te reo.

Having found the English text a few paragraphs down in the statement, we were disappointed to find no monetary measure of the government’s generosity to the chosen tribes.   But who got how much can be found on the website of the Office for Māori Crown Relations,  an agency which – if ACT was to call the shots after the next election – would be abolished. 

That promise triggered Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson to demonstrate what he learned in Charm School by saying of ACT leader David Seymour: 

“It’s not about him being a useless Māori, it’s about him being a dangerous politician actually.”  

Kelvin Davis said the funding he was announcing was available for iwi Māori to develop resources and host events that focus on building greater awareness of te kāhui o Matariki. 

He might have started by explaining in the English-language bit of his press statement what “te kāhui o Matariki” means. He might also explain if funding is available for (a) non-iwi Māori and/or (b) Kiwis embraced by the “Crown” part of the Office for Māori Crown Relations,

The Matariki Ahunga Nui fund is the name  of this trough, by the way. It supports Māori-led kaupapa or initiatives celebrating mātauranga or knowledge about te kāhui o Matariki.

The Minister for Youth, Priyanca Radhakrishnan, was not so coy when it came to talking money.

She burst into life with her first press statement since March 25 to announce a $15 million boost over four years for youth development services, to be included in Budget 2022.

Transport Minister Michael Wood tossed a few million dollars into his press statement, too, when he welcomed the opening of the tender processes for Auckland Light Rail and the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections project.

“We have seen just this week Auckland Airport announcing a $300 million-plus Transport Hub development, which will specifically cater for future mass rapid transit to the airport. By pushing ahead with this project, we are giving certainty to business to make important commercial decisions now, to plan around critical infrastructure.”

And:

“The Government’s investment in regional infrastructure is also continuing to deliver results with today’s opening of the Kawakawa roundabout, marking the official completion of $21.5 million in state highway improvements for Northland.”

Latest from the Beehive

14 MAY 2022

Prime Minister tests positive for COVID-19

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has tested positive for COVID-19. She has been in isolation since Sunday 8 May when her partner Clarke Gayford tested positive.

13 MAY 2022

Budget 2022: Supporting our young people to thrive

Young people in Aotearoa New Zealand will be better supported with increased investment from Budget 2022.

Minister Phil Twyford to travel to Timor-Leste

Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth, Hon Phil Twyford, will represent the New Zealand Government at the commemoration of the 20th Anniversary of Timor-Leste’s independence, and the inauguration of Dr Jose Ramos-Horta as Timor-Leste’s next President.

Kua pānuihia ngā kaupapa mō Matariki Ahunga Nui

Kua pānuihia ngā kaitono i angitu ā rātou tono pūtea hei tautoko i te iwi Māori ki te whakaora mai anō, ki te whakatinana anō i ngā mātauranga mō Matariki o te hau kāinga.

Key milestones reached on vital transport projects

Minister of Transport Michael Wood has welcomed the opening of the tender processes for Auckland Light Rail and the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections project… 

 

 

Buzz from the Beehive – but is a $10.2m investment in a forestry management programme not worth shouting about?

It looks looks like visitors to the Beehive website are  being short-changed today. Point of Order is aware of at least one ministerial announcement that has yet to be posted.

It deals with a government investment ($10.2 million from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund) in  something called Precision Silviculture, a $25.5 million, seven-year programme led by Forest Growers Research Limited.

This is being hailed as an innovative high-tech approach to forestry management that is part of the Government’s wider plan to provide economic security to workers and businesses, with higher skilled and high-wage jobs that support a low-emissions economy.

While this news had not been posted when Point of Order checked this afternoon we did learn that $10 million is being spent on removing all remaining coal boilers in New Zealand schools, to be replaced with renewable woody biomass or electric heating.

We presume, therefore that coal-powered heating will be ruled out in planning for two new schools on the Bay of Plenty’s Ōmokoroa Peninsula.

And public feedback is being sought on proposed changes to improve management planning and concession processes in conservation legislation.

The Treaty of Waitangi, treaty principles and the importance of tangata whenua get plenty of mentions in the discussion paper (www.doc.govt.nz/cmap-2022-consultation for more information on it). Submissions close on June 30.

Latest from the Beehive

6 MAY 2022

Buses take to the road on Northern Busway

Northshore commuters now have access to congestion free travel to and from the city, as far north as Albany, thanks to the completion of the latest Northern Busway extension which was opened today by the Minister of Transport, Michael Wood.

All coal boilers to be removed from schools

Thanks to a $10 million dollar investment, all remaining coal boilers in New Zealand schools will be replaced with renewable woody biomass or electric heating sources by 2025 reducing carbon emissions by around 35,400 tonnes over 10 years.

5 MAY 2022

Proposals aimed at user-friendly, up-to-date conservation processes

Public feedback is being sought on proposed changes to improve management planning and concession processes in conservation legislation.

Next steps for two new schools for Ōmokoroa

Planning for two new schools on the Bay of Plenty’s Ōmokoroa Peninsula is underway as part of the Government’s comprehensive plan to support growth in the fast-growing Otumoetai catchment.

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?)”

We can be cheered by low unemployment rather than be vexed by rising CPI – but the data need a closer look

Taxpayers are dishing out $633,000 to help a venture described as “a long-running penguin rehab facility which has been hard hit by the tourism downturn” and $2.8 million to restore native forest habitats in the Catlins.

The Jobs for Nature funding for Otago’s Penguin Place and The Hokonui Rūnanga Catlins Biodiversity Project was announced yesterday by Conservation Minister Kiri Allan.

Some readers might wonder about the prudence of this sort of spending but Finance Minister Grant Robertson assured Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking that government spending is not contributing a significant amount to inflation.

“We continue to be careful with our spending but the reality is if you were to cut health spending that doesn’t change the price of petrol. We have got to be pretty careful of not cutting our nose to spite our face.

“Obviously we are prudent with what we do but there are a lot of things we do need to be investing into in New Zealand. We have got to keep doing those.”

The penguins should be grateful their wellbeing is regarded as an essential investment. Continue reading “We can be cheered by low unemployment rather than be vexed by rising CPI – but the data need a closer look”

Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance

Monitoring the Ministers

Two sets of key public-sector appointments have been announced by the ministers who serve us, since we last reported on our monitoring of the Beehive website.

Old white blokes – by the way – did not get a look-in, when it came to landing these jobs.

Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis announced three additional members have been appointed to the Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board to provide representation for the youth, disability and Pasifika communities.

The board, set up in January, provides independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children as work begins to “reset” the organisation.

Dr Ruth Jones, Mana Williams-Eade and Alfred Filipaina – the new appointees – join board chair Matthew Tukaki, Dame Naida Glavish, Sir Mark Solomon and Shannon Pakura

“… and will work alongside Oranga Tamariki to change our child care and protection system.”

A new action plan to implement the board’s initial recommendations has been put in place and work is well under way in talking to communities about how they see the future of child protection, Davis said.

“I firmly believe the answer lies in Oranga Tamariki taking a back seat and working in true partnership with communities who know best for their young people.”

Readers on the right of the political spectrum should be chuffed.  Davis is saying the best place for the state is to get out of our lives.

Health Minister Andrew Little and  Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare announced the two chief executives to lead New Zealand’s two new (racially segregated) health agencies. Continue reading “Let’s welcome Mahuta’s zeal for restoring Hong Kong’s democracy – and then let’s hope her thinking extends to NZ governance”