“NZ troops to help Ukraine” blared the headline on the Dominion-Post’s front page this morning. Full marks for phrasing it so delicately.
The Ardern government, which only last week appeared to be stepping back from considering what it called “lethal aid” to war-torn Ukraine, reversed that stand on Monday. Now it is dispatching one of its Hercules to Europe with around 50 service personnel.
Cabinet looked at sending a contingent of LAVs, and also Javelin missile launchers, but set those aside.
Announcing the deployment, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said: Continue reading “Where Boris goes, we go – govt deployment to help Ukraine is agreed in response to UK request for logistical support”
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).
As Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta’s attention has been diverted (all too briefly, we fear) from the Three Waters programme to helping the people of Ukraine.
Actually, the deployment of a C-130H Hercules and 50-strong team to Europe to further support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion was made by the PM, but Mahuta’s name – and the name of Defence Minister Peeni Henare – are included in the press statement.
The PM also announced her intention to lead a trade mission to Singapore and Japan. While she is in Singapore (Point of Order suggests) she should check out the way the government there deals with a potentially volatile mix of races.
Latest from the Beehive
12 APRIL 2022
Aotearoa primed to go further and faster to cut emissions and limit warming
Climate Change Minister James Shaw says today’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory release from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) underlines the case for accelerated action to reduce emissions.
Primary sector workforce support in dairy, meat and forestry
Critical skills gaps in the primary sector are being eased with a decision that opens the door for 1,580 additional experienced workers to come to New Zealand for jobs in the dairy industry, meat processing, and forestry.
11 APRIL 2022
New Zealand sends C130 Hercules and 50-strong team to Europe to support Ukraine
The Government will deploy a C-130H Hercules and 50-strong team to Europe to further support Ukraine against Russia’s invasion.
Prime Minister to lead trade mission to Singapore and Japan
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will lead a trade mission to Singapore and Japan to support New Zealand’s economic rebuild through reconnecting with two of its closest Indo-Pacific economic and security partners.
The Government is intending to force the disclosure of the real owners of companies and limited partnerships with legislation to curb money laundering, tax evasion and terrorism financing.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said the legislation – to be introduced later this year – will make it mandatory for the beneficial owners or controllers of companies and trusts to be identified.
Other announcements from the Beehive deal with …
- Mental health: a recruitment campaign has been launched, targetting “the next generation of mental health nurses”.
- Horticulture: public funding is being pumped into the trial of a new hydroponic growing technique that aims to have higher yields and a lower impact on the environment.
- The war in Ukraine: New Zealand will provide a further $5 million contribution of “non-lethal military assistance” to support Ukraine and are making available a range of surplus defence equipment to share with Ukraine at their request.
- Biosecurity: This year’s New Zealand Biosecurity Awards winners have been announced.
The Bill to “crack down” on global and domestic criminals who use businesses to hide money laundering, tax evasion and the financing of terrorism gel with the Government’s National Security Priorities to help identify threats, risks, and challenges to New Zealand’s security and wellbeing, David Clark said. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive: No place to hide (at least, not if govt gets it right with money-laundering law changes)”
Foreign affairs and defence matters account for the only two press statements from the Beehive since our previous report on Beehive Buzz.
One statement advised that Defence Minister Peeni Henare will depart tomorrow for bilateral visits to Fiji and Australia, to meet with counterparts to reaffirm New Zealand’s commitment to regional security in the Pacific and discuss ways to strengthen defence cooperation with partners.
The other statement gave an account of a chat between our PM and Ukraine’s Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. She had called him “to reiterate New Zealand’s strong support for Ukraine and its people, and our unequivocal condemnation of Russia’s aggression”.
This statement says:
“… Prime Minister Shmyhal thanked New Zealand for being one of the first countries to take swift practical action against Russia’s aggression. As he noted, when it comes to the importance of the global response, there is no bigger or smaller country, there are only countries that are reacting.”
This might surprise some Kiwi commentators, who were bothered by the time taken for our government to take substantive action in response to the Russian invasion. But at least our PM has identified the villain of the piece:
“I conveyed our condemnation of President Putin’s unprovoked, unjustified and illegal attack on Ukraine – an attack which continues to unnecessarily claim the lives of so many innocent people,” Jacinda Ardern said. Continue reading “NZ is thanked for ‘swift’ action against Russia – but did Jacinda Ardern blush when Ukraine’s PM expressed his gratitude?”
Further government responses to the cataclysmic events in Ukraine loomed large in the latest Beehive announcements. A new 2022 Special Ukraine Policy was introduced and more humanitarian aid is being provided to support people in that war-torn nation.
Parents and wider family members offshore of Ukrainians in New Zealand will be able to come here under a policy benefitting around 4,000 people (which at first blush doesn’t seem to be too generous).
And Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced “our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine” while announcing that NZ will be providing an additional $4 million in funding to support Ukrainian communities.
This funding is in addition to the initial $2 million already provided “and will help those immediately on the ground while we continue to look at options for further support,” Nanaia Mahuta said.
Charity plainly begins at home and much more money than that – $22 million- is being channelled through the race-based interim Māori Health Authority to providers of health services. Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – there’s some help for Ukrainians but charity begins at home (funding spiritual healers, for example)”
As Russian guns bombard Ukrainian cities and the world watches in horror, New Zealanders, too, are recoiling at Russia’s aggression. The threat of nuclear weapons being used compounds the shock of war. A devastating human cost is being borne by the Ukrainian people.
So where is NZ’s Minister of Defence, Peeni Henare? What does he think of the invasion by Russia of its neighbour and its threat to use nuclear weapons? And is he checking the state of NZ’s armed forces, to be ready to do whatever must be done if Vladimir Putin sparks a wider war?
Henare spoke in Parliament yesterday in the general debate (remotely) and expressed his eagerly awaited thoughts.
He began by endorsing the words of Deputy PM Grant Robertson on what Wellingtonians have endured over the past weeks. The occupation of the area around Parliament, he thought, was
”… testament to the challenges that our people have faced in Wellington and in other parts of our country. What we want, though, is for our country to go back to normal as quick as possible, and this Government’s focus is to make sure that where we can, we will secure our future off the great health decisions and the great health leadership that we have done to make sure our country comes through this particular pandemic”. Continue reading “Henare seems fixed on fighting Covid – we had to wait for Twyford for words of concern about Putin’s nuclear threat”
It’s not as easy to sympathise with Donald Trump, as it is (or perhaps used to be) with Jacinda Ardern. But sometimes it’s worth pushing yourself.
Take for example the coverage of his exclusive appearance on the – wait for it – Clay and Buck show.
It was reported in the Daily Beast as:
“This time, the twice-impeached ex-president lauded the authoritarian leader’s “genius” invasion of Ukraine as “very savvy.””
You probably need to listen to Clay and Buck to pick up the sarcasm.
Continue reading “We are all Ukrainians now – for now anyway”
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”
Win some (hopefully); lose some (but not too much).
We refer to New Zealand’s international trade and trade relationships.
While Trade Minister Damien O’Connor is packing his bags to build trade opportunities in Europe and the Middle East, the PM and the Minister of Foreign Affairs have been announcing “targeted” travel bans against Russian Government officials and other individuals associated with the invasion of Ukraine and prohibiting the export of goods to Russian military and security forces.
For good measure, Energy and Resources Minister Dr Megan Woods has assured us that New Zealand won’t be affected by Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine and any resulting curtailment of Russian oil supply.
One good reason (as Woods explained) is that:
“New Zealand does not purchase any oil or oil products from Russia so would not be directly affected if Russian oil supply is curtailed.”
Similarly, regarding the export ban, Ardern acknowledged
“exports from New Zealand under this category are limited … “
It should be noted (by the way) that the PM has not named the warmongering villain of the piece – Vladimir Putin – just as she and Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta have not named him in three other press statements this week while they expressed this country’s dismay at the invasion of Ukraine. Continue reading “NZ govt condemns “Russia” in four statements but doesn’t mention Putin (the warmonger who ordered troops into Ukraine)”
As Russian forces raise their horizons and start killing more Ukrainians in what seems to be a full-on invasion, Britain’s PM, Boris Johnson, got the stakes right when he said “this mission must end in failure”.
That covers a multiplicity of outcomes of varying bloodiness – but the logic is that conflict continues until the goal is reached. It may take quite a while then.
The phrase game changing is overused, but – in the sense of recognition of a profound change in direction – it might well be applicable in this case.
Continue reading “The day it all changed”