Where Boris goes, we go – govt deployment to help Ukraine is agreed in response to UK request for logistical support

“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”

Buzz from the Beehive: While Shaw grapples with gases, the PM will be jetting off to promote trade

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.

Buzz from the Beehive: No place to hide (at least, not if govt gets it right with money-laundering law changes)

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)”

NZ is thanked for ‘swift’ action against Russia – but did Jacinda Ardern blush when Ukraine’s PM expressed his gratitude?

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?”

Buzz from the Beehive – there’s some help for Ukrainians but charity begins at home (funding spiritual healers, for example)

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)”

Henare seems fixed on fighting Covid – we had to wait for Twyford for words of concern about Putin’s nuclear threat

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”

We are all Ukrainians now – for now anyway

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”

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”

NZ govt condemns “Russia” in four statements but doesn’t mention Putin (the warmonger who ordered troops into Ukraine)

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)”

The day it all changed

 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”