Check out what is missing from climate reporting law – but Govt has ensured the Treaty plays a part in trade deal with UK

Latest from the Beehive

Press statements and ministerial speeches were flowing into Point of Order’s email in-tray faster than the government’s publicists could post them on the Beehive website this morning. 

The outpouring included news that the parts of Waikato in Alert Level 3 will remain at that alert level till Wednesday.  

More significantly, the PM addressed the nation in Churchillian terms:

 Today I’m speaking directly to all New Zealanders to share a plan that will help us stay safe from COVID-19 into the future.

 A future where we want to continue to protect people’s lives, but also to live our lives – as safely as possible.

This speech was accompanied by other ministerial speeches and announcements dealing with something the PM described as 

 “… the new framework we will use to help us minimise the impact of COVID, and protect ourselves”.

It included an economic support package (especially for supporting Auckland businesses) and a plan (with more money) to accelerate Māori vaccination rates.

Inevitably this did not satisfy the government’s political opponents. Continue reading “Check out what is missing from climate reporting law – but Govt has ensured the Treaty plays a part in trade deal with UK”

Opposition MPs demand answers about Covid border breach – they seem coy, however, about Treaty-based local govt reform ideas

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor seems to be earning his keep on his overseas travels.  He and his Irish counterpart have just signed a statement to re-affirm the agricultural cooperation partnership between Ireland and New Zealand.

Among the consequences, and building on bilateral dialogues held late in September, Irish agricultural officials and officials from our Ministry for Primary Industries will develop a joint cooperation agenda around the central mission of Advancing a Progressive International Partnership for Sustainable Agriculture.

But much more media attention has been paid to the announcement from COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins on Northland’s move to Alert Level 3 restrictions

“… following recent information on the risk presented by the positive case initially tested in Whangarei earlier this week and confirmed in Auckland yesterday…”

That person is now in an Auckland Managed Isolation Quarantine facility.

“A public health investigation continues to identify close contacts and any potential locations of interest.”

But huge questions are being asked about how the unidentifed person was able to cross the border that is supposed to protect Northlanders from infectious Aucklanderss and Oppposition MPs are demanding more information Continue reading “Opposition MPs demand answers about Covid border breach – they seem coy, however, about Treaty-based local govt reform ideas”

Learning the rules of Covid-speak: no mu is good news, our R number is comforting and NZ has moved up the OECD ladder

PM  Jacinda   Ardern   and  her  government   have  developed   a  Covid-speak   which  holds  its  own  fascination and,  according  to  some, needs  its  own  interpreters.

In much the same way (according to Forbes)  the World Health Organisation is monitoring a new coronavirus variant known as “Mu”, amid concerns that it has mutations which suggest it is more resistant to vaccines.

In a weekly pandemic bulletin, the UN agency said Mu – known scientifically as B.1.621 – has been designated as a “variant of interest”, a classification used to target research and highlight potentially worrying new strains.

“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the WHO report said.

The  outbreak  of Covid-speak,  along  with Mu,  shows  NZ  is  far  from  being done  with Covid. Continue reading “Learning the rules of Covid-speak: no mu is good news, our R number is comforting and NZ has moved up the OECD ladder”

NZ economy must remain nimble and agile, says Robertson – but then NZ went into lockdown and a hobble was applied

It   seems   an aeon  ago,  but it  was  only  last  week that  New Zealand’s wellbeing-focused government was  contemplating   how  to connect the country safely   with the rest  of the  world.   Now, achingly,  the  question is how  long the  lockdown  will last.

Whereas  last  week   the  headlines (like   this one from Newsroom) chorused “Covid success  weighs on Ardern’s  shoulders”, feelings among the  team  of  5 million might now be  deepening over why  such  a  relatively  small percentage  of  the population  is   fully  vaccinated. 

Or  why  the  elderly, in particular, are  not  queueing  for  booster  shots.

NZ,   by  some counts, has  had the slowest  vaccination rollout in the developed world.

The  PM’s  insistence that her government’s Covid response and recovery path has been dictated by the “best evidence we have about how to protect people’s lives and livelihoods’’  accordingly rings  a  bit  hollow. Continue reading “NZ economy must remain nimble and agile, says Robertson – but then NZ went into lockdown and a hobble was applied”