Houses by the dozen – Woods rebuffs sneers about game-changing policies while Robertson brings RBNZ into the action

Our Beehive Bulletin … 

It’s all go – well, sort of – on the housing front.

The Nats yesterday were scoring brownie points by scoffing at the state’s spending on a professional promotional video, including drone footage, celebrating a housing scheme that has helped only 12 families.

But Housing Minister Megan Woods announced the Government has added 1,000 more transitional housing places, which (for those who have forgotten) was promised under the Aotearoa New Zealand Homelessness Action Plan, launched one year ago.

And Finance Minister Grant Robertson today announced the Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions.

The other fresh announcements on the Beehive website are –

  • A second batch of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines has arrived safely at Auckland International Airport. The shipment contained about 76,000 doses, and follows the first shipment of 60,000 doses that arrived last week. Further shipments of vaccine over the coming weeks.
  • The Government has announced the list of life-shortening congenital conditions that will guarantee early withdrawal under a new KiwiSaver category created last year.  People with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Huntington’s disease and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder are automatically entitled to apply to withdraw from their fund at a time that is right for them to retire, rather than once they turn 65. 
  • The Government will invest $6 million for 70 additional adult cochlear implants this year to reduce the historical waitlist. As at 31 December 2020, the adult cochlear implant waitlist was 269. The additional 70 implants are expected to be delivered by 30 June 2021.

Continue reading “Houses by the dozen – Woods rebuffs sneers about game-changing policies while Robertson brings RBNZ into the action”

Hands up, girls, if you would like free tampons – and (it seems) that’s how the govt gauged the need to act on period poverty

The Beehive was busy yesterday, banging out statements on period poverty, initiatives to deal with Covid-19 and a report on sustainable tourism.

The report on sustainable tourism, published by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment,  gave us a much better idea of what’s in the wind for the beleaguered tourist industry – by the way – than the bewildering statement on conservation and tourism from the Minister of Conservation which we reported here yesterday.

It alerts us to the prospect of an overhaul of the tourism industry and it proposes a departure tax, enforcing visitor limits in under-pressure destinations and tighter controls on commercial operators.

But the joint statement from our Tourism and Conservation Ministers, which welcomed the report, used the language of policy wonks rather than of the citizens.  They said the report

“ … adds to calls to overhaul the tourism model that existed prior to COVID19”.

The tourism model?

Not so obfuscating but much more perturbing was news from the PM that taxpayers are being called on to provide schoolgirls with products they or their parents should be providing. Continue reading “Hands up, girls, if you would like free tampons – and (it seems) that’s how the govt gauged the need to act on period poverty”

Yes, Minister, we are finding it difficult – but the race to produce a vaccine helps cheer us

The  doomsters  are in  full cry  again.  A  rolling  maul  of  lockdowns  looms, businesses  will be  closing down,  jobless  numbers  will rise  exponentially.  We’re   becoming tetchy  under the  stresses  of the  Covid-19  pandemic,  and those  who have been working round  the clock  on  testing  are  becoming  exhausted.  It feels as if  2020  has been  going  on  too long   already.

Health Minister Chris Hipkins  in a  classic  bit of  understatement says:

People  have found it  very  difficult these past few weeks”.

News  from  Hong Kong  of  the  first  reinfection  deepens  anxiety.  Nations  are  queuing  up for    a vaccine against the virus  but  authorities  like WHO  warn it  could  be two  years  before  a fully  tested  vaccine becomes  available globally.

In  the  prevailing  atmosphere  where  the doomsters  dominate  the headlines,  Point of  Order  has been searching for something  positive. Continue reading “Yes, Minister, we are finding it difficult – but the race to produce a vaccine helps cheer us”

Billions are injected into developing a Covid-19 vaccine – here’s hoping NZ can secure a supply when it is produced

New  Zealanders are still  reeling from  the  shock   they  didn’t  succeed  in  suppressing Covid-19, let  alone  eliminate it.   Having  convinced  themselves  after  100  days  without  community transmission that economic recovery, too, was  moving ahead,  the  stern  reality  is  the  country  faces  new  challenges.

These   challenges  may  not  be  overcome until  a  vaccine  becomes   available.  But news that  Vladimir Putin   claims   Russia  is the  first  nation  to produce  an  effective  vaccine   should not inspire  confidence  of such a  vaccine becoming available  any times  soon.

The  problem   is that whenever  a  safe and  effective  vaccine  is  on  the  global  market,  NZ  may well be  far down  the  queue   to  receive   it.  This may  compound   the  economic  hardship  for  NZ,  as  we will be late back into  the  international  tourism  market. Continue reading “Billions are injected into developing a Covid-19 vaccine – here’s hoping NZ can secure a supply when it is produced”