Ngai Tahu are given governance privileges in Canterbury and Willie Jackson gives us a rundown on “the new democracy”

Concerns about the constitutional implications of the Canterbury Regional Council (Ngāi Tahu Representation) Bill were overwhelmed by a tsunami of Labour hubris and ballyhoo in Parliament yesterday.  The weight of numbers against upholding liberal democratic values  in the governance of our local authorities resulted in the Bill being supported by 77 votes (Labour 65; Green Party 10;  Māori Party 2) to 43 (National 33; ACT 10).

And so – because a highly contentious interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi has been deemed to over-ride the notion that all citizens should have equal rights – one group of people in Canterbury will be spared the need to campaign for electoral support and can simply appoint representatives to two permanent seats on the Canterbury Regional Council.

As National’s Paul Goldsmith explained during the debate, the legislation allows for 14 councillors in Canterbury to be elected by everyone in the community, including Māori.  And then, after those 14 councillors are elected, Ngāi Tahu will appoint two more.

“So, this is not a question of Māori wards in Canterbury, proportional to the population and democratically elected. It is about the appointments of two councillors on top of what has been a one person, one vote election.” Continue reading “Ngai Tahu are given governance privileges in Canterbury and Willie Jackson gives us a rundown on “the new democracy””

Maoridom went first in shaping a response to the UNDRIP/He Puapua challenge – and now Willie Jackson has a problem

On his Bowalley Road blog today, Political commentator CHRIS TROTTER says Maori Development Minister Willie Jackson’s problem is that he can neither withdraw, nor water down, the Draft Plan for implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without exposing the Labour Government to the most withering political fire from Maori.

His Pakeha colleagues face the same problem, but in reverse.  If the Labour Cabinet signs up to UNDRIP/He Puapua, then it can kiss the 2023 election good-bye.


WILLIE JACKSON HAS A PROBLEM – a big problem. Since 2017, he has led the charge to secure more resources for Māori and, by winning them, has assumed a pivotal political role in the quest for Tino Rangatiratanga. With Jackson’s successes, however, have come heightened expectations of more. Just how high Māori hopes have grown is manifested in the contents of the Draft Plan for implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) So alarming are the recommendations contained in this document, that the Māori Development Minister is refusing to present it to Cabinet.

Jackson’s refusal is highly significant. If the plan has a promoter of Māori economic and social development as stalwart as Jackson shaking his head, then the Draft Plan must be effectively indistinguishable from the He Puapua Report.

Therein lies Jackson’s problem. The moment the He Puapua Report entered the public arena it was too late to order it shredded. It had become a ticking political time-bomb that could only be defused with the co-operation of all sides of the Māori sovereignty debate. It’s only saving grace was that it was not – yet – an official government document. This was a godsend for Jackson and the Labour Government. They had been given a few crucial months to do whatever was needed to prevent a potentially fatal political explosion.

Continue reading “Maoridom went first in shaping a response to the UNDRIP/He Puapua challenge – and now Willie Jackson has a problem”

Willie Jackson ridiculed Shane Reti on Maori longevity gains – but guess whose numbers were right (and show great progress)?

If  Dr Shane Reti happened to insist the world is not flat, would RNZ see much merit in reporting  he had come under fire from flat earthers?

We ask because a recent RNZ report was headed Shane Reti stands firm in face of criticism of Māori health comments

Oh dear.  What did he say?

The opening paragraphs inform us:

National’s Health spokesperson Dr Shane Reti is under fire for comments he made comparing Māori life expectancy to the 1840s.

It follows his appearance on The Hui where he said the life expectancy for Māori was 30 years in the 1840s but today it is around 73.4 years.

Was Reti really obliged to defend himself, saying he was trying to argue how the life span of Māori has increased over time? Continue reading “Willie Jackson ridiculed Shane Reti on Maori longevity gains – but guess whose numbers were right (and show great progress)?”

Jackson explains co-governance in terms of democracy and equity – but don’t look too hard at what 50:50 means down south

Anyone bothered by the insidious spread of Treaty-based co-governance arrangements will have been enlightened if not reassured by Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson’s defence of the concept when questioned by Jack Tame at the weekend.

Co-governance is shared decision-making and partnership and it is democratic because democracy has changed, he explained.

At least, that’s what Point of Order thinks he was saying.

So how has democracy changed?

Well, under co-governance Maori would have the same representation as non-Maori on the proposed Three Waters bodies that administer the management of water services.  This would be done because Article Three of the Treaty gives Māori an opportunity in terms of an equitable right …

“That’s not a superior right, that’s an equitable right. Why would you not buy into Māori working in terms of the Three Waters.”

According to this reasoning, we should not get too excited about numbers.  Equitability would translate into a proposal to give Ngai Tahu the same clout as around 20 elected councils over the management of South Island water services.    

  • One lot of co-governors would represent Ngai Tahu, a tribal business entity that claims the affiliation of 68,000 people,
  • The other lot would represent 20 or so councils representing around 750,000 people.

Continue reading “Jackson explains co-governance in terms of democracy and equity – but don’t look too hard at what 50:50 means down south”

The Great Reset: Deputy PM pulls the plug on Magic Talk audience after reacting (badly) to questions about a conspiracy

None of our readers should be surprised to hear of a politician ducking questions.  But Deputy PM Grant Robertson’s handling of questions about “The Great Reset” and what he did subsequently bear closer examination.

The questions posed by host Peter Williams appeared designed to give Magic Talk Mornings listeners a better understanding of this Great Reset caper and whether New Zealand would be involved.

But Roberson dismissed the phrase as a conspiracy theory and – we are told – will no longer appear on the show.

As far as Point of Order can ascertain The Great Reset is an initiative of the World Economic Forum which has triggered conspiracy theories among reactionaries who fear it is part of a vile Marxist plot to over-tax them or otherwise do them a serious economic mischief.

But there are umpteen conspiracy theories around all sorts of things, including Covid-19 and the vaccines to deal with it.  Will Robertson no long be talking about them, either?

The WEF says on its website:

There is an urgent need for global stakeholders to cooperate in simultaneously managing the direct consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. To improve the state of the world, the World Economic Forum is starting The Great Reset initiative. Continue reading “The Great Reset: Deputy PM pulls the plug on Magic Talk audience after reacting (badly) to questions about a conspiracy”

Finance Minister puts on his arts hat to invite applications for funding from a culture trough

Taxpayers were called on to cough up $87,994 million in the 2019 Budget, accounting for much of the $120,984m which the Treasury estimated would be collected in government revenue this financial year.

In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said:

So, today in this first Wellbeing Budget, we are measuring and focussing on what
New Zealanders value – the health of our people and our environment, the strengths of our communities and the prosperity of our nation. Success is making New Zealand both a great place to make a living, and a great place to make a life.

This week, Robertson sounded a hog call for oinkers to gather around a trough he cares for as associate minister of arts, culture and heritage.

He was inviting us– or some of us – to get our snouts into a $7 million swill titled the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund.  

Employment Minister Willie Jackson, meanwhile, was dishing out money from another trough, the He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) scheme.

How much?

Jackson didn’t give a firm figure in his press statement, but the headline on it said “over $1 million”. Continue reading “Finance Minister puts on his arts hat to invite applications for funding from a culture trough”

Jones spreads more public resources around the Tairawhiti region (without mentioning a political price tag)

First, as Minister of Forestry, Shane Jones is reported to have told people gathered for a forestry awards ceremony that he expected their votes in exchange for the funding he was giving them.

The funding he was giving them?

Actually, it is taxpayers’ money which he has the privilege of distributing.

Next, Jones was called by the Prime Minister to account for his remarks  – and then he doubled down and promised revenge:

Outspoken NZ First MP and Cabinet Minister Shane Jones has vowed he will have his revenge on those he says attempted to make him “quiver in the corner by running to the media”.

He said that as soon as the election campaign starts next year, and his Cabinet responsibilities are loosened, he will be going after his political rivals in the forestry sector.

“Now that they have started this spat, this utu [revenge] is best served cold and I would say, in about nine months’ time,” he told the Herald. Continue reading “Jones spreads more public resources around the Tairawhiti region (without mentioning a political price tag)”

If the eucalyptus crop doesn’t deliver, folks, don’t fret – Jones and the PGF or a tree fund may come to the rescue

Shane Jones might just as well be given the Maori Development portfolio, considering the money he dishes out for Maori developmental purposes.

The money comes from taxpayer-provided funds under his control as Minister of Forestry and of Regional Economic Development.

Distributing this is hard work, requiring him to dash around the provinces to make speeches to draw attention to his – and his government’s – beneficence.

He was in the Bay of Plenty early this week and then flew into Gisborne.

One of his announcements –  in the Bay of Plenty – suggests he is by no means wary of helping out when a previous venture has faltered.  He mentioned Crown Forestry investments in properties where eucalyptus crops “failed to realise an income for the landowners”.

Besides announcing new handouts, Jones enjoys reminding people of how their communities are benefitting from handouts previously announced.

While in the Gisborne region, for example, he gave an account of how funding from the $137 million Tairāwhiti roading package has been spent.

The Point of Order Trough Monitor registered these recent announcements:

8  JULY 2019

Māori realising land aspirations through the One Billion Trees programme

Forestry Minister Shane Jones says Crown Forestry will invest $5 million in two joint ventures that will result in 330 hectares of land converted to productive forests.

The first joint venture is 194 hectares owned by Pukahukiwi Kaokaoroa 2 Incorporation while a further 141 hectares is owned by Waipapa 2B2 Ahu Whenua Trust.

These properties included eucalyptus crops which failed to realise an income for the landowners.

“One of the core goals of the One Billion Trees Programme is supporting Māori to realise their land aspirations. This goes right to the heart of that.

“Not only will these partnerships create an income for the trusts through rental and a share of the profits at harvest, there is also potential to upskill workers to eventually take over management of the forest from the Crown.”

Up to 235,000 trees will be planted on these two properties this season, with land preparation now under way.

This brings Crown Forestry’s investment in the Bay of Plenty to $6.3 million and lifts the total number of joint ventures in New Zealand to 25, totalling over 15, 000 hectares.

8 JULY 2019

One Billion Trees supporting native seedlings research

Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced the One Billion Trees Programme is providing a funding boost of $422,500 for research – led by Scion in partnership with other Bay of Plenty organisations – to identify more effective native seedling propagation techniques and technology.

 “The aim is to understand what is and isn’t working and address those key issues including seedling survivability and how to create more efficient ways to produce good quality native seedlings.

“There’s also the potential to see a more environmentally friendly approach to seedling production through the use of paper wrap instead of the usual plastic wrap – reducing waste in the industry”.

Scion’s aim is to ensure its research into improving native seedling propagation is scalable and available to the industry at large, Jones said.

The project is led by Scion, working in partnership with Treeline Native Nursery, Minginui Nursery Ngati Whare Holdings, Te Tipu Wai Trust, Ellepot Denmark, Rotorua Lakes District Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council.

The research proposal has identified four key issues and opportunities to be developed further, these are:

  1. Slow production cycle for native trees
  2. Logistics and costs of seed collections
  3. Tree establishment and plant quality
  4. Nursery productivity

The key goals are:

  • To improve propagation techniques and technologies, demonstrate methods that are scalable within the nursery sector.
  • Share research findings available to the industry at large, including native plant and forestry nurseries, through published reports, talks and workshops delivered at Scion and through New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI).

 8 JULY 2019

PGF invests in game changing initiatives for the Bay of Plenty

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced the Provincial Growth Fund will invest in two pioneering business proposals.

Geo40 Limited will receive $15 million from the PGF, made up of a loan and convertible note, to build and operate a large scale extraction plant at the Ohaaki geothermal site near Taupo, while Eco Gas Limited Partnerships will receive a $7 million loan to build a demonstration biogas plant in Reporoa.

The technology developed by Geo40 is a world first that enables silica to be extracted from fluids that have been used to generate geothermal electricity, Jones said.  Once the silica is extracted, the geothermal water is returned to the reservoir.

The extracted silica will be exported for use in products overseas, such as paint, concrete and paper making.

Geo40 has already invested in the construction of a small commercial demonstration silica removal plant in Ohaaki. The new plant will be seven times bigger, with PGF funding going towards the plant’s commissioning and construction.

The extraction process may be extended to other geothermal plants.

Support for Eco Gas to build a full-scale demonstration biogas plant will result in energy, carbon dioxide and nutrients recovered from some of the 327,000 tonnes of food waste that goes to landfills each year in New Zealand.

Biogas plants are common overseas, particularly in Europe, but this will be the first waste-to-energy plant of this scale in New Zealand. The biogas produced can be used for fuel, and could help achieve our carbon emission targets.

If it proves commercially successful, it has the potential to act as catalyst for others being set up in regions nationwide, Jones said.

The proposed Reporoa Organic Waste Recovery Facility will be built on two hectares of land owned by T&G Global (formerly Turners and Growers), adjacent to their tomato glasshouse operation. T&G Global will buy the renewable energy from EcoGas and also supply its own organic wastes.

The facility will take more than 20,000 tonnes of organic food waste a year from major local food manufacturers such as dairy factories, commercial bakeries, cool stores, milk sheds and fruit grading facilities to convert into biogas.

“These initiatives are consistent with the Government’s plan to build our productivity, by embracing innovative projects which have significant potential to deliver both economic and environmental benefits. It’s great that the regions can be at the forefront of this,” Shane Jones said.

10 JULY 2019

PGF further supports Tairāwhiti’s economic growth

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced the Provincial Growth Fund is investing $27.1 million in addition to the $152 million already committed to the Tairawhiti region.

The investments will be in projects to support medical research, wood processing and social enterprise.

The three initiatives receiving funding today are:

  • Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence – $19.5 million
  • Matai Medical Research Institute – $6 million
  • Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust – $2 million

Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence

The Eastland Community Trust is set to receive its first funding instalment this month for the Wood Cluster Centre of Excellence. The Centre is being developed as a hub for wood processing, wood products, marketing and distribution, and training and research.

The first funding tranche will be for $5 million and will generate at least 30 full-time jobs.

The $19.5 million investment will lead to higher-value forestry products being produced and more money going back into the community via pay packets for local workers.

The PGF invested $500,000 to the centre in 2018 for its first stage of development.

Matai Medical Research Institute

Matai Medical Research Institute plans to establish a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) lab in Gisborne to get a better understanding of the brain, heart and body, with a focus on the fast-emerging field of traumatic brain injury.

The institute will bring up to 25 new jobs and economic stimulus to the region and undertake research with the potential to contribute to knowledge in the area of brain trauma and its effects on crime, unemployment and mental health.

The institute, to be located at Gisborne Hospital,  is committed to being based in Gisborne and has international interest and a desire from a number of international researchers to work with it.

Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust

Aotearoa Social Enterprise Trust will receive up to $2 million to scale up and maximise its food harvesting and processing through the construction of a food processing facility to help get more long-term unemployed people into jobs.

The trust employs about 22 people in a variety of roles and provides pastoral care to keep people in work.  The funding will enable it to accelerate its training and place long-term unemployed people, or those not in education, employment or training into jobs and on the path to independence.

10 JULY 2019

PGF accelerates road upgrades in Tairāwhiti

Regional Economic Development Shane Jones said significant progress had been made on the delivery of the $137 million Tairāwhiti roading package, which was announced in September last year.

The Gisborne District Council data show 97 jobs have been created, thanks to the investment in roads.

Earlier this month he announced the start of work on the $4.5 million upgrade of Rakaiatane Rd – the access road to Gisborne’s port. The main part of this work is now complete with the two kilometre length of road now resealed.

The PGF has also funded the upgrade of roads in Gisborne’s inner city – the first major facelift of the city’s roads since 1999.

Work to resurface inner city roads is now complete after being enabled by PGF investment, which enabled the Gisborne District Council to rapidly scale-up this work.

Support from the PGF and the National Land Transport Fund has enabled the sealed part of Waimata Valley Rd to be extended by two kilometres, making it more resilient and reliable after previously experiencing regular washouts.

The PGF is also investing $3.3 million for heavy metalling projects across Gisborne’s road network; about $1 million worth of work has been completed.

Heavy metalling will be a huge improvement for logging operators who have in the past had to deal with large potholes and corrugates on roads.

The PGF has funded an additional 1800 tonnes of heavy metal which has been laid onto rural East Coast roads.

“The delivery of these roading projects shows the impact of the PGF – without which the scale and speed of delivery would not have been possible.  Local people can see and understand the impact of these investments, which are lifting pride and morale across the region,” Shane Jones said.

 10 JULY 2019

Provincial Growth Fund supports more full-time orchard jobs

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced the Provincial Growth Fund will help a Gisborne orchard expand its business and put hard-to-place unemployed into year-round permanent jobs.

The family-owned Riverland Fruit Company Limited will receive a $1.9 million commercial loan to expand its operation and a grant, over three years, of $1.663 million from the PGF-funded skills and employment programme, Te Ara Mahi. The funding will be used to take on 38 additional trainees.

Riverland has 12 trainees on its books, receiving on-the-job skills training and pastoral care. The PGF funding will accelerate this programme, allowing 38 trainees to be taken on. Riverland aims to continue to employ 36 of the trainees at the end of the course.

Jackson says Tairawhiti has an above- average rate of young people not in employment, education or training, as well as a persistent long-term unemployed population.

The training will includes study at the Eastland Institute of Technology (EIT), with a goal for participants to graduate with level 2 qualifications.



Value-add is sidelined while Jones enthuses about railways and export logs

Just as we anticipated, Shane Jones left the Kapiti Coast yesterday and crossed the Rimutakas to distribute more largesse from the Provincial Growth Fund in the Wairarapa.

He did not travel by train (so far as we know), but he spoke as Associate Minister of Transport to extol the virtues of rail transport and explained why PGF goodies were being invested in KiwiRail and rail hubs.

He also spoke as Minister of Forestry to enthuse about trees and the economic potential of logging.


Yep. Value-add seemed to have been forgotten – the talk was about humping logs to ports by rail for shipping overseas.

Perhaps that’s why he wasn’t wearing his Regional Economic Development hat.  Economic development calls for doing something more than chopping trees down and sending logs to China. Continue reading “Value-add is sidelined while Jones enthuses about railways and export logs”

National and Labour politicians are expected to disagree on unemployment trends – but not newspaper colleagues

A bewildering array of seemingly contradictory headlines was generated by the latest Household Labour Force Survey results.

Stats NZ summed up the data in a press statement headed Unemployment rate up to 4.3 percent

The press statement from the Minister of Employment was headed Labour Market continues positive trend whereas a statement from National’s Amy Adams was headed NZ unemployment jumps to 4.3% as job creation slows.

The confusion was compounded by Granny Herald, perhaps struggling with dementia, which published a report on February 7 headed Wage growth ‘failing to fire’ as unemployment rises  whereas an editorial on February 8 was headed Unemployment down yet dole numbers are up.

Let’s leave dear old granny snoozing while we turn our attention to the government statisticians’ press statement:

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate rose to 4.3 percent in the December 2018 quarter, up from 4.0 percent (revised) last quarter, Stats NZ said today.

Continue reading “National and Labour politicians are expected to disagree on unemployment trends – but not newspaper colleagues”