Sunday, May 29, 2022

Point of Order: The PM goes batting for democracy while her Maori ministers announce more Budget boosts

Oh, look. More goodies from the government.

Today we learn of a $10 million boost for landowners, a $27.6 million investment over the next four years in research and innovation and a $30 million investment for primary and community health care providers. Budget 2022 is the budget that just keeps on giving.

But those announcements are competing for media attention with news that an independent assessment of stewardship land on the West Coast is delivering recommendations for revised land classifications.

“Stewardship land” is the term given for land that was allocated to DOC when it was formed in 1987 but had yet to be given a specific land classification. Panels were set up last year to reclassify stewardship land to ensure appropriate layers of protection for future generations to enjoy. Public notification will open next week on those recommendations.

But the biggie on the Beehive website today surely must be the PM’s Harvard Commencement Speech – Democracy, disinformation and kindness. You can watch her deliver it HERE and gauge for yourself the audience’s response.

Of special interest to the scribes at Point of Order was her acknowledgement that

“Democracy can be fragile.”

The foundation of a strong democracy includes trust in institutions, experts and government, she said. This can be built up over decades but torn down in mere years.

The PM explained that our Mixed Member Proportional system essentially means every vote counts and has ensured our parliament better reflects our communities.

Almost 50 percent of our parliament are women, 20 percent are Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand, and our Deputy Prime Minister is a proud gay man and sits amongst several other rainbow parliamentarians.

In the past ten years we have passed laws that include everything from the introduction of gay marriage and the banning of conversion therapy, right through to embedding a 1.5-degree climate change target into law, banning military style semi-automatics and assault rifles, and the decriminalisation of abortion.

These are significant issues, and they have not been without debate and difference. But they are all examples of where we have navigated times of deep change, without, for the most part, leaving deep rifts.

She didn’t mention the way she is navigating the nation – or striving to navigate the nation – towards much greater levels of Māori-Crown co-governance and how this actually undermines our democracy.

Nor did she mention the influence of the Māori component of her caucus.

But that influence is reflected in the three announcements mentioned in the opening paragraph of this post.

First, the Government is investing $10 million “to boost Māori landowners to realise their aspirations for their whenua” and delivers on a Labour commitment to better support “whānau Māori enterprise”.

This money is intended to enable the “pre-commercialisation” of whenua so landowners can undertake land-based economic, cultural, social and environmental projects.

Second, the Te Pae Tawhiti programme which supports research and innovation in the Māori economy is getting a further $27.6 million investment over the next four years.

“Budget 2022 funding will contribute to helping create economic security now and into the future by enabling Māori businesses to use mātauranga Māori to diversify Aotearoa’s exports through targeted investment in the Māori economy,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

Third, Māori primary and community care providers will be supported to lift their capability, capacity, and service sustainability through a $30 million investment from Budget 2022.

Associate Health Minister Peeni Henare said:

“Mahitahi Hauora, like our many Māori providers across Aotearoa, takes a broader approach to address the wider determinants of wellbeing, including social, economic, and environmental factors. To do this, they collaborate with whānau, iwi, community, and health and social service providers, to identify and design the services and resources for each community.

“This is the model that best represents the future of a health system that meets the needs of our iwi, hapū and whānau, and is why Budget 2022 is investing an additional $30 million into supporting the development of Māori Providers nationwide.”

This funding is one of a number of initiatives from Budget 2022 that will be administered by the Māori Health Authority.

The funding will provide back-office support to providers and sustain capital infrastructure. It will support the hiring and retention of a qualified and trained workforce and develop new service delivery methods specifically for Māori.

Point of Order is a blog focused on politics and the economy run by veteran newspaper reporters Bob Edlin and Ian Templeton


Anonymous said...

i could never understand the fascination to invite political figures to graduation events such as the one at harvard. would it not make sense to bring in speakers who are from academia or industry - as the majority of students are likely to pursue either career? politics might be of relevance to less than 5% of harvard, especially since they mostly churn out professionals in the field of business and law.

Anonymous said...

'Deputy Prime Minister is a proud gay man' - what exactly is he 'proud' of?

if being gay is innate (and not an acquired skill), that is the same as being white or being male - is that something to be proud of?