Saturday, July 30, 2022

Point of Order: Politicians nail down a plan for the construction sector

And there’s a role to be played by social engineers

Two of five press statements issued from the Beehive over the past 24 hours have a Treaty of Waitangi focus, two include the interests of Maori in their considerations, and the fifth mentions the presence of local iwi at a sod-turning ceremony.

The Associate Minister of Transport, Kieran McAnulty, was joined at the ceremony by the Mayors of Carterton and Masterton, local Iwi and members of the Wairarapa community to turn the first sod on a package of “crucial” safety improvements for State Highway 2 in Wairarapa.

The work which started today includes three new roundabouts, flexible safety barriers in various locations on the highway between Masterton and Carterton, road widening and new signage.

McAnulty will be hoping his press statement is given a good airing by media in the region and that voters are reminded:

“As the local MP for Wairarapa I’m incredibly pleased to see this work begin and to have played a role in ensuring the concerns of Wairarapa community are addressed.

One of the Treaty-focused statements – but with nation-wide implications – came from Environment Minister David Parker.

He announced the composition of an advisory board that has been established to help ensure existing Treaty settlements are upheld under the new resource management system.

The Government has committed to repealing and replacing the Resource Management Act with the Natural and Built Environments Act, the Spatial Planning Act and the Climate Adaptation Act.

The Ministerial Advisory Board members have been selected

“… for their expertise in Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and understanding of resource management and its importance for Māori.”

The members of the Ministerial Advisory Board are:

* Karen Vercoe (MNZM), Te Arawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa

* Lisa Tumahai, Ngāi Tahu, Tainui
* Andrew (Anaru) Luke, Ngāti Rārua, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, Rangitāne ki Wairau, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Maniapoto/Kinohaku

* Maui Solomon, Moriori, Ngāi Tahu.

The second Treaty-focused statement came from Andrew Little as Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations.

He announced a Deed of Settlement has been signed between the Crown and Ngāti Tara Tokanui, as iwi with an area of interest centred around Paeroa extending west into the Hauraki plains and north to the base of the Coromandel peninsula at Wharekawa.

The redress package contains financial redress of $6 million and the return of nine sites of cultural significance.

A Bill will be introduced to Parliament to enact the settlement into law. A copy of the deed of settlement will be made available online here.

Andrew Little, as Minister of Health, also announced that the Government and the board of the New Zealand Association of Counsellors have developed what he called

“… a new opt-in accreditation pathway so NZCA members can be employed as clinical staff in mental health and addiction roles”.

For the first time counsellors therefore will be able to become accredited to work in publicly funded clinical roles to support the mental wellbeing of New Zealanders.

“Because counselling is a self-regulated profession, even highly-qualified counsellors haven’t been able to work in publicly funded clinical roles.

“But now counsellors who become accredited could work as Health Improvement Practitioners (HIPs), Health Coaches or publicly funded counsellors in their community. They could work at GP clinics, in Kaupapa Māori, Pacific, and Youth settings, as well as in schools.

“They could join a therapeutic multidisciplinary mental health team in a specialist hospital environment which could free up other specialists, such as psychologists and psychiatrists, to focus on the most acute cases and presentations,” Andrew Little said.

The first tranche of accreditation could be completed within the next six weeks.

Building and Construction Minister Megan Woods, meanwhile, was unveiling a new three-year plan which has the strong whiff of central government knowing better than business people what is in their best interests.

As lead minister for the Construction Sector Accord, Woods told sector leaders at the launch in Auckland that the new three-year plan has bold actions to which the partnership of Government and sector representatives is deeply committed.

The Accord was formed in 2019 as a joint commitment from government and industry

“… to work together to create a thriving, fair and sustainable construction sector for a better Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Economic efficiencies aren’t the only objective and social engineering is part of the Accord’s purpose.

“The Accord has directly contributed to behavioural and cultural shifts in the construction sector. We have now reached an important milestone and opportunity for government and industry to show continued commitment to leading change in the sector and build on the momentum already achieved.”

Six mid-term goals support the Accord’s vision:

1. Increased capabilities of leaders to drive change

2. A more skilled and diverse workforce that is future ready

3. More thriving people and organisations

4. Greater Māori construction economy success

5. Reduced waste and embodied and operational carbon

6. Increased productivity through innovation, technology, and an enabling regulatory environment.

Woods said the initiatives target a wide range of groups, including small and medium-sized enterprises, current and future sector leaders, the existing workforce and potential new entrants, Māori businesses, and public and private clients .

The plan can be found on the Accord website

Accord Ministers leading the government partnership include:

* Minister for Economic and Regional Development – Hon. Stuart Nash

* Minister of Education – Hon. Chris Hipkins

* Minister for Minister of Finance, and Minister for Infrastructure – Hon. Grant Robertson

* Minister of Health – Hon. Andrew Little

* Minister for Local Government – Hon. Nanaia Mahuta

* Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, and Minister of Transport – Hon. Michael Wood

Here’s hoping they don’t’ set their sights on the blogging business and prepare a three-year plan to improve our wellbeing.

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

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