Saturday, September 17, 2022

Point of Order: “Partnership” is amply plugged but information is sparse on the costs to taxpayers of the programmes being promoted

There are plenty of mentions of partnerships in the latest batch of ministerial press releases. Mentions of the costs of the programmes which ministers are promoting are harder to find.

Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio issued a statement to say strengthening partnerships with Pacific communities is at the heart of the Government’s new Pacific Wellbeing Strategy, There was no sign of a dollar sign.

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni issued a statement to say that – following on from last week’s Better Pathways Package announcement and Apprenticeship Boost 50,000th apprentice milestone – the Government is continuing momentum, supporting over 1,000 more rangatahi into employment, through new funding for He Poutama Rangatahi.

She says a partnership approach is being taken. She does not mention the cost.

Land Information Minister Damien O’Connor announced that New Zealand and Australia have partnered to deliver the Southern Positioning Augmentation Network (SouthPAN), with the first services available in the next few weeks.

He did not mention the cost but did say the quantified economic benefits are estimated to be $864m over the next 20 years

“… and will provide New Zealanders with greater economic security into the future.”

In another statement, as Minister of Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, O’Connor tells us he will travel tomorrow to India and Indonesia for trade and agricultural meetings to promote the Government’s trade agenda.

“India is a priority relationship for New Zealand, it was our 15th largest trading partner in the year to December 2021, and we are committed to broadening and deepening our partnership,” Damien O’Connor said.

Small Business Minister Stuart Nash did not mention partnerships in announcing new measures to help ensure small businesses are paid on time.

A Business Payment Practices disclosure regime is being established to improve information and transparency around business-to-business payment practices across the economy, he said.

There was one dollar sign in the statement: large firms (those with revenue over $33 million a year) will be required to publicly report on their own payment practices, particularly late payments, and the length of time between the receipt of invoices and full payment. This information will need to be submitted every six months, which is consistent with similar regimes in Australia and the United Kingdom.

We are reminded in Aupito William Sio’s statement that the Pacific Wellbeing Strategy is an important 2020 election commitment which now is being delivered after being developed and supported by Pacific communities through targeted talanoa sessions.

The All-of-Government Strategy

“… establishes new ways of working across Government to answer the call to action from Pacific communities to achieve the Lalanga Fou vision of a thriving, confident, resilient, healthy and prosperous Pacific Aotearoa,” Aupito William Sio said.

The strategy identifies four key priorities:

* Establishing “genuine partnerships” between Government agencies and Pacific Communities that work towards tangible outcomes likes homes, jobs and training opportunities

* To measure and monitor the impact of investment in Pacific communities through the All-of-Government Pacific Wellbeing Outcomes Framework to ensure targets are being met

* To build and strengthen cultural capability and engagement approaches across Government

* Ensuring Pacific cultural values and principles are at the heart of the Strategy

“The four priority areas will guide how the Government works with our communities towards reducing social and economic disadvantages and improving Pacific wellbeing,” Aupito William Sio said.

For more information about the strategy, visit:

Sio first mentioned the Pacific Wellbeing Strategy in a statement in May last year.

He included the cost in that statement: Pacific peoples would benefit from a $108 million Pacific package to support Pacific communities’ wellbeing through the rebuild and recovery from COVID-19.

The $108 million package was made up of $99.6 million new operating funding and $660,000 new capital funding from the Budget 2021 allowances and the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF). $7.8 million in operating funding was repurposed from existing funding in Vote Education.

At Budget time this year Sio issued another statement, this one riddled with dollar signs:

“The priorities we set for Budget 2022 will support the continued delivery of our commitments for Pacific peoples through the Pacific Wellbeing Strategy, a 2020 manifesto commitment for Pacific Aotearoa,” Aupito William Sio said.

The Pacific package includes:

* A package to build up to 300 homes over the next 10 years for Pacific families in Eastern Porirua, with initial funding of $49 million in the forecast period.

* $13.7 million to implement the Government’s commitment to deliver a Dawn Raids historical account.

* $49.9 million for the Pacific Provider Development Fund, to support Pacific providers to adapt their models of care into the new health system.

* $20 million to implement a diabetes prevention and treatment programme for targeted Pacific communities in South Auckland.

* $8 million boost to continue the delivery of Tupu Aotearoa, which enables the delivery of personalised Pacific employment and training services.

* $15.5 million investment into Pacific economic development, which aims to meet community demand for services to support “shovel-ready” Pacific businesses and social enterprises across New Zealand.

* $1.6 million to maintain the Pacific Work Connect Programme, which supports the continuation of a Pacific migrant support service.

* $18.3 million boost to the Toloa Science, Technology, Education, Arts and Mathematics programme. This initiative provides opportunities across Pacific peoples journeys through education and employment.

* $2 million to maintain and grow the Tulī Takes Flight and Pacific Education Foundation Scholarships, to Pacific education scholarships to address education system inequities.

* $13 million to support the growth of the Pacific bilingual and immersion schooling workforce and the retention of the current workforce.

* Up to $5m of reprioritised funding over four years to fund further Professional Learning and Development (PLD) focussed on Tapasā: cultural competencies for teachers of 
Pacific learners.

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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