Thursday, November 24, 2022

Point of Order: While the PM and O’Connor were announcing VIP visits......

......Mahuta was pouring out some thoughts on the wretched water bill

News of the government hoovering the red carpet for VIP visits and cleaning up the environment by advancing the green cause emerged from the Beehive yesterday, including another announcement of Māori mātauranga being to the fore in the government’s conservation programme.

And there was a speech from Nanaia Mahuta which affirmed the Water Services Entities Bill is a done deal and (she expects) the bosses of the four new co-governed water entities will be appointed before the end of the year.

This means before Christmas, bearing in mind the country then goes on holiday.

The green agenda is being promoted by initiatives headed-

New laws that will deliver a faster, cheaper, and better resource management system had their first reading in the House today.

This is a biggie and readers should keep an eye on its development into a statute.

As the government’s treatment of the Three Waters bill has demonstrated, the vast majority of submissions may well be against the government’s proposals but – shazam! – the select committee will return the bill with revisions even more egregious than the original outrageous provisions.

The daily limits on recreationally caught hāpuku (also known as groper) and bass will be lowered to a total of two per person in some areas, with a new accumulation limit of three per person on multi-day trips.

The Government is proposing changes to modernise the Crown Minerals Act 1991 (CMA) to support more environmentally conscious management of resources.

The High Court has today confirmed the legality of the advice provided by the Climate Change Commission (the Commission) to inform New Zealand’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) and the first three emissions budgets.

Mātāuranga Māori is at the heart of the latest tranche of Jobs for Nature projects set to promote biodiversity and reduce impacts of climate change on Māori land.

Dig beneath the heading and first paragraph and you will learn about an array of projects being given $11 million to support Māori landowners to employ at least 45 people across Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti, Nelson, and Southland to undertake pest control, weeding, planting, and track maintenance.

“These projects will incorporate Mātāuranga Māori, building indigenous values-led conservation as a foundation for all New Zealanders. As well as deepening their connections to the whenua, project workers will undertake training and build skills which could enable them to pursue a career in conservation.”

The statement then says:

$13 million will go towards Ngā Whenua Rāhui projects. The Ngā Whenua Rāhui Fund is a contestable Ministerial fund that facilitates the voluntary protection of indigenous biodiversity on Māori owned land, while honouring the rights guaranteed to Māori landowners under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

The first group of Ngā Whenua Rāhui projects focus on significant conservation work on Māori owned land. They also create multi-year employment for local people. Collectively this first group of projects totals approximately $3 million.

The Government’s Jobs for Nature programme is a $1.219 billion investment in the creation of nature-based jobs that will benefit the environment, people, and the regions. As a part of this programme, the Department of Conservation has allocated $488 million to projects that will create nature-based job opportunities for approximately 4,800 people over a four-year period.

On the foreign affairs front, the news comprises a mix of VIP visits and handouts to our Pacific neighbours. The pecking order – we suppose – can be gauged by checking who made which announcement:

The PM announced this one: Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin, accompanied by Minister for Development Cooperation and Foreign Trade Ville Skinnari and a business delegation, will visit New Zealand next week.

It was Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor who announced the World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala visits New Zealand this week.

Associate Foreign Affairs Minister announced the Government decision to provide further support to Vanuatu to assist in constructing climate-resilient wharves as part of the Vanuatu Inter-Island Shipping Support Project (VISSP).

Nanaia Mahuta had nothing to announce as Minister of Foreign Affairs, but she did deliver a speech under a headline which suggested she was speaking as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

But no. She was speaking as Minister of Local Government and inevitably she mentioned her Three (or Five) Waters programme.

And she acknowledged that she regards new governance arrangements (based on a contentious interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi) as important:

We all acknowledge that the step change required, needs a real leadership shift in how we consider the future of water services and funding its infrastructure sustainably.


We’ll deliver healthy and safe water to all households through a uniquely New Zealand approach through building on a world class water system guided by the principles of Te Mana o te Wai and upholding the Treaty of Waitangi.

This transformation is already underway with the Water Services Entities Bill continuing to progress through the House.


The chief executives of the new entities are expected to be appointed before the end of the year. They will provide stability and certainty through the transition process as well as ensuring continued momentum as we work towards day 1 of the new system.

By Christmas, in other words.

How many sleeps until Santa comes?

While Mahuta was delighting in explaining her overhaul of normal democratic governance arrangements and the political empowerment of tribal leaders, her associate had something to announce –

Associate Minister of Local Government Kieran McAnulty has today introduced legislation to empower councils to share better information about natural hazards with the public.

We would have thought councils did not have to be empowered by law to do this. Obviously we were wrong.

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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