Thursday, May 25, 2023

Point of Order: Past Budget spending shows up as Bushmasters arrive.....

......and govt will hope to make a bang with $8m for Māori tourism

Budget 2023 continues to provide grist for the mills of ministerial spin doctors charged with drawing favourable attention to the government’s largesse.

Goodies generated by Defence appropriations in budgets past are winning headlines today, too. Defence Minister Andrew Little has been enthusing about the arrival of the first 18 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles for the New Zealand Army.

Since December 2017, the Government has invested more than $4.5 billion in 12 major defence capability projects, he said. This includes $102.9 million towards the Bushmaster fleet.

Last week’s Budget included $8 million for Māori tourism which Māori Development Ministers Willie Jackson and Nanaia Mahuta are publicising today – a week after Budget Day. Labour’s influential Māori caucus perhaps was bothered that Māori tourism operators were too busy to notice this example of corporate welfare.

The Māori ministers would be hoping to alert the industry – and Māori voters generally – to funding initiatives designed to benefit Māori as poll support for the Māori Party rises.

The Māori tourism boost is more than twice as much as the $3.5 million which Mahuta – as Foreign Affairs Minister – has announced to help meet urgent humanitarian needs in Sudan.

An even more modest sum – less than $1 million – was announced by Associate Environment Minister Rachel Brooking to help repair a Hawke’s Bay organic composting facility that was devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle.

She said this sum (its exact amount was not stated) is among the latest waste reduction projects getting Government backing (the money being spent on these was not mentioned).

Brooking, of course, is the minister who this week declared “I hate waste”.

Today’s accounting for government spending can be found on the government’s official website HERE.

Latest from the Beehive

An $8 million boost to New Zealand Māori Tourism will help operators insulate themselves for the future.

Defence Minister Andrew Little has marked the arrival of the first 18 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles for the New Zealand Army, alongside personnel at Trentham Military Camp today.

Aotearoa New Zealand is providing NZ$3.5 million to help meet urgent humanitarian needs in Sudan, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.

Repairing a Hawke’s Bay organic composting facility devastated by Cyclone Gabrielle is among the latest waste reduction projects getting Government backing.

The 43 Bushmasters are Australian-designed and -built vehicles which will replace the New Zealand Army’s ageing armoured Pinzgauers.

Andrew Little said their arrival represents a significant uplift in capability and protection for defence force personnel

“… and a milestone in the Government’s historic investment in our defence kit.”

RNZ last year noted that New Zealand spends about 1.5 percent of its GDP on defence – $5.2 billion all up in the 2022 Budget.

This has increased significantly since the Labour-led coalition government came to power in 2017.

Part of the reason for that increase is procurement of new equipment – many of our planes and ships have been in operation for decades, and are either being replaced, or have been replaced, in the last few years.

The Bushmaster vehicles carry more troops than the armoured Pinzgauer and offer greater blast and ballistic protection to personnel, Andrew Little said.

“Our soldiers operate in a variety of challenging situations. The Bushmasters are multipurpose vehicles that will boost their ability to help communities here in New Zealand, the Pacific, and overseas – whether they are on peace and security missions, search and rescue, or natural disaster operations.”

The Bushmaster fleet, designed specifically for NZ use, comes in five different variants to carry out a range of tasks, including mobile communications and command hubs, troop transport, and protected ambulances.

The Bushmasters will also enhance the New Zealand Defence Force’s interoperability with our overseas partners, as many already use them.

More Bushmaster vehicles will arrive in batches throughout this year. They are being tested and certified for use at Trentham Military Camp, before being sent to their home bases.

Budget 2023 also included investment in world class communications systems to ensure interoperability with our international partners.

The $8 million boost to New Zealand Māori Tourism – spread over the next four years – builds on the $15 million invested in New Zealand Māori Tourism in Budget 2021.

Jackson said it would help the industry continue to recover from COVID-19 disruptions, and meet increasing demand as international travel resumes.

Whoa. It will help Māori tourism businesses meet increasing demand, which is something they should be able to do for themselves as business picks up and revenue increases?


“The investment will enable the New Zealand Māori Tourism to provide business support to Māori tourism where there is a high demand for marketing advice and expertise, and support for compliance.

“New Zealand Māori Tourism is committed to working with the Māori tourism sector to contribute to our economy, to provide compelling visitor experiences, and to build a strong commercial and cultural leadership.”

Associate Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta said supporting Māori tourism in this way enabled Māori operators “to take a leadership role in how visitors experience Aotearoa”.

The clear implication is that non-Māori tourism is being engineered into becoming followers.

“Māori culture is at the heart of our visitor experience,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

“The Māori tourism industry employs thousands of people and cares for some of our most globally renowned tourism attractions.


“This investment will help ensure a future for Māori tourism that strengthens regional economies for the ultimate benefit of local whānau and manuhiri,” Nanaia Mahuta said.

Explaining the $3.5 million which NZ is giving to help meet urgent humanitarian needs in Sudan, Mahuta said the severe fighting between the Sudan Armed Forces and the Rapid Support Forces has had devastating impacts for civilians. At least 705 people have been killed and 5,287 injured.

New Zealand is contributing NZ$2 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to support its response in Sudan and NZ$1.5 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to support its regional refugee response.

Closer to home, Rachel Brooking said government priorities include helping communities get back on their feet after the devastating weather that hit the northern parts of the country this year – and that includes restoring infrastructure to deal with waste.

BioRich, the beneficiary of a handout of almost $1 million, turns organic waste that used to be sent to landfills into valuable compost.

Cyclone Gabrielle severely damaged the centre.

But Brooking said BioRich

‘ … is one of four waste reduction projects getting Government funding today.”

Three other projects to help tackle the wider problem with waste in New Zealand are being funded through the Plastics Innovation Fund.

They are –

Recycle South in Invercargill, for its plastics pelletiser plant expansion project. The plant washes polyethylene and polypropylene plastics from the lower South Island, including agricultural bale wrap.

AgRecovery, to trial its regulated product stewardship scheme for farm plastics before the scheme is rolled out nationally. The scheme will require producers, brand owners, importers, retailers and consumers to take responsibility for collecting and dealing with farm plastics.

Again Again, a technology platform that enables companies to loan and track reusable packaging such as coffee cups and food containers. The funds will go towards expanding the app to include a reusable container system for the craft brewing industry for taproom pours.

The sums involved in the last three handouts have not been specified by the waste-shunning minister.

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


Robert Arthur said...

I trust they will not teach maori soldiers to drive the bushmasters. In the revolutionn the insipid colonists, lacking in kapahaka aggressionn taining, will need all the help they can get.

Ken S said...

If recent events are anything to go by, giving $2m to the Red Cross for aid to the Sudan should buy a couple of boxes of Band Aids and a tube of Savlon.