Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Point of Order: Rachel Brooking hates waste....

....and she wants us to know about a $20m trough (funded by levies) to help reduce it

It was tempting – for a moment – to suggest Rachel Brooking become an Associate Minister of Finance to keep Grant Robertson on the straight and narrow.

The temptation was triggered by Brooking’s speech (as Associate Minister for the Environment) to the WasteMINZ conference in Hamilton, when she declared:

“I hate waste.”

But it turned out she was talking about the sort of waste that might finish up in a landfall rather than the sort that needlessly raises government spending.

After she had discussed new waste legislation that will increase regulatory powers to control products and materials (product bans, landfill bans, mandatory recycling, environmental performance standards and extended producer responsibility) and other waste-minimising programmes, Brooking got around to mentioning the availability of funding to which we might make claims for appropriate projects.

Another trough, in short.

On the other hand, Brooking was unabashed about mentioning her government’s taxing accomplishments in the waste domain:

Under this Government, the levy on each tonne of waste disposed of at municipal landfills has tripled and the types of landfills covered has been expanded.

More money coming in means we can put more into initiatives that cut waste and encourage resource recovery, like composting and recycling.

More than $20 million is available over the next two years through the Waste Minimisation Fund for projects that minimise waste and emissions from food scraps and green waste, paper and wood.

Expect to hear more on that very soon.

Brooking proceeded to explain:

The $50 million Plastics Innovation Fund is focused on plastic waste minimisation.

Funded from the waste levy, supports the vision of the New Zealand Waste Strategy, Plastics Research Innovation and Investment Priorities, and Plastics Action Plan.

Eight projects are now under way, and another seven approved, for a combined $15 million in funding.

These investments will bring genuine sustainable growth and enduring improvements towards a low-emissions, low-waste circular economy.

Expanding investment in the waste infrastructure demonstrates our commitment to the direction in which we are heading.

Three other statements posted on the government’s official website today draw attention to government spending initiatives –
  • Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis said $225 million will go directly into Māori Education, resulting in more kura being built and modernised and teacher scholarships extended.
  • Education Minister Jan Tinetti and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced applications for the next round of Creatives in Schools will open on Friday 16 June 2023. The programme funds schools and teachers to collaborate with professional artists “to deliver engaging learning experiences for students,” Jan Tinetti said. She did not specify the cost of the handouts but a ministry website says schools and kura along with their artist or creative practitioner can jointly apply for up to $17,000 for their projects.
  • Energy and Resources Minister announced an $8 million funding package that will benefit the Southland Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster, COIN – Southland’s startup and innovation ecosystem,
Latest from the Beehive

Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of diplomat Dr James Waite as Aotearoa New Zealand’s next Ambassador to Mongolia.

Substantial support for Māori Education has continued in Budget 2023, including a big boost to learning learning support.

Since 2020, Creatives in Schools has supported more than 500 creative projects across Aotearoa New Zealand.


Tena koutou katoa and thank you all for being here and welcoming me to your annual conference.

Southland’s Just Transition is getting a further boost to help future-proof the region and build its economic resilience.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has concluded a series of successful international meetings with Pacific region leaders in Papua New Guinea.

Megan Woods’ statement prompts the thought: what about an explanation for the urgently enacted energy legislation last week? She has been infuriatingly silent.

Obviously she is more comfortable with the plaudits that come from distributing goodies.

In this case, the government is investing in Southland’s Just Transition programme to support the province as it reduces its reliance on the New Zealand Aluminium Smelter at Tiwai Point.

The $8 million funding package includes support for:
  • Southland Engineering and Manufacturing Cluster
  • COIN – Southland’s startup and innovation ecosystem
  • Further development of Southland’s aquaculture industry
  • Implementing the region’s new long-term plan, Beyond 2025
The announcement follows Budget 2023’s commitment of $100 million to deliver the Regional Hydrogen Transition, a green hydrogen consumption rebate which will help early adopters to bridge the price gap with fossil fuels and support a just transition to a high wage, low emission economy, starting with Southland.

This was a reminder that up to $100 million ($32.5 million in the first four years) was set aside in Budget 2023 to fund a green hydrogen consumption rebate to bridge the price gap with fossil fuels.

In his statement, Kelvin Davis said that on top of the core package for Māori education, Budget 2023 will boost outcomes for Māori students through broader initiatives such as extending funding for important teacher supply initiatives to boost enrolments for Māori teachers and the delivery of Mātauranga Māori provision, including te reo Māori.

Partnerships with Māori and iwi-led organisations will be strengthened, including a boost for the Pūhoro STEM Academy to take an extra 6,500 ākonga Māori into their programme that will lead to more Māori with the qualifications to enter into these key industries.

An expansion of the work between the Crown and iwi to develop and introduce local histories curriculum in schools and kura will also receive a boost.

An additional $9.92m will go towards work with up to 57 new iwi that will help bring local histories to life, with the creation of engaging content that will be more accessible and culturally inclusive.

Full Budget 2023 Māori Education elements:
  • $112.5m to build more classrooms and modernise existing ones
  • $21.88m for the expansion, maintenance, and remediation of existing kura, kōhanga reo, and puna reo sites alongside capital investment costs
  • $39.89m to support and strengthen partnerships with Māori and iwi-led organisations in Māori education
  • $40.42m for learning support coordination in kaupapa Māori and Māori medium schooling
  • $9.92m for work with up to 57 iwi in supporting the rollout of the local histories curriculum
  • $1.35m to extend funding for several critical teaching supply initiatives, including the TeachNZ scholarships
The ministerial statement on the Creatives in Schools (without any dollar signs) said the programme has supported more than 500 creative projects across New Zealand since 2020.

The programme is delivered by the Ministry of Education in partnership with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage and Creative New Zealand.

Applications will close on 21 August 2023 for creative projects to be implemented in 2024.

The press statement steered us to for more information but when we clicked on the link we were advised the site can’t be reached.

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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