Monday, July 31, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 31/7/23

Robertson congratulates the Black Ferns, Mahuta will watch the Silver Ferns – but does govt support help a team’s chances?

How our money is being spent – and misspent – is among the burning questions which Point of Order strives to answer by monitoring the government’s official website.

Today we can record a few projects proudly announced by ministers – but we can’t always tell readers how much is being spent because the ministers haven’t bothered including that information in their press statements.

Another question we like to ask relates to the whereabouts of our busy ministers – and their sporting interests.

In the case of Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, the answer is that she can be found in South Africa this week.

She has “a range of bilateral engagements to further explore ways New Zealand can deepen its relationship and economic ties with the region”.

But she won’t be there only on diplomatic business. She will also attend “several business engagements highlighting our growing trade relationship”.

Oh – and let’s not forget “she will represent New Zealand at the Netball World Cup”.

You might have though our netball team would be doing that, but it seems we can’t have an international sporting tournaments such as the Netball World Cup without the involvement of a politician, and Nanaia Mahuta will represent the Minister of Sport in supporting the Silver Ferns during the Netball World Cup, which is being held in Cape Town.

And if we don’t win the cup… well, the critics perhaps will be able to complain we should have sent the ministerial A Team.

Then again, maybe not.

The Football Ferns finished their FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 campaign yesterday after a drawn game against Switzerland. This meant they finished third in their group and did not progress to the Round of Sixteen.

A link can be drawn between this outcome and a Stuff picture yesterday of our chubby Sports Minister posturing in Dunedin. The picture shows Robertson with Taieri MP Ingrid Leary and Football South chief executive Dougal McGowan with the FIFA Women’s World Cup trophy at Tahuna Park in Dunedin last week.

But a team doesn’t have to triumph to win plaudits from Robertson, who released a statement to say the Government has congratulated the Football Ferns on their inspirational performances at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

“On behalf of New Zealand, I’d like to thank coach Jitka Klimková, co-captains Ali Riley and Ria Percival and the rest of the team for their achievements. I could not be prouder of them and what they have done throughout the tournament,” Grant Robertson said.

“The Football Ferns have inspired the nation, winning their opening match and showing skill and determination through all their games. The Ferns played in front of tens of thousands of Kiwis and international visitors, who cheered every break, tackle and pass they made.”


“Once the tournament finishes we’ll consider an appropriate way to celebrate the achievements of the Football Ferns,” Grant Robertson said.

His statements – and the other new ones when Point of Order checked the government’s official website earlier this afternoon* – are here:

Latest from the Beehive

The Government is welcoming an agreement by Hawke’s Bay mayors and Regional Council chair to take to their councils a package including sharing th

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta will travel to South Africa this week undertaking a range of bilateral engagements to further explore ways New Zealand can deepen its relationship and economic ties wit

The Government has congratulated the Football Ferns on their inspirational performances at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

Housing Minister Megan Woods has opened 21 new public homes in Masterton today, welcoming the return of new Government-owned public housing to the area for the first time in two decades.

The rollout of on-board cameras across New Zealand’s inshore commercial fishing fleet has reached a new milestone, with cameras going live on the first 23 boats from Tuesday.

Deepening the bonds between our Cook Islands community and their cultural traditions is the focus of this year’s ‘Epetoma o te reo Māori Kūki ‘Āirani – Cook Islands Language Week.

The Government’s landmark Progressive Home Ownership scheme will reach more potential first home buyers, by allowing existing homes to be bought.

The Crown and Te Korowai o Wainuiārua iwi groups have signed a Deed of Settlement at Raetihi Marae today, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little has announced.

Communities around New Zealand are safer, with 26 fire stations having now been successfully upgraded or rebuilt, providing a boost for regional economies and a key emergency service.

As readers can see, several ministers help answer the question about how they are spending – or mis-spending – our money. They are spending it…
  • On a cost sharing arrangement agreed with Hawke’s Bay leaders
The sum involved has yet to be announced. But the Government, Hawke’s Bay mayors and the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council chair have reached an agreement to be taken to the councils on a package which includes sharing the cost of buying out high-risk (Category 3) residential properties in the region.

The Government has agreed to a contribution to flood protection projects to give some certainty for owners of properties assessed as Category 2, and to enhance the resilience of the Hawke’s Bay region.

It also is making “further significant investment” in roading improvements and the building of new transport infrastructure.

“There are some complexities to be resolved, particularly where the property includes commercial and residential land uses,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

But that’s not the end of this spending of uncertain magnitude. Negotiations with Auckland and Tairāwhiti on cost-sharing arrangements have yet to result in agreements for those regions.

And let’s not forget that someone would have brought “The Treaty” into play, aimed at striking a special deal with Maori tribal leaders. And so the government – or rather, “the Crown” – is

“… working through a process and support package for affected Māori land and communities in affected regions. Funding for this work sits outside of the cost sharing arrangements with councils”.
  • On state houses in Masterton and Dannevirke
Again, no costs have been mentioned in the statement from Housing Minister Megan Woods.

Along with 21 homes in Masterton (which she opened today), there are two new homes in Dannevirke.

Woods confirmed that Kāinga Ora is working with a developer to build 11 homes in Featherston, in addition to another development for four homes in Greytown.
  • On the Progressive Home Ownership scheme
Megan Woods announced this one, too, saying changes will extend the scheme to reach more potential first home buyers, by allowing existing homes to be bought.

The PHO income cap criteria for applicants is being lifted from $130,000 to $150,000,

Introduced in 2020, the $400 million PHO scheme was set up unabashedly with a race bias: Woods said it helps people into home ownership, “particularly focusing on whānau with tamariki, Māori, and Pacific peoples”.

So far, 861 homes have been contracted, with 472 households moved in. The scheme is aiming to get at least 1,500 homes contracted by June 2024.

The Government is also enabling 92 affordable rentals around the country through six new partnerships under the Affordable Housing Fund.

These projects, at various stages of development, will be delivered between July 2023 and June 2027 in Auckland, Rotorua, Hastings, Wellington, and Nelson.

A second funding round is currently underway with applications being evaluated in August.

More information on the Affordable Housing Fund can be found here.
  • On rebuilding and upgrading 26 fire stations
Internal Affairs Minister Barbara Edmonds announced this, clucking about a boost for regional economies and a key emergency service.

More helpfully, she mentioned the cost and where the money will come from:

“Through the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund, the Government has invested $51.3 million for the replacement, rebuild or major refurbishment of 26 fire stations across the country.”
  • On taking pictures on fishing boats
Oceans and Fisheries Minister Rachel Brooking announced the installation of on-board cameras on 23 boats will be followed by a further 70 by the end of the year, and up to 300 by early 2025.

Cameras have been prioritised on boats posing a higher risk to protected species of marine mammals and seabirds. Filming only occurs when fishing is taking place.

The camera rollout follows trials along the west coast of the North Island focused on protecting Māui dolphin habitat.

These trials were accompanied by bans on trawling across 12,000 square kilometres and bans on set netting over 32,000 square kilometres.

And the cost? Brooking didn’t mention it.

* More announcements have flowed from the Beehive since we began preparing this report. We will catch up tomorrow.

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

No comments: