Friday, September 22, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 22/9/23

Good news on the GDP front is accompanied by news of a $5m govt boost for Supercars (but what about emissions goals?)

First, we were treated to the news (from Finance Minister Grant Robertson) that the economy has turned a corner and New Zealand never was in recession. This was triggered by statistics which showed the economy expanded 0.9 per cent in the June quarter, twice as much as economists’ median forecasts of 0.4 per cent and the Treasury’s forecast of 0.6 per cent in the Pre-Election Fiscal and Economic Update.

Annual growth was 3.2 per cent.

Robertson enthused:

“Our economic plan is delivering a solid foundation to support New Zealanders dealing with the cost of living while investing in our recovery to build a stronger and more resilient economy.”

Next came some spending (or “investing”) decisions, two of them dealing with the cleanup of a region that was severely battered by Cyclone Gabrielle earlier this year. That was when we were reminded of the need to strive to reduce emissions to minimise the impacts of climate change.

The other new announcement – paradoxically – was of a $5 million government investment in Supercars, an event which seems antithetical to commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The Government hasn’t mentioned since August 23 (at least, not on its official website) its goal of reducing net carbon emissions to zero by 2050.

When the Crown Minerals Act 1991 was amended to enable the government to be more flexible in its management of Crown-owned petroleum and minerals, Energy and Resource Minister Megan Woods made much of the target:

“It doesn’t make sense to have a net zero goal in one law and a requirement in another to promote mining fossil fuels that takes us away from achieving that.

“This follows changes in 2021 introducing a requirement for oil and gas companies to carry out and fund the decommissioning of their oil and gas fields. This was in response to the failure by the previous National/Act Government to protect New Zealand taxpayers from bills of hundreds of millions of dollars in liability for field abandonment at the end of their lives.”

Until the legislation was amended, the Government had been legally required to actively promote exploration of fossil fuels in onshore Taranaki.

So what has been announced over the past 24 hours?

Economic Development Minister Barbara Edmonds, without the hint of embarrassment, announced the Government will contribute $5 million to support the Taupō International Motorsport Park round between 2024 and 2026, to provide long-term confidence to organisers and commercial partners.

She proudly declared:

“After a one-year hiatus, we’re helping the high-octane event return to our shores.”


“This investment will open a new chapter for racing in New Zealand. It will support local economies by generating cultural and economic opportunities, as well as supporting the region’s post-COVID recovery.

“We know this will be a huge boost to the region. The Supercars Championship is expected to attract over 100,000 attendees to Taupō each year, including almost 9,500 international visitors and 1,500 personnel.

“With the event broadcast into more than 95 countries and over 300 million homes, Taupō and surrounding areas will have plenty of opportunities to highlight all the region has to offer.

“We look forward to supporting the organisers to kick these events into gear and maximise the benefits for Kiwis.”

Local Government Minister Kieran McAnulty announced a lesser sum – $2.5 million – will replace and upgrade a stop bank to protect the Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant.

Cyclone Gabrielle had destroyed the original stop bank protecting the plant, which had been made operational within six weeks but was flooded by “minor rain events” since February.

Environment Minister Rachel Brooking got to announce another $2.1 million to boost Cyclone Gabrielle clean-up capacity in Hawke’s Bay with more support dealing with the massive amount of waste and rubbish the cyclone left in its wake.

The latest lot of funding is going to:
  • Hastings District Council: $680,000 to improve construction and demolition recovery at the Henderson Road Refuse Transfer Station, including treated and untreated timber, glass, plasterboard and horticultural PVC and high-density polyethylene that would otherwise end up in landfill.
  • Phoenix Contracting: $550,250 towards a new shredder to meet the increased demand to process construction and demolition waste, as well as with woody debris and green waste for composting.
  • Hog Fuel NZ: $875,000 towards purchasing two slow grinders, an excavator and a Trommel screen (a machine used to separate materials in the waste process).
Point of Order is aware of news reports which say “ Labour” (not “the government”) is promising a new hospital for Hawke’s Bay if re-elected.

OneNews reported:

Leader Chris Hipkins said his party “inherited a health system suffering from years of underinvestment”.

“Since 2017, this Government has invested nearly $45 billion in health, including a 771 per cent increase in health infrastructure.

“A new hospital in Hawke’s Bay will be just the latest commitment Labour has made to New Zealanders’ health.”

The structure would cost between $700 million and $1.1 billion, with Labour saying it would be fully funded in its fiscal plan over the next decade.

Who decides which announcements are “Labour” announcements and which are “government” announcements” is something of a mystery.

But the government announcements can be found HERE

Latest from the Beehive

The Government has today confirmed $2.5 million to fund a replace and upgrade a stop bank to protect the Waipawa Drinking Water Treatment Plant.

The Government is beefing up Hawke’s Bay’s Cyclone Gabrielle clean-up capacity with more support dealing with the massive amount of waste and rubbish the cyclone left in its wake.

The future of Supercars events in New Zealand has been secured with new Government support.

The economy has turned a corner with confirmation today New Zealand never was in recession and stronger than expected growth in the June quarter, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said.

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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