Monday, December 18, 2023

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 18/12/23

Trade Minister gets into gear while colleagues put the brakes on Wellington transport scheme

Our Minister of Trade is going places. He is headed for India and Singapore this week and for Abu Dhabi next year.

Wellington’s highly controversial Let’s Get Wellington Moving, on the other hand, is going nowhere. It is headed for oblivion.

The Minister of Trade’s travel plans are unlikely to generate much hostility, although climate warriors can be expected to question his contributions to carbon emissions.

Much more contentious is the agreement reached by Infrastructure & Housing Minister Chris Bishop, Transport Minister Simeon Brown, Mayor of Wellington City Council Tory Whanau, and the Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council Daran Ponter to dissolve Let’s Get Wellington Moving.

Pedal pushers were prompt to express their peeve:

RNZ reported:

The Cycling Action Network called the change disgraceful – especially the loss of light rail running to Island Bay on the south coast.

Patrick Morgan from the group said the government was dusting off old plans for the city.

“This is a disgraceful plan from the government and it flies in the face of what Wellingtonians have consistently voted for, which is a compact city with less reliance on private vehicles, better walking, cycling, public transport and affordable housing,” Morgan said.

David Farrar, however, is delighted:

Stuff reports:

Let’s Get Wellington Moving will be dissolved, with ministers and local government announcing today they had agreed to end the initiative.

LGWM was one of those that sounded good in principle, but failed to work in practice. It had three masters – WCC, GWRC and NZTA but no real authority.

It was also confirmed today that central government will build and fund the Basin Reserve upgrade and second Mt Victoria tunnel; while the city council will bring the Golden Mile project in-house.

These are both excellent decisions. Having the Basin and Mt Vic tunnel as a sole project of the central Government means it will actually happen, and will help unclog SH1. Leaving the Golden Mile project to WCC means they have to somehow justify to ratepayers spending over $150 million on a project bitterly opposed by the majority of the businesses it claims to be for.

The comings and goings of the Minister of Trade and LGWM are recorded here –

Latest from the Beehive

18 DECEMBER 2023

Trade Minister Todd McClay will make his first overseas visit to India and Singapore to meet with his trade counterparts and to advance New Zealand’s relationships.

17 DECEMBER 2023

An agreement to dissolve Let’s Get Wellington Moving has been reached by Infrastructure & Housing Minister Chris Bishop, Transport Minister Simeon Brown, Mayor of Wellington City Council Tory Whanau, and Chair of Greater Wellington Regional Council Daran Ponter.

15 DECEMBER 2023

Trade Minister Todd McClay has accepted the role of Vice Chair for the World Trade Organisation’s 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi next year.

Apropos his visit to India and Singapore, Todd McClay said India and Singapore are two key partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

“The relationship with India is a strategic priority for the coalition Government, and we will look at how to strengthen this important connection across a range of areas.”

He also said:

“Singapore is our most significant trading partner in South East Asia and a critical hub for New Zealand supply lines. They are a key likeminded partner on the importance of international trade rules.”


“Establishing a strong relationship early with Minister Gan will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen the New Zealand – Singapore Enhanced Partnership.

“Singapore’s innovative and open approach to international trade has made us natural partners on issues such as the green economy and supply chain management.”

McClay was scheduled to depart today and return on Thursday.

In his subsequent statement, McClay said the World Trade Organisation and its rules are critical to New Zealand as a small and open economy, to ensure our exporters can operate globally with certainty.

As Vice Chair, he said, he could play an active role to ensure a successful conference, working closely with the host and Chair of the 13th Ministerial Conference in the United Arab Emirates.

“In particular, I will focus on a better deal for agricultural exporters, the removal of fisheries subsidies and strengthening the World Trade Organisation dispute settlement process.”

The World Trade Organisation’s 13th Ministerial Conference will be held on 26-29 February 2024.

New Zealand’s nomination was announced at the World Trade Organisation’s General Council in Geneva on 13 December 2023.

Ministerial conferences are the highest decision-making body of the World Trade Organisation. New Zealand is one of three Vice Chair roles representing different groups, with Cameroon and Panama nominated for the other roles.

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


Anonymous said...

What is the aim of a debate? Alone, it risks pitting the woke against the informed with two versions of the Treaty defended. The issue of Maori sovereignty will be a divisive element.

A binding referendum - if held now - to support the democracy and unity of NZ could well succeed. It would be a further brake on the He Puapua agenda.
The Voice is Australia gives a useful lesson. It is hard for a government to proceed with a plan which has been rejected by the people.

But if held in 5-10 years, this may bring a different result as the generation of groomed and brainwashed young come to voting age.

Best to seize the day.

Anonymous said...

What happens if the majority vote does not support the Seymour proposition?

Albanese thought he had a done deal in Aus - look what happened.

Frankly the money is better spent rebalancing NZ as one people.