Friday, April 19, 2024

Point of Order: Buzz from the Beehive - 19/4/24

On Lee’s watch, Economic Development seems to be stuck on scoring points from promoting sporting events

A few days ago, Point of Order suggested the media must be musing “on why Melissa is mute”.

Our article reported that people working in the beleaguered media industry have cause to yearn for a minister as busy as Melissa Lee’s ministerial colleagues and we drew attention to the government website page which records all her statements as Minister of Media and Communications. It was – and still is – blank.

Political commentator Chris Trotter today insists Lee should be deprived of her ministerial warrant. He says her handling – or non-handling – of the crisis engulfing the New Zealand news media has been woeful.

But Lee has other portfolios: she is Minister of Economic Development, Minister of Ethnic Communities, and Associate Minister of the ACC.

And today we note that, as Minister of Economic Development, she has something to tell us on the government’s official web page without being asked by a reporter:

She is enthusing about the government being proud to support the first-ever Repco Supercars Championship event in Taupō.

“Support” – you can be sure – means she is talking about the sporting equivalent of corporate welfare.

And sure enough, in the last paragraph of her statement, we learn:

The Government has supported ITM Taupō SuperSprint through its Major Events Fund with $5 million over three years (2024 – 2026).

For the rest of it, Lee sounds like she is the event’s publicist:

“Anticipation for the ITM Taupō Super400 is huge, with tickets and accommodation selling out weeks in advance, boosting visitor numbers in the shoulder season and supporting the local economy,” Ms Lee says.

“Taupō and the surrounding regions are set to benefit from increased international visitor nights and hospitality spend, generating millions of dollars in revenue. This Government is focused on rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, and one of the ways we do that is by attracting major events that increase tourism, boost economic growth, and bring significant benefits to communities.

“In addition to the supercars championship, visitors can witness the first ever full-field track to town journey, where a parade of supercars will drive into town on the eve of the event.

“There’s plenty of other racing at the event, including the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, NZ Central Muscle Cars, Toyota GAZOO Racing 86 Series NZ, and Formula Ford, while the Royal New Zealand Air Force takes to the skies above the circuit for a memorable display for fans.

“There will also be night-time entertainment courtesy of Kiwi musicians Six60 and Kaylee Bell at the Great Lake Centre on Friday and Saturday Nights.

“With thousands of international visitors in attendance and millions of people tuning in, this event will provide invaluable exposure to the key Australian market and cement Taupō as the new home of supercar racing in New Zealand.”

“I look forward to attending the supercars this weekend and witnessing the on-track action.”

Hmm. A challenging job, eh?

Her predecessors as Minister of Economic Development include Jim Anderton, Trevor Mallard, Pete Hodgson, Jerry Brownlee, Steven Joyce and Simon Bridges.

They were heavy hitters – so we checked back on everything else Lee has announced as Minister of Economic Development.

If these statements are a measure of what is going on in this portfolio, the job might just as well be passed over to the Minister of Sport (who happens to have been a co-spokesperson on the first of the other three statements on our list):

16 JANUARY 2024

The inaugural Women’s British and Irish Lions Tour will receive government funding to support matches played across New Zealand in September 2027.

22 MARCH 2024

Up to 22,000 people are expected to descend on Whakaraupō Lyttleton Harbour from 23-24 March to watch the highly anticipated ITM New Zealand Sail Grand Prix.

14 MARCH 2024

The Government is proud to support the 10th edition of Crankworx Rotorua as the Crankworx World Tour returns to Rotorua from 16-24 March 2024, says Minister for Economic Development Melissa Lee.

While Melissa Lee tells us she will be in Taupo this weekend, the latest ministerial press statements advise that … –
Latest from the Beehive

19 APRIL 2024

Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister David Jonathan Boldt as a Judge of the High Court, and the Honourable Justice Matthew Palmer as a Judge of the Court of Appeal.

Education Minister Erica Stanford will lead the New Zealand delegation at the 2024 International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) held in Singapore.

A stopbank upgrade project in Tairawhiti partly funded by the Government has increased flood resilience for around 7000ha of residential and horticultural land so far.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will represent the Government at Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula next week and engage with senior representatives of the Turkish government in Istanbul.

Science, Innovation and Technology and Defence Minister Judith Collins will next week attend the OECD Science and Technology Ministerial conference in Paris and Anzac Day commemorations in Belgium.

18 APRIL 2024

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

The Government has announced that $20 million in funding will be made available to Westport to fund much needed flood protection around the town.

The Government is proud to support the first ever Repco Supercars Championship event in Taupō as up to 70,000 motorsport fans attend the Taupō International Motorsport Park this weekend, says Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee.

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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