Saturday, April 24, 2021

“New Zealand’s least biased political news source” — MediaBias

Mahuta has to defend her Five Eyes comments

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne arrived in Wellington on Wednesday night, followed by curses and threats from Beijing after she ended Victoria’s  Belt and Road agreement with China. Her host, her New Zealand counterpart, Nanaia Mahuta, on the other hand, was at the same time receiving warm praise from China for her announcement that New Zealand would not participate in joint political statements put out by its members. The gulf between the two countries over relations with China seemed as wide as it has ever been. No amount of gushing from Mahuta and Payne about the spirit of ANZAC or the “Love...

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Why the Government rejected Simpson’s advice

Heather Simpson declined an interview with POLITIK yesterday at the conclusion of the Beehive Banquet Hall presentation of the Government response to her report on the Health and Disability sector. That by itself is not unusual. Simpson is a notoriously media-shy public figure. But what could she have said? Two of her most significant recommendations had been tossed aside by Andrew Little and...

DHBs to go in radical health restructure

The Government is to scrap District Health Boards as part of its response to Heather Simpson’s “Health and Disability System Review”. In other key moves, it will: Establish a new Maori Health AuthorityA new Crown entity, Health New Zealand, will replace the DHBs and will run hospitals and commission primary and community health services."Locality networks" including GPs, maternity carers, district nurses,...

Mahuta redefines New Zealand’s foreign policy

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta’s speech to the New Zealand China Council yesterday was arguably one of the most important made by a foreign minister in recent years, possibly since the 1980s. For a start, she made it to the China Council, a body committed to good and amicable relations between New Zealand and China. Seated around their table in Wellington yesterday...

Riding the border under the threat of xenophobia

Today is bubble day when it becomes possible for travellers from Australia to enter New Zealand without having to go into managed isolation. But polling revealed yesterday on RNZ’s “Sunday” programme confirms what was widely suspected; that opening the border is a political gamble with only limited support. There has been speculation that it was the Government's own polling that has...

So Grant, what’s next?

One of the country’s leading economics consultancies, Infometrics, has published a report today saying there is no evidence that the Government is ready to address long-standing issues which have festered for the past 10 – 15 years. Its comments echo what is becoming an increasingly voiced view in Wellington that the Government’s plans for the country post-Covid are opaque. The question...

We have missed every emissions target so far

Figures released by the Government yesterday showed that between 1990 and 2019, total greenhouse gas emissions increased by 26.4 per cent. The figure is contained within the latest “Greenhouse Gas Inventory” published by the Ministry for the Environment. The increase makes a mockery of New Zealand's greenhouse gas reduction targets and means the country has missed every emissions reduction target set...

Government calling National’s bluff

The Government last night looked set to call National’s bluff and deny its request for a time extension on submissions on the Climate Change Commission’s draft carbon budgets. Labour knows National's Caucus is divided on how to react to the Commission which is evident in a series of conflicting statements coming from National MPs. Labour's denial of an extension will force...

National threatens to end bipartisan climate change consensus

National is now threatening to break up the two-party consensus on climate change because it is dissatisfied with the Climate Change Commission’s Draft Consultation document. The party’s Climate Change spokesperson, Stuart Smith, has taken the unusual step for the Opposition of making a formal submission to the Commission highly critical of  its proposals. He says they are impossible to support. And yesterday,...

Samoan PM faces tough challenge today

by Nanai Anae Dr Iati Iati Nanai Anae Dr. Iati Iati is a Senior Lecturer in the Politics and International Relations Programme, and Pacific Security Fellow in the Centre for Strategic Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. He teaches International Relations and New Zealand Foreign Policy at the undergraduate level, and Strategic Studies at the Masters level. He recently co-edited...

Government to take knife to DHBs

Speculation is mounting that the Government is planning a radical overhaul of District Health Boards, which is likely to see big changes in how hospital care is managed and run. As part of that the DHBs would transfer many of their roles to a new centralised Health Agency. Health Minister Andrew Little would not confirm the details yesterday but said he...

Whatever happened to Darren Hughes

Ten years ago, it looked like Labour MP, Darren Hughes political career was over. He had resigned from Parliament after Police began to investigate a complaint of a sexual nature against him. The Police dismissed the complaint, but Hughes had ended what many considered a career that had considerable promise. He laid low and quietly went to the United Kingdom, where he...

Light rail; make the property owners pay

The Auckland Light Rail Project, confirmed by the Government yesterday, is not only about transport. Though it is hyped by its advocates as a green alternative to fossil-fuelled transport, the reality is that its main benefit will be as a catalyst for property development. And that raises questions about how it should be funded. Transport Minister Michael Wood yesterday conceded that the...

Climate change proposals getting chilly reception

The free-market think tank, the New Zealand Initiative, has this weekend produced a  critique of the Climate Change Commission's proposals to get to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The Initiative says we can get there without any of the Commission’s radical proposals. Instead, we should let the Emissions Trading Scheme unit price climb from its current $37 a unit up...

The SIS; its other friends overseas and its problems at home

The Security Intelligence Service Director General, Rebecca Kitteridge, has revealed that the agency has partnerships with other overseas intelligence agencies beyond its Five Eyes partners. But a report into the Christchurch Mosque massacre published this week shows that at home, it is struggling to get basic data-sharing arrangements with key agencies like the Police and Immigration Department. And increasing oversight of...

The big health overhaul picks up pace

Health Minister Andrew Little has set out the bottom lines for what is looking like the most far-reaching shakeup of the country’s health sector since the 1980s. And POLITIK believes that the Government now intends to move "at pace" to fill in the detail and then implement the reforms. Significant announcements can be expected in the lead-up to the Budget in...

The government ignores Treasury’s advice and goes its own way on...

The Government has been talking about the core elements of its housing package, which it announced yesterday since November last year. POLITIK was briefed then by a Beehive source that Treasury was working on a package that would involve extending the brightline test and eliminating the tax deductibility of interest payable on investment properties. Yesterday, four months later, and with the...

The tricky politics of the bubble

New Zealanders may as well leave for a vacation in Australia now. POLITIK understands that earlier leaked proposals to start the trans-Tasman bubble after the school holidays in early May are now likely to be brought forward. So if travellers arrive in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide or Brisbane, they won't have to quarantine and with any luck, the bubble will be...

Parker cops green backlash

The Government is copping a green backlash over its decision to delay implementing controls on cows grazing in mud. Environmentalists say the move weakens the effect of the Government's Freshwater National Environment Statement, which was designed to "make rivers swimmable". But there is more. The Ministry for the Environment has not started work on a promised review of a contentious nitrogen standard...

Trans-Tasman travel bubble still on

A behind closed doors debate involving bureaucrats and politicians seems to have temporarily derailed the Australian travel bubble. But the delay appears to be only temporary. POLITIK understands the bubble is still on, What is clear is that New Zealand has given up trying to reach a simple agreement with Australia to establish the bubble. Instead, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins told...

National’s review: Don’t blame me, says Bridges

National’s review of its election defeat is blaming the leadership both at the Caucus and party levels for what happened. The party unveiled its Review report at a members-only meeting at the Remuera Club on Sunday night and again last night in Cambridge. Tomorrow they will be in Hawke’s Bay. But the members may not be getting the full story.  POLITIK understands...