Encouraging Signs

Written By: - Date published: 1:32 pm, March 3rd, 2017 - 25 comments
Categories: democratic participation, drugs, political parties, Politics, social democracy, Social issues - Tags: , ,

Direct democracy doesn’t mean a referendum, nor does it mean consensus. It can take a number of forms depending on the issue.

That’s something I could, and have written in discussions about democracy here on ‘the standard’. And of course, it’s a million blue miles away from what any political party is talking about when they bandy the term ‘democracy’ about. Or at least it was until now.

The quoted bit of text comes from The Opportunities Party. It seems they’re making an honest bash at injecting some form of direct democracy into their decision making processes around policy. Will it be problematic? Probably. Will mistakes be made and will tuning, both fine and more coarse, have to be made to make direct input an effective tool of policy formation? Probably.

But it’s a start and a direction of travel that ought to be lauded and encouraged. Straight off the bat, my concerns are that the framework they’ve set in place invites an obvious degeneration to a position of democratic centralism – ie, an authoritarian system of decision making.

Bearing that in mind, I had a look at their attempt to formulate a member driven Cannabis Law Reform policy. It’s fairly comprehensive and asking for considered feed-back. As well as the usual ‘tick box’ preferences, it asks why a particular option is prefered and there’s a fair amount of cross referencing embedded within the questionnaire template. I’m sorry I can’t link to it. It appears you have to have registered an interest in the party to access it. But here’s a partial reproduction.

On possession/use.

What do you think appropriate penalties for cannabis use are (if any)?*  (Six graded options and a box to explain why you have ticked the option or options you have – an explanatory panel)

Personal Production.

What do you think appropriate penalties for small-scale cannabis production are (if any)?* (Seven graded options and an explanatory panel)

Scale/Commercial Production. 

What do you think appropriate penalties for cannabis production at scale are (if any)?* ( Four graded options and an explanatory panel)

If production is legal, who sets standards and checks growers and manufacturers are abiding by the law? Who can produce, under what conditions, where?* (No options. An explanatory panel)

Distribution and Sale

What do you think appropriate penalties for cannabis sale are (if any)? (Four options and explanatory panel)

If legal, how would you manage distribution – advertising, licensing and placement of outlets, online, labeling, dispensary with trained staff, eg pharmacy?* (Explanatory panel)

Criminal Justice System

What do you see as the likely impacts on the criminal justice system from your proposal? How much criminal justice resource would be freed up and what are the likely benefits of that? Or if extra resources will be needed, how would you fund that? What is the likely impact of your proposal on criminals and gangs?* (Explanatory panel)

Economic

What do you see as the likely impacts on the taxation revenue from your proposal? What would you spend any revenue raised on?* (Explanatory panel)

What do you see as the likely impacts on creating a cannabis growing/ export industry (over and above hemp which can already be grown under strict controls)* (Explanatory panel)

Public Health

How would you manage mental health risks – addiction and use by young people (risk of triggering psychosis), and if relevant how should this be paid for? (Explanatory Panel)

How would you manage use? (user registration, price, quantity, e.g. number of plants people can grow each?) And quality (e.g. for strength, pesticides, mould etc). How should this be paid for? (explanatory panel)

Treatment

What services do you think should be available to those that need treatment and how should this be paid for?* (explanatory panel)

—————

Up until now, I’ve been keeping a quiet eye on TOPS and like others, wondering at the lack of discussion here or elsewhere. Now I’m thinking it’s time I paid more serious attention to them and spent some time reading through their literature properly, because what they’re attempting looks to be streets ahead in terms of empowerment and flexibility in relation to any other political party’s policy formation process I’ve encountered.

25 comments on “Encouraging Signs”

  1. weka 1

    Interesting. Is the Keep Updated thing at the bottom of the Cannabis Law Reform page enough to get access? Would be good to see the bigger context.

    TOP are doing some very interesting policy development from what I can see across a range of policies. Lots of good ideas, but not so great on the detail. They look to me like conservatives with some social conscience. The big question for me is whether they would support a National govt, and as far as I can tell they would and it’s possibly their preference. In that sense I think there is a conflict between their ideas generation and reality (I doubt they will have enough influence in a NACT govt to gain much ground and would end up like the Mp but without the constituency). Which leaves NZ and the left in a tricky position, because while I’d like to support their ideas generation (including around democracy), their political positioning makes me want to stamp on the embers that could cost the left the next election.

    The other main problem I have with the policy development is that it often looks good at the ideas level but once you get into the detail it looks more and more conservative or regressive. Hence Morgan’s pre-TOP UBI proposal would throw solo mums and disabled people under a bus for the good of the economy. I’ve seen that juxtaposition in a number of policies. It’s like the good ideas need to be run through someone other than Morgan’s world view, but he doesn’t like doing that. So I’ll be interested to see what happens with the membership-driven bits.

    What are they doing with the answers to the questions on cannabis? What does the party structure say about final control of policy?

    In a sense their using their membership might be really good, but that would largely depend on who their membership is. When I see Morgan and TOP talking seriously to beneficiaries and other vulnerable people who are affected by the policies, I’ll start to see them in a kinder light.

    tl;dr yay better democratic processes, but only if they are actively inclusive, and I don’t see that built into their political culture yet. That’s risky.

    • weka 1.1

      Ok, it looks like they are taking feedback on those questions from anyone registered as interested (so not just members). The form is at the bottom of this page,

      http://www.top.org.nz/cannabis

      • weka 1.1.1

        Would be good to hear from IP members how this compares with the process IP used. Draco?

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          Very similar.

          We had discussions on drug policy reform starting from the idea that we’d support legalisation of marijuana for medical purposes. That got shot down by the membership pretty quickly with everybody supporting full legalisation. Ideas got discussed and voted up or down and then the leadership put it all together into a comprehensive and coherent policy of full legalisation.

          It’s still the best policy of full legalisation that I’ve seen. Even better than that of the Legalise Marijuana Party IMO.

    • Bill 1.2

      The big question for me is whether they would support a National govt, and as far as I can tell they would and it’s possibly their preference.

      They say they will sit on the cross benches and don’t seek to be in government. So I’m not understanding why you conclude that they would support a National led government and would prefer to support a National led government. Given that the Greens have already accused them of nicking some Green environmental policy, isn’t it reasonable to assume they align more with the parties they have policy over-lap with?

      The other main problem I have with the policy development is that it often looks good at the ideas level but once you get into the detail it looks more and more conservative or regressive.

      Do you have any specific or detailed examples you can give? Seeing as how they would appear to be wanting to shake things up quite a bit, ‘conservative’ seems an odd label to attach to them.

      When I see Morgan and TOP talking seriously to beneficiaries and other vulnerable people who are affected by the policies, I’ll start to see them in a kinder light.

      Then maybe the upcoming “Struggling Families and a UBI” Policy release will be that moment.

      For me, the unfortunate use of the word “Opportunity” in their name gives me a bit of the heeby jeebies given that it’s a catch-word of liberalism. (Ie – equal opportunity as opposed to fair outcomes).

      As for how they’re processing feedback on policy formation – I have no idea. Like I say (and I have the same problem with most deliberately constructed frameworks that seek to achieve scale) the seeds of democratic centralism have already been planted. That means or would mean that a small group of people get to determine the internal discussion and decide on what is and what is not incorporated into policy. Bad as that is, it’s still streets ahead of what I’ve seen of other political parties in NZ – ie, they are at least attempting to be inclusive and direct (no cumbersome and captured ‘committee processes’ etc.) I also note that they want to use the same technique to change their constitution – which has the potential to iron out some wrinkles around ‘capture’.

      Anyway. All of that aside, it’s going to be their Climate Change policy that I’ll be looking to.

      • Carolyn_nth 1.2.1

        Actually, Geoff Simmons did say the TOP would work with the National government – until September at least, and then with government of the day, which could include National:

        From TOP website:

        Only Geoff Simmons of The Opportunities Party is able to credibly make the pledge that he will work for the people of Mt Albert with the National government that is our government – like it or not – until September at least. Why would you vote for anyone else?

        From Spinoff:

        Gareth Morgan’s TOP is debuting in Mt Albert. Candidate Geoff Simmons says they’re “blue-green”, “radical centrist” and “pro-business with a heart”. With no National Party candidate he could do quite well, although even the greenest and most liberal of National supporters may be sorely tested by TOP’s plan to remove all incentives to investing in property.

        And Spinoff again:

        Geoff Simmons: Well, in case it’s not already obvious, I’m the only person at this table that’s not already in Parliament, so the question is – if you vote for these guys, who are you really voting for? And also, we are prepared to work with the government of the day, neither of these guys is prepared to do that. So what voice is Mt Albert going to have over the next seven-to-eight months?

        From NZ Herald:

        Geoff Simmons, The Opportunities PartyOccupation: Economist
        Age: 42
        Lives: Westmere (temporarily)
        Both the Labour and Greens candidates are already in Parliament and neither is willing to work with the National Government for the next 7 months. By voting for me you could have 3 MPs for the price of 1; and some real influence to boot as I would work with the government of the day. As an economist I am the natural choice for anyone interested in a strong economy. My priorities are getting house prices and rents under control, clean beaches and fixing the infrastructure that is creaking under the strain of rapid population growth.

        • Bill 1.2.1.1

          “We are neither left nor right and will work with whichever major party is open to our policies.”

          Hey Geoff Simmons from TOP here to do an AMA from newzealand

          Which kind of leaves me wondering if other little ‘descriptor nuggets’ were left off the list of quoted descriptors that ‘The Spin-off’ used seeing as how everything they quoted is very weighted to the right. (I admit to being wary of the Spin-off)

          Or it could be that Geoff Simons is just a right winger who doesn’t know it? What indication might be garnered from the Morgan Foundation, seeing as how he was the General Manager of that?

          As for working with National for seven months…does that necessarily mean propping them up? I’d have thought they run through to the election no matter what at this point. (shrug)

          • Carolyn_nth 1.2.1.1.1

            That we are not left or right, fits with their “we are radical centrist”, and calling themselves blue-green, and pro-business. Really, they don’t look left wing to me.

            I am always suspicious of people saying they are neither left nor right. Puts them more around the centre, and these days that is pretty much neoliberal.

            And the 2nd spin-off link is under the video of a debate with some of the Mt Albert candidates.

            There seems to be quite a bit of similarity between the different website’s statements allegedly by Geoff Simmons, as well as with the statements on the TOP website.

            The rest of the quote after the bit you quoted in the above po\st:

            Regardless, The Opportunities Party won’t take on a policy position that isn’t evidence based. Involving people is fantastic for deciding our values, but evidence is determined by expert input. This process will need to bring the two together.

            So, basically, it’s not looking that much different from a business market research. It doesn’t sound like the more collaborative determination of policies as described by Green Party members.

            And it doesn’t even look as collaborative as the Labour Party conference remits – albeit that the parliamentary LP then makes it’s own decisions about policies.

            It also doesn’t look as collaborative as the Loomio online discussions by the IP last election.

            TOP looks more like a CEO and directors, asking for input from customers, then developing their own products/services based on their own biases and aims.

          • weka 1.2.1.1.2

            “We are neither left nor right and will work with whichever major party is open to our policies.”

            Yep, they’re probably what Lynn calls orthogonal to the L/R spectrum.

            NRT: Fundamental incomprehension

            However the Greens have done a number of things that TOP haven’t. In their positioning beyond L/R they have ended up with a fair few policies that are also left wing and have thus ended up being the most left wing party currently in parliament. TOP’s policies are a new breed IMO, but we need to not assume that because some of them, or aspects of them are attractive to lefties that they would be left wing policies. The devil is in the detail (my other comment upthread).

            The Greens also used their internal democratic processes to reach a position of theoretically working with any party, but in reality they can’t form a govt with National at this time because of where National are at. This was decided by the membership and from what I can tell it was probably against what some of the MPs, senior party official and one co-leader wanted. So when I see TOP going through this kind of process and making it public, I’ll be more inclined to trust them. In the meantime they look like they know how to say the right things.

      • weka 1.2.2

        “The other main problem I have with the policy development is that it often looks good at the ideas level but once you get into the detail it looks more and more conservative or regressive.”

        Do you have any specific or detailed examples you can give? Seeing as how they would appear to be wanting to shake things up quite a bit, ‘conservative’ seems an odd label to attach to them.

        Morgan’s UBI proposal is basically a rearrangement of taxation to make the economic system fairer. Except that there will be vulnerable people that will get screwed over in the process (you and me included btw). The people that will be ok will be those on the dole/DPB etc who can pick up extra work. People that can’t work for whatever reason will be impoverished more than they are now.

        The reason his UBI doesn’t alleviate poverty for those people and in fact makes it worse, is because he is not designing a system with social justice in mind. He wants a system that appears fairer to his upper middle class mind. If he was interested in social justice he would be talking to poor people ad using them to develop policy.

        Someone who wants to fix the tax system over fixing welfare is IMO conservative.

        “Then maybe the upcoming “Struggling Families and a UBI” Policy release will be that moment.”

        Sure, I’m happy if they get this right. But there are other policies where they are basically following the same pattern. Another one is putting a capital tax on the family home and expecting elderly people with minimal income to take out a mortgage to pay for that. That’s inherently conservative and anti-social justice. For him a home is an investment, that’s why it’s ok to tax it. Making income-poor elderly home owners take on debt late in life in order to pay tax, that’s the policy of someone who wants the system to look fairer but at the expense of people.


        As for how they’re processing feedback on policy formation – I have no idea. Like I say (and I have the same problem with most deliberately constructed frameworks that seek to achieve scale) the seeds of democratic centralism have already been planted. That means or would mean that a small group of people get to determine the internal discussion and decide on what is and what is not incorporated into policy. Bad as that is, it’s still streets ahead of what I’ve seen of other political parties in NZ – ie, they are at least attempting to be inclusive and direct (no cumbersome and captured ‘committee processes’ etc.) I also note that they want to use the same technique to change their constitution – which has the potential to iron out some wrinkles around ‘capture’.

        I haven’t had a good look yet, but on the face of it all I can see them doing is consulting their email list. That’s not democracy. Without seeing what the mechanisms are internally, it looks like pretty standard middle management consultation processes where you gather feedback but don’t allow the people you are gathering feedback from to have control over what happens with the information. I’m happy to be corrected if they are doing something more than that. I’d be more impressed if the actual power structures were visible (but like I say, I haven’t looked yet).

        btw, in that link re democracy, they talk about their upcoming economic policy and consumers. That’s you and me. Again, this is classic management speak, albeit much shinier presumably due to all the money he throws at it. Lots of good ideas, but when I start to scratch the surface, there are problems.

        I think Carolyn covered the are they RW or not stuff.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Hey, did you know that the Internet Party’s drug policy was almost fully developed through public online discussions on Loomio?

  3. Keith 3

    Come on.

    You can be reassured, encouraged even, and as Carolyn – nth has said above – The Opportunities Party WILL prop up this corrupt, lying, cheating National government.

    So getting nice and toasted legally to anesthetise one from that effect doesn’t encourage me.

    But if one is a liberal “lefty” and this National government hasn’t harmed you and silly things like not housing people is of no consequence or being working poor is all good then yep, vote for yet another millionaire of the ruling class who knows best, who thinks forming a political party will enhance his investments and one whose alter mission in life is to eliminate cats!

    • Bill 3.1

      Not a liberal “lefty”. Very much a cat person. Waiting for the CC policy. 😉

    • Carolyn_nth 3.2

      Agree, Keith. i am skeptical of another rich guy thinking his money means he can do politics better than others – and without having done the hard yards in electioneering, on the ground over time with a team of candidates and party members.

      I don’t see anything of a bottom-up left wing, collaborative approach to politics.

      TOP does describe it – TOP-down.

    • North 3.3

      Enjoyable level of justified hyperbole there Keith. Aspects of third paragraph sound delicious. The fat point comes in last paragraph. Thank you.

  4. I’m honestly waiting for some polling on TOP before I even bother giving them space. There is no indication they’re going to make a credible electorate run, and it looks like due to their lack of registration, polling companies have been dumping TOP respondents in the “undecided” category.

    If they start registering at 4% or more, then I can give TOP the time of day, which will mainly be to say that they’re an ersatz Green Party.

    • bwaghorn 4.1

      they got 4 % in the recent by election , i no its a very rough gauge and in a non party vote election but still it note worthy

      • It’s also a little deceptive as by-elections are pretty unrelated to the Party Vote in general, (ie. in modern history governments have always lost by-elections even if they go on to win the next General Election) and in this particular one TOP’s fraction of the electorate vote is an unlikely predictor of their party vote performance for two reasons:
        a) Some people who voted for Jacinda will support TOP.
        b) A lot of people who will vote National likely didn’t bother to turn out for the by-election, which will have inflated TOP’s percentage of the vote, either from Nat voters picking them, or from Nat voters not turning out at all.

        All in all, I’ll be surprised if TOP polls within sprinting distance of the threshold when they’re formally registered. In fact, I’m not even sure RM excludes them. I’ve sent them a tweet so maybe they’ll tell us they’re part of the 2% of “others.”

        • solkta 4.1.1.1

          In 1996 the Progressive Greens got 0.26% of the party vote. I expect TOP will do a little better. Founded 1995, dissolved 1996..

          • Matthew Whitehead 4.1.1.1.1

            Good call, because I got this in my notifications a bit ago:

            Basically, TOP is currently polling less than 2%, as they’re already counted in the Roy Morgan as an “other” party.

  5. weka 5

    Re their CC policy, I’m looking forward to that too, and again, I think they will bring in some pretty interesting things. But there are problems.

    1. if they get 5% of the vote, and this stops L/G from forming govt, or from forming govt without Peters, what kind of power will TOP have to make gains on their CC policies? Will they prioritise them in trading over other policy? I’d like to know that before the election.

    2. they might cost the left the election. The Greens already have CC policy that will set NZ on a completely different path in terms of mitigation and preparation, and that will only be possible with the maximum Green MPs in parliament.

    For both those reasons I’d take 5 more Green MPs over 5 TOP ones, because of the pragmatics of how parliament and government works. Which is a shame, because having more diversity in parliament would be a good thing in general. We need to ditch the 5% threshold.

    • Andre 5.1

      “We need to ditch the 5% threshold.”

      Didn’t we have a big review a few years back that recommended a few baby steps improvements, including lowering the threshold? Who was the Justice Minister that threw all that work away coz she couldn’t be arsed making the system more representative? It’s coming back to me now…

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/8674192/Governments-MMP-review-response-slammed

      • mosa 5.1.1

        Yes Andre Collins in her arrogance chose to ignore the MMP referendum that the public voted for in conjunction with the general election, voting to retain MMP with the changes put forward to make it fairer and more representative.

        But National does not do democracy when it does not suit them.

        And not a whimper from the MSM.

        A Labour government would never had got away with it with the media saying they had stolen democracy and ignored the voice of the people.

    • Yeah, I harp on this every election, but the appropriate threshold is winning a single list seat outright, (this is different than no threshold, as you can earn a list seat with very small party vote totals with no threshold at all) which with the current size of Parliament is about 0.83% of the vote. Clearing that threshold would be close to what you actually need to earn two seats, but it could allow for single-seat microparties who are just over the threshold. I would also settle for a 1% or 2% threshold.

      There is no evidence for the assertion that having smaller parties in parliament is destabilising, in fact governments of all stripes have managed well with single-electorate parties to date, there’s no reason to think they couldn’t work well with small list parties, which is essentially what the Māori Party was this term.

      If you can win a list seat, you deserve to be in Parliament full stop. It’s actually a higher threshold than winning an electorate, too- in the 2014 election, you would have needed over 20,000 votes (20,138) to meet such a threshold, and neither ACT nor UF would have qualified if they lost their electorates. (The Māori Party, however, would have been able to go list-only if they had needed to) In most electorates, this is roughly 120%-150% of the vote you’d need to win if the race were somewhat close, although there are a few where even the margin is actually larger than this amount due to them being ridiculously safe seats.

      If I were confident that TOP would get over the threshold and would support a Labour-Green government, I would have no problem with them tactically, as technically splitting the same vote among more parties that actually get in gives you more seats under our system. <.< >.>

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • New Zealand deeply concerned at developments in north-east Syria
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand continues to have serious concerns for peace and stability in north-east Syria. “Recent reports that hundreds of ISIS-affiliated families have fled from a camp are deeply concerning from a humanitarian and security perspective”, Mr Peters says. “While we acknowledge Turkey’s domestic security ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    16 hours ago
  • Government on high alert for stink bugs
    Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor is warning travelling Kiwis to be vigilant as the high-season for the crop-eating brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is under way. “We’re on high alert to stop BMSB arriving in NZ. The high season runs until April 30 and we’ve strengthened our measures to stop stink ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Better protections for students in halls of residence
    The Government is moving swiftly to change the law to improve the welfare and pastoral care of students living in university halls of residence and other tertiary hostels. Cabinet has agreed to several changes, including creating a new mandatory Code of Practice that sets out the duty of pastoral care ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New trapping guide for community and expert trappers alike
    The Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage has launched a new comprehensive trapping guide for community trappers to help them protect our native birds, plants and other wildlife, at Zealandia in Wellington today. ‘A practical guide to trapping’, has been developed by the Department of Conservation (DOC), and was launched during ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Widening Access to Contraceptives Welcomed
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter welcomes PHARMAC’s move to improve access to long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs). PHARMAC has today announced it will fund the full cost of Mirena and Jaydess for anyone seeking long term contraception, lifting previous restrictions on access to Mirena. “I welcome women having greater choices ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major upgrade for Taranaki Base Hospital
    The Government has approved the next stage of a major redevelopment of Taranaki Base Hospital, which will deliver new and improved facilities for patients. Health Minister Dr David Clark has announced details of a $300 million dollar project to build a new East Wing at the New Plymouth hospital. It ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Extra support for rural families
    Extra funding will allow Rural Support Trusts to help farming families, says Minister for Rural Communities and Agriculture Damien O’Connor. “I know that rural families are worried about some of the challenges facing them, including the ongoing uncertainty created by the Mycoplasma bovis outbreak. “Those concerns sit alongside ongoing worries ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Howard Leaque Beekeeper programme graduation
    Thank you for the opportunity to be here to present certificates to the 16 graduates who have completed a beekeeping course delivered by the Howard League.  Let us start by acknowledging Auckland Prison’s Deputy Prison Director Tom Sherlock, and Acting Assistant Regional Commissioner of Corrections Northern Region Scott Walker - ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Finance Minister to attend APEC meetings
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson leaves this weekend to attend the APEC Finance Ministers meeting in Santiago, Chile. Discussions between APEC Finance Ministers at the meeting will include the effects of the current global economic uncertainty, risks for APEC economies and sustainable development of the region. While at APEC Grant Robertson ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Pacific languages are a source of strength, they ground us and build confidence
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio says for Pacific people, language can be a source of strength. It can help ground us and give us confidence. When we speak them, our languages provide us with an immediate and intimate access to our identity and our story - and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Major boost to support disabled people in sport and recreation
    The Coalition Government has announced an action plan to improve the wellbeing of disabled New Zealanders by addressing inequalities in play, active recreation and sport. The initiative includes training to develop a workforce that understands the needs of children and young people with a range of impairments, advocacy for fit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • More prefab homes to be built as red tape cut
    The construction sector is being freed up to allow more homes to be built more quickly as the Government cuts through some of the red tape of the Building Act.  “Every New Zealander deserves a warm, dry, safe home and old inefficiencies in the Building Act make building slow and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Further details of Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall visit to New Zealand
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has welcomed further details on the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall’s visit to New Zealand next month. Their Royal Highnesses will visit New Zealand from 17-23 November – their third joint visit to New Zealand and first in four years. They arrive in Auckland ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • O’Connor in Thailand to push for RCEP deal
    Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, heads to Thailand today to attend the final Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting, as negotiations enter their final stages. “The RCEP Agreement would anchor New Zealand in a regional agreement that covers 16 countries, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Young Pacific people can access earning and learning opportunities in Hawke’s Bay, Otago and South...
    Pacific young people living in the Hawke’s Bay, Southland and Otago regions will have access to support services that have proved successful in helping young people find new earning and learning opportunities. “Tupu Aotearoa is about changing Pacific young peoples’ lives. Our young people are talented, they are smart, they ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Protecting wellbeing – ACC HQSC Trauma Forum
    Introduction As the Minister for ACC I thank you all for the work that you do supporting New Zealanders in their literally most vulnerable moments. From those who hold people’s lives in their hands, to the people who research technique, technology and trends, your work is highly valued. A special ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape – notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch
    Notes prepared for speeches in Christchurch – Wednesday 9 October 2019 Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
    Minister of Health Dr David Clark and Associate Minister of Health Peeni Henare say this year’s World Mental Health Day theme is a reminder of why the Government’s work on mental health is so important. “This year the World Federation for Mental Health has made suicide prevention the main theme ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago