Submitting to the Criminal Justice Advisory Group

It’;s fair to say I am not entirely happy with my experiences with the judicial system. I think there are ways it can be improved, so I have approached the Criminal Justice Advisory Group offering some input. They are visiting Dunedin and I will be able to meet them.

I have specific issues to address, but am open to other ideas to put forward.

Any suggestions on how our judicial system could be improved?

From Hāpaitia te Oranga Tangata Safe and Effective Justice:  Criminal Justice Advisory Group to visit the regions

The Safe and Effective Justice Programme Advisory Group – Te Uepū Hāpai i te Ora – is visiting towns and cities across New Zealand to hear what people want from their criminal justice system.

They will hold a series of meetings from mid-October 2018, including public drop-in sessions.

Chair of te Uepū, Hon Chester Borrows said he is looking forward to hearing from people whose lives and work are affected by the criminal justice system, and canvassing ideas on how it can be improved.

They will be in each region on the following dates:

  • Taranaki: 15 November
  • Whanganui/Manawatū/Horowhenua: 16-17 November
  • Otago/Southland: 19-21 November
  • Wellington: 23 November
  • West Coast: 27-28 November
  • Hawke’s Bay/Wairarapa: 28-29 November
  • East Coast: 3-4 December
  • Tasman/Marlborough: 10-11 December

They plan to carry out further public engagement in 2019.

You can also make submissions: Tell us your views

We want to hear your views so we can have a conversation about building a better justice system.

What we will do with the information you give us

  • We will read the information you give us, and analyse it so we understand it.
  • We might use the findings to propose recommendations to the Minister of Justice on changing the justice system.

Submit here: https://safeandeffectivejustice.govt.nz/have-your-say/your-views/

 

 

Nation – fossil fuel use in regions that rely on it

On Newshub Nation this morning:

John-Michael Swannix is in the regions to find out how communities that rely on the fossil fuel industry can be part of a carbon neutral future.

 

Oil and gas announcement a bad look for NZ First

The Greens and associated organisations were ecstatic after the announcement was made yesterday that no more offshore oil and gas exploration permits would be issued, and there would be no more onshore permits outside Taranaki (but existing permits would remain). It was seen as a big win for James Shaw and the Greens.

In contrast NZ First’s Shane Jones publicly squirmed, and Labour rushed to try to pacify criticism, especially in Taranaki.

Photos from the announcement were telling:

The power of a photograph. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones holds his face in his hand.

Kevin Stent/Stuff

Stuff: Photo says it all: How Shane Jones reacted to Government’s oil news

“At the press conference it became pretty obvious there were two contrasting dynamics going on. A disgruntled Jones and a gleeful (Climate Change Minister James) Shaw,” Stent said.

Ardern and Minister of Energy Megan Woods don’t look over the moon either.

Stuff: Shane Jones says ending oil and gas exploration is the ‘only scenario’

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says the Government’s ending of oil and gas exploration is the “only scenario” and NZ First voters will have to accept that.

Jones fronted media alongside Ardern, Climate Change Minister and Green Party co-leader James Shaw and Energy Minister Megan Woods where he painted a picture of NZ First leader Winston Peters going to lengths to strike a deal with Ardern to keep any existing entitlements intact.

Speaking to media after the announcement Jones was frank about being a “pro-industry man” and being unable to “walk back from that status”.

“But I am one person and I am loyal to the agreements that are struck by my leader and the Prime Minister and it’s futile to talk about alternative scenarios.”

As both a NZ First MP and a self-professed “champion of the regions” Jones said “this is a genuine MMP Government, this is what the majority of New Zealanders voted for and we’re putting it into practice”

The announcement puts Jones and NZ First in a difficult position.

It may not have helped that coincidentally petrol pump prices rose yesterday due to rising international oil prices.

‘Having a conversation’ on Air NZ and the regions

Phil Twyford has just appeared on his weekly Newshub morning spot alongside Judith Collins. He is Minister of Transport. Duncan Garner asked him about the Shane Jones attacks on Air NZ.

Twyford effectively backed Jones’ stance on pushing for air services for regions.

He said that as a Minister he would have a conversation with the head of Air NZ over better services for regions.

He was asked if he supported using some of the $200 million annual profit from Air NZ being used to provide regional services, he avoided answering that.

Garner pushed him on what he wanted Air NZ to do, and he copped out with the standard Labour fob  off ‘ they will have ‘an ongoing conversation’.

So without being up front Twyford has effectively backed Jones’ attention seeking stance, which is contrary to what the Minister responsible for state owned companies Grant Robertson has said, and contrary to the sort of reprimand Jacinda Ardern directed at Jones.

I’d expect Newshub to do a news item on this.

 

Property prices down in Auckland, up in regions

House prices in Auckland are down slightly over the past quarter, and has also been flat to lower in Tauranga and Christchurch and other urban areas except for Rotorua, Palmerston North, Dunedin and Invercargill.

RNZ: House price growth ‘runs out of puff’ in cities

Latest data from QV shows house price growth around the country slowing, with the national average climbing 4.3 percent in the year to September.

In Auckland, though values had grown 0.8 percent over the year, they dropped back in the last three months to an average of $1,039,066.

Values fell in a number of Auckland suburbs, including the North Shore and Waitakere, while rising in Rodney and the city centre.

QV national spokesperson David Nagel said the usual spring surge in listings had not happened yet.

“The reductions in quarterly value growth have extended from just the main centres last month to almost all the 15 major urban areas we track with the exception of Rotorua, Palmerston North, Dunedin and Invercargill,” he said.

Year-on-year growth was showing double digit gains in many provincial towns, but the quarterly figures revealed a gradual slowing of the property market in almost all city locations, he said.

“Values are reflecting small decreases in all but a few isolated pockets of Auckland while Tauranga and Christchurch have also shown a small decline over the past quarter.”

NZH: Auckland house values fall: lack of finance blamed

Auckland’s housing market stalled in the last three months with property values falling by 0.6 per cent and buyers unable to get finance being blamed.

The QV House Price Index showed Auckland values only rose a meagre 0.8 per cent in the last 12 months – the slowest pace of annual growth since April 2011.

Isn’t the flattening of prices in Auckland a good thing?  property inflation had been causing major problems.

Despite the drop, the average current value now stands at $1,039,066 – putting most houses out of the reach of first-home buyers.

Problems like that.

Nationally, values rose 1.1 per cent in the last three months to September and 4.3 per cent annually.

Last month, QV blamed winter, bank lending limits, the election and China’s crackdown on capital flows for national house value growth being the slowest in five years and Auckland values hitting their most glacial pace since 2011.

  • Hamilton values rose 1.3% in the last quarter and 3.2% in the last year.
  • Tauranga values fell 0.1% in the last quarter but rose 6.6% annually.
  • Wellington values rose 0.8% quarterly and 10.7% annually.
  • Rotorua values were up 4.5% quarterly and 16.2% annually.
  • Christchurch values fell 1% quarterly and 0.8% annually.
  • Queenstown Lakes values rose 0.7% quarterly and by 12.6% annually.

 

Also on Q & A -the regions and farming

Also on Q & A this morning:

Can we reboot our regions?

The future seems grim for some of our regions that are facing flat-lining growth or even decline. But could there be a silver lining? Demographer Professor Paul Spoonley talks solutions in his new book, Rebooting the Regions.

And the man that runs New Zealand’s biggest farm talks about the future of dairy, doing more to fix our water problems and the changing face of modern farming. Landcorp CEO Steven Carden is interviewed by Corin Dann.

Joining our host Greg Boyed on the panel are political scientist Dr Bryce Edwards, former Labour candidate Dr Deborah Russell and businessman Sam Stubbs.

 

NZ First targeting regions

New Zealand First will have their conference in Dunedin this weekend.The theme will be “It’s time”.

Leading into this in an interview with NZ Herald Winston Peters says they will be increasing their focus on the regions – Winston Peters: Regional NZ will be our election battleground.

In an interview with the Herald before the conference, Peters said the party would redouble its focus on regional New Zealand to grow its vote.

The 71-year-old has spent less time in Parliament lately in favour of his Northland electorate and the regions, with recent trips to Dunedin, Dannevirke and Kaikohe.

“We are seriously getting around the provinces,” he said. “The Greens can cough and get in the media. We pack halls and don’t. We pack halls in this country like no other political party.”

Peters is as good as any politician at coughing and getting media coverage. And he’s better than most at packing halls, but he puts a lot more effort into old style campaigning than anyone else.

There has been growing speculation that former Labour MP Shane Jones will leave the diplomatic corps and stand for NZ First in Whangarei against National MP Shane Reti.

There has been speculation on Jones joining NZ First for years, going back to when he was a Labour MP. If Jones stood for NZ First in Whangarei he would probably be very competitive there.

Peters would not name names but said there were more people interested in standing for NZ First than any time in its 23-year history.

“There are seats around the country that we can capture…we have a list of them but we are not disclosing where they are at this point in time.

“We are keeping our powder shot dry. We won Northland by totally and utterly ambushing their arrogance. So you can understand our desire to keep our plans to ourselves.”

Details perhaps, but Peters has been sharing his plans a bit in this interview.

While National is vulnerable to shedding support it’s not just them that NZ First are targeting.

NZ First deputy-leader Ron Mark has recently turned attention from National to Labour during exchanges in Parliament, accusing the fellow opposition party of stealing policy.

Peters reacted angrily after Little said the party was considering policy that would write-off student debt for graduates who worked in certain public service jobs in the regions – similar to existing NZ First policy.

NZ First had been called racist and xenophobic for calling for lower immigration levels in the past, Peters said, and didn’t like to see other long-standing policies “stolen”.

He did not think much of the memorandum of understanding between Labour and the Green Party: “It’s not for me to comment on what their political strategy might be. Suffice to say it’s not a winning one”.

The memorandum has not been the game changer (yet) that Greens and Labour were hoping for. Greens seem to have hit a support ceiling and Labour have not only failed to recover from an awful result last election, they are at risk of collapsing further. Peters no doubt senses this.

Peters continued his long-standing position of not commenting on possible coalition deals after the election.

So voters have no idea what he might do, something he keeps getting away – to an extent. It hasn’t worked in getting NZ First into government since 2005.

“Will we be ready for [the election’s] ramifications? Of course we will be ready. But we don’t talk about it as a caucus. In fact, I do my best to discourage anybody worrying about where they fit in the day after the election.”

He might have to do better discouraging his MPs: In response to The political tides are all flowing the way of ‘kingmaker’ Winston Peters:

ClaytonMitchellTweet

Peters could remind Mitchell about counting kings before the election has hatched.

NZ First could potentially get anywhere between 5% and 20% in the next election, with 8-15% looking quite doable.

They are attractive to the disgruntled and disillusioned, but their biggest asset, Peters, is also their biggest deterrent. He is good at picking up protest votes but recent elections have shown an electorate reluctance to crown Peters with the power to dictate.

Tourism set to overtake dairy as largest export earner

It’s often claimed that New Zealand has become too reliant on dairy trade. Milk products are certainly a significant and important part of our economy, but that’s far from all that keeps things ticking over.

While dairy has been getting a lot of the attention the tourism sector has been quietly growing and is set to become our biggest export earner. NZ Herald reports:

Gloombusters: Tourism drives economy higher

New Zealand’s tourism sector is on track to overtake dairy as New Zealand’s biggest export earner and the country will soon crack three million visitors a year.

Tourism has recovered from the hit dealt by the global economic crisis and for the past three years has enjoyed strong growth.

Prime Minister John Key, who is also Tourism Minister, expects this summer to be the country’s biggest for the visitor industry.

“It’s a growth sector and there’s a lot more left in the tank,” Key said.

The latest full year figures showed international tourism expenditure contributed $10.3 billion (15.3 per cent) to New Zealand’s total exports.

Key said recent strong growth had come in spite of a strong Kiwi dollar against main source markets and the more favourable exchange rate for visitors would make this country even more attractive.

And the benefits of tourism are spread around regions (like dairy).

The benefits of tourism were widely spread with most spending outside Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. Statistics New Zealand figures show the tourism industry directly employed 94,100 fulltime equivalents, or 4.7 per cent of total employment.

The Tourism Industry Association New Zealand agrees with Key’s assessment that another bumper summer season is in prospect.

It has been holding a series of 12 regional tourism summits and chief executive Chris Roberts said the sector was in extremely good heart.

“For many regions, tourism is the bright light when it comes to economic growth.

“We’ve seen good growth in international and domestic visitor spend in the past two years and that looks set to continue,” Roberts said.

This is good news. That’s probably why it doesn’t get much attention in the media.

Nor does it get much attention from the Opposition. Labour’s spokesperson for Tourism is Peeni Henare. He has only a handful of media releases on Labour’s website (four since the election). None of those are on Tourism – he seems more interested in his role as Associate Māori Affairs Spokesperson.

Henare won the Tamaki Makaurau electorate last year, and as a first year MP is ranked near the bottom of Labour’s pecking order.

John Key is the Minister of Tourism, showing a different priority he and National put on one of our biggest markets.

Encouraging immigrants away from Auckland

National are trying to encourage more immigrants to seek work outside Auckland. The key from their new immigration measures are:

  • Boosting the bonus points for Skilled Migrants applying for residence with a job offer outside Auckland from 10 to 30 points.
  • Doubling the points for entrepreneurs planning to set up businesses in the regions under the Entrepreneur Work Visa from 20 to 40 points.
  • Streamlining the labour market test to provide employers with more certainty, earlier in the visa application process.

These will take effect from November 1.

The National Media Release on this: IMPROVING SPREAD OF SKILLS, INVESTMENT ACROSS NZ

The Government will introduce a package of immigration measures aimed at improving the spread of workers, skills and investment across New Zealand, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says.

“Thousands of people from all over the world are moving to New Zealand because it is a good place to live, work and raise a family,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“Those people make a significant contribution to New Zealand’s economic growth by providing skills, labour and capital we need, along with valuable cultural and business links.

“New Zealanders will always be first in line for jobs and that won’t change,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“Currently, many new migrants settle in Auckland, which faces infrastructure challenges as it transforms into a truly international city. At the same time, business owners in other parts of New Zealand often struggle to find enough skilled workers to meet their demands.

“While there are already incentives to encourage migrants to move to areas outside of Auckland, we can do a better job of matching the needs of regions with available migrants and investors,” Mr Woodhouse says.

New measures to take effect from 1 November include:

  • Boosting the bonus points for Skilled Migrants applying for residence with a job offer outside Auckland from 10 to 30 points.
  • Doubling the points for entrepreneurs planning to set up businesses in the regions under the Entrepreneur Work Visa from 20 to 40 points.
  • Streamlining the labour market test to provide employers with more certainty, earlier in the visa application process.

In addition, from mid-2016 a pathway to residence will be provided for a limited number of long-term migrants on temporary work visas in the South Island.

“Unemployment across the Mainland is nearly half that of the North Island, and labour is in short supply,” Mr Woodhouse says.

“Most workers in lower skilled jobs must apply to renew their work visas every year. Some of these people have worked hard and paid tax to New Zealand for many years. They are valued at work and in their community, but have no avenue to settle here permanently.

“We’re looking at offering residence to some migrants, who have applied at least five times for their annual work visa. In return, we will require them to commit to the South Island regions where they’ve put down roots.”

Mr Woodhouse says the Government is also considering a new Global Impact Visa to attract high-impact entrepreneurs, investors and start-up teams to launch global ventures from New Zealand.

“I will announce further details later this year, but we envisage this visa would be offered to a limited number of younger, highly talented, successful and well-connected entrepreneurs from places like Silicon Valley,” Mr Woodhouse says.

Whether this will spread immigration around the country more will depend a lot on whether enough jobs are available outside Auckland.