Jacinda Ardern’s 2019 pre-budget speech

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gave a pre-budget speech to Business New Zealand yesterday. Excerpts:


Not surprisingly, I want to talk to you today about next week’s Wellbeing Budget, why we are doing it, what it means and what it will achieve. I’ll also run through some of the pre-Budget announcements we have made to illustrate what the new approach means in action.

As I said when I entered Parliament, I developed a passion for social justice over many years, but in part from living through that and seeing people lose their jobs and seeing families struggle.

For this Coalition Government, a key plank of delivering that change is our Wellbeing Budget. Let me talk a little about our rationale for taking on quite a different approach, and one the OECD is watching quite closely.

…what we are trying to do with the Wellbeing Budget.

It has five priorities, which were developed using the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework, evidence from sector-based experts and the Government’s Science Advisors, and through collaboration among public sector agencies and Ministers.

These priorities, which yes include our economy, but go beyond that too, are the areas where the evidence shows we have the greatest opportunities to make a difference to New Zealanders’ wellbeing.

These are:

  • Creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy;
  • Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities;
  • Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including addressing family violence;
  • Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, with a special focus on under 24-year-olds; and
  • Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities.

The second step was to then look at Budget bids under each of these priorities, through a different lens.

We asked three big questions:

  • is the Budget bid intergenerational? Will it make a difference now and for the lives of our children, grandchildren and beyond?
  • does it move us beyond the narrow measures of success to take a wider set of factors into consideration?
  • and, finally, is it a whole of Government approach? After all, for too long policies and initiatives have operated in isolation, sometimes with overlapping work and other times resulting in gaps in policies.

First, homelessness.

Instead of looking solely at public housing places, we have acknowledged that chronic homelessness is often a result of multiple complex and often compounding issues.

Rather than take part in a merry dance on what issue comes first, we should instead, house first.

And that’s exactly what a well-researched and evidenced-based model called Housing First does. It houses those who are in cars or on our streets and then wraps social support around them – whatever is required – to make it stick.

Budget 2019 does that by making the largest Government investment in chronic homelessness ever, and rolling out Housing First into more centres, and funding more places.

Family and sexual violence

Every year about one million New Zealanders are affected by family and sexual violence, including almost 300,000 children.

Violence is expensive, in more than one way. It, for instance, can do as much harm to a child who witnesses it, as it does to a child who is directly harmed. And that then plays out in their behaviour, and their relationships. And so it continues.

We all know we need to put in place a crisis response, but we just haven’t invested much before in breaking cycles, working with children for instance, or addressing the mental health impact of family and sexual violence. A wellbeing approach demands that we do.

And so on Sunday we announced a $320 million investment in this area. And because of our new coordinated approach, it’s an investment that will sit across eight portfolios and deliver more support services to more New Zealanders, major campaigns aimed at stopping violence occurring and major changes to court processes to reduce the trauma victims’ experience.

Budget Responsibility Rules

Finance Minister Grant Robertson…confirmed we will meet all of the Budget Responsibility Rules as we did last year as well. For anyone who needs or wants a reminder, these were a set of self-imposed rules to demonstrate our commitment to sound economic management covering our debt-to-GDP ratio, core Crown spending and Budget surpluses.

The reaction to his news that following the expiry of the Budget Responsibility Rules in 2022 we would be moving from a net debt target (of 20%) to a net debt range (of 15-25%) received positive and negative attention – usually a sign we have the balance right.

Global Economy

Fortunately we are well positioned to face instability and uncertainty. Although growth rates are set to be lower than we have seen in recent years, the IMF projections for New Zealand are that we will still grow at around 2.5% in 2019 and 2.9% in 2020. We are still tracking ahead of most of our major trading partners. The average growth for advanced economies in the same period is projected to be 1.8% and 1.7% respectively.

We are projected to grow faster than the US, the UK, Japan, Canada, the Eurozone and Australia. Just this week the OECD released its latest outlook which also shows us growing faster than our peers, while last week the Reserve Bank of Australia further lowered its 2019 growth forecast for the Australian economy.

We continue to have historically low unemployment and stable, low inflation. This is supported by Budget surpluses and low public debt due to our Government’s responsible fiscal management.

This all supports this Government’s economic plan which includes:

  • Focussing on increasing trade and broadening our trading base to protect our exporters and economy through the introduction of the CPTPP, pursuing an EU FTA and we recently, of course, signed our Enhanced Partnership with Singapore.
  • We are reforming skills and trade training to address long-term labour shortages and productivity gaps in the New Zealand economy, to make sure we are prepared for ongoing automation and the future of work – I’d like to acknowledge the work Kirk and Richard Wagstaff are doing alongside the Finance Minister on the Future of Work Tripartite Forum. So far a focus on the future of work has meant greater investment in apprenticeships and partnership with business like the skills pledge launch by my Business Advisory Council under the leadership of Christopher Luxon.
  • We are addressing our long-term infrastructure challenges – and that doesn’t just mean billions in investment, but establishing long-term planning through the Infrastructure Commission.
  • We are transitioning to a sustainable carbon-neutral economy. Our focus is not only having a long-term plan through the Zero Carbon Act, but also investing in R&D as the economic transition occurs.
  • And, of course, investing in wellbeing because this is inextricably linked to our economic success too. You will see more on that in the Budget on May 30.

These economic initiatives are, in turn, part of the Government’s approach of finding pragmatic solutions to New Zealand’s long-term challenges.

CONCLUSION

Ultimately though, it’s fair to say we are taking nothing for granted. Our relatively solid position does not mean we should simply ride out the conditions around us. Nor do the existing parameters successive governments inherit mean we should use traditional frameworks to make decisions or measure success.

Systemic change does however take time.

My hope is though that this year, by meeting both the Budget Responsibility Rules and with the new Wellbeing Budget, you’ll see us doing exactly what is needed – setting a strong foundation for both our country and our people.

Full speech at Scoop.

Ardern’s ‘state of the nation’ speech to Business New Zealand

Jacinda Ardern gave a speech to Business New Zealand yesterday. This is described by some as her ‘State of the Nation’ speech. Here is the Beehive transcript:


PM speech to Business New Zealand breakfast

Good morning everyone.

I want to start by thanking Kirk and his Business New Zealand team for the invitation.

It’s good to have this opportunity to join you as another year starts.

While this is my first economic speech of 2019 here at home, there has been plenty happening internationally since the year kicked off. I want to reflect on some of that this morning, but before I do, I’d like to take stock of our economic and business landscape, set out some of the challenges we face here and in an international context, and then outline our Government’s plan to address those over the coming year.

First though, I want to take a moment to reflect on the events in Tasman. Twelve months after facing a cyclone, the rain in Tasman has been replaced with a fire that when I visited yesterday, was 22km in parameter, and covered 1900 hectares. It has led to the evacuation of hundreds of homes, and roughly 400 people.

I have been in regular contact with our civil defence team, and evacuations are still happening as they try to predict where the wind movement may take the fire, all the while creating a parameter around it and using fire retardant to try and contain it from spreading across an area that is bone dry, and surrounded by forestry.

I spoke to a few people who had been evacuated yesterday. They told me what it was like to evacuate with only a few hours warning. But they didn’t dwell on that.

Mostly they reflected back to me the amazing work being done by emergency services, MPI, council, civil defence and others. So many who I met yesterday were volunteers. One of the coordinators of the many helicopters hauling water over the fire for eleven hours at a time was from Feilding and had travelled through the night to get there. He also happened to be colleagues with my first cousin – it was a true New Zealand moment.

Situations like this always reinforce to me something that you will intuitively know, we are a nation of extraordinary people. And I don’t separate out situations like this as being a one off example of who we are. The traits we have as a nation are there 24/7, and in many fields of work.

You see it in our social sector, our business community, and in our young and older citizens. The trick is to remember that, and for us as Government to bring together the many groups who want to tackle the big challenges we face regardless of which sector of our society that they may work within. We are not a nation of discrete compartments, so we should be facing our challenges together.

And when it comes to the economy, and the business environment, there are challenges.

There are also good reasons for us to be optimistic though.

Last year I talked about the elephant in the room. Pleasingly, the elephant has gotten a little bit smaller in the past 12 months. Perhaps it got to know its company and decided it wasn’t quite as scary as it first thought…

Either way, it’s pleasing progress and it is based on some strong fundamentals.

  • Yesterday’s employment data showed wages are growing and unemployment is at 4.3%, the second lowest in a decade. The lowest was of course last quarter, and we are confident that we’ll reach our 4% target by the end of our term.
  • Growth is relatively strong at around 3% and is forecast to stay close to that level in coming years. That looks particularly strong when compared to the IMF’s recently released forecasts for advanced economies that predicts average growth of about 2% a year.
  • Inflation is tracking at 1.9%, and food price inflation remains low.
  • And it is encouraging that one of the Big Three rating agencies recently gave our economic and financial management the thumbs up. Standards & Poor’s have revised its outlook on New Zealand’s AA foreign and AA+ local currency credit ratings from ‘stable’ to ‘positive’ – its strongest verdict on New Zealand since September 2011.
  • The latest Crown financial statements, released just yesterday, show that core Crown revenue and expenses are in decent shape and delivering a better than budgeted surplus. Running surpluses of course gives us the room to make important capital investments while keeping debt under control and importantly provides a buffer against external shocks and international headwinds.  

As you can see, on key economic measures the Government is delivering. There is good cause for the elephant shrinking.

But there is a shift in mood globally. While global economic growth remains strong, it is beginning to slow.

The IMF is projecting worldwide growth to ease from 3.7% in 2018 to 3.5% in 2019 due to rising trade tensions, political uncertainty and less stimulatory monetary and fiscal policy.

As I mentioned earlier, advanced economies are forecast to grow at only 2% a year.

The finger of blame for the slowdown in global trade growth is generally pointed at countries pursuing increasingly protectionist policies, which are naturally affecting confidence and investment plans.

Trade tensions in the wake of tariffs imposed by the US on Chinese imports dented the strong growth seen in 2017. And the worry for us is that further reductions in Chinese exports could cause a material slowdown in its economy, with adverse effects for New Zealand exporters.

And then there is Brexit.

As all of you will have no doubt seen, the final form of Britain’s exit from the European Union is yet to be decided.

Clearly, the risk of a no-deal scenario remains high. There is a lot of uncertainty around what such a scenario would mean, and while we are doing our best to create a buffer through, for instance, our recently signed mutual recognition agreement, a no deal Brexit could still do harm to EU economies or disrupt financial markets.

Political tensions are beginning to present serious risks to international institutions and the rules-based order that we rely on for security and prosperity. The World Trade Organisation, for example, and other multilateral organisations, are facing challenges to their legitimacy that undermine their effectiveness.

At Davos, a significant conversation revolved around how we could ensure the reform of these institutions, whilst not seeing them blamed for the current political environment which, ultimately, they didn’t cause.

But where does all of that leave a country like New Zealand? We have strong fundamentals and are well prepared, but we need to be realistic that if the global economy slows, it will affect our economic growth.

Now is then the time to take the foundations we have and to build on them. Now is the time to ensure we not only build greater resilience into our economy, but that we modernise it too.

This is a message that we have been sharing for some time, but that I recently heard reinforced by the IMF executive director Christine Lagarde.

We were at APEC in Papua New Guinea when I first heard her reiterate the message that policymakers need to make greater efforts to prepare for the slowdown, and that is a message we are heeding.

That’s why our economic plan includes the following key planks:

  • Doubling down on trade and broadening our trading base to protect our exporters and economy
  • Reform of skills and trade training to address long-term labour shortages and productivity gaps in the New Zealand economy, and to make sure we are prepared for ongoing automation and the future of work
  • Changes to tax to make the system fairer
  • Addressing our long-term infrastructure challenges
  • Transitioning to a sustainable carbon-neutral economy
  • And of course investment in wellbeing, because this is inextricably linked to our economic success too.

Trade

On trade, our experiences in the 1970s and early 1980s taught us there are no winners in trade protectionism.

By taking an active role in WTO reform efforts and by committing ourselves to diversifying our export markets through new and upgraded free trade agreements, we are strengthening our safety net.

At all the international forums I have spoken at in the last year I have made the case for the retention of an international rules-based trading system. I believe it’s incredibly important that we continue to be a leading voice on this, in order to retain a system that allows New Zealand exporters fair access to international markets.

With the CPTPP coming into force, 65% of our exports are now covered by FTA preferences which buttress and build on the WTO disciplines.

The Pacific Alliance and RCEP are making steady progress.

The upgrade of our agreement with China is ongoing and we are about to commence the same negotiations with ASEAN.

But a top trade priority this year is a positive conclusion to the EU free trade negotiations and the launch of free trade talks with the UK in the event of Brexit occurring.

On my recent trip to Europe I received assurances from the EU leadership of their desire to conclude an agreement by the end of this year. It’s an ambitious plan, and one we will pursue whilst also being mindful of getting a quality deal.

In the UK, Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her desire for New Zealand to be amongst the first nations they negotiate with, and for our part we made the case that given New Zealand’s expertise in this space we would make a logical partner to establish a benchmark for a high quality model agreement for the UK.

As importantly as the political assurances I received we also got positive backing from leading British business leaders for a high quality free trade deal as soon as practical after Brexit.

And at home, we are working to rebuild the social licence for trade. The Trade for All Advisory Board will continue meeting this year to look at how our trade policy works with other economic policy to deliver the benefits of trade to all New Zealanders.

Through this combination of trade and foreign policy initiatives we will strengthen our resilience to the risks we face from the uncertain global economy.

Of course it is not just in the international scene that our economy faces challenges.

Domestically we are seeing both short and longer-term issues that could constrain economic growth if left unaddressed.

Education and training

One such issue that the Government has big plans for in 2019 is around skills training.

Whenever I talk to business I hear a recurring theme around skills training and the gap between what business needs and what our training organisations provide.

Businesses are facing a constant struggle finding the people with the right skills at the right time to do the jobs that need to be done. Many of you here today have spoken to me about this issue.

In the past our economy has been too reliant on buying skills through immigration. Immigration is vital, but we need to get the balance right. I want us to focus on how we can be better at growing the skills our economy needs.

Without change, the challenge for businesses and Government is only going to increase.

We know the future of work will look very different than it does today.

A future when, by some estimates, a full one third of jobs in New Zealand are likely to be significantly affected by automation. That’s a million jobs.

For us as a government and you as a business community we cannot afford to let the skills gap continue to drift.

We need to act now.

The Coalition Government has already taken steps to make post-school education and training more accessible, with our fees free programme, which provides 2 years of free industry training and apprenticeships, or one year of free tertiary education.

We also announced changes to allow greater use of micro-credentials to ensure our system is more accessible and responsive to business needs.

My Business Advisory Council has also set skills as one of its key priorities. One of the ideas it has put forward which we are working through is how business themselves can take the lead in committing to reskilling their workforces.

The Government has also done some deep thinking on reforms that are urgently needed to the vocational education system.

The Minister of Education will next week announce proposals for consultation. They are far reaching. But we firmly believe they must be.

We currently have a vocational education system that is in many cases, struggling.

Take the building sector for example. We know we need more tradies and they are just not coming through fast enough.

That’s absolutely no reflection of the people who are involved in the sector – far from it. What it is, is a damning statement that the system has been left to drift, to muddle through.

How is it, for example, that at a time when we’re facing critical skill shortages, our polytechnics and institutes of technology are in many cases going broke?

Over the last two years this Government has been forced to spend $100 million to bail out four polytechnics, and that is a pattern that started before we took office.

That is not the sign of a healthy and sustainable sector.

We need to move away from the cycle that sees course delivery at institutes boom when the economic cycle turns down and then dive when the economy improves, while on-the-job training providers face the opposite cycle.

Instead of our regional polytechnics and institutes of technology retrenching, cutting programmes, and closing campuses, we need them to expand their course delivery throughout the country.

We want a sector that meets the needs of our economy. But the current system faces three major structural issues we need to fix.

It is not well coordinated or integrated. It is not easy for business to engage with and it delivers variable results across the country.

We have a duplication of courses and lack of consistency across the sector.

Many of the institutes face an issue of scale and insufficient capital to grow and respond. All of this is unsustainable.

Here is our vision – I want the vocational training system to be the backbone of our productive economy, and of our regions. I want students and parents to proudly choose a career in the trades and I want businesses to have confidence that the system is flexible and preparing a workforce for the future of work.

We need a model where businesses, iwi and local government in every region play an active role in driving skills development. We need a system of training and skills development that is more flexible and more nimble so we can get people with the rights skills into the right jobs much faster.

As I mentioned, we will be putting out some significant ideas in this area in coming weeks. Alongside our education sector, you have a crucial role to play in this matter and I do look forward to hearing your response to what will be some big new ideas.

But we haven’t just looked to the education sector to upskill our workforce, we have also looked for ideas to support you directly.

We are providing assistance in this regard through the Mana in Mahi training initiative, which provides a wage subsidy to businesses who employ as apprentices young New Zealanders who have been on a benefit for six months or more.

This policy is constructive for both businesses and workers, linking employers who need labour with young people in need of a career path.

I’ve met some of the young people in programmes like Mana in Mahi and He Poutama Rangatahi. They are our best salespeople for these types of initiatives.

Recently in Kaikohe a young woman told me all her friends want to join the course she was on. She is learning and earning and it was, in her own words, better than the street. Especially since she had become a supervisor.

Building a sustainable economy

In addition to skills the Government will use 2019 to contend with bigger, longer-term trends that will have a transformational affect on our economy. 

As I have said before, climate change is the defining issue of my generation.

We know that we all have to adapt now to avoid catastrophe for the generations to come.

We have a plan for a just transition to a low-emissions economy based on a more sustainable growth model. We want to ensure that this transition is phased and signalled early to give businesses and workers certainty and flexibility.

The Government will soon announce plans for legislation to establish an enduring institutional framework for managing the long-term transition to a low-emissions economy.

This legislation will contain legally binding emissions’ reduction targets and it will see the establishment of an independent Climate Change Commission, which will recommend emissions reduction budgets and provide advice on policy development and initiatives in transport, energy and primary industries.

The Government’s Just Transition work programme will assist New Zealand to successfully transition to a low-emissions economy.

The work programme includes looking at energy, regional economic development and workforce planning. It has a strong connection to education and skills development to create new jobs.

A Just Transition Summit in May this year will kick-start a national conversation about what the Just Transition means for New Zealand.

But it won’t just be a local conversation. We will be testing ideas that the world is interested in too. The conversations I had in bilateral meetings and conferences increasingly demonstrated to me that the world is not only looking for ideas, it is hunting for them. And New Zealand is on its list.

We recently announced a $100 million capital injection to New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd to stimulate new private sector investment in low-emissions industries. More and more investment dollars globally are looking for clean, sustainable ventures to invest in.

New Zealand Green Investment Finance Ltd positions New Zealand to attract its share of that investment capital, and will provide businesses with a pathway to being part of efforts to confront the greatest challenge facing the planet.

Another issue currently confronting the Government is inequality, and our commitment to bring fairness into our tax system.

We have long foreshadowed that we will deliver this year a response to the Tax Working Group.

There has been a lot of speculation on this topic of late, some of it feverish and not always accurate.

But my message to you this morning is succinct.

Yes, we have received the report of the Tax Working Group and, as we have shared publicly, it will be released on Thursday 21 February.

That report is now being pored over by officials, and discussed with Coalition and Confidence and Supply partners. Our plan is for the Finance and Revenue ministers to release the Coalition Government’s full response to the report in April.

Importantly though, the Working Group’s report will be shared with the public. There will be time for everyone to see that work, to debate what they have said and to share views. Anything we subsequently decide will also go through a consultation process before legislation and ultimately will be put to voters at the next election before it comes into force.

As we enter into a period of discussion and debate, I hope it’s guided by the overriding goal of fairness, and building an economy and system that works in the best interest of New Zealand and its people.

The Wellbeing budget

Finally though, a few words on what has become a significant topic of debate and discussion internationally. In fact I saw just yesterday the issue of wellbeing economics being discussed in a Swedish newspaper. I can’t tell you what it said but I am sure it was eminently sensible.

Our starting point for the Wellbeing Budget is that while economic growth is important, it alone does not guarantee improvements to New Zealanders’ living standards.

We want to take a much broader approach that uses the full range of factors that affect the quality of people’s lives.

So there will be measures that track the progress of our country based on what enables people to live fulfilling lives – things like material wealth; our capability as individuals, families and communities; and the health of our environment, such as the cleanliness of rivers.

We can all agree that New Zealand has seen solid rates of GDP growth over the past few years, and of course no one is suggesting we get rid of this indicator. But we also need to ask questions about the quality of that growth. An everyday New Zealander – hearing of the “rock star economy” while their housing costs are skyrocketing, or they can’t afford to send their kids to school with a proper lunch or their mental health is strained – tends to have their faith in the system and in institutions undermined.

So embedding wellbeing will require us to shift to a wider definition of success for our country, one that incorporates not just the health of our finances but also our natural resources, people, and communities.

It will represent a shift away from government departments thinking of their Budget bids in terms of their own appropriations, towards a focus on the outcomes they can achieve in collaboration with others.

All Ministers and departments have been asked to consider what they can contribute to the delivery of each of the Budget priorities.

This in itself is different and was the source of great interest when I was at Davos.

While deep reform will take time, the Government has already made significant strides. Treasury has created the Living Standards Framework, we are reforming the way the state sector works to give effect to a more collaborative way of working, and we will amend the Public Finance Act so that priorities around wellbeing are set each Budget. We are giving effect to the new approach in this year’s Budget.

The five Budget priorities this year are:

  1. To create opportunities for transitioning to a sustainable low emissions economy;
  2. Lifting Maori and Pacific incomes and opportunities;
  3. Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation;
  4. Reducing child poverty, improving child and youth wellbeing, including addressing family violence; and
  5. Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, particularly those under 24.

In Davos the OECD Secretary General advised the Finance Minister and me that they would be reviewing the Government’s wellbeing approach and Budget in their country review this year, an indication of how closely the rest of the world is looking at this new model and what it can offer other countries.

The Wellbeing Budget is not only about improving the livelihoods of New Zealanders, it is key to ensuring we are protected from the international headwinds the economy may face. It will ensure that those closest to the margins are protected and that no one is left behind.

I want to conclude today by affirming the Government’s strong desire to continue partnering with business wherever we can. We will be using forums such as the Small Business Council, the Future of Work Tripartite Forum and my own Business Advisory Council to develop and test initiatives that can help improve business productivity and workers’ wellbeing. But more than that, to continue to work together.

As a country we face challenges on a number of fronts, but in these challenges the Government sees opportunities to build a more resilient economy and I know we are not alone in that.

By diversifying our trade opportunities, upskilling workers, leading the transition to a low carbon economy, ensuring fairness in the tax system and delivering our Wellbeing Budget we have a clear plan that will protect and improve the wellbeing of our people, our businesses, our communities and our environment.

I look forward to working with all of you in delivering on this in 2019. And perhaps along the way that elephant might keep getting a little bit smaller.

Don Brash championing Apirana Ngata, but…

Sir Āpirana Turupa Ngata (3 July 1874 – 14 July 1950) was a prominent New Zealand politician and lawyer. He has often been described as the foremost Māori politician to have ever served in Parliament, and is also known for his work in promoting and protecting Māori culture and language. – Wikipedia

From Don Brash’s Waitangi speech:

Let me make one other point about the dangers of dependence. Many years ago, at the advent of the modern welfare state, Sir Apirana Ngata, in my opinion one of New Zealand’s greatest Maori leaders – and a man I was privileged to put on New Zealand’s $50 bank note – warned of the serious damage which the welfare state would do to Maori society.

He believed that readily available welfare would erode the proud tradition of independence which most Maori had. And I believe his warning has been amply borne out, with a disproportionately high proportion of those on the unemployment benefit, and on the single parent benefit, being Maori.

Decades after he gave that warning, when I was Governor of the Reserve Bank, I met with a prominent kuia at her request. She wanted to talk about Maori unemployment. After a very long discussion, I finally asked her what she would want me to do if by some chance I found myself in the position of a benevolent dictator. Without hesitating she replied “Abolish the dole with effect from the first of January”.

I thought at first she was joking, and asked her to explain herself.

She said that “Unfortunately too many of my people don’t have many skills. They can’t live well on the dole but with three or four of them in the same house all getting the dole, and a few under the table cash jobs, they can live adequately on the dole, and that’s a disaster.”

She was deadly serious, and in a sense was simply echoing what Sir Apirana Ngata said 80 years ago.

Scott Hamilton (via @SikotiHamiltonR):


During his speech at Te Tii, Don Brash invoked Apirana Ngata. For Brash & other conservative Pakeha, Ngata has long been a talisman. They see the famous leader as an advocate of assimilation & opponent of statism & race-based policies. But how accurate is such a view?

Again & again, Brash has insisted that Ngata opposed state funding for Maori-specific projects. It seems that Brash has never heard of the ambitious Native Lands Development Schemes, which Ngata created & monitored after he became a minister in the Forbes government elected in 1928.

 

For decades Ngata had been trying to consolidate Maori land holdings. After winning his cabinet post in 1928, he was able to acquire govt funds to pay for the development of consolidated Maori land. One iwi after joined his schemes. Weeds were pulled, fences built, stock bought

From the beginning, many Pakeha politicians were suspicious of Ngata’s land development schemes. They complained of money being aimed at Maori. Ngata pointed out, in response, that for many decades Pakeha farmers had enjoyed subsidies & infrastructure spending denied to Maori.

The land schemes were just one part of Ngata’s quest to revitalise a nation devastated by war & land theft. He also worked hard to restore his people’s culture, founding a school for carvers & teaching dance to young people.

How would he feel about Brash’s denigration of haka?

Brash & other Pakeha conservatives have praised intermarriage, which they see as diluting Maori identity & thereby bringing them into the ‘mainstream’ of NZ, aka Pakeha, society. Ngata didn’t share their enthusiasm. Fascinated by eugenics, he wanted to keep Maori marrying Maori.

Brash & his ilk have a record of denigrating pre-Christian Maori spirituality, & of wanting it kept out of public ceremonies & off public sites. Ngata felt differently. As Ranginui Walker’s biography shows, he believed in the old gods & spirits, & awaited their signals.

Ngata talked of the ‘amalgamation of the races’ in NZ, by which he meant the entry of Maori into the institutions of the colonial state, & a role for them in governing that state. But he did not take this position because of the sort of fondness for colonialism Brash evinces.

Ngata accepted the NZ colonial state & opposed Maori separatism only because he believed the defeats in the wars of the 19th Century irreversible. When he became minister responsible for NZ’s Pacific colonies, he argued loudly against attempts to Westernise Niueans & Samoans.

In his speech at Te Tii, Brash presented colonialism & Westernisation as unqualified goods, & conditions for technological & material progress. But Ngata fought against attempts to export capitalism to Samoa, Niue, the Cooks, & defended those islands’ traditional economies.

If Brash wants to find precedents for his views in, then he should look not to Ngata but to the men who destroyed Ngata’s land development schemes. In 1932 papers condemned the scheme as separatist; in 1934 an all-Pakeha commission agreed. Ngata resigned from cabinet.

Last year, during an interview with Kim Hill, Brash invoked the myth of Moriori as a pre-Maori people. He was swiftly rebuked by Hill. Shouldn’t our journalists behave the same way when Brash egregiously misrepresents the facts about Apirana Ngata’s life & opinions?


It was actually December 2017: A play-by-play of Kim Hill’s medium rare roasting of Don Brash

“You see Māori as just another ethnic group?”

“Of course. Why are they not?”

“Because they’re tangata whenua.”

Don Brash disagrees with this, and brings up the Moriori, because at this point in every argument of this kind, where the racism is about as thinly veiled as a bride at her fifth wedding, someone brings up the Moriori, and every right-minded person listening to this screams at whatever listening device they’ve had to hear it from because that is a bullshit addition to every argument of this kind, and is intended not to continue the argument but to send it off the rails entirely.

This renders Kim Hill briefly speechless, she cuts the interview off with the most curt and savage:

“If only Sir Michael King were here today, thank you for your time, Dr Don Brash.”


Apirana Ngata (1874–1950), of Ngāti Porou, was born at Te Araroa on the East Coast. He graduated from Te Aute College, and later completed an MA and a law degree. He was the first Māori to complete a degree at a New Zealand University. He returned to the East Coast and became involved in improving Māori social and economic conditions. – NZ History

Sir Āpirana Turupa Ngata (3 July 1874 – 14 July 1950) was a prominent New Zealand politician and lawyer. He has often been described as the foremost Māori politician to have ever served in Parliament, and is also known for his work in promoting and protecting Māori culture and language. – Wikipedia

 

Don Brash’s Waitangi speech – out of date, out of touch

PartisanZ / February 6, 2019

Extraordinary … I just now watched Don Brash’s whole speech on FaceBook …

He began by presenting his kaupapa, which was perfectly reasonable: How can Ngapuhi and Maori improve their economic position … and economics in general …

Then he immediately diverged from his stated kaupapa. He proceeded first to insult his hosts, by expressing his ‘opinion’ on the general uselessness of their language, te reo – “tee ray oh” – and then went on a series of misguided and equally insulting tangents … most with thinly veiled insulting anecdotes …

The crowd were surprisingly restrained … They were kind to him, relatively speaking ,,,

Gezza:

Frankly, I can see where Parti’s coming from. Don’s speech really is out of date & I think completely misses the bus on the issue of Te Reo,

There are some points he raises which at least I can argue are a valid way of looking at issues of Maori “welfare dependency”, but it certainly has the rather out of date tone of a patronising lecture.

It’s hardly surprising it stoked up some heckling.

It’s not clear to me whether Don delivered this speech in its entirety or not. Parti claimed he did get to finish it, the Herald says he didn’t.

I think that Don Brash should have been given a fair go with his speech at Waitangi yesterday – but it highlighted how out of touch he is.


Brash at Waitangi: Where to now?

Tena koutou ki a koutou a Ngapuhi

E hari ana taku ngakau ki te mihi atu ki a koutou

He iwi kotahi tatou

No reira tena koutou.

Can I begin my comments today by saying how much I appreciate your invitation? I have no doubt that some of you see me as a racist of the worst kind. It is a great tribute to you that you are nevertheless willing to have me here today, at this place of great importance in our history, even though you may disagree with me on a whole raft of fundamental issues.

Perhaps we are continuing a tradition which dates back to 1840, to the Treaty which we remember this week, when people with very different views met and reached an agreement which affects all our lives to this day.

So I thank you for inviting me to speak.

When Rueben Taipari invited me, he suggested I touch briefly on my own background – he had recently read my autobiography, and suggested that there were aspects of my life which most people are not aware of.

And he suggested I should comment on how Ngapuhi, and perhaps Maori New Zealanders generally, can best improve their economic status. I’m willing to do that, though I will do so with great trepidation. I don’t know nearly enough about the circumstances of your iwi and hapu to do that with confidence, so my observations will be tentative.

Before I do either of those things, let me briefly comment on my views on Te Reo. You will have heard, and perhaps been surprised, that I began today with a mihi. Yes, I can, when properly coached by a Ngapuhi chief, say a few words in Te Reo!

And to be perfectly clear, I was enthusiastic to do so in this context.

I have absolutely nothing against the Maori language and for many New Zealanders it is a vital part of who they are.

What I have objected to is two things.

First, the use of the Maori language where almost nobody can understand it seems to me to be totally inappropriate. When I was young – and that’s quite a few years ago now! – if anyone spoke in Maori in an environment where at best a tiny minority understood it they immediately translated. I thank the organisers of events this year for providing simultaneous translation earpieces to those of us who don’t speak Te Reo.

I first made a comment on this issue in relation to the use of Te Reo on Radio New Zealand, or RNZ as they now prefer to be called. I came across the same issue two weeks ago when I was briefly in China. I had reason to call the New Zealand embassy in Beijing, and was astonished to find that the phone was answered with a message in Te Reo, followed by one in English, and followed finally by one in Mandarin. I would guess that not one person in a thousand calling the New Zealand embassy in Beijing understands Te Reo.

Secondly, I have spoken out strongly against making the teaching of Te Reo mandatory, as some politicians and others now advocate. I am entirely comfortable with taxpayers providing funding to teach Te Reo to those who want to learn it, and to fund Maori TV and a number of Maori language radio stations – it is a valuable treasure to many New Zealanders.

But it seems to me that for most New Zealanders it has no practical value. As you might expect from a person with an economics training, I look at the cost of every new proposal – and by cost I don’t just mean the dollar cost, but the opportunity cost. What do we have to drop from the school curriculum in order to make time to teach Te Reo? Do we have less maths, less history, less science, less physical education? Something would have to be dropped to make space to teach Te Reo.

Without question the most important language for all New Zealanders to speak, read and write fluently is English – not just because it is the predominant language of this country but also because it is the only truly international language.

Chinese is the most widely spoken first language in the world, followed in turn by Spanish and then by English.

But the total of those who speak English exceeds that of any other language.

When I was Governor of the Reserve Bank, I used to attend annual meetings of the central bank governors from the entire Asian region – from Mongolia in the north, through East Asia, South-East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Iran – a huge sweep of mankind. Every meeting was conducted in English, with no translation provided. It was just assumed that everybody who had reached the status of central bank governor could speak English.

English is the language of international commerce and of science. It is the language of aviation. When a Lufthansa plane, with a German pilot, lands in Frankfurt, the pilot speaks to ground control in English. Legislation in India is in English. In Singapore, it is compulsory for everybody to learn English.

Tragically, too many New Zealanders don’t have the strong knowledge of English they need to prosper in the modern economy. I have never forgotten being told by the manager of a small company in Hawke’s Bay that he couldn’t hire most of those who applied for a job as a forklift truck driver because they couldn’t read well enough – couldn’t read labels on the pallets, couldn’t read the safety instructions.

It was for good reason that in decades past some Maori parents insisted that their children learn English: English was the passport to the modern world. It still is, and it probably will be for the next century at least.

As I’ve mentioned, in inviting me to speak today Rueben Taipari said that he had recently read my autobiography. He said it showed a side of Don Brash that most people are not aware of.

So let me briefly, and in the Maori tradition, explain where I’ve come from.

I called my book “Incredible Luck”. And I called it that because I’ve been extremely lucky in many different ways.

First, like everybody else, I’m lucky to be alive. When you think about how many things had to happen for each of us to be born – for our parents to meet, for our grandparents to meet, for our great-grandparents to meet, and so on back through thousands of generations – the odds against being born who we are are absolutely extraordinary.

Second, like all of us here, I was born into the most extraordinary time and place in human history. When your ancestors arrived in this country centuries ago, it was by means of a dangerous sea voyage which lasted weeks if not months. When my ancestors arrived here in the 19th century, they too would have endured months of difficult and unpleasant travel. Today, we take safe and fast air travel for granted; we take for granted being able to communicate without cost with people on the other side of the world – I was coached on the mihi with which I began my speech today by a Ngapuhi chief talking from the other side of the world while he was visiting Beijing. We take for granted that we can watch events on the other side of the globe from the comfort of our homes. It never occurs to us that we might die of a tooth infection. Just a century ago, a tooth infection could be fatal.

And while New Zealand is a long way from being perfect, it is nevertheless a place where all children are provided with almost free education, where healthcare is highly subsidized, where our daughters have the same opportunities as our sons, where nobody is jailed for criticizing the Prime Minister. It’s a country ranked by the Legatum Institute in London as the second most prosperous country on the planet, behind only Norway. (That is not to say our per capita income is the second highest on the planet – the assessment included a range of other factors measuring the quality of life, what the Prime Minister might describe as “wellbeing”.)

Indeed, when Jeremy Clarkson, the star of Top Gear, visited New Zealand a few years ago, he said that visiting our country made him question the wisdom of God. If God really did have perfect knowledge and perfect foresight, why would he have his only son born in a lousy place like Bethlehem, when he could have been born in Palmerston North?

Your ancestors no doubt signed the Treaty for a variety of reasons, but none of those who signed 179 years ago could have imagined the vast improvements in the status of women, the enormous improvements in healthcare and life expectancy, or the benefits which modern science has conferred on all of us. Yes, some of us have benefited to a greater extent than others, but all of us are vastly better off today than our ancestors were in 1840.

But third, I have been lucky because of the parents I had. They were not wealthy. My father was a Presbyterian minister on a very modest salary; my mother was trained as a milliner and, until well into mid-life, had only a single year of high school education. Until I was at high school, most of my clothes were made by my mother. Every week we had one or two meatless days – allegedly because that was good for our health, but in retrospect I realise that that was at least in part because we couldn’t afford meat every day. And I regard that background as one of my huge advantages: I learnt that nobody owed me a living.

Rueben pointed out to me that my autobiography also admitted to failures in my life, and yes, I’ve had many of those.

I structured most of my book around a metaphor. In the 1960s, the US Air Force developed an experimental aircraft called the Bell X-15, designed to test the strength of various alloys at very high speeds. The Bell X-15 still holds the record for the fastest manned flight ever. It reached an altitude of 100 kilometres – some ten times the altitude at which commercial jets typically fly – and speeds of 7,000 kilometres per hour.

But it only reached that altitude, and reached those speeds, because it was launched by being dropped from another aircraft at 40,000 feet. I felt that, by being born in New Zealand with the parents I had, I had the advantage of being launched from 40,000 feet, and I analysed my life into what I regarded as successful “flights”, partially successful “flights”, and dismal failures. I won’t recount those failures now, but there were plenty of them! I console myself with the thought that those who’ve never made mistakes haven’t been brave enough!

So much for my personal story. Rueben suggested that as Ngapuhi wait, and wait, for their turn at settling with the Crown, I should make some observations about how to improve the economic status of Maori New Zealanders, and Ngapuhi in particular. As I’ve said, I’m willing to do that, though I do so with great trepidation.

The first observation I want to make, however, I make with some confidence. Most Maori New Zealanders will never become economically prosperous through Treaty settlements.

Nobody knows at this stage what the total of all Treaty settlements will be. But let’s suppose it’s $5 billion – five times the original so-called “fiscal envelope” that Jim Bolger envisaged back in the nineties. Let’s assume also that that total is invested to yield an average of 5% per annum in perpetuity. And finally let’s assume that 15% of New Zealanders, or some 750,000 people, are entitled to a share of that. That would increase the annual income of each Maori New Zealander by the grand total of just $333 – better than a kick in the pants but certainly not enough to transform the economic status of Maori New Zealanders. (Incidentally, I owe this insight to Ngati Porou leader Sir Rob McLeod.)

So waiting around for a Treaty settlement would be a tragic mistake. Of course, for some Maori the Treaty settlements have been the source of considerable income – they are the directors of the companies established to manage the assets received in Treaty settlements and their legal advisers (both Maori and non-Maori).

But for far too many Maori the Treaty settlements have delivered little or nothing – just walk down the main street of Huntly to see what I mean, despite the very substantial settlements which Tainui has received.

And to the extent that some Maori New Zealanders have been lulled into the false notion that their prosperity will be assured once the Treaty settlement has been made, the long-drawn-out settlement process has almost certainly done lasting damage to the economic well-being of Maori.

That was one of the two reasons why, when I was National Party leader last decade, I committed the next National Party Government to a policy involving one further year to lodge a grievance and a maximum of five further years to resolve all outstanding grievances. I believed it was crucial for Maori that the process was hastened, because as long as too many Maori retained the false notion that their economic prosperity would be assured once the settlement had been made, there was a risk that too many Maori would remain passive, waiting around for their Treaty settlement, and that would be totally contrary to the interests of Maori.

(The other reason why I wanted to put a finite deadline on the settlement process was because I knew that the longer the process dragged on, the more impatient the Pakeha community would become, wrongly believing that a high proportion of all tax revenue would be devoted to compensation.)

More generally, there must be at least serious doubt whether the positive discrimination intended by successive governments over the last half century to assist the economic status of Maori New Zealanders has actually worked as intended.

More than a year ago, The Economist magazine had an article about the effects of positive discrimination in favour of Malays in Malaysia. The article noted that the positive discrimination had been introduced with the very best of intentions, to improve the lot of Malays as compared with other Malaysians, mainly Chinese and Indians. But the effect had been to benefit a small minority of Malays, while leaving most of the Malay population not much better off.

And that experience is surely directly relevant to New Zealand, with more and more special programmes reserved for those who chance to have a Maori ancestor. These include:

– different entry standards to medical school and some law faculties,
– appointments to local government committees without democratic process,
– required representation on every government board or agency,
– separate government funding for Maori tourism,
– exemption from corporate tax for the businesses arising out of Treaty settlements,
– taxpayer funding for customary marine title claims,
– a legal requirement that Maori have special entitlement to be consulted on environmental planning laws, and
– mandatory respect for Maori spiritual rites and process despite New Zealand’s officially being a secular society.

As in Malaysia, these benefits were originally intended to lift the incomes of Maori New Zealanders, which on average lagged behind those of other New Zealanders. But they have now come to be regarded by a great many Maori as privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of landing in New Zealand prior to European and other settlers.

And who benefits from these race-based entitlements? Assuredly not most ordinary Maori.

Not only have most Maori not benefited at all from this growing affirmative action, many have been positively harmed by it.

Why? Because it has led many Maori to assume that other taxpayers owe them a living, and that in due course other taxpayers will have to discharge that obligation.

What on earth could be more demotivating than to be told, again and again, that your poor education, your poor housing, your low income or inability to get a job is not your responsibility at all – it’s the fault of a grossly unfair system arising from injustices done to some of your great-grandparents by some of your other great-grandparents?

It is surely not in the least surprising that too many people with a Maori ancestor are unemployed and poorly educated – the present environment positively encourages helplessness.

It is significant that Maori New Zealanders who migrate to Australia often do much better than those they leave behind. To some extent, that is because those who have the courage and the initiative to take themselves off to a new country are almost by definition those with “get up and go”, and so more likely to succeed wherever they end up.

But I suspect that part of the reason why Maori New Zealanders in Australia seem to be more economically successful than those they leave behind is that those who migrate know they can’t look to anybody but themselves for their success: the Australian government doesn’t owe them anything more than it owes any other immigrants.

I have always believed that government should lend a helping hand to those who are down on their luck, those who are sick and those who are otherwise unable to help themselves – hopefully in a manner that doesn’t demotivate the recipients of that help. But I believe it is absolutely fundamental that that help should be based on need, and not on ethnicity.

It is a huge tragedy for all New Zealanders that we appear to be on the same destructive path that Malaysia is on. Unless we move decisively to a new path, it will not end well for most Maori.

Not only does positive discrimination create a demotivating sense of entitlement, it is also patronising – it appears to imply that without such positive discrimination Maori New Zealanders can’t quite make it, that they’re not as capable as other citizens. If I were Maori, I would find this grossly insulting. We know, from the huge success of many Maori in New Zealand and internationally, that they are as capable as any other New Zealanders. Just look at how many political leaders in Parliament are Maori – a quarter of the total, including the leaders, deputy leaders, or co-leaders of every party in Parliament! Constantly suggesting that Maori need special assistance to compete with others is insulting and demotivating.

Moreover, as one Maori elder pointed out to me recently, we know from history that those who succeed most spectacularly are often those who, far from being the beneficiaries of special entitlements, are the victims of political persecution and discrimination – think of the enormous success of the Jewish people, in science, in banking, in retailing, in technology and in economics. They didn’t achieve those things through positive discrimination – they achieved them despite being the victims of widespread anti-Jewish sentiment and sometimes violent persecution.

On a smaller scale, the Quakers and the Huguenots had similar success despite, or perhaps even because of, the discrimination to which they were subjected.

A crutch may sometimes be essential, but becoming dependent on a crutch never enables its user to walk unaided, let alone to run.

Let me make one other point about the dangers of dependence. Many years ago, at the advent of the modern welfare state, Sir Apirana Ngata, in my opinion one of New Zealand’s greatest Maori leaders – and a man I was privileged to put on New Zealand’s $50 bank note – warned of the serious damage which the welfare state would do to Maori society. He believed that readily available welfare would erode the proud tradition of independence which most Maori had. And I believe his warning has been amply borne out, with a disproportionately high proportion of those on the unemployment benefit, and on the single parent benefit, being Maori.

Decades after he gave that warning, when I was Governor of the Reserve Bank, I met with a prominent kuia at her request. She wanted to talk about Maori unemployment. After a very long discussion, I finally asked her what she would want me to do if by some chance I found myself in the position of a benevolent dictator. Without hesitating she replied “Abolish the dole with effect from the first of January”.

I thought at first she was joking, and asked her to explain herself. She said that “Unfortunately too many of my people don’t have many skills. They can’t live well on the dole but with three or four of them in the same house all getting the dole, and a few under the table cash jobs, they can live adequately on the dole, and that’s a disaster.” She was deadly serious, and in a sense was simply echoing what Sir Apirana Ngata said 80 years ago.

I don’t believe New Zealand can abolish the dole, but I have a good deal of sympathy with politicians like Shane Jones who make it quite clear that one of his main objectives in politics is to “get the bro’s off the couch”. And I suspect he wants to achieve that not to save money for taxpayers, though it would do that also, but rather because life on the dole is obviously leading nowhere, or at least nowhere good. It’s a shameful waste of young Maori lives.

Today, I’ve suggested that Treaty settlements, no matter how generous, will not provide economic prosperity for most Maori. I’ve suggested that positive discrimination may hurt more than it helps.

Well, what would help? I hope that Ngapuhi can quickly reach agreement with Government on the terms of their Treaty settlement so that you can start looking ahead, not backwards. I hope that we can all accept that Maori New Zealanders are every bit as competent as other New Zealanders, so that we can move to helping people on the basis of their need, not on the basis of who some of their ancestors were.

But beyond that, what would help? I don’t think any outsider, no matter how well qualified, is able to suggest particular industries that you should invest in. And I’m not qualified to comment, for example, on whether the law needs to be changed to enable Maori to make better use of communally-owned land, though the Government announcement of a few days ago, providing taxpayer money to Maori enterprises where banks are reluctant to lend, certainly suggests this is an urgent need.

But what I would say without any fear of being contradicted is that in the 21st century being well educated is an absolutely crucial ingredient to economic success. That does not necessarily mean getting a tertiary qualification, but it does mean coming out of secondary school having a strong ability to read, to write, and to reason logically.

And for that reason I think it is a matter of enormous regret that the current Government has been so strongly opposed to partnership schools – on the evidence to date, those schools provided enormous benefits to those pupils lucky enough to get into them, and that appeared to be especially true for those Maori pupils who were not well served by the traditional state schools. (I seem to recall that the Member of Parliament for Northland, now Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, said he would resign if a Labour-led Government abolished partnership schools.)

Finally, let me make a few closing remarks about where we are as a country.

I think we are at quite a dangerous junction. Many Maori New Zealanders feel they have been left behind by the rest of the country and perhaps that’s an especially strong feeling up here in Northland. Too many Maori are unemployed; too many Maori are in prison; too many Maori are coming out of school unable to read and write; too many Maori are living in poverty. Too much of what successive governments have tried to do to help hasn’t helped, and in some cases has positively hurt.

On the other hand, many non-Maori New Zealanders have become increasingly impatient with the never-ending Treaty settlement process, and more particularly impatient with the constitutional preferences which have increasingly been written into law.

A great many New Zealanders reject any notion that the Treaty of Waitangi created a “partnership” between Maori and the Crown, a partnership which has been described as absurd by politicians as different as David Lange and Winston Peters. Yet this is the interpretation which is more and more taken as the foundation of Government policy.

At some point, hopefully soon, we will need to determine whether we really believe in Article III of the Treaty. That affirmed the equality of political rights for all New Zealanders. At that point we really will be able to say, with Governor Hobson, “he iwi tahi tatou”, “we are now one people”.

Don Brash, February 5, 2019

Louisa Wall’s speech at Pride Parade hui ‘circus’

Labour MP Louisa Wall was recorded speaking at a recent Pride Parade hui that has further highlighted the fraught factional gender debate surrounding this year’s parade, and also on “the whole gender identity issue”.

Wall “To be honest I think fundamentally that is part of the issue, that we’ve been infiltrated by people who are trying to divide and rule us”.

Wall made some controversial comments, in particular:

“So I’m here to say, that my whole thing is I don’t want any fucking Terfs at the Pride Parade”. But Wall also provides context around the current debate. The whole context of her speech is important.

The organisation of the Pride Parade this year has highlighted growing problems in the LGBTQ+ community, with division and exclusion – the opposite of what the Pride Parade was supposed to be about – festering and sometimes blowing out into the open.

There have been claims that the organising committee has been hijacked by radical activists – and if People Against Prisons Aotearoa (they want to shut all prisons and disband the police force) have taken some degree of control then others should be concerned.

Media were excluded from the hui, but Stuff reported: Auckland Pride Parade’s hui over police uniform ban turns into ‘a circus’

A physical scuffle broke out at a meeting of the Auckland rainbow community to discuss the ban on uniformed police marching in the city’s 2019 Pride Parade.

Before the start of the meeting, Tim Foote, an independent facilitator on behalf of the Pride board, also asked media if they had taken any notes and told them to leave the meeting at Grey Lynn Community Centre on Sunday night, which was attended by about 250 people.

The meeting was described as “emotional” and “a circus” by an attendee.

A number of attendees walked out when the scuffle broke out between an older man and a founder People Against Prisons Aotearoa. Its “No Pride In Prisons” group has been advocating for police to be excluded from the parade.

Another attendee, who requested not to be named in fear of the repercussions, told Stuff the meeting was a farce from start to finish.

Tracy Phillips, co-ordinator of the New Zealand Police’s diversity liaison officer (DLO) service, responded by saying: “We’re certainly not going to force our way in, and we’ve taken that message as we are not welcome.”

In a Facebook post made while the meeting was still underway, Rainbow Tick chief executive  Michael Stevens said organisers had underestimated the number of people wanting to attend, and the meeting had been “a shambles”.

Stevens said the Pride Board had “totally underestimated the depth of division they’d created with their decision. If that’s how they’re running the Pride Parade then God help them”.

A source told Stuff it was “the ugliest meeting I have been to in a long time”.

Louisa Wall, Labour’s MP for Manurewa, said she had gone to the meeting as a member of the community, because she had “wanted to understand how we got to this place”.

A recording of Louisa Wall addressing the hui has emerged via Speak Up for Women:

Stop Hate Speech

Here’s the full recording of MP Louisa Wall’s hate speech targeting women during the Pride Hui earlier this week.

The recording was made in secret by a hui attendee who will not speak publicly for fear of the attacks and threats they have already been subjected to. We demand that our MPs promote respectful dialogue on women’s legitimate concerns with proposed changes to the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationship Registration Act.

Some of what Wall said:

I want to actually commend you on your consultation, I think it’s really important. As you began the journey you actually listened to the community.

And the other bottom line for us all, I mean the whole gender identity issue and trans exclusion is huge. Right? It’s a global issue at the moment, and I think none of us want to see the exclusion of our trans sisters.

Up until this stage the speech was interspersed with clapping.

To be honest I think fundamentally that is part of the issue, that we’ve been infiltrated by people who are trying to divide and rule us.

No clapping after this line, but some inaudible comments could be heard, after which Wall continued uninterrupted.

Part of the issue is we have had a decision made based on as Sissy has articulated, a series of consultations. but what is really difficult for the community is actually since 2013, and we need to look at the context, the police were initially asked not to march in uniform.

Ok, so in 2013, when the Pride parade started, the police participated not in uniform, but since 2014 the police have been able to participate and march in uniform.

Historically as a community we know we’ve had an issue with the police. Historically as a community we know we’ve had an issue with Corrections.

So these issues are not discrete.

But I think what’s happened is the board has made it’s decision based on listening to the community, and we are all now here together because the decision they made was actually to listen to our community. So we have to thank them, which is why i have started by thanking Sissy and her team for what they have undertaken. Now…

Clapping and ‘hear hear’.

And as we move forward, and herein lies a bit of a, it’s an ironic, h, part of the police’s history, ’cause I do want to acknowledge you Tracy, and I also want to acknowledge our brothers and sisters, LGBCQ, whanau and the police.

I’m actually here representing my friend Whiti Timutimu, who is the Maori Responsiveness Adviser for the New Zealand Police…she’s the first Maori woman serving in the Police having a moku. She couldn’t be here, she’s based in Gisborne.

But the Police are doing an amazing job at diversifying…The Police are exemplifying at the moment diversity and inclusion, and that’s the irony of this decision…

And having a meeting, and possibly rolling the Board, we all need to just take a big deep breath, and actually focus on what Pride is all about.

Everybody who’s here has been motivated to get here tonight because we are proud to be members of the LGBT community…all of us want the same thing,

But, what we also have acknowledge is for our trans community, I believe they are still the most marginalised, excluded group in our LGBT community, and I stand here as takaatapui Lesbian woman, who feels fucking grateful that my identity means I get access to services that I need.

And our trans whanau do not experience life like we do. We have to fight and support their rights and their ability to speak up, and I do also want to acknowledge what you said Bobby, ’cause it’s true when we look at the Police Complaints Authority, the Human Rights Authority (I’m there tomorrow), and our trans whanau too, if you are feeling victimised and abused and not listened to, and your complaints are not getting through to institutions which again highlight the fact that if there are some discrimination and issues in our community, then we’ve got a problem.

But the people we need to be working with are those diversity liaison officers, and ourselves with our community. We’ve got the capacity, we’re bloody strong, and when we speak in a unified voice, we can get change.

So I’m here to say, that my whole thing is I don’t want any fucking Terfs at the Pride Parade.

Much cheering and clapping.

Speak up for Women define terf: The word ‘terf’ is hate speech used to belittle and threaten anyone who rejects the premises or conclusions of transgender ideology.  It is used to dehumanise and incite violence.

Sorry about swearing everybody

So that’s why I’m sorry I took a bit more time, but can we just show some compassion, some aroha, some love, some support for one another. And that’s my korero for tonight.

So spoke a bit more after that and then closed her speech.

Small parts of that speech have led to a reaction, including frowns over a ‘secret’ recording, but I think that if small parts are going to be quoted then wider context is important.

 

Jacinda Ardern at UN General Assembly

This does sound like a concerted Ardern versus Trump approach to politics.

Full text: PM’s speech to the United Nations

Jacinda Ardern on ‘Redefining successful government”

In a speech while in New York Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has outlined what she sees as successful government, as in her lofty agenda.

Redefining successful government

Speech at International Conference on Sustainable Development

I began preparing my comments for today’s event while sitting at my constituency office in Auckland, New Zealand…

You could say the artefacts I sit amongst in that office sum up my life in politics.  It started with my family, has been full of role models and support, but ultimately is motivated by the idea that politics is a place you can address injustice.

I was raised the daughter of a policeman, and was a product of the 1980s where New Zealand went through a rapid period or privatisation and economic liberalisation. We called it Rogernomics after our Finance Minister of the time, in America the same phenomenon was called Reaganonmics, and the impact on working families was similar. Jobs were lost, manufacturing moved off shore, regulations removed and the gap between rich and poor rapidly expanded.

Then came the 1990s. A conservative government in New Zealand introduced reforms that brought user pay to the fore and welfare cuts for the poorest.

I was young when all of this was happening around me, but I still remember it. If it’s possible to build your social conscience when you are a school girl, then that is what happened to me. I never looked at the world through the lens of politics though, but rather through the lens of fairness.

And that sentiment captures one of the most pervasive values that we have in Aotearoa New Zealand. We are proud but also self-deprecating. Dreamers but also pragmatists. And if there is one thing we hate, it is injustice.

These are the values I believe we need to display in our politics. Because politics is increasingly a dirty word, but values are not.

An earnest politician would be hard pressed to argue with goals like halving poverty, preserving the sustainability of our oceans or inclusive education.

And we’ve started by redefining what success looks like.

Traditionally, success or failure in politics has been measured in purely economic terms. Growth, GDP, your trade deficit and the level of debt you carry. On those terms, you would call New Zealand relatively successful. But in the last few years the deficiency of such measures has become stark.

So we are establishing brand new measure of national achievement that go beyond growth.

Like many, New Zealand has not been immune to a period of rapid and transformational change these past few decades. Globalisation has changed the way we operate, but it has also had a material difference on the lives of our citizens.

Not everyone has been well served by those changes, however.

While at a global level economic growth has been unprecedented, the distribution of benefits has been uneven at the level of individuals and communities. In fact for many, the transition our economy made in the wake of globalisation has been jarring,

Now as politicians, we all have choices in how we respond to these challenges.

We’re investing more in research and development so that we improve the productivity of our economy, we’re focusing on shifting away from volume to value in our export, and we are committed to lifting wages.

We are modernising our Reserve Bank so that it works to keep both inflation and keeps unemployment low, and we’re committed to a better balanced and fairer tax system.

But we also need to do better at lifting the incomes of New Zealanders and sharing the gains of economic growth.

We are signing pay equity settlements with new groups of predominantly women workers, taking the pressure off families by extending paid parental leave to half a year, closing the gender pay gap and raising the minimum wage.

When fully rolled out our Families Package – a tax credit policy aimed at low and middle income earners – will lift thousands of children out of poverty.

But economic gains and growth matter for nothing if we sacrifice our environment along the way, or if we fail to prepare for the future. That’s why we are transitioning to a clean, green carbon neutral New Zealand.

But of course, we are nothing without our people. We have set ourselves some big goals, like ensuring that everyone who is able is either earning, learning, caring or volunteering – including making the first year of tertiary study completely free of fees.

We’re supporting healthier, safer and more connected communities, ensuring everyone has a warm, dry home, and last but not least, making New Zealand the best place in the world to be a child.

This agenda is personal to me.

I am the Minister for Child Poverty Reduction.

If I were to sum up our agenda though, it would be simple. I want to demonstrate that politics doesn’t have to be about three or four year cycles. It doesn’t have to be self-interested or have a singular focus.

It can think about long term challenges, and respond to them. It can be designed to think about the impact on others, and show that it’s making a difference. And it can even be kind.

As an international community I am constantly heartened by our ability to take a multilateral approach, to sign up to a set of aspirations that are values based.

But perhaps it’s time to also challenge ourselves to move beyond aspiration to action.

That is what we will be doing in our corner of the world.

And I can assure you we will never, never, never give up.

Highly idealistic. It will be good if some of this can be achieved reasonably well over time.

This is in stark contrast to the succession of problems of competence the government is having to deal with back here while she is away in New York – the realities of politics can be quite different to the lofty speech written rhetoric.

Ardern has already stumbled on her ideal of ‘open transparent government’, this has blown up further in her absence this week.

She has admirable goals, and is adept at talking the talk, but the challenge for her and her government will be walking the walk. They seem to be stumbling somewhat more than she cares to admit.

It will take time to see whether New Zealand will improve noticeably under Ardern’s leadership. If things like inequality, child poverty and climate change are substantially improved she will have done very well, but it will take much more than successful speeches on the world stage.

Trump to UN: “We reject the ideology of globalism and accept the ideology of patriotism”

Donald Trump has just finished his speech to the United Nations General Assembly.

Full text of Trump’s speech here.

Today, I stand before the United Nations General Assembly to share the extraordinary progress we’ve made.

In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country.
America’s — so true. (Laughter.) Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s okay. (Laughter and applause.)

The audience was quite different to his usual self-lauding rallies where his grandiose claims are accepted without question or sniggering.

America’s economy is booming like never before. Since my election, we’ve added $10 trillion in wealth. The stock market is at an all-time high in history, and jobless claims are at a 50-year low.

We have passed the biggest tax cuts and reforms in American history. We’ve started the construction of a major border wall, and we have greatly strengthened border security.

We have secured record funding for our military — $700 billion this year, and $716 billion next year. Our military will soon be more powerful than it has ever been before.

In other words, the United States is stronger, safer, and a richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago.

We are standing up for America and for the American people. And we are also standing up for the world.

That’s a bit contradictory.

This is great news for our citizens and for peace-loving people everywhere.

Each of us here today is the emissary of a distinct culture, a rich history, and a people bound together by ties of memory, tradition, and the values that make our homelands like nowhere else on Earth.

That is why America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination.

His attempts at coercion and his threats receive more attention than cooperation.

With support from many countries here today, we have engaged with North Korea to replace the specter of conflict with a bold and new push for peace.

I would like to thank Chairman Kim for his courage and for the steps he has taken, though much work remains to be done. The sanctions will stay in place until denuclearization occurs.

There is a lot still to be done in US-North Korean relations.

In the Middle East, our new approach is also yielding great strides and very historic change.

That’s highly debatable.

The UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have pledged billions of dollars to aid the people of Syria and Yemen. And they are pursuing multiple avenues to ending Yemen’s horrible, horrific civil war.

The ongoing tragedy in Syria is heartbreaking. Our shared goals must be the de-escalation of military conflict, along with a political solution that honors the will of the Syrian people. In this vein, we urge the United Nations-led peace process be reinvigorated. But, rest assured, the United States will respond if chemical weapons are deployed by the Assad regime.

Two brutal ongoing civil wars does not look like progress, and that’s just the current violence besetting the Middle East.

Every solution to the humanitarian crisis in Syria must also include a strategy to address the brutal regime that has fueled and financed it: the corrupt dictatorship in Iran.

Iran’s leaders sow chaos, death, and destruction. They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond.

No progress there.

This year, we also took another significant step forward in the Middle East. In recognition of every sovereign state to determine its own capital, I moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.

That may have been progress applauded by the Israeli government, but it was not widely supported and did nothing to resolve the Palestinian problems.

The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That aim is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts.

Yeah, right.

America’s policy of principled realism means we will not be held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies, and so-called experts who have been proven wrong over the years, time and time again. This is true not only in matters of peace, but in matters of prosperity.

We believe that trade must be fair and reciprocal. The United States will not be taken advantage of any longer.

Instead under trump they are trying to use their size and power to force trade agreements favourable to the US.

For decades, the United States opened its economy — the largest, by far, on Earth — with few conditions. We allowed foreign goods from all over the world to flow freely across our borders.

Yet, other countries did not grant us fair and reciprocal access to their markets in return.

“Few conditions” and the one-sideness of this is debatable.

For this reason, we are systematically renegotiating broken and bad trade deals.

Trade deals done in good faith between the US and other countries.

Last month, we announced a groundbreaking U.S.-Mexico trade agreement. And just yesterday, I stood with President Moon to announce the successful completion of the brand new U.S.-Korea trade deal. And this is just the beginning.

Many nations in this hall will agree that the world trading system is in dire need of change. For example, countries were admitted to the World Trade Organization that violate every single principle on which the organization is based. While the United States and many other nations play by the rules, these countries use government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises to rig the system in their favor. They engage in relentless product dumping, forced technology transfer, and the theft of intellectual property.

But those days are over. We will no longer tolerate such abuse. We will not allow our workers to be victimized, our companies to be cheated, and our wealth to be plundered and transferred. America will never apologize for protecting its citizens.

The United States has just announced tariffs on another $200 billion in Chinese-made goods for a total, so far, of $250 billion. I have great respect and affection for my friend, President Xi, but I have made clear our trade imbalance is just not acceptable. China’s market distortions and the way they deal cannot be tolerated.

Trump has openly precipitated (and bragged about winning) a trade war that may have serious repercussions to trade around the world, including New Zealand. Slapping on massive tariffs is not a great way of “systematically renegotiating” trade deals.

As my administration has demonstrated, America will always act in our national interest.

That’s pretty much the aim of any country.

I spoke before this body last year and warned that the U.N. Human Rights Council had become a grave embarrassment to this institution, shielding egregious human rights abusers while bashing America and its many friends.

So the United States took the only responsible course: We withdrew from the Human Rights Council, and we will not return until real reform is enacted.

For similar reasons, the United States will provide no support in recognition to the International Criminal Court. As far as America is concerned, the ICC has no jurisdiction, no legitimacy, and no authority. The ICC claims near-universal jurisdiction over the citizens of every country, violating all principles of justice, fairness, and due process. We will never surrender America’s sovereignty to an unelected, unaccountable, global bureaucracy.

Trump wants no international accountability on human rights and international justice.

America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.

Around the world, responsible nations must defend against threats to sovereignty not just from global governance, but also from other, new forms of coercion and domination.

Here in the Western Hemisphere, we are committed to maintaining our independence from the encroachment of expansionist foreign powers.

It has been the formal policy of our country since President Monroe that we reject the interference of foreign nations in this hemisphere and in our own affairs.

Highly ironic given the history of US interference in other countries.

The United States is also working with partners in Latin America to confront threats to sovereignty from uncontrolled migration. Tolerance for human struggling and human smuggling and trafficking is not humane.

Illegal immigration funds criminal networks, ruthless gangs, and the flow of deadly drugs. Illegal immigration exploits vulnerable populations, hurts hardworking citizens, and has produced a vicious cycle of crime, violence, and poverty. Only by upholding national borders, destroying criminal gangs, can we break this cycle and establish a real foundation for prosperity.

But it’s not this simple. Many of those trying to immigrate into the US are trying to escape human struggling and suffering. The US has a right to stop illegal immigrants, but that doesn’t address a lot of suffering.

Ultimately, the only long-term solution to the migration crisis is to help people build more hopeful futures in their home countries. Make their countries great again.

A good ideal, but Trump’s actions don’t fit with helping with this.

Virtually everywhere socialism or communism has been tried, it has produced suffering, corruption, and decay. Socialism’s thirst for power leads to expansion, incursion, and oppression. All nations of the world should resist socialism and the misery that it brings to everyone.

That doesn’t fit with “I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions.”

We are grateful for all the work the United Nations does around the world to help people build better lives for themselves and their families.

The United States is the world’s largest giver in the world, by far, of foreign aid.

Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and, frankly, are our friends. And we expect other countries to pay their fair share for the cost of their defense.

That won’t do anything towards making broken countries ‘great again’.  It exacerbates ‘them versus us’.

The United States is committed to making the United Nations more effective and accountable. I have said many times that the United Nations has unlimited potential. As part of our reform effort, I have told our negotiators that the United States will not pay more than 25 percent of the U.N. peacekeeping budget. This will encourage other countries to step up, get involved, and also share in this very large burden.

Perhaps paying and doing less will leave gaps for other countries to step up into, but I’m not sure that will lead to outcomes that the US will want to see.

Only when each of us does our part and contributes our share can we realize the U.N.’s highest aspirations. We must pursue peace without fear, hope without despair, and security without apology.

One of the biggest problems with the Security Council is the power of veto by the US and six other countries. No sign of addressing that.

The whole world is richer, humanity is better, because of this beautiful constellation of nations, each very special, each very unique, and each shining brightly in its part of the world.

In each one, we see awesome promise of a people bound together by a shared past and working toward a common future.

As for Americans, we know what kind of future we want for ourselves. We know what kind of a nation America must always be.

In America, we believe in the majesty of freedom and the dignity of the individual. We believe in self-government and the rule of law. And we prize the culture that sustains our liberty -– a culture built on strong families, deep faith, and fierce independence. We celebrate our heroes, we treasure our traditions, and above all, we love our country.

Inside everyone in this great chamber today, and everyone listening all around the globe, there is the heart of a patriot that feels the same powerful love for your nation, the same intense loyalty to your homeland.

The passion that burns in the hearts of patriots and the souls of nations has inspired reform and revolution, sacrifice and selflessness, scientific breakthroughs, and magnificent works of art.

Our task is not to erase it, but to embrace it. To build with it. To draw on its ancient wisdom. And to find within it the will to make our nations greater, our regions safer, and the world better.

This sounds very written. It doesn’t sound at all like Trump at his rallies.

To unleash this incredible potential in our people, we must defend the foundations that make it all possible. Sovereign and independent nations are the only vehicle where freedom has ever survived, democracy has ever endured, or peace has ever prospered. And so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all.

When we do, we will find new avenues for cooperation unfolding before us. We will find new passion for peacemaking rising within us. We will find new purpose, new resolve, and new spirit flourishing all around us, and making this a more beautiful world in which to live.

So together, let us choose a future of patriotism, prosperity, and pride. Let us choose peace and freedom over domination and defeat. And let us come here to this place to stand for our people and their nations, forever strong, forever sovereign, forever just, and forever thankful for the grace and the goodness and the glory of God.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the nations of the world.

A pity about the God references.

There is a lot of carefully thought through and written rhetoric in this speech. There is nothing particularly new or divisive or derisive. It’s hardly ground changing or world changing.

There is a clash between two things – patriotism and self interests for individual nations (particularly the US), and the need for international cooperation. A functional peaceful world requires a balance of both. I’m not sure that Trump himself understands balance.

 

 

 

Ardern announces in New York an increase in NZ’s Pacific climate commitment

As a keynote speaker in New York at the launch of Climate Week NYC, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced an  increase in New Zealand’s global climate finance commitment “to $300 million over four years”.

When you read through the press release it is clarified as “a significant increase on our existing commitment of $200m in the four years to 2019” – so an increase of $100m over four years, or $25m per year, from an already announced budget.

Beehive: New Zealand increases climate finance commitment to Pacific

The Prime Minister is in New York attending the United Nations Leaders Week and action on climate change is high on her agenda.

The increased investment is being made from New Zealand’s Overseas Development Assistance, which was increased by nearly 30% ($NZ714 million) in Budget 2018 to support the Pacific Reset.

“This funding allocation will focus on practical action that will help Pacific countries adapt to climate change and build resilience. For example, providing support for coastal adaptation in Tokelau to reduce the risks of coastal inundation;  and continuing our efforts to strengthen water security across the Pacific, building on current initiatives such as those in Kiribati where we are working to provide community rainwater harvesting systems and are investing in desalination,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“New Zealand is fully committed to the Paris Agreement and to taking urgent action to support our transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.

“New Zealand is committing to providing at least $300m over four years in climate-related development assistance, with most of this going to the Pacific.

“We have a responsibility of care for the environment in which we live, but the challenge of climate change requires us to look beyond our domestic borders, and in New Zealand’s case towards the Pacific.

“The focus of this financial support is on creating new areas of growth and opportunity for Pacific communities.  We want to support our Pacific neighbours to make the transition to a low carbon economy without hurting their existing economic base.

“Climate change is a priority area for New Zealand’s Pacific Reset announced by Foreign Minister Peters in February. This commitment of $300m over four years is a significant increase on our existing commitment of $200m in the four years to 2019.

“We recognise our neighbours in the Pacific region are uniquely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This week I will be making a number of representations alongside our Pacific neighbours to ensure the world is aware of the impact of climate change in our region and the cost of inaction.

“This funding will complement our ongoing support to help developing countries in the Pacific and beyond meet their emissions targets through renewable energy and agriculture initiatives,” Jacinda Ardern said.

Ardern’s speech to the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYC:


Kaitiakitanga: Protecting our planet

President Moïse; Secretary Espinosa; Governor Brown

I’d like to begin with a word often used in New Zealand, that you may not – until now – have ever had the opportunity to hear: kaitiakitanga.

It’s Te Reo Māori, a word in the language of indigenous New Zealanders, and in my mind, it captures the sentiment of why we are here.

It means ‘guardianship’. But not just guardianship, but the responsibility of care for the environment in which we live, and the idea that we have a duty of care that eventually hands to the next generation, and the one after.

We all hold this responsibility in our own nations, but the challenge of climate change requires us to look beyond the domestic. Our duty of care is as global as the challenge of climate change.

In the Pacific, we feel that acutely as do countries like Bangladesh where land is literally being lost, and fresh water is being inundated with salt water due to climate change.

There is no doubt that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our generation.

Whether there will be enough food and freshwater.  Whether our towns and cities will be free from inundation from rising seas or extreme rainfalls and devastating storms.  Whether the biodiversity that lends our planet its richness and its resilience will survive.  Whether the growth and economic development that provided an incredible path to lift people out of poverty will be stunted by the widespread, systemic impacts of climate change.

There is no country, no region that does not already feel the impacts of climate change.  For New Zealand’s neighbours in the Pacific, who are already losing their soil and freshwater resources to salt from the ocean, these are not hypothetical questions.  They are immediate questions of survival.

Although New Zealand accounts for a tiny percentage of global emissions – only 0.16 percent – we recognise the importance of doing our part.

But more importantly we recognise that global challenges require everyone’s attention and action. And we all have responsibility to care for the earth in the face of climate change.

This is not the time to apportion responsibility, this is the time to work across borders and to do everything we can by working together.

We are working internationally and want to do more to share research and ideas, build opportunities together with other nations.

New Zealand is fully committed to the Paris Agreement and we are taking urgent action to transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient economy.  Our focus is on doing this in a way that creates new areas of growth and opportunity for our communities.

At home, my Minister for Climate Change is this week preparing a Zero Carbon Bill to legislate an ambitious goal that would be fully aligned with the Paris Agreement’s objective for the world to become carbon neutral in the second half of this century. We have already put in place some of the measures to get us there.

We are reviewing New Zealand’s emission trading scheme, to ensure it helps us deliver a net zero-emissions future.

We have a target of planting 1 billion trees over the next decade.

And we are no longer issuing permits for offshore oil and gas exploration.

It has been encouraging to see the groundswell of support for ambitious climate action in New Zealand.  60 CEOs representing half of all New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have committed to action. Our largest dairy company and major agricultural producers have declared themselves up for the challenge.

Local governments have long-term plans not only to adapt to climate change but to drive deep emissions reductions.  Communities and families are taking up the cause.  New Zealanders understand that it is both the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.

The conversation has shifted dramatically. It was only 10 years ago that I was asked about climate change in a town hall election meeting. When I spoke passionately about our need to respond to this challenge, I was met with a boo that moved across the entire audience.

Now, the debate is no longer whether climate change is a threat, but how we can use our policies, actions and international linkages to drive the move to a low-emissions and inclusive society.  We know that the scale of this transformation is huge, and we are determined to leave no-one behind.  It will be a ‘just transition’ that works with people who might be affected, and turns this challenge into an opportunity.

In New Zealand’s home region of the Pacific we will work with others to support stronger and more resilient infrastructure, strengthened disaster preparedness, and low-carbon economic growth through both our funding commitments and by bringing good ideas to the table.

To support developing countries respond to the impacts of climate change, New Zealand will spend at least $300 million in climate-related development assistance over the next 4 years, with the majority of this to be spent in the Pacific.

We recognise that climate change poses a security threat to vulnerable nations, including our Pacific neighbours.

We understand that climate change brings new challenges to international legal frameworks.

As climate change causes sea-levels to rise, coastal states face the risk of shrinking maritime zones as their baselines move inward.

New Zealand firmly believes that coastal states’ baselines and maritime boundaries should not have to change because of human-induced sea level rise.

We are beginning work on a strategy to achieve the objective of preserving the current balance of rights and obligations under UNCLOS. Our goal is to find a way, as quickly as possible, to provide certainty to vulnerable coastal states that they will not lose access to their marine resources and current entitlements. We seek your support as we work to ensure that these states maintain their rights over their maritime zones in the face of sea-level rise.

You are all here today because you understand the need for global action to solve this global problem.  My government is committed to leadership both at home and abroad.

On the international stage we are pushing for the reform of fossil fuel subsidies; the $460 billion spent each year that works against climate ambition and could be better spent on building resilient societies.

We are leading research and collaboration on climate change and agriculture, including with many of you here today in the Global Research Alliance.  At COP24 we hope to see many of you at a New Zealand-led event on sustainable agriculture and climate change.  We’re aiming to encourage action to capture the ‘triple win’ – increasing agricultural productivity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and strengthening resilience to climate change impacts.

We are undertaking research in Antarctica to better understand the crucial role it plays in global systems, and the far reaching effects environmental change in Antarctica will have.

We, with the Marshall Islands, Sweden and France are building a Towards Carbon Neutrality Coalition. The 16 countries and 32 cities in the Coalition are developing long-term strategies for deep cuts of emissions in line with the long-term temperature limit goals we all agreed to in the Paris Agreement.

This week President Hilda Heine of the Marshall Islands and I are hosting the first high-level meeting of the Coalition.  We’re going to launch the Coalition’s new Plan of Action and announce new members.

We are proud to join many of you in ambitious initiatives like the High Ambition Coalition, Powering Past Coal and the One Planet Sovereign Wealth Fund Working Group.

And in the UNFCCC we are strong supporters of the Global Climate Action Agenda, with a special focus on agriculture.

Underpinning all of this action is the Paris Agreement and the critical decisions that will be made in Katowice this December. The rules that are agreed must be robust and credible, so that the Paris Agreement is effective and enduring.  The world can only reach the Paris goals if we have clarity and confidence about each other’s commitments and action.

As I have said to my fellow New Zealanders, I refuse to accept that the challenge of climate change is too hard to solve.  So, I join you today necessarily hopeful.  Hopeful that, if we genuinely commit to finding solutions together, no issue is truly unsolvable.

And hopeful that we, the 193 members states of the United Nations, can work towards solutions that deliver for our people.  Peace.  Dignity.  A good quality of life.  A resilient and sustainable future, and fulfilling the responsibility that is kaitiakitanga.

Ardern: “Working together to build a new economy”

The big news from Jacinda Ardern’s Westpac speech on business confidence this morning to is Ardern announces Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council, but there are other things of interest in her speech.

Working together to build a new economy

In fact it wasn’t too long ago that I stood amongst you and spoke about our economic agenda.

I also spoke about the issue of business confidence. I called it the elephant in the room. Well I am here this morning to tell you that I have changed my mind.

Not on our economic agenda – I remain more convinced than ever that it is required, but on the issue of business confidence.

It is not the elephant in the room, it’s a flashing great neon sign with giant lights and fireworks going off behind it. We are all talking about it, and there is nothing wrong with that.

That is why this speech was the first thing I announced the day I returned to work.

Because we have an economic agenda which responds to so many of the issues that have been raised time and time again, and because if there are concerns, or issues, both within our control and outside of our control – then lets tackle them head on, and lets do that together.

The business confidence paradox

When you line up business confidence with key economic performance measures over the last two governments there appears to be an inverse relationship between business confidence and the actual performance of the economy.

For instance, average business confidence scores under the Clark/Cullen Government were much lower than the Key/English Government, despite Clark and Cullen delivering higher average growth, lower unemployment, lower debt, larger surpluses and stronger wage growth than their successors.

We appear to have inherited a similar conundrum, we’ve run a strong surplus, have the best net international investment position ever recorded, stable and low interest rates forecast for some time which ought to spur investment and the lowest unemployment rate in a decade.

That then begs the question, if it’s not the overall economic indicators that is driving these figures, then what is? I have discussed this question with both business leaders and representatives, colleagues and officials. The answers I have had back are almost as diverse as the groups I have asked.

Certainty

As I travel around the country, the issue of certainty is an underlying theme. Whether you are a social service, a health organisation, or a business, knowing what a new government has planned is critical to your eco system. I utterly understand that. In fact, I have considerable empathy for that desire too.

As a politician with quite a diverse government and the scrutiny of a three yearly very public performance appraisal, I will take certainty when I can get it.

From a business perspective, I understand the desire for certainty in order to make decisions big and small, ranging from the risk of taking on an extra hire through to multi-million dollar investment decisions, and you need to understand that the climate you operate in today will be broadly the same tomorrow.

But certainty shouldn’t be confused for stasis and complacency, which are the enemy of progress, and for that matter the enemy of innovation.

The reality is that our economy faces a number of challenges, global in their nature, that by working together we must confront to protect our long term prosperity.

Skills shortages, lack of investment in the productive economy, a shallow national pool of capital, an infrastructure deficit, low productivity, building sustainable business practices in the wake of environmental degradation, and the challenges of what can broadly be called the future of work.

The jarring way in which we came out from under the cloak of protectionism in the early 80s saw over a hundred thousand workers lose their jobs and the genesis of many of the social challenges we are now working to fix decades later. This must not be repeated.

And for that, we need a plan.

It is time to retool our economy to make it work within the limits of our environment, shape it to deliver on the hopes and aspirations of all our people, and for our economic purpose to be bigger than just profit.

From reform of the Reserve Bank where we are including maximum sustainable employment as an objective, to getting active in the housing market, building modern transport infrastructure and setting ambitious emission reduction targets – we are renovating the existing legislative and policy architecture to bring it up to the new code our economy needs.

Government decision making

We are an MMP government at its best and our structure ensures that on every decision a range of views are heard. The outcome reflects the breadth of input and leads to better decisions.

Hardly a model for fast and unexpected change – in fact all change is negotiated, but a model that I believe serves us well.

Business Partnership Agenda

Today we are launching a publication that outlines this agenda and brings together the strands of this Government’s economic strategy.

Our overall objective is to build a productive, sustainable and inclusive economy.

On each score we have some way to go. When it comes to productivity, the OECD has said we are “well below leading OECD countries, restraining living standards and well-being”.

We need to transition from growth dominated by population increase and housing speculation, to build an economy, that as I said, is genuinely productive, sustainable and inclusive.

That’s the why. Now what about the how. For that, I want to share with you the top lines of our economic strategy so everyone is clear about our key priorities that you can engage with us, but also so you can hold us to account against some key measurables.

First we want to grow and share more fairly New Zealand’s prosperity.

That means the gap between the highest and lowest income and wealth deciles reduces, real per capita income increases; the value and diversity of our exports grows and home ownership increases.

Second we want to support thriving and sustainable regions that benefit from an equitable share of sustainable economic growth. We want to see key regions show improvement in employment and income distribution figures and the number of businesses in key regions growing.

Third we want to deliver responsible governance with a broader measure of success. The Finance Minister is already working on the Government’s measures of success to ensure they better reflect New Zealanders’ lives.

Next year we will be the first country in the world to deliver a Wellbeing Budget. This process is underway and will see an overhaul of how the Budget is written and the objectives that it sets.

Finally this Government is committed to transitioning to a clean, green carbon neutral New Zealand. We plan to put New Zealand on a clear path to a net-zero emission future and a healthy environment.

My message to you all is this – now is the time to be involved and help shape this work for a better economy.

Industrial relations and immigration settings

In amongst this new agenda is also the work that we are undertaking on industrial relations and immigration settings – two areas that do come up from time to time.

I understand the tension that addressing these issues can bring. The reality of making payroll, investing back into the business for future growth and keeping the lights on.

The underlying fundamentals of our industrial laws are working well, but we do need to address some of the imbalances that have been generated over recent years.

A lot of waffle on this.

Then Ardern announces Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.

Conclusion

I am confident that by working together we can overcome the challenges facing our economy and society.

We will not be an idle Government, and I won’t be an idle Prime Minister.

We are promoting change because without change our businesses and our economy are at risk. But change does not need to breed uncertainty, not when instead it can breed opportunity.

I have confidence that our relationship will thrive, that our agenda will successfully tackle the challenges we face, and that our shared achievements for the country will leave a lasting legacy future generations will thank us for.

Now let’s get on with it.

Apart from announcing the Business Advisory Council there doesn’t seem to be much new here, it is largely a promotion of the Government agenda – she used the work agenda 12 times – and trying to promote confidence in the changes they want to make to “successfully tackle the challenges we face”.

I don’t know what business people will take from her speech. There doesn’t seem to be much in specifics.

Full speech notes at Scoop.