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Week in Review
The Prime Minister has still not given her Government’s view on He Puapua. This is despite receiving the report in November 2019. Conveniently for her, she says it has not gone to Cabinet.
She really needs to talk to her Ministers, considering their departments are busily consulting behind closed doors around the country and advancing its recommendations.
Despite the name calling, rhetoric, and media distractions by some, National will not waiver in our hope to have an open and public debate about this report. We will also not stop asking questions until the Labour Government comes clean with the public on where it stands.
Labour and others may be happy to divide our country by race. We aren’t. We believe in treating all New Zealanders as equals.
You can read more from Judith Collins here.
Politicised education priorities are short-changing kids
The Government should be focusing on making sure our kids are actually attending school and learning, rather than have them discuss their white privilege.
Discussions around race and inequality are important and we should be having them. But making young children discuss their ‘white privilege’ in front of classmates isn’t the best way to have these discussions. It could end up doing the opposite of intended and divide our kids at such an early age.
While Labour is focused on deconstructing white privilege, truancy and failing achievement in maths continue to be major problems.
The best way to improve the achievements of all students, including Māori students, is to make sure they’re at school. Then, when they are at school, make sure kids are taught to read and write and do maths, and for their progress to be carefully measured and monitored.
Since National Standards have been thrown out, no effective means has been developed to make sure the progress of every child and every school is measured and monitored.
Naturally, the statistics don’t make for great reading. In 2017, school leavers with NCEA Level 2 or above was at 81.3 per cent. In 2019, that had fallen to 78.8 per cent.
You can read more from Paul Goldsmith here.
State housing register continues to climb
Our public housing system is at breaking point with yet another record high number of New Zealanders waiting for a state house.
The latest figures just released for the month of February show there are 23,259 people waiting for public housing, four times as many as when National left office. On average, people will wait 183 days to be housed, an increase of 14 days when compared to the previous month.
These are Kiwis classified as ‘at risk’ with a ‘severe and persistent housing need that must be addressed immediately’. Roughly half of those waiting for a home are families with children.
While it’s good to see many of the public houses National planned in Government are now being built, it’s not enough to keep up with the surging demand. In just the past year the wait list grew by 7523.
These latest monthly figures mark the 26th consecutive month that the waitlist has increased. It is simply out of control, and the Government doesn’t know how to stop it.
National has proposed constructive solutions to address the root causes of New Zealand’s housing emergency and unlock a surge in new house building. We have a plan to require every major city and town to immediately remove restrictions locking-up land and stalling intensification, while also giving councils the cash injections they need to deliver a much-needed surge in new house building.
You can read more from Nicola Willis here.
DOC quietly puts iwi land consultation on hold
The Government has suddenly placed consultations with iwi on how the Department of Conservation can give better effect to the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, on-hold following National releasing the draft recommendations last week.
Neither the Prime Minister nor the Minister of Conservation have addressed the recommendations that propose the transfer of Public Conservation Land to Māori ownership – 34 per cent of all New Zealand land – however, they have moved quickly to halt the hui that DOC was undertaking.
The DOC website has been updated to say ‘consultation is currently on hold until further notice’.
I call on someone from the Government to front up and explain what is going on. If they intend to essentially privatise a third of all land in New Zealand, they must come out and say so. At the moment, the process is all looking pretty bizarre.
The National Party will continue to call for transparency and a national conversation about the changes being made to New Zealand in the name of radical interpretations of the Treaty.
You can read more from Jacqui Dean here.
Only one of the 231 shovel-ready projects completed
Of the 231 shovel-ready projects Grant Robertson announced to much fanfare last year, only one project has been completed. That single project is apparently Stage 1 of a larger project which is still in planning.
These were supposed to be projects that would be up and running in six to 12 months to help offset job losses elsewhere in the economy, but 116 projects haven’t even begun construction.
The shovel-ready projects involve hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars and, despite asking for more information, the Minister won’t give New Zealanders an update on how many people are employed working on the jobs, how many will be employed, or how much the projects have cost taxpayers so far.
The projects are now competing with the private sector for workers and resources, and one has to ask whether some of these projects are even going to proceed.
Labour’s legacy will be big promises and an inability to deliver, costing taxpayers millions along the way.
You can read more from Andrew Bayly here.