A report last year on Parliament's earthquake preparedness pinpointed two areas in need of improvement: the press gallery's quarters and the statue of Richard Seddon which guards the front steps to Parliament. To no one's surprise, priority was given to King Dick's likeness, which is now covered with scaffolding. Work on the press gallery offices could be some time off.
Vroom! It's Housing NZ
Parliament's select committees have returned to work after the long break, and one of their duties will be to complete financial reviews of departments and Crown agencies. Many don't get much scrutiny, partly because there are so many agencies, but also because MPs are not as keen as they once were on putting in the long hours needed for a thorough review. Housing New Zealand was one of the agencies called in, and its management compared the organisation to a Formula 1 pit-lane team, for its efficiency in turning around tenants. No MP seemed to think of asking why, if this was the case, had Housing NZ lost most of its tenancy assessment duties to the Ministry of Social Development.
Doing the job
Former top diplomat and head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Sir Maarten Wevers, was seen going into the Labour Party caucus meeting this week. This led to speculation about whether Labour had attracted some high-powered support. But it seems he was there to brief them in his position as Registrar of Pecuniary Interests for MPs.
Tau signs up to fight the tape
Cutting red tape is something every government seems to promise and every government appears to take steps towards it - but few make much progress. The latest effort, the Rules Reduction Taskforce, is chaired by National MP Jacqui Dean, and includes some interesting members, including former National MP Tau Henare. He has been a bit bored since leaving Parliament, so the work might keep him off the streets and give him something to get his teeth into. But more cynical observers will be wondering whether, like past attempts to cut red tape, this one will end up with little more to show for itself than just another report on red tape.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
No bull ... Big family mourns
From the "probably only in New Zealand" file - while people do get attached to their animals, not many send out press release obituaries, complete with photograph, mourning their loss. But specialist cow breeder Ambreed NZ did just that to mark the passing of Manzello, who apparently sired 467 daughters in 173 herds in New Zealand alone and sold 250,000 "doses" internationally in his first three years as a proven bull. Sadly, Manzello passed away peacefully because of a progressive illness. Rest in peace.
Ewe too ...
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy wants us all to remember that Sunday is "National Lamb Day". Making it clear that he wants you to eat one, not cuddle one, Guy fired out a press release declaring it a great way to "acknowledge our history and promote red meat". The event is a marketing move by Beef + Lamb NZ. Possibly coincidentally, or maybe the timing is a sign of our closer relationship with China, the following week is the beginning of the Chinese year of the sheep.
Taking the PC
onsidering rapper Eminem's penchant for legal action, it is probably just as well that the National Business Review was quick to change an on-line teaser which referred to the "raper's" publishers.
Hard times on govt farms
The latest Landcorp result shows the Government struggling to make a profit from farming. The state-owned enterprise had operating revenue of $109.8 million between last July and December, down 8 per cent on the same period in 2013. Net operating profit was just $1 million, a 92 per cent fall from $12.2 million in the previous period. Landcorp owns 137 farms covering 376,942ha with 1.6 million stock units, so it's hardly a great return for shareholders.