- The government has confirmed reports that it will make farmers pay a price for their emissions in 2025.
- National wants ‘cooling off’ period for ministers becoming lobbyists.
New sanctions and trade bans targeted at Russia have been announced today by the government, in response to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern had signalled further sanctions were on the way in recent days, saying the government would continue to support Ukraine in its war response.
In a statement, foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta said the new sanctions targeted 51 oligarchs. That included the New Zealand-linked Alexander Abramov, who owns a $50 million retreat in Northland’s Helena Bay.
“I have sought, and taken, extensive advice before deciding to sanction Mr Abramov,” said Mahuta. “I have factored in his connections to the local economy and the impact that applying full sanctions would have on small businesses and livelihoods connected with his business interests.
She continued: “If full sanctions were applied, the disruption felt by New Zealanders is likely to be greater than that felt by Mr Abramov himself, who does not live here and only has a small proportion of his wealth invested in New Zealand. Taking this into account, I have taken a tailored approach to sanctions. Mr Abramov and his family members will be subject to a travel ban, and their aircraft and vessels will be banned from entering our airspace and ports.”
Another 24 Russian-backed officials had also been targeted, Mahuta said. “We have also extended sanctions on all members of the State Duma and Federation Council, Russia’s houses of parliament which have given their support to Russia’s illegal actions,” said the minister.
The parents among us will be feeling that distinctive week two of the school holidays grind, so we’re extra appreciative of good activities for kids. This week’s image of the day comes from Sonya Nagels, from “Glorious Greeks” at Auckland Museum last night. These holiday evenings, kids have been able to explore the museum by torch light, bumping into actors playing characters from Greek mythology giving various lessons: defence against monsters, how to be a spartan, ancient Greek cooking and so on.
Makes you feel very lucky to live in a city that puts that kind of effort into events for the young ones – thanks Auckland Museum.
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Roughly 900 workers in Aotearoa get paid between $2 and $5 an hour as a result of the minimum wage exemption. Although it’s a government initiative to get more people with learning disabilities into the workplace, it still makes Alice Snedden feel a little uneasy. Is it weird to remunerate entirely based on productivity? But how else can we ensure a fully inclusive workplace? In the latest episode of Alice Snedden’s Bad News, the comedian speaks to former minister for disabilities Carmel Sepuloni, disability rights lawyer Huhana Hickey, Altus CEO Martin Wylie and workers Tatiana Tupou and Samantha Gillespie about the pros and cons of the exemption, and what reform could look like.
The audio description of this episode is available at Attitude Live.
The government has confirmed reports that it will make farmers pay a price for their emissions in 2025.
It’s part of a suite of proposals, now up for consultation, released this morning as part of the He Waka Eke Noa scheme.
Jacinda Ardern said the plan would put New Zealand on track to meet the 2030 methane reduction target. “This is an important step forward in New Zealand’s transition to a low emissions future and delivers on our promise to price agriculture emissions from 2025,” Ardern said.
“The proposal aims to give New Zealand farmers control over their farming system, providing the ability to reduce costs through revenue raised from the system being recycled back to farmers, which will fund further research, tools and technology and incentives to reduce emissions.”
The scheme’s expected to be signed off by cabinet early next year, but will first face consultation with the farming community. “The consultation provides an opportunity for people to provide feedback on the issues of sequestration, the levy setting process and transition support,” added Ardern.
The emissions set to face a levy include methane, along with nitrous oxide.
Fronting a press conference, flanked by the climate change minister James Shaw and agriculture minister Damien O’Connor, the prime minister called today’s announcement “pragmatic” and a “world first”.
Shaw said we must act now. “Around the world, countries grappling with the same issues are looking to New Zealand to take the lead,” he said. “Pricing emissions in a critical step… we know that there is a huge amount that farmers can do to cut emissions.”
He added: “Every other sector of our economy already pays for its emissions through the emissions trading scheme… We’ve been working on a system that will drive gross genuine emissions reductions on farms.”
Stuff has gotten out ahead of a big announcement on agricultural emissions and are reporting that the government will release its consultation document on He Waka Eke Noa this morning. If the proposal is seen through to completion, New Zealand farmers will start to pay for emissions from 2025 in a world-first scheme which could be signed off by cabinet in early 2023.
Luke Malpass and Anna Whyte have all the details covered and write that it will mark the end of a 20-year battle to price agricultural emissions that began with Helen Clark’s so-called fart tax in the early 2000s. Eloise Gibson explains how the scheme will work.
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The National Party wants a cooling off period before cabinet ministers can use the “revolving door” and move straight from parliament into a lobbying position.
That’s exactly what’s happened with recently departed minister Kris Faafoi, who it was revealed last week would be heading up a new consultancy firm. Until late July, Faafoi had been immigration minister and before that the minister of broadcasting.
Simeon Brown told RNZ that there should have been a larger gap. “I don’t begrudge Kris Faafoi for leaving parliament and looking for another line of work, he’s got to pay the bills and feed the family. But the reality is, he has had access to very significant information, sensitive information, he understands what his former colleagues think on various issues,” said Brown.
It’s surprising it took until today for the opposition to express this view. Faafoi’s new job was revealed a week ago, and there had until now been no criticism of the move from within parliament (a point observed by several political journalists during media appearances over the past few days).
Brown said without a cooling off period, such as was the case in Australia, the government could not maintain transparency. “They should be taking a lead to address this issue, that will ultimately need to be led by the Cabinet Office to address what those guidelines should look like. National’s willing to support that process.”
Prime minister Jacinda Ardern told media she didn’t see any issue with Faafoi’s new job. “Ministers, when they meet … we report through our pro-active diary release every single person that we meet with, we report on what subjects we meet with [them about],” she said. That’s a similar view to Act’s David Seymour, who said lobbying could be forced underground by tougher rules.
Read more: Kris Faafoi and the revolving door