The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
Bernard’ s Dawn Chorus & Pick ‘n’ Mix for Wednesday May 8

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Bernard’ s Dawn Chorus & Pick ‘n’ Mix for Wednesday May 8

Spending cuts hammer budgeting services and shock Christchurch attack survivors; NIWA cuts climate modelling jobs; Luxon spends $57,000 on video upgrades in Beehive office
Placards and mourners outside the Kilbirnie Mosque following the Christchurch terror attack: MSD has terminated the Kaiwhakaoranga service, which has been used by 415 families since the attacks. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

TL;DR: The Government’s pledge to only cut ‘back office’ staff rather than ‘frontline’ services is on increasingly shaky ground, with news of cutbacks in budgeting advisors and climate modellers, and shock at the closure of a MSD help service for Christchurch attack survivors.

Here’s my top six ‘pick ‘n’ mix of links to news, analysis and opinion articles as of 8:00 am on Wednesday May 8:

  1. Poverty: MSD has shifted to a new funding model for budgeting services that is leading to cutbacks that advisors describe as ‘like watching a train derail,’ as pleas for help from families needing advice in a cost of living crisis fall on deaf ears, Lauren Crimp reported last night for RNZ.

  2. Climate: Job cuts at Crown-owned science company NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) could cull a team of New Zealand's top climate modellers, RNZ’s Eloise Gibson reported last night.

  3. Funding cuts: Gamal Fouda, the imam of Christchurch’s Al Noor mosque, says he was in "profound shocked" last week when MSD terminated the Kaiwhakaoranga service, which has been used by 415 families since the attacks. It provided specialist case managers for victims and bereaved families, Thomas Mead reported for 1News last night.

  4. Scoop: PM Christopher Luxon agreed to spend $57,000 renovating his ninth floor office suite on the Beehive with new video-conferencing gear, Jenna Lynch reported last night for Newshub.

  5. Poverty: Associate Education Minister David Seymour is set to announce changing from hot meals to packed meals to cut spending on free school lunches later today. Indira Stewart has written an excellent analysis via 1News of the claims the programme wasted too much food. A Treasury report found a 4.5% wastage rate. (See quotes of the day below)

  6. Deep-dive: Kate Newton has a detailed and very useful analysis via RNZ this morning of what the Government is doing about managed retreat, and in particular who should be bought out and who would pay. She quotes Climate Change Minister Simon Watts as saying the current ad-hoc approach is not sustainable, but also that the Government is no closer to a decision or action on whether to bring in a Climate Adaptation Act or a National Policy Statement on Natural Hazard Decision-making for councils.

The best of the rest

News links from Aotearoa’s political economy

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The Kākā by Bernard Hickey
The latest daily snapshot of the news, detail, insight and analysis on geo-politics, the global economy, business, markets and the local political economy for citizens and decision-makers of Aotearoa-NZ.