Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Mr Key goes to Wellington

I'm impressed with the new John Key National lead coalition cabinet. His emphasis on performance and commitment needs acknowledgment. So to does his political agility in appointing Pita Sharples as Minister of Maori Affairs, albeit outside Cabinet.

This feels like a genuine gesture of inclusion, and definitively changes the expected balance of power that seemed to be on offer with the original National/Act line up. In short, on present millage, this could be a fun 100 days to watch.

Communications/IT/ Infrastructure.
Like others I'm also very happy with the choice for Minister of Transport, Communication, and associate to the infrastructure portfolio. Steven Joyce is exactly the breath of fresh air that National needed in this area. Moreover, the combination of transport, communication, IT and associate to the newly formed infrastructure portfolio is also very heartening.

The latter is a new role for New Zealand, with the lead Minister coming from the Deputy, Bill English. That choice also speaks volumes as to the priority that this government , might - note the caveat - be giving digital.

TUANZ - New best friends

Already we have strong statements from the likes of TUANZ who want to help the new government spend the NZ $1.5 billion on fibre to the home. As well the connection with the Transport portfolio does offer some hope for some strategic thinking on just exactly what this infrastructure thing might be.

Soft Infrastructure
As is known, when I hear this "infrastructure" word , especially when applied to policies and ideas for the digital domain, I always want to make sure that people also start thinking and talking about "soft infrastructure" - i.e. what we might do with the big fat pipes that come from hard infrastructure investment.

Community Partnership Fund
On that note, I'm delighted to note that Tariana Turia, co-leader of the Maori Party has , among her other portfolios the comparatively little known "Community and Voluntary" portfolio.

This might seems a tad obscure to many. However, be advised this is a key portfolio in the oversight of the ongoing Community Partnership Fund, which is just entering its third round.

One of the ongoing critiques from some sections of Maoridom was that the last two rounds didn't adequately reflect the needs of Maori and Pacific communities.

It would be great if Minister Turia could make a call and ask for a briefing on this - might make this new round - details here - an interesting conversation at all levels.

Aotearoa Peoples Network
While she is at it she. and Pita Sharples might also ask to be briefed on the Aoteareoa Peoples Network which puts fast bandwidth, computers, and tools into local/rural libraries, including the plan to extend the APN project out into local maraes? Details on this here.

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