Archive for October, 2010

An invitation to Warner Brothers to be up front

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, October 27th, 2010 - 7 comments

Wallace Chapman has a thoughtful Open Letter to the visiting Warner Brothers executives on his blog, inviting them to front up to the New Zealand public: We have a small segment called “Soapbox” and we’d just love you to come over and join us and speak your mind to camera for 60 seconds. We know […]

Tax Cuts or High Wages?

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, October 27th, 2010 - 17 comments

At the last election we chose tax cuts and unemployment instead of stimulus and stability – which was the more ambitious, high wage way to go?

National are not fulfilling their government’s core reason for existence: closing the wage gap with Australia.  No, we’re fast going backwards on that score, and it’s predictable: high unemployment causes low wages.

Key’s Banana Republic?

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 am, October 27th, 2010 - 34 comments

So the question is: will John Key turn us into a tin-pot banana republic by changing employment law to suit Warners, and make one movie?

Are we going to change our laws, and remove protections every time a company demands it to invest in Aotearoa?

Lord of the tax breaks: A history of capital flight threats

Written By: - Date published: 7:53 am, October 27th, 2010 - 87 comments

The Hobbit ‘crisis’ is just the latest in a series of capital flight threats from Jackson and Hollywood. We’ll end up paying more to stave off the threat of capital flight because the wider economic benefit makes it worthwhile. Key is trying to talk down how much we can pay but he bears responsibility for talking up the ‘crisis’ to put the boot into unions.

Open mike 27/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 27th, 2010 - 43 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Tax breaks and the Hobbit

Written By: - Date published: 7:06 pm, October 26th, 2010 - 93 comments

From Stuff: A meeting between Warner Brothers and senior government ministers has ended, with studio executives asking for larger incentives to keep The Hobbit movies in NZ. The two-hour meeting, which included New Line Cinema boss Toby Emmerich, ended with no resolution to the Hobbit standoff…

Universal Income & the Minimum Wage

Written By: - Date published: 12:50 pm, October 26th, 2010 - 96 comments

There is no need to tolerate the existence of poverty. It is an economic and social drag on our country that wastes human potential. The minimum wage, super, and benefits help, yet 15% of Kiwis, and 20% of kids, live in households with incomes below 60% of the average income. A universal income is the best way to eliminate the blight of poverty.

Bending over for Warner Brothers

Written By: - Date published: 11:30 am, October 26th, 2010 - 27 comments

Otago Law Professor Paul Roth says possible law changes by the Key Government to provide more tax-payer funded charity to corporate giants Warner Bros Entertainment is ‘Third-World’ lawmaking and a ‘race to the bottom’ in an attempt to compete against developing nations with little or no labour rights. Roth says if we ‘lie back and prostitute ourselves […]

The State Housing review

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, October 26th, 2010 - 18 comments

It’s not surprising that the Housing Shareholders Advisory Group came to the conclusions it did. Despite its name, the group included no state house tenants. It was a group packed with private social housing providers, hand-picked to deliver the conclusion that these groups should be given control of state houses.

As The Dust Settles

Written By: - Date published: 10:06 am, October 26th, 2010 - 7 comments

It appears that Bob Parker is about to kick up a storm by insisting that commercial buildings be either repaired or demolished by 31/01/11.  He should be reaping a whirlwind.

Mana campaign heating up

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, October 26th, 2010 - 53 comments

The Mana by-election campaign has largely been missing from the national political news in the last few weeks, due in part to bigger stories but also because National is purposely running an under the radar campaign. John Key is spending a lot of time in Mana, hoping to surprise Labour and the media. Time to fight back.

Win win for Key

Written By: - Date published: 7:18 am, October 26th, 2010 - 155 comments

Lucky John Key – he’s going to have a great week!  It’s hard to see how he can lose.  He’ll either be the man who single-handedly saved The Hobbit, or he’ll be handed a big stick to beat the evil unions with forever.  In reality, however, the decision to keep the movies here is probably already made.  Key’s ego will be just another tool used against him in negotiations as the studios go for the best deal they can get…

Open mike 26/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 26th, 2010 - 54 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

A time of trouble, a time for action

Written By: - Date published: 2:15 pm, October 25th, 2010 - 4 comments

The release of 400,000 classified documents on the Iraq war today highlights a much broader issue for New Zealand. As the world moves into uncertainty, some commentators call it a ‘new new world order’, New Zealand must establish itself definitively, cementing the values we wish to hold true for the coming century.

The sea-change on the left

Written By: - Date published: 1:59 pm, October 25th, 2010 - 40 comments

One of the strange things about helping to run a left blog like this is looking at the varied opinions of those on the left of the political spectrum, and then looking at the monolithic opinions that the right seem to have of the left. I was musing on this while reading Matt McCarten’s excellent Saturday article. Now you have to understand that Matt and myself are almost at the ends of the spectrum when it comes to politics on the left….

Granny Herald opening eyes?

Written By: - Date published: 11:43 am, October 25th, 2010 - 2 comments

There was an excellent piece in the Saturday Herald by John Armstrong.  A large 2-page spread, fairly prominent in the paper, and not critical of Labour.  Not fulsome praise; just great, unbiased reporting.

Now admittedly I shouldn’t get excited by such things, but the steadily slipping standards of New Zealand’s papers, combined with a media love-in with National at the last election, leaves good quality newspaper  journalism a sight to behold.

Tolley – the reverse Rumpelstiltskin

Written By: - Date published: 10:10 am, October 25th, 2010 - 3 comments

Rumplestiltskin spun hay into gold. It stikes me Anne Tolley is quickly becoming a “reverse Rumplestiltskin”. Taking a very successful Early Childhood Education sector and stripping out millions, putting the primary sector through the national standards debacle, forcing secondary teachers to strike – Tolley is turning gold into hay.

Performance Pay Paradox

Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, October 25th, 2010 - 26 comments

I’ve just been reading The Age of Absurdity, which has many good ideas on modern happiness.

One of the ideas that won’t cause happiness – but will decrease motivation and quality of work – is performance related pay.

(Consumerism and a Sense of Entitlement also causes unhappiness, but big ups to Personal Responsibility. None of that is in this post though)

Labour Day: Thank a unionist

Written By: - Date published: 7:58 am, October 25th, 2010 - 138 comments

The Nats and their repeaters are trying to paint unions as some kind of public enemy.  How can we be a public enemy when we are the public?  Unions are just people.  Unions exist to work for our rights.  Rights like the eight hour working day, the origin of the celebration of Labour Day.  If you enjoy decent conditions at work, if you’re enjoying your long weekend, why not thank a unionist!

Open mike 25/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 25th, 2010 - 57 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Two conflicts don’t make a right

Written By: - Date published: 8:37 pm, October 24th, 2010 - 10 comments

Former ACT MP Deborah Coddington isn’t a journo anymore. Shot her reputation with the infamous ‘Asian Angst’ piece. Just does opinion pieces now. Strange, then, to see her by-line on 2 Herald articles attempting to vindicate disgraced conflict of interest judge Bill Wilson. Turns out her husband was Wilson’s lawyer.

Key the real target of Hobbit producers’ game

Written By: - Date published: 2:01 pm, October 24th, 2010 - 70 comments

The Hobbit ‘crisis’ is all about money. It’s about the producers of this long-troubled production, who are in financial difficulty, wanting to minimise their up-front costs. The mark in the con is the only one with cash to offer on the scale they need – the Prime Minister. He’s the one with the most to lose and the most ability to pay.

Some “watchdog”

Written By: - Date published: 12:20 pm, October 24th, 2010 - 23 comments

No Right Turn asks some questions about the behaviour of the Independent Police Conduct Authority in deeming the release of information about unlawful behaviour by the Police as “not in the public interest”. There are few safeguards on the police – perhaps the main one should explain its decision in this case.

I’ve had enough and I want my share

Written By: - Date published: 11:47 am, October 24th, 2010 - 7 comments

The Secretary for Education Karen Sewell has just had a minimum pay rise of $30,000p.a. Ironically the same 4% that teachers are after. Here is some maths for Mrs Sewell. Her 4% is 30,000 dollars. 4% of a teachers salary of around $65k is $2,600 dollars.

They do both start with P

Written By: - Date published: 10:58 am, October 24th, 2010 - 7 comments

“They are blue – to match other uniforms in the justice sector such as police.” These words from the Police Minister are very difficult to misconstrue. The choice of colour was deliberate and in case everyone has forgotten, the uniforms were olive to make the clear distinction of Prison Officers from Police. The Government is blurring the distinction.

Open mike 24/10/2010

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, October 24th, 2010 - 21 comments

Open mike is your post. It’s open for discussing topics of interest, making announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. Comment on whatever takes your fancy. The usual good behaviour rules apply (see the link to Policy in the banner). Step right up to the mike…

Some clarity on the Hobbit dispute

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 pm, October 23rd, 2010 - 103 comments

After days of trying to read the media and rumour mill tea-leaves on the Hobbit it was time to do some fact checking.

It turns out this has been a hard lesson in how the international film industry works.

Government manoeuvres on the Hobbit

Written By: - Date published: 12:37 pm, October 23rd, 2010 - 82 comments

Fran O’Sullivan reckons the Government will offer tax-breaks to keep the Hobbit in NZ.

But it also looks like they’ll try to keep claim it’s about the (settled) dispute.

If that’s the case there’s some truly gymnastic spin to look forward to this week.

Time to Export More, At Higher Value

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, October 23rd, 2010 - 36 comments

There was a time when New Zealand gave overseas aid to developing countries like Singapore. But we stopped moving forwards after the neoliberal revolution. Today New Zealand is still reliant on low value added commodity trading for its sustenance. One which is struggling to pay its bills after a lengthy period of selling off its economic sovereignty.

A welcome shift to the centre

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, October 23rd, 2010 - 32 comments

Labour’s new economic agenda is a welcome shift to the centre.

It’s the first time in more than 25 years that a major party has turned its back on the neo-liberal policies that have failed New Zealand so badly.

Bloody good stuff!

Labour policy Maori policy

Written By: - Date published: 8:18 am, October 23rd, 2010 - 19 comments

In a press release last week Tariana Turia claimed that Labour’s new policy directions are all Maori Party policies.  That puts the Maori Party in an interesting position after the next election.  Will the major party that they support be dictated by their policies, Labour’s policies, as Turia claims?  Or will their support be dictated by other, non-policy factors?

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  • World Mental Health Day a reminder of the importance of mental health work
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    1 week ago
  • Cultural Ministers Meeting
    Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni will represent the government at Australia’s Meeting of Cultural Ministers in Adelaide this week. “This year’s meeting is special because New Zealand is expected to become an International Member of the Meeting of Cultural Ministers at this Australian forum,” Carmel Sepuloni said. “The meeting is an opportunity to ...
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    1 week ago
  • 608 claims resolved by GCCRS in first year
    The Greater Christchurch Claims Resolution Service has resolved 608 insurance and EQC claims in its first year in operation, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The government service, which celebrates its first birthday today, provides a one stop shop to help Cantabrians still battling to get their homes repaired or rebuilt ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZ economy in good shape
    Today’s topic, “trends and opportunities for the New Zealand economy,” is certainly one getting a great deal of commentary at the moment. Looking across the media landscape lately you’ll notice we aren’t the only ones having this discussion. There has been an increasing amount of attention paid to the outlook ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZTA to refocus on safety following review
    The Government is acting swiftly to strengthen NZTA’s regulatory role following a review into the Transport Agency, and Ministry of Transport’s performance as its monitor, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today. An independent review by Martin Jenkins has found NZTA failed to properly regulate the transport sector under the previous ...
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    1 week ago
  • Joint Cooperation Statement on Climate Change between the Netherlands and New Zealand
    The Netherlands and New Zealand have a long-standing and close relationship based on many shared interests and values. We value the rule of law, our democracies, and multilateralism.  And we value our environment – at home and globally. Right now there are major global challenges in all of these areas – ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government putting right Holidays Act underpayment in Health
    The Government is putting right a decade’s worth of underpayment to nurses, doctors and other health workers, says Health Minister Dr David Clark.  Initial sampling of District Health Boards payroll records has found that around $550-$650 million is owed to DHB staff to comply with the Holidays Act. It’s expected ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government accounts show strong economy
    A strong surplus and low debt show the economy is performing well, and means the Government is in a good position to meet the challenges of global economic uncertainty. “The surplus and low levels of debt show the economy is in good shape. This allows the Government to spend more ...
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    1 week ago
  • Ministers approve application to expand Waihi mine
    New applications from mining company OceanaGold to purchase land in Waihi for new tailings ponds associated with its gold mines have been approved. Minister of Finance Grant Robertson and Associate Minister of Finance David Parker considered the applications under the Overseas Investment Act. Earlier this year, applications from OceanaGold to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Climate Change Commission Chair-designate announced
    Climate Change Minister James Shaw has today announced the appointment of Dr Rod Carr as Chair-designate for the Climate Change Commission. Pending the outcome of the Select Committee and Parliamentary process, the Climate Change Commission will be established by the passing of the Zero Carbon Bill.  “The Commission will have ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute to tangata whenua
    New Zealanders in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa / Poverty Bay will witness Māori, Pākehā and Pacific voyaging traditions come together today as the Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla assembles for the first time, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti Minister Kelvin Davis says. “Tuia 250 is a national commemoration and an opportunity for honest conversations ...
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    1 week ago
  • Visit to advance trade agenda with Europe and the Commonwealth
    Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker leaves tomorrow for Dubai, London and Berlin for a series of meetings to advance New Zealand’s trade interests.  In Dubai he will visit New Zealand’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 where construction is underway.  There he will meet Minister of State for International Cooperation, Her ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • More cancer drugs confirmed – even more on horizon
    Confirmation that PHARMAC will fund two new cancer drugs is further evidence of the good progress the Government is making to improve the treatment of New Zealand’s leading cause of death, Health Minister David Clark says. From 1 December PHARMAC will fund alectinib (Alecensa) for ALK positive advanced non-small cell ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Boost for women in high performance sport
    An additional $2.7 million has been announced for the Government Strategy for Women and Girls in Sport and Active Recreation on the first anniversary of the strategy’s launch. Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson gave the opening address to the first Sport NZ Women + Girls Summit in Wellington today, ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Parent support to help retain skilled migrants
    As part of its work to ensure businesses can get the skilled workers they need, the Coalition Government is re-opening and re-setting the Parent Category visa programme, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. The move will: support skilled migrants who help fill New Zealand’s skills gaps by providing a pathway for ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Senior NZDF Officer to lead Peacekeeping Mission in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has today announced Major General Evan Williams of the New Zealand Defence Force has been selected as the commander of a significant, longstanding peacekeeping mission in the Middle East. In December, Major General Williams takes over as Force Commander for the Multinational Force and Observers ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Nurses star as Govt rebuilds health workforces
    A record number of nurses are now working to deliver health services to New Zealanders as the Government’s increased funding and new initiatives rebuild key workforces start to show results, Health Minister Dr David Clark says. •    1458 more DHB nurses since the Government took office •    106 more midwives ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New agricultural trade envoy appointed
    Farmer and former Nuffield scholar Mel Poulton has been appointed New Zealand’s Special Agricultural Trade Envoy, Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, and Minister of Agriculture, Damien O’Connor, announced today. The position supports key Government objectives, including raising the value of New Zealand agricultural goods and services. Mel is ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage celebrated for Tuia 250
    New Zealand’s Pacific and Māori voyaging heritage is acknowledged and celebrated today as waka of the Tuia 250 voyage flotilla arrive in Tūranga / Gisborne. “Today we celebrate Tangata Whenua, the first people of Aotearoa, and the triumphs of the voyaging tradition that brought our ancestors here from Polynesia 1000 ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Pacific languages are a root from which prosperity will grow
    “Fijian Language Week starts on Sunday and the theme reminds us how important it is that we each have something to anchor ourselves to, something that can help us pause and feel in control in a rapidly changing world,” says Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio. “Family, culture, faith, ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Government establishes innovative, industry-focused Airspace Integration Trials Programme
    The Government is establishing an Airspace Integration Trials Programme to support the safe testing and development of advanced unmanned aircraft and accelerate their integration into the aviation system, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced today. The Government will work with leading, innovative aviation industry partners to test and ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Safety upgrades and certainty for Ōtaki highway
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today welcomed the NZ Transport Agency’s decision to fund urgent safety improvements and confirm the designation of the Ōtaki to North of Levin highway. Safety upgrades will be made along 23.4km of the existing state highway, running along SH1 from the end of the Peka Peka ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Playing our part to support refugees in our region and the world
    New Zealand playing its part in Asia-Pacific and globally are behind changes announced today to the Coalition Government’s three year refugee quota policy, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “We are proud to be a welcoming and inclusive nation committed to supporting some of the world’s most vulnerable people to rebuild ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting thriving inclusive communities
    Creating thriving regions and inclusive local communities is the aim of the Welcoming Communities programme being rolled out across the country, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway today. A successful pilot of the scheme ran over the last 2 years led by Immigration New Zealand and involved ten councils across five regions ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Takahē population flying high
    Takahē may be flightless but their population is flying high with the official count reaching 418 after a record breeding season that produced an estimated 65 juveniles, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “The population reaching a high of 418 is great news for takahē which were considered ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand makes further climate commitments
    New Zealand is today taking action to reduce the potent global warming hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) gases, Climate Minister James Shaw and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. “The global agreement to reduce these potent greenhouse gases is another step in New Zealand’s commitment to reduce global warming. It is estimated ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • PGF boosts job training in Turangi and Whanganui
      The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) through its skills and employment programme, Te Ara Mahi, will invest nearly $600,000 to ensure work opportunities for locals in Turangi and Whanganui, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “I’m pleased to announce the PGF is investing in these innovative ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government levels electricity playing field for consumers
    Consumers will benefit from changes to the electricity market that will see a level playing field for smaller independent retailers, greater transparency over the big power companies, increased competition in the market and more support for consumers to shop around for better deals, Minister Megan Woods has announced. The changes ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Women’s Welfare League (MWML)
      67th National Conference 2019 I would really like to acknowledge Bishop Waitohiariki Quayle on her recent ordination as the first Anglican Māori Woman Bishop, first Indigenous Woman Bishop. He wāhine hūmārie. Kotahi te kōhao o te ngira e kuhuna ai te miro ma, te miro pango, te miro whero. I ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Locally-led Tairāwhiti skills and employment projects get $2.27 million boost
    The Provincial Growth Fund will invest over $2.27 million to promote skills, training and employment in disadvantaged areas of Tairāwhiti, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson announced today. “This funding from the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi (TAM) and He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) allocations means getting ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Funding boost to increase diversity in science
    The Government is allocating $6 million towards programmes that encourage diversity in science, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods announced. Speaking at the opening of the University of Canterbury’s new Beatrice Tinsely building, Minister Woods said the Government is focussed on supporting research organisations to continue the great work ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Foreign Minister visits Australia and PNG
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is travelling to Australia and Papua New Guinea this week.  The Minister will be Sydney to attend the regular six monthly Foreign Ministers Consultations with his counterpart Marise Payne.  “This scheduled meeting is an important part our calendars, and is useful to maintaining the Trans-Tasman ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Major investment in Māori agribusiness
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor says new farmer-to-farmer extension groups launched in Whangaparaoa today will help Māori agribusinesses achieve their goals. “In Budget 2019 the Government announced a $229 million Sustainable Land Use package. As part of this, $12 million was committed to ensure Māori landowners and agribusinesses have the tools, support systems and information to ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New SuperGold card
    SuperGold Card speech It is a pleasure to see you all here today. Ladies and Gentlemen the picture on the screen is the very first SuperGold Card we had.   The delivery of this card – card 001 – was a watershed moment just as today is a watershed moment. Today’s ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Government backs action on regional banking
    New Zealand’s largest banks will trial regional banking hubs and have agreed not to close any branches outside of main centres while the trial is under way. Finance Minister Grant Robertson says the announcement is fantastic news for people in smaller towns who have been left feeling cut off as ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • Deeper trade, business and government links on agenda for Fiji visit
    Stronger business and trade links between New Zealand and Fiji will be the focus of Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker’s visit to Fiji later this week.  Fiji is an important market for New Zealand companies, with roughly $700 million in goods and services exported to Fiji last ...
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    3 weeks ago
  • Construction begins on key Waikato walking and cycling link
    Walkers and cyclists in the Waikato received a boost today as Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter announced the start of construction on the first section of the 20km Cambridge to Hamilton Te Awa shared path. Julie Anne Genter said while the path, which runs from Hamilton Gardens to Cambridge’s ...
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    3 weeks ago