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Affordable – in your dreams

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, June 15th, 2015 - 69 comments
Categories: housing - Tags: , ,

Nick Smith, who Duncan Garner astutely characterised as “the cold-hearted politician”, is at it again:

Nick Smith defends ‘affordable’ homes

The Building and Housing Minister is defending the use of the word “affordable” for around 200 new Auckland homes. Nick Smith has announced a third of the 1000 apartments and townhouses being fast-tracked in the suburb of Hobsonville will be affordably priced. However, that price bracket has now ballooned from $485,000 to $550,000.

Mr Smith told TVNZ’s Q&A programme the properties are within reach. “If you’re on an average income in Auckland, and you’re a member of KiwiSaver for five years, you would have built up $35,000. The Government’s home start scheme gives you $20,000, that means you’ve got $55,000,” he says. “The Government’s welcome home loan scheme means they only need a 10 percent deposit.”

300 odd units “affordable” units will not even scratch the Auckland housing crisis, but never mind that. Those prices are not affordable to the average Kiwi. Let’s assume Smith’s best case, a deposit of $55,000 and a purchase price of $485,000. That’s a mortgage of $430,000.

The median income of an employed person is $863 after tax (median is more useful than mean which is inflated by huge top-end salaries). That’s $1,726 a fortnight.

Using the Sorted mortgage calculator a mortgage of $430,000 at 6% over a 30 year term has fortnightly payments of $1,189. That leaves $537 a fortnight, or $268.50 a week to live on. In this scenario mortgage repayments are 69% of net income. A figure of 40% is sometimes considered affordable in NZ, that’s high by international standards.

You can find a similar set of calculations by 3 News here.

Nick Smith reckons houses are affordable if they are “affordable to someone”. But even under the best assumptions an average house in NZ or one of Smith’s “affordable” houses in Auckland is not remotely affordable for the average paid worker. It takes more than one median income (secure for the next 30 years yeah right) to buy a house.

69 comments on “Affordable – in your dreams”

  1. One Anonymous Bloke 1

    Nick Smith belongs in front of a judge and jury articulating his feeble and self-serving defence to charges of human rights violations.

    • Brutus Iscariot 1.1

      You forgot to put in your usual spiel about Section 46 of the Crimes Act.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.1

        I’m curious as to where you draw the line. Are you ok with Australia sending people to death camps, for example, or is that a step too far?

        Is there any human right that the National Party must respect, in your view?

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    At least he’s been forced to suppress his urge to sell land he doesn’t own.

  3. vto 3

    The elephant in the room is the bank debt that has snuck so sneakily into our system that we think it is somehow normal..

    Ask yourself where our system would be if that disappeared in a puff…

    partake at your peril

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      We don’t have to ask ourselves – we can look at similar situations from history.

      • vto 3.1.1

        That’s right. It is surprising how willing people are to turn a blind eye to history and reality…. greeeeed – always the downfall.

        The banks rub their hands in glee in so-called boom times like this as they incrementally claw more money out of the people’s pockets and into their shareholders hands…

    • AsleepWhileWalking 3.2

      The confluence of potential black swans this year means a systemic issue sooner rather than later, and there are more swans landing on the lake every day.

  4. Charles 4

    Hobsonville wasn’t ever going to be the new Massey (it’s close, much less well heeled, suburban neighbour) of West Auckland. It never was, not even in 1990. So the idea that any government like a right wing government was going to build anything like “affordable”/egalitarian housing near there is a joke. Take a drive out to Westgate on the weekend, and have look. You’ll need to drive, because public… oops, I mean commuter transport… runs on retail peak hours. Who’s missing from the “affordable” picture Hmmm? It’s pretty “white”, and able-bodied, much like the Nth Shore – minus “Asian” people. How many of the affordable new houses are being built for wheelchair access?

    Last time I looked at the figures, Massey has the highest unemployment in West Auckland, the ethnic distibution is wide, the West in general fares badly, second only to South Auckland.*

    So the “average wage” as referred to in the statistics NZ site link above says $991 from wages or salary. 42.5% of Maori* in Auckland earn $20k per year or less. How’s those Treaty Obligations going for you, National? Not very close to $991pw, in fact, to rent a place in the West if you have a family, both parents would have to be working, or having their costs subsidised, at that income level. Not many extras are affordable.

    The point is these new houses aren’t for the “average” person.

    *I hate having to quote these rudimentary figures and facts because it gives the impression, by middle-class “lifestyle at all costs” standards, that poor people are deadbeats, Maori are “inherently poor”, and that the unemployed are criminals/worthless/on-the-out; and by comparison, all the whiter/wealthier shades in the West are evil overlords. The suggestion does not bear-up to the personal experience, that whenever I come into contact with people from the South or the West, they are the some of best people Auckland have to offer. Of course, I don’t voluntarily frequent the criminal set, so make of anecdote what you will.

  5. Liam 5

    What’s the average (median) income for an Aucklander though? That would be a better measure to the national median.

    • lprent 5.1

      Probably way less than you think. A cursory look at the stats http://stats.govt.nz/Census/2006CensusHomePage/QuickStats/AboutAPlace/SnapShot.aspx?type=ta&ParentID=1000002&tab=Income&id=2000007

      For people aged 15 years and over, the median income (half earn more, and half less, than this amount) in Auckland City is $28,100. This compares with a median of $24,400 for all of New Zealand.
      40.2 percent of people aged 15 years and over in Auckland City have an annual income of $20,000 or less, compared with 43.2 percent of people for New Zealand as a whole.
      In Auckland City, 25.2 percent of people aged 15 years and over have an annual income of more than $50,000, compared with 18.0 percent of people throughout New Zealand.

      • Phil 5.1.1

        That’s not the right metric either.

        Any calculation of home loan affordability will be based on household income, not an individual’s income.

        According to this article, the median Auckland household income is $76,500.
        http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/census-data-shows-auckland-income-rise-5823255

        I don’t have time right now to look into the nitty-gritty of where all these numbers come from and how they’re being presented, but your $28.1k for individual income seems quite low by comparison.

        • lprent 5.1.1.1

          The stats I was quoting are for everyone over the age of 15.

          People in work would be my bet for the difference. Once you drop out the enormous block of pensioners you get a big jump in median income values. You then get small shifts as you drop out other non-working groups.

          Typical news article – no links and not enough data to find out the source.

          • RRM 5.1.1.1.1

            Should 15, 16 and 17-year-olds be able to afford mortgage repayments?

            There must be tens of thousands of kids in that age group in Auckland doing a few hours a week after school, and a full shift at the weekend, all at minimum wage.

            OF COURSE the median wage is going to be far too low to make mortgage repayments, if you take a median wage calculated including those kids.

            I wonder what the median income of 25 – 35 year-olds in Auckland is?

            Double that, and THEN you’ve got an accurate estimate of the house-buying power of first-home buying couples in Auckland.

            Anything else is just choosing figures to support an agenda…

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1.1.1.1

              You should tell Nick Smith to calm down. Why is he wasting all this time (not to mention your hard-earned taxes) on a problem you’re in denial of?

            • lprent 5.1.1.1.1.2

              Not really. If you actually read my comment rather than immediately polestroking your outrage….

              1. I said that it was the first accurate thing I laid my hands on with median incomes. Cursory means that to me. A dictionary could have told you that.
              2. The fact that the link for incomes says that it was quick stats.

              So when you have cleaned your hands, how about doing something useful rather than whining that someone else did some useful work. Don’t wonder – do some work for a change

              Dig up some more detailed median income stats by region and work status. It will still show that in Auckland that Nick Smith is just a liar with numbers…

              This effort may help to allay the impression that you can’t do anything else with your hands than soft soap Smith…

  6. Janice 6

    How “affordable” is about 2,000 extra vehicles daily on the already overloaded North Western Motorway?

    • maui 6.1

      Not affordable in terms of the time wasted commuting and the loss of productivity, let alone the climate.

  7. saveNZ 7

    Someone is dreaming if they think that $550k is affordable for someone on average local wages.

    I would think more like $350k is what is affordable.

    A few years ago you could get a lot of family houses for that price around Auckland.

    The measures trickling in, should have been put in, 5 years ago.

    Quite a few renovated houses now entering the market, with “change of mind” as the catch phrase, as they were purchased months ago and now on for hundreds of thousands more.

    Agree with the transport issues, especially on the Western Motorway. Unbelievable they are putting up these housing estates, spending millions on the motorway while blocking public transport on that route.

    Ideology gone insane.

    • infused 7.1

      Still many houses that price around… just need to… wait for it…

      move out of Auckland

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1

        Yes, of course, only highly waged people should live in Auckland. What a great idea.

        • Capn Insano 7.1.1.1

          +1
          I was going to say something about wanting to stick around friends/family and not having to uproot and find a new job etc but that response is straight to the point.

        • Dave 7.1.1.2

          People moving out of Auckland and stimulating the regions is a good idea and something that should have incentives, but it needs to be a wide cross section of the earning population, not like infused thinks, that Auckland should be a nice big gated community that’ll open the gates in the morning to let the poor brown people in to clean up.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.1.2.1

            Oh. I thought they meant that all the low-waged workers would be getting massive pay rises. I suppose you’re probably right, though 😉

      • Tracey 7.1.2

        can you name the banks that will lend to people outside Auckland without jobs?

        • You_Fool 7.1.2.1

          or name the government schemes to stimulate job creation outside auckland / incentivise people to move to the regions? Additional cash payment, bigger kiwisaver contribution for first home buying? Business tax credits for operating outside auckland? Not closing down governmental services in the regions?

          • Tracey 7.1.2.1.1

            Exactly, can name the schemes which moved to regions and a re now being moved to Auckland. The cat seems to have the tongue of our clever friend above.

      • dv 7.1.3

        SoInfused who are going to do all the low paid jobs eg- cleaning, rest homes,

  8. This is an excellent response to Aussie Treasurer Joe Hockey, who said that “If you’ve got a good job and it pays good money and you have security in relation to that job, then you can go to the bank and you can borrow money and that’s readily affordable.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/working-mother-mel-wilson-gives-joe-hockey-a-lesson-about-house-prices-20150612-ghm7b6

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      “I’m just very tired of politicians making really uneducated and quite insulting comments targeted at average Australians,” she said.

      “They’re uninformed about what it’s like to be an average Australian.”

      And that pretty much applies to NZ politicians as well.

  9. dv 9

    AND over the 30 years the bank gets about half a million in interest!!!!

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      And that’s the true kicker right there. The usury of the banking system.

  10. Lanthanide 10

    Small quibble, in that Smith’s figures are for a *couple* earning the average *household* income. Requiring both partners to be working and between them earning the average household income, *both* in Kiwisaver for 5 years. There will be an awful lot of families that simply don’t meet those hurdles.

    • r0b 10.1

      Thanks for that clarification – it wasn’t obvious from the summary I was working from.

    • Capn Insano 10.2

      good point. I remember that Nick Smith twatted on recently about the ‘average’ couple being on 50k each. Aside from, again, the nonsense about using average figures he also makes the assumption that both partners would be earning that much, isn’t a difference much more likely?

      • Lanthanide 10.2.1

        I’d say the majority of male-female married couples in their 30s have children, or are just about to have children. These are the people that make up the bulk of the first-time home buyer demographic.

        In many of these families, one of the pair will be working part-time so that they can be around for their children. This instantly means they’re highly unlikely to be making the $50k average which is based on a full-time wage.

  11. Kiwiri 11

    *Brilliant* arms-length, or rather dead whole body-length, distance from the PM:

    “Prime Minister John Key said he had not seen the plans …”

    /sarc

    (from the link as pointed out, i.e. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/68753453e/housing-minister-nick-smith-all-houses-are-affordable-to-someone)

    How many more of these eye-rollingly awful excuses has the PM got in his bag of lousy tricks?

  12. DH 12

    Note there that Smith is talking about average incomes versus lowest prices. His own argument says that people earning below average can’t buy a house and since the average is above the median he’s admitting over half of Aucklanders can’t buy a house.

    Btw Anthony your link says $991 is before tax and it’s also the average rather than the median.

    Median weekly income from wages and salaries is $863 and with straight tax that’s $730 per week. After paying $594 on the mortgage they’d have $136 left…. about enough to pay rates & insurance.

    The welcome home scheme is a farce btw. I sat in on an application for a mortgage and the bank (Westpac) wouldn’t lend on a 10% deposit to someone who qualified for it. They’d lend on 20% but 10%…. nope not even for a smaller mortgage.

    • r0b 12.1

      Thanks for picking that up (me squinting at the wrong row of the table too late at night!). Fixed the figures in the post.

    • Lanthanide 12.2

      “The welcome home scheme is a farce btw. I sat in on an application for a mortgage and the bank (Westpac) wouldn’t lend on a 10% deposit to someone who qualified for it. They’d lend on 20% but 10%…. nope not even for a smaller mortgage.”

      It’s a scheme, not a guarantee.

      I expect the banks are perfectly fine with 10% deposits in Auckland, since values are going up so quickly. But in flat markets, probably 10% is just too risky for them. This makes further sense if you consider Auckland is where people are going to have the hardest time saving a deposit, so even getting to 10% is a big achievement, but managing 10% elsewhere in the country may just be seen as “someone who can’t be bothered / lives a lavish lifestyle”. Of course I don’t know the area you’re talking about that Westpac wouldn’t lend, but I do suspect it wasn’t Auckland.

      • RRM 12.2.1

        We had no problem obtaining a 90% mortgage in Wellington 2.5 years ago!

        We just re-fixed for 2 more years, current bank has upped our property value such that in theory we have 20% equity now. Bank “B” which we also considered were happy to take us in the basis of about 14% equity.

      • DH 12.2.2

        Y’know it doesn’t take much to Google “Welcome Home Scheme NZ” before commenting on it.

        Here…..

        http://www.hnzc.co.nz/buying-a-house/welcome-home-loan

        • Lanthanide 12.2.2.1

          Not sure what your point is:
          “You will need to meet the lender’s specific lending criteria.”

          Quite clearly, it is a scheme, not a guarantee.

          • DH 12.2.2.1.1

            I’m not sure what your point is. I said in clearly legible typeface it was a scheme, I made no comments about a guarantee, so I don’t know what you’re babbling about.

            It’s a farce because a scheme that doesn’t deliver what was expressed or intended is a waste of time and misleading to boot.

            • Lanthanide 12.2.2.1.1.1

              “It’s a farce because a scheme that doesn’t deliver what was expressed or intended is a waste of time and misleading to boot.”

              So you are saying that 0 people have successfully used the scheme to purchase a house?

              Or are you saying that it’s worthless just because the people *you* know couldn’t use it? Pretty small worldview you have there.

  13. Molly 13

    Mentioned this as a possible innovation before, but remains relevant to conversations about the provision of housing for NZers going into the future.

    An alternative to selling off state homes to private developers.

    Develop enclaves of mixed housing, on current HNZ land. For a brief look at how well designed medium-high density can be achieved, have a look at some of the cohousing developments have taken place in Australia.

    Mixed refers to the development outcomes rather than density, ie. number of houses sold, the number retained by the state for HNZ rentals, and the number privately rented by the cohousing trust. Some of those houses sold can be at market rent, others could be at a perpetual reduced cost – ie. if they are bought at 80% market value, then the buyer can only ask that as a maximum when they decide to sell. Unit titles can be used for this, with individual ownership of unit titles including a share in the unit title for common areas.

    This approach encourages a mixture of economic and social types to live together. In practice, this improves the long-term outcome and connectiveness of the community – as observations in Denmark testify.

    Ensure that the majority of the community is owned by those that live there, ie. Only up to 49% is retained by HNZ, or have a proviso that decisions that impact on the community need to be supported by a 70-80%.

    This eliminates the ease of HNZ sales for any successive government, which will have to consult with each and every one of those communities to sell stock.

    If we have unlivable housing stock on large sections in large collective areas, then we have the potential to regenerate those areas while replacing old housing stock, and providing new affordable homes. Funding comes in part from the value of the land, the involvement and commitment of the purchasers of the houses available to purchase (for their own residential use) and the facilitation of a government loan, and development support service that will take each and every community up to the position where they can get a mortgage from our very own Kiwibank.

    The alignment of cohousing development with traditional Māori and Pasifika values is very high, and would be a coherent response to the paucity of Te Ao Māori in urban residential design.

    Even an allocation of 2% of housing affordability programmes, would allow this scheme to be trialled and refined.

    NZ has an emergent problem with housing, one that cannot be resolved with continued build, use then sell cycles.

  14. Capn Insano 14

    I was glad to see you put up median income figures in response to the mean figures these National pricks are so fond of using. I’m roughly on that median figure as gross income before tax. I don’t consider these prices to be in the realms of affordability. I’m paying off a car plus the insurance and the other usual living costs, certainly not what I’d consider extravagant.
    Nick Smith still has his head up his arse so much that he can check whether he needs to floss from the inside.

  15. Tracey 15

    “300 odd units “affordable” units will not even scratch the Auckland housing crisis, ”

    This is going to be a problem for them when arguing the iwi/right to buy case IF they need to rely on a definition of social housing. I note Smith is already using it interchangeably with “affordable”. Only problem is that “affordable” isn’t in the legislation “social housing” is and it has (I suggest a very different meaning).

    Mostly the Court will look to how “social housing” has been interpreted in NZ and represented throughout our history and legislation.

  16. RRM 16

    How do you propose the government might make Auckland housing more affordable?

    Bearing in mind that the current market prices reflect the existing supply of houses that is available and what the existing pool of buyers is willing to pay.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1

      Do you actually read any of the myriad threads and comments on that very subject in this very forum?

      Short attention span? Comprehension issues? Or simple malice and bad faith?

      • RRM 16.1.1

        I just Trademe searched houses, townhouses and units (NOT Apartments) in Auckland, 1-2 bedrooms, $300,000 or less, and there were 120 results.

        Fortnightly payments on a mortgage of ($300,000 – $55,000 = $245,000) over 30 years at 6% is $677 per fortnight… that’s a bit more affordable!

        Nick Smith is obviously putting his foot in it trying to defend this Hobsonville Development as “affordable housing” such as first home buyers might consider, but CLEARLY affordable first homes ARE out there.

        You just have to be willing to participate in the gentrification of Mt Wellington or Manurewa.

        Them’s the breaks… 😉

        • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1.1.1

          Meanwhile, on Earth, the government and Reserve Bank are trying to figure out what to do about the housing crisis in Auckland.

          Or rather, the Reserve Bank is trying to fix the housing crisis, and the bought government is trying to look as though it wants to fix the housing crisis.

          • RRM 16.1.1.1.1

            That wasn’t the question, genius.

            I asked the author of this thread what HE thought the Govt should do.

            Thank you for your concern.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Just pointing out that people with more influence (not to mention braincells) than you seem to have decided there’s a problem.

              • RRM

                People with more influence [and brain cells] than me appear to want their constituents to believe they are concerned about the problem. There’s a difference…

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Wheeler has constituents? Where do you get these fascinating shiny new facts from?

                  • RRM

                    FFS.

                    I said “the government.”

                    You said “the government.”

                    The Government has constituents.

                    I have to ask… do you have a job? Or are you just on here all day, every day, practising your bait and switch non sequiturs?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I said “the government and Reserve Bank“, by way of an illustration of the fact that you’re in denial of the problem.

                      So why don’t you buy a table at Cabinet Club and pay for your own government policy if you hate this one so much?

            • r0b 16.1.1.1.1.2

              RRM – since you’re asking me, I think the govt should
              (1) introduce a broad CGT and cut tax breaks on property speculation
              (2) ensure that overseas investors must build a new house rather than buy an existing one
              (3) improve the support available to first-time home buyers
              (4) encourage “densification” as per:
              http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=11464798

              What they are currently doing is cosmetic fiddling round the edges.

              • RRM

                Excellent, thank you.

                (1) I totally support, it is ridiculous the way many on the right complain about how little investment in business there is in NZ, while in the same breath defending the special tax-free status of buying, selling and running rental property (if you do it right.) Why would you put money into anything else when houses are, well, as safe as houses?

                What does (3) actually mean though?
                When we bought our house, we narrowly missed qualifying for a free $5,000 from housing NZ.. I thought that seemed pretty generous of my fellow taxpayers to stump up $5k to help me buy myself an appreciating asset?

        • DH 16.1.1.2

          “I just Trademe searched houses, townhouses and units (NOT Apartments) in Auckland, 1-2 bedrooms, $300,000 or less, and there were 120 results. ”

          You people who quote Trademe need to learn how to use it, you just look foolish.

          Try actually reading some of the listings you found. I filtered your search further by cutting out the dross below $150k which won’t be relevant.

          House, Townhouse, Unit, 1 – 2 bedrooms, $150,000 – $300,000

          That reduced your 120 results to 77. Then you need to filter out all the deceitful agents insertions for auctions, price by negotiation… then filter leasehold & then wrong category or area and so on… until you reach pretty much a big fat zero.

          • RRM 16.1.1.2.1

            “Wrong area”

            Oh ok you got me, there aren’t many $300k houses in Takapuna or Herne Bay. My bad.

            • DH 16.1.1.2.1.1

              “Oh ok you got me, there aren’t many $300k houses in Takapuna or Herne Bay. My bad.”

              You’re just making yourself look even more foolish. If you’d looked even at the first page of search results you would have discovered the search included houses from outside Auckland… like Wellsford. Your Trademe search also found propeties in Waiheke, Rakino Island, Great Barrier Island and other unsuitable areas.

              Stop digging… you’ll only get yourself in deeper. Go try again and show us where these sub $300k houses are in Auckland.

        • Wayne 16.1.1.3

          My first home was in Manurewa, near James Cook High. Seemed OK to me to get a start. And I am pretty sure quite a few of the houses in that area will be under $500,000. But unlikely to be much less than $400,000.

      • RRM 16.1.2

        “Short attention span? Comprehension issues? Or simple malice and bad faith?”

        For YOU, oab, I’ll say bad faith.

        Buying a house isn’t easy. People scrimp and save for years to get a deposit together. People work out how much they can afford to spend, and then they go looking at houses in areas they can afford.
        And then the REAL scrimping and saving begins, once the mortgage repayments start going out, AND the insurance premiums, AND the quarterly council rates bills, AND the maintenance issues that you suddenly can’t just call the landlord about, they are YOUR problem and yours alone.

        So when I see yet another article about how flash new townhouses in nice areas AREN’T AFFORDABLE TO FIRST HOME BUYERS I just think; cry me a river.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 16.1.2.1

          You’d better get onto the government then, and tell them to stop wasting your hard-earned tax dollars trying to fix this problem you deny.

          Perhaps buy a table at Cabinet Club. I’m sure they’ll listen to you.

          • You_Fool 16.1.2.1.1

            Actually it seems that RRM should go complain to the government who are calling these nice shiny new townhouses nice areas as affordable when they are clearly not… If the government wants to call things affordable when they are not then it is anyones right to point this out and to also suggest how to make it better (which is what is happening mostly in this thread)

  17. Colonial Rawshark 17

    Four to five times household income is the limit for housing to be considered “affordable.” After that, housing becomes increasingly “unaffordable.” In Auckland I suggest that “affordable” for those privileged to be working decent full time jobs, is in the $300K to $400K range.

    Of course, with the political parties we have now, that’s never going to happen.

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    This week we moved into the second half of 2020 - and our Government delivered another week of big changes and major progress for New Zealanders. Read below for a wrap of the key things moments from the week - from extending paid parental leave, to making major investments in ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party opposes RMA fast-track bill that cut corners on environmental safeguards and public cons...
    The Green Party has opposed the COVID-19 Recovery Fast-track Consenting Bill which shortcuts normal consenting processes under the Resource Management Act (RMA), reduces public participation and narrows environmental considerations. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Site of new freight hub revealed
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development A regional freight hub for the lower North Island will be built just northeast of Palmerston North, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Government is investing $40 million through the Provincial Growth Fund to designate and buy land and design ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call for Guaranteed Minimum Income to alleviate skyrocketing debt with MSD
    Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson is calling for the introduction of a Guaranteed Minimum Income to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and prevent more families entering into further debt with the Ministry of Social Development.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters: Facts matter when taxpayer money is on the line
    There has been renewed focus on New Zealand First acting as a handbrake on the Government after our decision to not support Auckland light rail. We are a handbrake for bad ideas, that is true, but our track record since 2017 has seen New Zealand First constructively also serve as an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill raising minimum residency requirement for NZ Super passes first reading
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP New Zealand First’s Fair Residency for Superannuation Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill makes a significant change to NZ Super by raising the minimum residency requirement from 10 to 20 years, after age 20. “Currently, a migrant of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Harsher penalties for assaults on first responders one step closer
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order A New Zealand First member’s bill in the name of Darroch Ball introducing a six-month minimum prison sentence for assaults on first responders has passed its second reading in Parliament. The new offence of "injuring a first responder or corrections officer with ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission delivers Coalition promise
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Deputy Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the launch of the new Criminal Cases Review Commission, gifted with the name from Waikato-Tainui - Te Kāhui Tātari Ture, announced in Hamilton today by Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealand First has long believed in and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
    The Green Party is celebrating over $800m in new funding for green projects, which will get people into jobs while solving New Zealand’s long-term challenges. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is appalled that Meridian seems to have been unnecessarily spilling water from its dams to drive up its profits."While New Zealanders have been coming together in some of our darkest hours, we don’t expect power gentailers to waste water and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020
    We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and agriculture sectors, and set ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission. Mr Davis (Ngāti Maniapoto), is the seventh and final appointment to the board led by former Reserve Bank Governor ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand’s click bait journalism is taking a turn for the worse, with yet another example of sensationalist, wilful-misrepresentation of the facts. “New Zealand First has worked constructively with its Coalition partner on hundreds of pieces of legislation and policy, and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party proposes transformational Poverty Action Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity.     ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF accelerates Rotorua projects
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Rotorua Museum redevelopment and Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest projects will be accelerated thanks to a $2.09 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) boost, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
    This week, we rolled out the next steps of our recovery plan, with new infrastructure investment, extra support for tourism operators, and a new programme to get Kiwis into agriculture careers. The global economic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge, but we have a detailed plan to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its final reading in Parliament today fulfilling a coalition agreement commitment. “This is an important step in saving the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a key coalition commitment ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
    Whakatāne has been given a $2.5 million boost to speed up previously funded projects and create more than 450 jobs in the next decade. Of those, the equivalent of 160 full-time jobs could be delivered in the next six weeks. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in town to make ...
    2 weeks ago
  • $2.5m PGF funding to speed up economic recovery in Whakatāne
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “This package is about ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is throwing his weight behind a bid by the Auckland Council to fast-track the more than doubling of the city's water allowance from the Waikato River. And he's coming out strongly against anyone who plans on getting in the way of this campaign. "It is my ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA
    The Green Party is thrilled to see changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that mean consents for large projects can be declined if they will have significant climate change implications that are inconsistent with the Zero Carbon Act and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Paris Agreement obligations.  ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence The Royal New Zealand Navy’s new ship, Aotearoa, set sail for New Zealand on 10 June from the Republic of Korea, and is due to arrive in Auckland tomorrow, announced Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “Aotearoa is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new fleet ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Racing Industry Bill passes third reading
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters has today welcomed the Racing Industry Bill passing its third reading, creating the legislative framework for revitalising the racing industry while limiting the need for future government intervention. “For too long our domestic racing industry has ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Green Party seek amendment to ensure all prisoners can vote
    The Green Party has today put forward an amendment to the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill to ensure all people in prisons can vote in general elections. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Green Party welcomes new approach to delivering light rail
    The Green Party welcomes the decision to not proceed with Public Public Investment (PPI) delivery of Auckland’s light rail project and to instead run the process through the public service. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes PGF investment in Wairarapa Water
    Hon Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in the Wairarapa New Zealand First List MP Hon Ron Mark welcomes the announcement of Provincial Growth Funding investment of $1.4 million to help secure the Wairarapa’s water supply. The funding boost will allow the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), and ...
    3 weeks ago

  • District Court Judge appointed
    Stephen Clark, Māori Land Court Judge of Hamilton has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Hamilton, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Judge Clark graduated with an LLB from Auckland University in 1988 and was admitted to the Bar in the same year. ...
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    2 hours ago
  • Hawke’s Bay Airport agreement protects jobs, safeguards terminal development
    The Crown will provide a loan to Hawke’s Bay Airport to ensure it can trade through COVID-19 economic impacts, support the region’s recovery and protect up to 200 jobs. The Crown has a 50 percent shareholding in Hawke’s Bay Airport Limited (HBAL), with Napier City Council holding 26 percent and ...
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    5 hours ago
  • Funding boost for four cultural events
    Four celebrated Māori and Pasifika events will receive up to $100,000 each in funding from the new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. The four events that were successful in the inaugural funding round are: Kia Mau Festival, Wellington Māoriland Film Festival, Otaki ...
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    7 hours ago
  • Inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio is pleased to announce the inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week as part of the 2020 Pacific language Weeks programme. “I am so pleased that this year we are able to provide resourcing support to the Kiribati community in Aotearoa which will ...
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    2 days ago
  • New support package for wildlife institutions
    Wildlife institutions affected by a loss of visitor revenue during the COVID-19 lockdown are set to receive government support with nearly $15 million of funding available announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.  “Eco-sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, and wildlife rescue, hospital and rehabilitation facilities provide crucial support for the recovery ...
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    2 days ago
  • 300,000 students to benefit from free mental health services
    The Government is expanding and accelerating frontline mental health and wellbeing services at tertiary education institutes (TEI) to help students manage ongoing stresses related to COVID-19. “The lockdown has been hugely disruptive for students. Many of them have had to relocate and move to online learning, isolating them from their ...
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    2 days ago
  • Gang crime, meth harm targeted in Waikato
    The Minister of Police says a major operation against the Mongrel Mob in Waikato will make a big dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks. “Senior leadership of the Waikato Mongrel Mob has been taken out as a result of Operation Kingsville, which resulted in ...
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    3 days ago
  • Supporting victims and families to attend mosque attack sentencing
    The Government is extending the border exception criteria to enable some offshore victims and support people of the Christchurch mosque attacks to attend the sentencing of the accused beginning on 24 August2020, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “We want to support our valued Muslim brothers and sisters who were directly ...
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    3 days ago
  • Boost for community freshwater restoration projects
    A project to support volunteer efforts to look after streams and rivers is getting a boost thanks to support from DOC’s Community Conservation Fund announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today.  “The government is backing efforts to look after waterways with $199,400 for the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust from ...
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    3 days ago
  • More support for women and girls
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter today announced that funding for the COVID-19 Community Fund for women and girls will be doubled, as the first successful funding applications for the initial $1million were revealed. “Women and girls across the country have suffered because of the effects of COVID-19, and I ...
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    3 days ago
  • Crown accounts stronger than forecast with higher consumer spending
    The Government’s books were better than forecast with a higher GST take as the economy got moving again after lockdown, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the 11 months to the end of May indicate the year end results for tax revenue will be stronger than forecast. ...
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    3 days ago
  • Govt releases plan to revitalise wool sector
    A plan to revitalise New Zealand’s strong wool sector and set it on a new, more sustainable and profitable path was unveiled today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The newly-released report - Vision and Action for New Zealand’s Wool Sector - was developed by the Wool Industry Project Action Group ...
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    3 days ago
  • Funding for Predator Free Whangārei
    Community efforts to create a Predator Free Whangārei will receive a $6 million boost, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. The new funding, through Government company Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will create around 12 jobs while enabling the complete removal of possums over ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand remains deeply ...
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    4 days ago
  • Funding for Whangārei’s infrastructure projects revealed
    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced details of a multimillion-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects that will help it recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package ...
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    4 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
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    4 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
    Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara. “The new funding will allow Sustainable Kaipara to partner with local schools, kura, community ...
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    4 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
    The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. “This day has unfortunately been on the cards for some time now, but nevertheless the final decision is a ...
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    4 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
    New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a ...
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    4 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
    The Coalition Government has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers, Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced today. The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. “The age ...
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    5 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
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    5 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
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    5 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
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    5 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
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    5 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
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    5 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
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    5 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
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    5 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
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    6 days ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
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    6 days ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
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    6 days ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
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    6 days ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
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    6 days ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
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    6 days ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
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    6 days ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
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    6 days ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
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    6 days ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
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    1 week ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
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    1 week ago