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Another Wong whitewash

Written By: - Date published: 9:36 am, September 6th, 2011 - 30 comments
Categories: corruption - Tags:

The Auditor-General has released her investigation into Pansy and Sammy Wong’s use of the publicly funded parliamentary travel budget. She finds there was “no pattern of wrong doing”. Looking at the report you’ll see why – and you’ll be left with more questions than answers…

Recap: The Auditor-General was asked by rortbusting Labour MP Pete Hodgson to investigate Pansy Wong’s use of the Parliamentary travel perk for business purposes. Strictly against Parliament and Cabinet’s rules. This was after a previous report (the McPhail report) failed to look at any more evidence besides interviewing the Wongs.

So what did the Auditor-General look at?

“The financial information we reviewed
1.20 Our request for detailed information about Mr and Mrs Wong’s travel and for comprehensive financial records led Mr and Mrs Wong to carefully review their financial information for this whole period. Mr Wong told us that he had identified a small number of instances where he had incorrectly recorded some private expenses as business expenses. He has taken steps to reverse these errors”

Right. So she had everything. All the financial details. Everything Mr and Mrs Wong wanted her to have… uhhh….

OK. Aside from the financials she obviously would’ve done some hard research on the core of the problem: Figuring out whether the Wongs trips funded for by the taxpayer were bona fide and absolutely not for private business gain. Let’s see what she looked into:

There were nine of these trips where the conclusions in the Parliamentary Service report had been called into question as a result of the later information we had received. We asked Mr and Mrs Wong for detailed explanations of these trips, and analysed their financial records to test those explanations.

Again, it appears the AG has simply gone to the Wongs and asked them what they think. I thought that was the exact problem with the previous McPhail report… Indeed wasn’t that supposedly the whole purpose behind the new report!? The AG looked into nine of the Wongs trips and you’ve got to wonder how much time and effort was put into this research. As an example look at the research behind ‘trip e’.

We specifically asked whether he [Sammy Wong] had any connection with Dalian Locomotives, or the company China North Rail (CNR), or had visited either while in Dalian. We did so because of the speculation that Mr Wong had a connection with the rail industry and because CNR has done some business in New Zealand. Mr Wong told us that he had no connection with the companies and had not visited them while in Dalian. We note that nothing in his financial information suggested a connection with any of these businesses

So the Auditor-General verified Sammy Wong’s statement by checking the financial information provided by… Sammy Wong. Makes sense, doesn’t it? It goes on… read what the AG said about ‘trip h’.

We also asked about a signing ceremony for a Memorandum of Understanding that Mr and Mrs Wong attended in Lianyungang, for the company New Zealand Pure & Natural Limited. Given that Mr Wong is a shareholder in this company (as is Mr Yang), we asked whether he regarded it as a business activity, and why they had not mentioned it in the Parliamentary Service investigation.

Mr Wong told us that the company is a shell company only. It does not trade and has no physical office. He explained that a ceremony of the kind they attended, where a Memorandum of Understanding is signed, is a common occurrence in China and is largely a public relations exercise or courtesy. It is in effect a declaration of friendship, and does not create any binding agreement, or indicate any intention to do business together or follow up the relationship. He had not recalled the ceremony or given it any significance until it was raised in this process.

Other than the matters already discussed in the Parliamentary Service report, we found no evidence of business revenue, expenses, or activity relating to this trip.

Now I feel like Jon Stewart having just watched yet another absurd Fox New clip.

Seriously?! A shell company? Is she serious? “It does not trade, it has no office?” OF COURSE IT’S ABOVE BOARD. It all makes sense… Everything must be perfectly swell then. I mean, it’s a cultural thing right… Right…? No need to look further into this folks. Nothing to see here.

In fact, the only trip where the AG says Sammy Wong was in the wrong was on his visit to the hovercraft factory (trip g), which was very clearly for business purposes. That incident was of course the one we all know about already.

And the AG’s report, like the McPhail report doesn’t cover most of the suspect flights. The Wongs took an incredible five trips to China during Pansy’s time as minister. Only one of them is covered in this report (trip g). What about all the subsequent ones? Why hasn’t the AG investigated?

So what new things exactly has the Auditor-General told us with her latest report? It raises a heck of a lot more questions than answers that’s for sure.

30 comments on “Another Wong whitewash”

  1. queenstfarmer 1

    I see this is filed under “corruption”. Just out of curiosity (based on your posts, nothing much would surprise me) who are you alleging has carried out the “whitewash”, Eddie?

    • Craig Glen Eden 1.1

      This Government is covered in the filth of self interest qf, deep down you know it but like the AG it dosn’t suit you to verbalize otherwise, but if this was a Labour minister you would have been all over it. Wong didnt resign her position for nothing.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    Another whitewash by the government to ensure that the government appears as pure as snow.

    • queenstfarmer 2.1

      So you are accusing the Auditor General (as she wrote the report) of corruption. I would like to know (just out of curiosity) if the author also shares this view.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1

        Well, when an investigator essentially takes the word of the investigated as gospel you really do have to question why. There’s only one answer.

        • queenstfarmer 2.1.1.1

          There’s only one answer when the report doesn’t say what you were hoping it would say (and of course, you are quite happy to casually throw any public servant under the bus to attempt to score political points).

          If you read the report (and if Eddie hadn’t deliberately omitted parts of it from his “summary” above), you would see, in relation to Trip E for example, the report says:

          Although one of the book-keeping errors discussed in paragraph 1.20 related to an expense on this trip, we found no other evidence to suggest that there was any business activity on this trip. Nor did we find any evidence of business revenue related to this trip

          So it was clearly not a case of “taking the word of the investigated as gospel”. The records examined were consistent with the interview evidence. But I guess that doesn’t square with the “one answer” – that the AG is corrupt – that you confess is the only outcome you can contemplate.

          • mik e 2.1.1.1.1

            Don’t forget Sammy Wongs Chinese partners in the hoovercraft company have defrauded the original New Zealander out of his company. The rail deal has been a disaster the engines can’t reach full speed because of inferior running gear the flat decks are having to be welded properly. And Jenny Shipley has her fingers in the pie.

  3. grey lynn girl 3

    And what about Sammy $75,000 for domestic air travel? This is about as independant as the Treasury forecasts for growth!

  4. Joe Bloggs 4

    An allegation of corruption against the Auditor-General is a very serious charge.

    I trust that you have equally serious proof to back up the implicit allegations in your post. If so then put up.

    Or is this just more smoke and mirrors, and comments framed as questions so there’s a whiff of plausible deniability if you’re challenged about your comments?

  5. Anne 5

    Who appointed this apology of an Auditor General?

    Didn’t she announce last year there would be no inquiry because she couldn’t find anything to inquire about? Words to that effect anyway. Well, it aint no surprise she came up with these findings. Anything else would have proven she had been wrong. Best hide the evidence under a bush and pretend it doesn’t exist.

  6. ianmac 6

    And the $1500.02 or so identified as “mis-spent” raises not a wisp of concern compared to Mr Carter’s roses or Jones erotic movies. Ya gotta be on the winning side!

    • Anne 6.1

      Ya gotta be on the winning side!

      Says it all!

      Parliament sits again today. Will Labour be asking urgent questions? Tbh, I don’t trust them to be on the ball. They, too, seem to want to bury their heads in the sand. Hope I’m wrong.

      • tc 6.1.1

        What’s the pojnt Anne ? The govt’s got it’s spin and story sorted and it’s trolls watching the blogs like the 2 regulars on this thread already. Worth set the benchmark for this type of issue.

        With less than 3 months for the GE I’d prefer they focused on the nat’s appalling economic record, youth unemployment, jobs, that head in the sand energy policy and that 10Bill hole in the budget which includes a firesale of power generators. Plenty to watch the gov’t BS about.

  7. Tom Gould 7

    Who investigates the Auditor-General? What is the mechanism to have her work independently reviewed?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1

      Did the staff of the Auditor general even carry out the work ?

      or was it passed on to a commercial auditing firm .

  8. Richard 8

    Ltd be like someone asking the couple who got $10m OD by Westpac by mistake, did you intend to rip off Westpac? ‘Oh no, we didn’t, but they just gave us the money, it was so tempting so we took it and ran’, and that being the end of it after it was paid back

    PFT

  9. Daveski 9

    Pot kettle black. Don’t forget that in the past, National has had a Field day at Labour’s expense over perceived whitewashes.

    From my perspective ie the other side of the fence, Labour has put too much effort into beltway issues which simply aren’t going to get traction or simply expose the hypocrisy of politicians of all/most political persuasion.

    • queenstfarmer 9.1

      National has had a Field day at Labour’s expense over perceived whitewashes

      I don’t recall National or its supporters (or those of most other parties) implying the Auditor General is corrupt. Accusing a political party of a whitewash is one thing – and fair game too – but accusing an Auditor General (or the entire office) of corruption, with no evidence, is a very serious matter. Unfortunately Labour and its supporters seem to be making a knee-jerk habit of doing this.

      I suppose DTB & co will be writing to Transparency International demanding that NZ be demoted from its top ranking on the anti-corruption index because of this rampant corruption.

      • tc 9.1.1

        No point, once we elected a banker backed by the Hollowmen the index adjusted itself.

        • queenstfarmer 9.1.1.1

          That’s a strange way of saying that NZ has stayed at #1.

          Although I expect the actual measurement would have taken a hit (or may yet) after Phillip Field became New Zealand’s first MP to be jailed for bribery and corruption.

  10. Ianupnorth 10

    What I find bewildering is the whole ‘Shipley and Wong Ltd.’ – so they set up a company, but, by chance, fate or otherwise, it never trades – why? Because the opportunities never arose, because it was a convenient way of facilitating meetings and/or getting a foot in certain doors.
     
    Call me cynical but

    Dame Jenny Shipley confirmed to us that she attended and spoke at this ceremony as a representative of another company. Mr Wong’s presence there was not connected to hers. She also confirmed that she and Mr Wong have not carriedout any business projects together

    Luck, fate, convenience – or the business opportunity never arose? these caring bastions of NZ society more interested in their own bank balances or the people back at home?
     
    And

    We looked for any evidence that might suggest that there was business activity on this trip or that it resulted in business revenue. The financial information we were given showed that Mr Wong received three payments from Alpha Group in 2010. Mr Wong explained that he began acting as an agent for Alpha Group
    from November 2010 and the payments were commission. This explanation corroborates other sources. We are satisfied there is no connection between this trip and the payments received more than five years later, in 2010.

    So he got paid a commission, but the company never traded? remind me to set one of those up, where you get paid for visiting a country and doing nothing!
    Also,

    We specifically asked whether he had any connection with Dalian Locomotives, or the company China North Rail (CNR), or had visited either while in Dalian. We did so because of the speculation that Mr Wong had a connection with the rail industry and because CNR has done some business in New Zealand. Mr Wong told us that he had no connection with the companies and had not visited them while in Dalian. We note that nothing in his financial information suggested aconnection with any of these businesses.

    If it is questionable he is hardly likely to reveal his taxi receipt to the rail yard is he?
     
    Someone is good at hiding stuff!

    • tc 10.1

      As per the classic BBC show ‘Yes Minister’ only form an inquiry/committee if you know the outcome/answer you want them to come up with.

      Via terms of reference/participants/alignment of responses….too easy, next trough for my personal wealth opportunities please, thanks national….ka ching.

      • queenstfarmer 10.1.1

        You really don’t have a clue do you tc.

        The Auditor General is a statutorily independent Officer of Parliament. The Wong inquiry was not “formed” or “ordered” by the Government, it was initiated by the AG itself, following information received from the public and Hodgson, and requests from Phil that it do so. The Govt did not set “terms of reference” or “participants” (nor could it) for the AG’s inquiry.

    • higherstandard 10.2

      Do you lot actually do any work at Lakelands ?

  11. Treetop 11

    The legal term “intent” is what bothers me about the AG’s report into the Wongs. Talk about organising your business affairs to take advantage of free air travel.

    Ari Smith’s honesty is refreshing as he had no intent to mislead anyone.

  12. Rodel 12

    I read somewhere that over the past few years 12% of ACT parliamentarians have been indicted for fraud stuff. Is that right?
    What are the figures for National and Labour?? (Fraud or thereabouts would do).
    And My gawd ,Isn’t Rodney quiet!!?
    What are his plans?-I miss him already. Have to turn to Fux news for my amusement now.

  13. rosy 13

    “no pattern of wrong doing”
    What does this phrase actually mean?
    Did she find a scatter of wrongdoing? And that makes it all right then?

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    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    1 week ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
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    1 week ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    1 week ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
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    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
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    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
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    1 week ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
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    2 weeks ago
  • War of the worms
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    2 weeks ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1000 of these now
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    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
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    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago

  • Cowboy clampers will be stymied
    Clayton Mitchell, Spokesperson for Consumer Affairs The ‘wheel clamping’ Bill that will cap clamper fees to $100 passed its third reading in Parliament today. New Zealand First welcomes The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill to combat predatory wheel clamping behaviour in what is currently a largely unregulated business. Cowboy clampers are: gouging ...
    11 hours ago
  • Mental Health Commission back on track
    Jenny Marcroft, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its first reading in Parliament. “Today’s progress takes serious action on the mental health and addiction crisis the country is facing,” says New Zealand First Health Spokesperson Jenny Marcroft. “The re-establishment ...
    11 hours ago
  • New Zealand’s key assets are not for sale: national interest test delivered
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries Today the Government announced the delivery of the promise to protect New Zealand interests by applying a new National Interest Test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. This further strengthening of the Overseas Investment Act will ...
    1 day ago
  • National interest test added to protect New Zealanders’ interests
    The Coalition Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high-risk assets to overseas buyers. Under current Overseas Investment Act (OIA) rules, assets such as ports and airports, telecommunications infrastructure, electricity and ...
    1 day ago
  • Electoral law breach allegations
    Rt Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First Allegations raised this morning by Stuff Limited / Fairfax concern a party matter but I am confident that New Zealand First has operated within electoral laws, now and for the last 27 years. Declarable donations were declared to the Electoral Commission. Our ...
    1 day ago
  • Wayne Brown hits back at critics: Ports of Auckland has to move
    The chairman of the Upper North Island Supply Chain Strategy (UNISCS) working group, Wayne Brown, has hit back at critics of his group’s recommendations to relocate the Ports of Auckland cargo operations to Whangarei’s deepwater port of Northport. The working group's recommendation to close Auckland waterfront to all but cruise ...
    2 days ago
  • Week That Was: Supporting our schools
    We're setting our young people up for success, investing in education around the country.  ...
    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    6 days ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    3 weeks ago

  • APEC 2021 Bill passes first reading
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has welcomed the first reading of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation 2021 (APEC 2021) Bill in Parliament today. The temporary bill supports New Zealand’s security preparations for hosting the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in 2021. “APEC is the leading economic and trade forum ...
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    3 hours ago
  • Making progress for our kids
    The Government is making progress on improving the wellbeing of the one million New Zealanders under the age of 18,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on World Children’s Day. The Government has today recommitted to the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history – the United Nation’s Convention on ...
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    9 hours ago
  • Māori women in business contribute to our economy, whānau and communities
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter has released a new report celebrating the contribution of Māori women in business across Aotearoa New Zealand. “Māori women are leaders in our communities, they employ many people and support our economy and our communities,” Julie Anne Genter said. The report, Ngā wāhine kaipakihi: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Two schools on the way for Omokoroa
    Four parcels of land have been bought in Omokoroa, in the Western Bay of Plenty District, for an education facility that will accommodate both a primary and secondary school on a campus-like facility, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Two parcels were acquired from private land owners and two were ...
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    11 hours ago
  • Families Package helps over 1 million New Zealanders in first year
    1 million New Zealanders warmed by the Winter Energy Payment 36,000 families bank the Best Start Payment in first year 6,000 more families received the Family Tax Credit, 220,600 in total   They receive an increase too – from an average of $117 to $157 a week for Inland Revenue clients, ...
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    13 hours ago
  • Clamp down on wheel clamping passes third reading
    New rules to clamp down on overzealous wheel clamping and extortionate fees charged in order to release a vehicle have passed their final stage in Parliament today. The Land Transport (Wheel Clamping) Amendment Bill has now passed its third reading. “These changes mean $100 will be the maximum wheel clamping ...
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    1 day ago
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill passes first hurdle
    An independent Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission is a step closer after it unanimously passed its first vote in Parliament today.  The Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill lays the groundwork for establishing the Commission as a fully independent crown entity – delivering on a key recommendation of He Ara ...
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  • Boosting border security with electronic travel authority – now over 500,000 issued
    We’ve improved border security with the NZeTA, New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority, which helps us to screen travellers for border and immigration risks off-shore before they travel to New Zealand. It was launched in August and became mandatory on 1 October 2019. More than 500,000 NZeTAs have been issued since ...
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    1 day ago
  • Plan of action to protect seabirds
    A proposed national plan of action to reduce the number of seabirds caught in fisheries is being circulated for public feedback. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage say New Zealand is a global centre of seabird diversity with about 145 species in our waters. It has more ...
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    1 day ago
  • National interest test added to overseas investment rules
    The Government is delivering on its promise to protect New Zealanders’ interests by applying a new national interest test to the sales of our most sensitive and high risk assets to overseas buyers. Associate Finance Minister David Parker said under current Overseas Investment Act rules, assets such as ports and ...
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    1 day ago
  • New housing part of support for Kaumātua
    The Government is building special housing to accommodate one of Aotearoa’s greatest taonga- our kaumātua, says the Minister for Māori Development, Hon Nanaia Mahuta.  Speaking at a National Kaumātua Service Providers Conference in Rotorua today, the Minister reinforced the importance kaumātua play in maintaining and passing on mātauranga Māori, knowledge, ...
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    1 day ago
  • Forestry helps prisoners into jobs
    Eleven men from a pilot forestry training programme for prisoners in Northland now have full time jobs or job offers upon release, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today. The ‘release to work’ programme was a collaboration between Te Uru Rākau and the Department of Corrections, ...
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    2 days ago
  • Reform of public service a step closer
    Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins today introduced into Parliament a Bill that will make it easier for the public service to tackle the biggest challenges facing Governments. The Bill represents the most significant change in the public service in 30 years. The State Sector Act 1988 will be repealed ...
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    2 days ago
  • Donations scheme to relieve pressure on families
    The families of more than 416,000 students will be better off next year as their schools have signed up to the Government’s donations scheme, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. The scheme will see almost $62.5 million in additional Government funding go to schools nationwide next year. “I’m really pleased ...
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  • Further support for Samoan measles outbreak
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    2 days ago
  • Speech to the Child Poverty Action Group 2019 Summit
      Fa’atalofa atu, malo e lelei, Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you to the Child Poverty Action Group for asking me to be here today to provide an update on some of the things that have been happening across my the social development portfolio.  Can I firstly acknowledge the vast ...
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    2 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Annual Conference
    ***Please check against delivery*** Good morning everyone. It is a pleasure to be with you this morning to open this year’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing Conference and AGM. Firstly, thank you Dr Alan Jackson, NZTR Chair for your introduction. And let us acknowledge also: The NZTR Board; Dean McKenzie, Chair ...
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    2 days ago
  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
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    3 days ago
  • Two decades of marine protection celebrated at Te Tapuwae o Rongokako in Tairawhiti
    A marine conservation milestone - the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Te Tapuwae o Rongokako Marine Reserve - is being celebrated today at a community event in Tairāwhiti/East Coast attended by the Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “The creation of this marine reserve in November 1999 was a game ...
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    4 days ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
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    4 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
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    5 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception. The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey. “It is important people can make ...
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  • NZ medical staff and measles vaccines going to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that at the request of the Samoan Government, New Zealand will be providing further support to Samoa as it faces a worsening measles outbreak. “In response to a request from the people of Samoa, New Zealand is providing 3000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) ...
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    6 days ago
  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
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    6 days ago
  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
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    6 days ago
  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading
    A Bill to improve the court system’s response to sexual violence has passed its first reading in Parliament today. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill will reduce the trauma sexual violence complainants experience in court, while maintaining defendants’ fundamental rights and making sure the trial process ...
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    6 days ago
  • Streamlined business invoicing a step closer
    Streamlined payment practices are a step closer for Kiwi businesses with the formal launch of New Zealand’s e-Invoicing framework. Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the government has now established the structure to enable automated and direct data exchange between the accounting systems of buyers and sellers. “The move to ...
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    6 days ago
  • More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZ
    Another 51 quarantine officers and four new biosecurity detector dog teams will help protect New Zealand from invasive pests and diseases this summer, says Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “The Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system and support our valuable primary sector “New Zealand’s flora, fauna ...
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    6 days ago
  • NZ space economy worth $1.69 billion
    A new report has found New Zealand’s space sector contributed $1.69 billion to the economy in the last financial year and employs 12,000 people, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. The report by Deloitte was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and shows New Zealand ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Chair for Royal Commission into Abuse
    Judge Coral Shaw has been appointed as the new Chair of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. "Judge Shaw, who is currently one of the inquiry commissioners, is extremely well qualified for the ...
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    6 days ago
  • Better mental health facilities for Palmerston North
    The Government has confirmed its third major mental health facility upgrade since the Budget, this time at Palmerston North Hospital. The Prime Minister and Health Minister today visited MidCentral DHB to announce that $30 million has been allocated to upgrade its acute mental health facility. It follows earlier announcements in ...
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    6 days ago
  • Bowel Screening hits halfway point
    The roll out of the National Bowel Screening Programme has reached the halfway mark, with 10 out of 20 District Health Boards now part of the programme. MidCentral DHB, which covers Palmerston North, Manawatu and surrounding districts, this week became the latest to DHB to offer free bowel screening to ...
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  • More vaccines for meningococcal disease
    The Government welcomes PHARMAC’s decision to fund a vaccine to protect young people from meningococcal disease from 1 December this year. “Meningococcal disease is a serious threat which people at higher risk should be protected from,” says Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter. “The combined pharmaceutical budget was increased by ...
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    6 days ago
  • Fisheries innovation projects supported
    Groups involved with innovative fisheries research projects are encouraged to apply for government support in the latest funding round from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures programme. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the SFF Futures funding is designed to be flexible enough to support small or large projects across a ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government fixes culturally arranged marriage visa issue
    The Government has fixed an issue affecting how Immigration New Zealand has processed visa applications for culturally arranged marriages, which will now see a consistent process applied which ensures people with legitimate arranged marriages can visit New Zealand while also preventing any rorting of the system. Earlier this year Immigration ...
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    1 week ago
  • Extension for Royal Commission into Mosque attacks
    The Royal Commission into the Attacks on Christchurch Mosques will report back on 30 April 2020 to give it more time to hear submissions and consider information, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. The Royal Commission was originally scheduled to report back to Government by 10 December 2019. “There has ...
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    1 week ago
  • Terrorism and Trade on agenda as Foreign Minister visits the United States
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington DC today to attend a ministerial meeting focused on defeating ISIS, and to continue pursuing New Zealand’s trade opportunities. Mr Peters will participate in a meeting of Foreign and Defence Ministers from key countries contributing to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Hoiho get extra support alongside 168 community conservation groups backing nature
    The recently crowned Bird of the Year, the hoiho/yellow eyed penguin, is getting a much needed helping hand alongside more than 168 other community conservation projects announced Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage today. 168 community conservation projects throughout New Zealand are benefiting from $8 million in government grants, including $500,000 ...
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    1 week ago
  • New safety measures for modified pistols
    Controls on assault rifles and semi-automatic firearms are to be broadened to include some types of pistols, under changes to a bill currently making its way through Parliament. Police Minister Stuart Nash has tabled a Supplementary Order Paper to the Arms Legislation Bill, which is currently before a Select Committee ...
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    1 week ago
  • Minister of Defence to visit Singapore and Thailand
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark will travel to Singapore today to conduct a counterpart visit and to co-chair the third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting with his counterpart, Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen. “Singapore is one of our most important defence partners in the region, and our ...
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    1 week ago