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Ashcroft dealings under spotlight again

Written By: - Date published: 4:58 pm, September 29th, 2008 - 14 comments
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We’ve seen Mr Key look evasive on the topic of Lord Ashcroft, so when his name popped up in the British media over the weekend I had a closer look. It made me wonder exactly what Key and Ashcroft talked about recently – and whether there were any plans for companies to be set up in NZ as described in the story by Tom Parry (from The Mirror). He writes of trying to untangle the paper trail of Lord Ashcroft:

The paper trail that leads from Belize to Tory HQ in London is complex. Since March 2006, the peer has donated £3.1m to the Tories through a company called Bearwood Corporate Services Ltd (BCS).

Although foreign donations to British political parties are banned, the chain of ownership from BCS leads back to the Belize Bank’s main address. However the scheme is legal because the donations have been made by BCS which is registered in this country. BCS is majority owned by Bearwood Holdings, Bearwood Holdings is in turn owned by Astraporta UK – an Ashcroft investment arm – and Astraporta’s main shareholder is Stargate Holdings, based in Belize City.

Astraporta’s UK business address is an anonymous office block in Wokingham, Surrey.

Labour MP John Mann has written to the Electoral Commission calling for an investigation. Under the rules, BCS is required to “carry on business in the UK”.

The peer who bankrolls the Tories is ‘the boss’ of a poor tax haven

By Tom Parry In Belize City 27/09/2008

On a sleepy Sunday afternoon in the Caribbean tax haven of Belize a beggar collects scraps of food from the gutter of the country’s biggest bank.

It is difficult to believe this shabby building, 5,000 miles from Britain, is the heart of billionaire Tory deputy chairman Lord Michael Ashcroft’s vast business empire.

As the Tories gather in Birmingham for their conference, it is here in Belize City that millions are being generated for David Cameron’s election war chest via a complex chain of companies that leads to a British firm.

Britain’s 65th richest individual has a controlling hand in the lives of all Belize’s 300,000 citizens.

In every town the Belize Bank, which Ashcroft, 62, has owned since the 80s, is the only one able to exchange foreign currency. It made £15million last year.

Mobile phones and land lines use the Belize Telemedia (BTL) network, in which Ashcroft has a guiding hand.

On arrival in Belize City I discovered the six-storey Radisson Fort George Hotel – connected by private gate to Ashcroft’s neo-colonial mansion – blocked the sea view from my room. It was built by Johnston International, once owned by Lord Michael Ashcroft of Chichester KCMG.

The twice-wed Tory treasurer also had the shipping register, biggest TV network and electricity company.

The paper trail that leads from Belize to Tory HQ in London is complex. Since March 2006, the peer has donated £3.1m to the Tories through a company called Bearwood Corporate Services Ltd (BCS).

Although foreign donations to British political parties are banned, the chain of ownership from BCS leads back to the Belize Bank’s main address. However the scheme is legal because the donations have been made by BCS which is registered in this country. BCS is majority owned by Bearwood Holdings, Bearwood Holdings is in turn owned by Astraporta UK – an Ashcroft investment arm – and Astraporta’s main shareholder is Stargate Holdings, based in Belize City.

Astraporta’s UK business address is an anonymous office block in Wokingham, Surrey.

Labour MP John Mann has written to the Electoral Commission calling for an investigation. Under the rules, BCS is required to “carry on business in the UK”.

It is unclear what the it does, but a company spokesman said: “The Directors of Bearwood Corporate Services Limited wish to make clear, in the strongest possible terms, that all political donations made by Bearwood Corporate Services have been, and are, fully permissible, being in compliance in every respect with Section 54(2)(b) of the Political Parties, Elections & Referendums Act 2000.”

Ashcroft, meanwhile, refuses to say whether he has honoured a pledge made to William Hague in 2000 to return to Britain and pay tax. Former minister Denis MacShane said: “It is one of the biggest scandals of party funding that David Cameron refuses to come clean on Lord Ashcroft and his tax residence status.

“I cannot see how David Cameron can offer himself as a future PM unless or until he clears this up.”

Another man with longstanding experience of Ashcroft is Belize’s twice former Prime Minister Manuel Esquivel.

Dr Esquivel told us: “My relationship with Ashcroft soured after about two years.

“Everything he does operates out of the Belize Bank. After he bought it, many new laws were passed which everybody widely believes – and I don’t think he would deny – were basically written by his lawyers. Everything just escalated to where he became the boss.

“He, at all times, always says all he wants is a level playing field. He just wants to be treated fairly. Being treated fairly means you give him what he wants.”

Public Utilities Commission chairman John Avery added: “Belizean people on the whole are very anti-Ashcroft. He wants to control the country. He’s saying, ‘I can do what I want here’.”

In July the Committee to Oust Lord Ashcroft organised a protest prompted by a row involving aid. Court papers allege the Belize Bank, in which the tycoon has a 73 per cent stake, “unlawfully diverted” £5m donated by Venezuela for slum housing.

State lawyers claimed the bank secretly accepted the money to settle a debt incurred by a private hospital. The bank, however, says it is entitled to the funds which were guaranteed by Belize’s ex-PM Said Musa before he was ousted from office.

But in a dramatic twist, the bank’s chairman handed over a cheque to refund the missing grant on August 11 this year, after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

The Belize Bank insists it wants the money back.

Father-of-six Bob Meighan lives in a crumbling building in a poor Belize City suburb was due a portion of the £5m. Bob, 45, said: “We are bitterly angry. Even if Michael Ashcroft was not directly involved, if you own the company you should know what is going on.”

Separately, Ashcroft’s bank faced 79 counts of failing to report suspicious transactions under local money laundering laws, later dropped. The bank denied any wrong doing. Ashcroft, who holds both British and Belizean citizenship, promised to “take up permanent residence in the UK” when he joined the House of Lords. Yet in 2004, in the Lords expenses register, he listed his main residence as Belize. He first went there as a seven-year-old boy when his diplomat father, Eric, was posted to what was then British Honduras. Little did the family know their son was designed to become a magnate … and 30 years later return to his childhood home. When he was aged just 28 Ashcroft embarked on a fruitful career of buying and selling failing firms. His most profitable recent sell-off made him £135m overnight. Having made his fortune, Ashcroft realised Belize – with loose tax laws – would be a perfect base. It is a country where, according to the peer’s 2005 biography, his interests have been “exempt from certain taxes for 30 years”.

These days Ashcroft, who has a personal fortune of £1.1billion, slips in unnoticed in his private jet used by Cameron and other top Tories for foreign trips.

He retains many friends, like ex-Miss Belize Ysela Zabaneh, who won the crown in 1990. Ysela, 38, said: “He has done a lot for us. He is like the Godfather.”

Ashcroft makes much of his charitable donations in his memoirs, but Dr Esquivel insisted: “We don’t need charity if he’d pay his taxes. You withhold a million dollars from us and dispense a thousand in charity. That’s public relations, not really a fair deal.”

Lord Ashcroft’s spokesman insists he has a “right to privacy in relation to his tax affairs”.

A Tory spokesman said: “The Conservative Party compliance unit applies two strict tests to all company donations in accordance with Electoral Commission guidance. They are: 1) Is the company UK registered and 2) Is the company trading? The donations from Bearwood Corporate Services Limited met those tests and were legal and permissible.”

Donations originate from Stargate Holdings, registered at the same address as the Belize Bank, which Ashcroft has owned since the 80s.

The cash then passes through Astraporta, a UK holding company with offices in Wokingham, Surrey, above, and from there to Bearwood Corporate Services, the official donor to the Conservatives.

Even if Ashcroft was not directly involved, if you own the company you should know what is going on.

14 comments on “Ashcroft dealings under spotlight again”

  1. Pat 2

    Clutching at straws, I’m afraid. Need to find better muck to throw at Key than this.

  2. Pascal's bookie 3

    Y’reckon this Ashcroft chappie’s all good then Pat. No worries, just the type of go getter we should pleased our pollies are hangin’ about with.

    or is it no bloody peons business who tories hang out with.

  3. Felix 4

    Pat never got the “by the company you keep” speech as a child I take it…

  4. Pat 5

    Our “Pollies” and their leader were happy to take Ashcrofts’s money to get the medals back.

  5. Pascal's bookie 6

    What?

    I mean, I know Ashcroft gave some reward for the return of the stolen medals, but WTF?

    That entitles him to what exactly? Four free meetings, agenda concealed? How is it supposed to work Pat?

    Help a brother out ’cause you’re not making a hella lotta sense. You seem like you have something you want to say, but, nah actually you just seem like you are running diversion.

    What pollies took his money? Are you saying Helen Clark stole the medals? Or did she collect the reward? Is this some new IanWishartspecialnews:BREAKING11ONE1?

    Really though. Our “Pollies’ and their leader were happy to take Ashcrofts’s money to get the medals back.

    What do you mean by that? How is that relevant?

    You said something about clutching and straws.

  6. Rose 7

    Pascal’s bookie,
    you seem a little paranoid? He just gave a REWARD for there return……calm down
    Hardly surprising however that the Leader of the opposition would meet with a member of the opposition in the UK??
    I find it amazing that you are you so worried about this non event and you are happy to condone your party perverting the course of justice and ignoring the findings of the highest court in the land??
    Maybe its time to open your eyes and get that chip off your shoulder!

  7. rave 8

    Yeah there’s lots of Key conversations that would be very interesting to overhear.
    Mr Rail America will you be buying Tranz rail?
    Mr Lord Ashcroft will you be buying our election?
    Mr Merrill Lynch, ah…I mean Mr Bank of America, will you be buying up kiwi dollars or selling?
    Mr Hide will you please go back to being Dr Jekyll?
    Mr Winston, please come back all is forgiven.
    Mr Sharples, if I give you the seats will you give me the country?
    Mr English I didnt vote for myself, honestly…

  8. John Stevens 9

    HC will sell her sole to keep in power.
    Hello Winnie, fancy a ride?

    Paranoid lefties, Mr. Ashcroft is an honourable gentleman just like Owen & Winnie.

    Maybe we should be asking questions on people HC meets at these socialist leaders conferences behind closed doors and what they are saying.

    [lprent: Why exactly do you think that Helen sells fish? Sometimes the inadvertent humour of these troll comments is amusing. At least this dickhead normally keeps his comment levels down and sometimes writes things that are vaguely interesting. Still not worth engaging, but I think that I should assist with the spelling.]

  9. John Stevens,

    Sole sounds pretty cheap for the prime ministerial role to me. LOL

    Pat,

    For someone in the finance industry you sure sound naive.
    Have you been reading the newspapers lately.

    John Key and his Wall street mates have created the biggest speculative bubble ever for the last twenty years and it’s coming down around our ears as I write this.

    No bailout plan is stopping this sucker from going down as Dubbya so eloquently put it.

  10. Matthew Pilott 11

    Her sole, John Stevens? Her sole what? Toaster?

    Maybe we should be asking questions on people HC meets at these socialist leaders conferences behind closed doors and what they are saying.

    That would be distinctly better than posting nonsensical comments here. Unlike you, if Clark was doing the equivalent of Key, people here would probably notice and care.

  11. Felix 12

    John, I can see you’re not what anyone would normally describe as a smart man, but I’d still love to hear your reasoning for labeling Ashcroft as “honourable”.

    My guess is that you’d never heard heard of him until you saw him on TV a couple of weeks ago, you haven’t read or learned anything about him except what you’ve seen on the TV news, and you base your judgment solely (there it is) on the fact that Key likes him.

  12. Dom 13

    I think JS is one of those people who is impressed by private planes and titles like ‘Lord’.

    He also thinks Helen would sell her fish (or is that part of her shoe?) to stay in power…

    Thanks for posting all this inforamtion. Clearly Key did not Google Ashcroft before agreeing to meet with him.

  13. Go The Right 14

    Who cares really you guys are struggling on Key must be really pissing you off. What ever you find will be no worse than Mike William’s going over to see Owen Glenn. Cap in hand asking for the big cheque, and a job as well because he knows Labour is gone on November 8th.

    [lprent: Really. Tell me do you ever have anything interesting to say?]

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    SciBlogsBy Otago Marine Science
    6 days ago
  • Time for Grant Robertson to reveal package #2?
    On March 17, Finance Minister Grant Robertson was quick out of the blocks with an economic rescue package to help businesses through the inevitable recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic. Robertson had pulled together a scheme in short order that so far seems to have saved many jobs. In his ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    6 days ago
  • Saving lives
    The purpose of the lockdown is to save lives, by reducing the spread of covid-19. We won't know if its really working for another week, but given the devastation that will result if it doesn't - 14,000 dead is the optimistic scenario - its definitely worth trying. But pausing the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 5
    . . March 30: Day five of living in lock-down… Woke up still in darkness. Alarm hadn’t gone off. Turn to radio clock; it’s a few minutes after 6am… I lie there in the dark, waiting to drift off to sleep… but it ain’t happening. Clock ticks over to 6.55 ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Speaker: Les Gray: the man who told the truth
    The story of Les Gray, the public sector psychologist who told the truth about his use of cannabis and set off a storm, has a special place in the lore of cannabis reform in New Zealand.When Paul Shannon interviewed Gray for the 'Dope and Hope' issue of Planet magazine in ...
    6 days ago
  • Why now? Historical specificity and the perfect storm that has created trans identity politics
    by Phil Duncan For Marxists, a key concern about social trends is their context – not just their causes, but why they happen when they do.  Events and phenomena have causes, but they also are time or period-specific. While much of the left have capitulated recently to postmodernism, most notably ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Time for a living wage for supermarket workers
    Since the lockdown began, we've all suddenly been reminded who the actually essential workers in our society are: not the people at the top who pay themselves the big bucks and rort the perks, but the people at the bottom they screw over and squeeze: cleaners, warehouse staff, truck drivers ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: MUSIC: Lockdown Grooves
    Kia ora! As I've watched nearly all my remaining work vanish over the past couple of days, it has occured to me that one good way to keep me away from arguing with fools on Twitter all the time (in the knowledge that all we're really doing is processing our ...
    1 week ago
  • A place of greater safety?
    Aotearoa New Zealand has committed to trying to extirpate the virus that causes COVID-19 from its shores. To do that, as a society we’ve moved to “Level 4”. That means adapting to unprecedented restrictions on our personal freedoms, particularly to our rights to move freely and associate with friends and ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    1 week ago
  • The police and public trust
    When the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency last week, she handed the police powers to enforce it. And almost immediately, we started hearing about heavy-handed, arbitrary "enforcement" by police who (at best) cared more about order than law, or (more likely) had no idea what the rules were ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 4
    . . Lock Down: Day 4 – A photo essay with observations . March 29: Usual wake up routine as RNZ snaps on my radio-clock. Jim Mora’s voice slowly enters my conciousness; there’s talk of a second wave of covid19 taking hold in South Korea; the week in Parliament – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 vs New Zealand
    Yesterday, New Zealand recorded its first Covid-19 related death on the West Coast. Unfortunately this is unlikely to be the only fatality, with the virus now being found in every region of the country.However despite the significant danger, people are still unfortunately breaching lockdown rules.There’s really only one main very ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #13
    Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... ‘Misinformation kills’: The link between coronavirus conspiracies and climate denial   Grist / Rob Kim / Stringer / CSA Images  Scientific ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 4
    The kids did surprisingly well today – meltdown count was about 3, and mostly fairly short ones. (And a fourth while I was writing.) Game-wise I had a go at Fell Seal: Arbiter’s Mark. It’s a fairly standard RPG with turn-based combat and what they call a “mature storyline” (it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Letter to a friend
    by Don Franks Hi David, Nice hearing from you, I’m glad to hear you’re getting by okay in these grim times. You asked how’s it going for us back here in New Zealand. You would have heard that the whole country is locked down and with breaks for exercise and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 3
    . . Lock Down: Day 3 – A photo essay with observations . March 28: First day of the first weekend in Lock Down. It feels like it’s been weeks since only Level 3 was declared last Tuesday, only four days ago. Woke up this morning to RNZ; coffee; toast, ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 22, 2020 through Sat, Mar 28, 2020 Articles Linked to on Facebook Sun, Mar 22, 2020 In Just 10 Years, Warming Has Increased the Odds of Disasters by Chelsea Harvey, ...
    1 week ago
  • Rāhui day 3
    I’m here in lockdown with my flatmate and her two girls (6 and 2) and it. is. a time. They’re usually really active so to start with the only boardgame in the house is the copy of Guess Who that the 6 year old got for her birthday. Flatmate commented ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • A test of civil society.
    The CV-19 (COVID) pandemic has seen the imposition of a government ordered national quarantine and the promulgation of a series of measures designed to spread the burden of pain and soften the economic blow on the most strategically important and most vulnerable sectors of society. The national narrative is framed ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 2
    . . Lock Down: Day 2 – A photo essay with observations . March 27 – Day 2 of our Strange New World. The Park and Ride near my suburb, usually filled with hundreds of vehicles, had just… four; . . Another drive into Wellington City on a highway nearly ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • How Do You Feel? What Do You Think?
    Fortune's Children: Under extraordinary pressure, the leader of the Government and the leader of the Opposition will each show us what they are made of. Have they been blessed with intelligence, grace, wit, poise, toughness, empathy and humour – and in what measure? More importantly, to what extent have they ...
    1 week ago
  • Landlords are NOT an essential service
    If you’ve ever had the misfortune of having to rent a property on the open market in New Zealand, which is one of the most expensive in the entire world, you’ll likely be keenly aware of just how arrogant and entitled landlords and their real estate agents can be.Unfortunately for ...
    1 week ago
  • A “new Society” post-COVID19 will definitely emerge. The question is: on what path?
    Society-wise, aside from the specific morbidity shall we say of the medically-oriented aspects of this COVID-19 crisis, what is unfolding before the world is in more than one way an instructive study of humanity and reactions to a high intensity, high stress environment in real time. Friends, we are at ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    1 week ago
  • Raise the Bar: Everything you need to know about the wage subsidy
    Right now low waged and insecure workers are feeling the economic brunt of the looming #Covid19 Recession. In response legal advocate Toby Cooper* and hospitality and worker’s rights advocate Chloe Ann-King, are putting together a series of legal blogs about your employment rights: In this legal blog we outline some ...
    PosseBy chloeanneking
    1 week ago

  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    29 mins ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Strong Govt books support ‘go hard, go early’ response
    New Zealand’s ability to go hard and go early in the fight against COVID-19 has been underpinned by strong Government finances and the growing economy heading into this global pandemic, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Treasury today released the Crown financial statements for the eight months to the end ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Christchurch Hospital Hagley ICU to open to support COVID-19 response
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says 36 new intensive care beds at Christchurch Hospital’s new Hagley building are being fast tracked so they are available for treatment of COVID-19 patients.   The Ministry of Health is working with contractor CPB and Canterbury DHB to enable access to the hospital’s ICU, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government supports Air NZ freight flights
    The Government has fast-tracked up to $1 million to help Air New Zealand move urgent freight to and from New Zealand, with the first flight to Shanghai leaving tonight, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. Phil Twyford says it’s crucial that trade in vital goods such as medical supplies and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tariff concessions on COVID-19 related products
    New Zealand will temporarily remove tariffs on all medical and hygiene imports needed for the COVID-19 response. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi said today that the New Zealand Customs Service will apply tariff concessions to all diagnostic reagents and testing ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Clarification of modification to wage subsidy scheme
    Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme announced yesterday mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person’s normal income is less than the level of the subsidy. “We still want employers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Face masks flowing to DHBs
    Medical face masks from the national reserve supply are now being distributed to District Health Boards, while at the same time local production is being ramped up. Yesterday more than 640,000 masks were sent to DHBS – that is an immediate two week supply, with more to follow in coming ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19: Further steps to protect New Zealanders’ jobs
    The Government has made modifications to the wage subsidy scheme to ensure people don’t lose their jobs during the national lockdown. These changes will soften the impact of COVID-19 on workers, families and businesses, and position them to exit the lockdown and look to recovery, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Tax relief for Mycoplasma Bovis farmers
    Farmers whose herds were culled in response to the outbreak of Mycoplasma bovis will be able to minimise the tax treatment of their income in some circumstances. Revenue Minister Stuart Nash says Cabinet has agreed to change the law. It means farmers may be eligible to spread their income over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $27 million for NGOs and community groups to continue providing essential services
    A $27 million dollar package, effective immediately, is being provided to social sector services and community groups to ensure they can continue to provide essential support to communities as we stay at home as a nation to stop the spread of COVID-19, Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni announced. “At ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Statement on guilty plea of March 15 terrorist
    “The guilty plea today will provide some relief to the many people whose lives were shattered by what happened on March 15,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. “These guilty pleas and conviction bring accountability for what happened and also save the families who lost loved ones, those who were injured, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19 updates
    The Prime Minister is holding daily press conferences to update New Zealanders on the Government's response to COVID-19. Links to videos and transcripts of these updates below. These transcripts also include All of Government press conferences led by Director Ministry of Health's Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield. 25 March: Live update from the Prime ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Police numbers break through 10,000 mark
    Frontline Police numbers have broken through the 10,000 mark for the first time in history as officers step forward to keep the community safe during the COVID19 lockdown. “Two Police graduations in Auckland and Wellington in the past week have been conducted in unprecedented circumstances,” Police Minister Stuart Nash said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent tax measures for economic recovery
    Urgent legislation has been passed to support the package of economic and social measures needed to recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. “The COVID-19 Response (Taxation and Social Assistance Urgent Measures) Bill will cushion New Zealanders from the worst economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Revenue Minister ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Further support for farmers and growers as drought persists
    From tomorrow, Government support for farmers and growers affected by drought will be expanded and extended across the country, with access to Rural Assistance Payments (RAPS) available throughout the North Island, parts of the South Island and the Chatham Islands, Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni announced. “These challenging conditions have ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Temporary changes to Education Act
    Parliament has passed amendments to legislation that give the Secretary of Education stronger powers to act in the fight to limit the spread of COVID-19, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “They are part of a suite of changes passed under the COVID-19 Response (Urgent Management Measures) Legislation Bill,” Chris ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar join NZ and Singapore in committing to keeping supply a...
    Canada, Australia, Chile, Brunei and Myanmar have joined forces with New Zealand and Singapore by committing to keep supply chains open and remove any existing trade restrictive measures on essential goods, especially medical supplies, in the face of the Covid-19 crisis.  Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker today welcomed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • COVID-19: Rent increase freeze and more protection for tenants
    Immediate freeze on rent increases Tenancies will not be terminated during the lock-down period, unless the parties agree, or in limited circumstances Tenants who had previously given notice can stay in their if they need to stay in the tenancy during the lock-down period Tenants will still be able to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Working together to protect businesses and workers
    As New Zealand unites to lock-down in the fight against COVID-19, the Finance Minister is urging all businesses and workers to stay connected over the next four weeks. “We understand the extreme pressure many businesses are under right now. I know most business owners think of their workers as family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • State of National Emergency declared to fight COVID-19
    A State of National Emergency has been declared across the country as the Government pulls out all the stops to curtail the spread of COVID-19. “Today we put in place our country’s second ever State of National Emergency as we fight a global pandemic, save New Zealanders’ lives and prevent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s statement on State of National Emergency and Epidemic Notice
    Mr Speaker I wish to make a Ministerial Statement under Standing Order 347 in relation to the recent declaration of a State of National Emergency. Having considered the advice of the Director Civil Defence Emergency Management, the Minister of Civil Defence declared a State of National Emergency for the whole of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago