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First year of study free launched by Prime Minister Ardern

Written By: - Date published: 1:09 pm, December 5th, 2017 - 83 comments
Categories: education, jacinda ardern, labour, Politics - Tags:

Free study for everyone from next year, for first year.

No age restrictions.

Apprentices get two years free.

80,000 people starting off a new life, aiming for higher productivity.

Prime Minister Ardern, launching it at Aotea College, said to the 500-odd students in the assembly: “How many of you when you finish up in school plan to do some kind of education or training?

“We can prepare you by giving access to education or training, so we are launching here today, your first year of study will be absolutely free.”

She said the policy would help not only secondary school students, but also factory floor workers about to be replaced by machines.

“This is the beginning of us meeting the challenges of the future, but it’s also about investing in your future. Enjoy your next stage of education.”

My kind of government.

83 comments on “First year of study free launched by Prime Minister Ardern”

  1. Stunned Mullet 1

    Any word on the nuts and bolts of how this will be charged/reimbursed.

    • McFlock 1.1

      Why? If you need specific advice on how to administer the finances of your tertiary institution, I suggest you ask the ministry of education rather than commenters on a blog site.

      If you are planning on embarking on a course of tertiary study for the first time, your institution of choice will provide you information on the enrolment process.

      • Stunned Mullet 1.1.1


      • Michael 1.1.2

        The devil is always in the details with Labour policies, while it seems the bureaucrats who are supposed to administer the policy don’t know ithose details either. Meanwhile the voracious universities and polytechnics (need to pay their vice-chancellors’ latest [ay increases before Christmas) are happily whingeing that the policy is a cock-up. Meanwhile Nat MPs are retailing middle class whinges along the lines of: “why should next year’s first time students get something for nothing when I didn’t?” Unless theimplementation of this policy is handled flawlessly it will damage Labour among its core middle class constituency. That is a shame because making tertiary education affordable is a worthwhile policy for a government wanting to convince voters that it is keen to repudiate excesses of neoliberalism (but not so far as it will actually cost any of the middle classes anything).

        • McFlock

          Not all that much devil there. First years are free next year. Currently institutions charge a percentage to the student and the rest to the government. Doesn’t take an advanced degree in accounting to change the percentage.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    The middle-class MSM will focus on university for 18-19 year olds. But the real revolution is going to be in trades, diplomas and retraining.

    At last, a concrete step towards raising productivity.

  3. Heather Grimwood 3

    This detailed and easily understood policy shows real understanding of the situation of many…a real credit to the instigators.
    Seldom do those who can sail through expenses required for further education comprehend the position of those who can’t.
    For all those who will benefit : make the most of this great opportunity…you are now really privileged….every good wish ( and ensure you vote in 2020!).

  4. Bill 4

    “If you’re not a recent school leaver, and you’ve done less than half a fulltime year of education or training, you also qualify.”

    Unfortunately then, for all the mature students who dropped out of study because of debt, or because of age restrictions imposed by the National led government…no way back in.

  5. alwyn 5

    Is the policy going to pay for the Students Association levies and so on?
    At most Universities they are pretty well still compulsory I gather.

    Pity I am not eligible. I could almost be tempted to study something new in my old age. Medieval European music or something like that.

    • Stunned Mullet 5.1

      I was thinking of some classics papers for a laugh.

    • Nick 5.2

      You could study politics alwyn.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2.1



      • alwyn 5.2.2

        That is not an academic course.
        It seems to have become a trade course for budding MPs.

        For far to many people it is a Pol Sci degree, a job working for an MP, a place in a Minister’s office, getting onto the party list and then buggering around in Parliament.
        Every Party, in every Parliament is being taken over by those drones.

        Give me someone like Key who had a proper career and then went into politics in his 40’s rather than someone like Hipkins who has never had a proper job in his life.

        • Reality

          And Bill English has had how many “proper jobs”?

          • alwyn

            Probably only one.
            I don’t know if he worked anywhere other then Treasury before he entered Parliament. He was only about 28 when he went into Parliament.
            I’m not sure I would count summer holidays on the farm although he learned, and hasn’t forgotten, how to shear a sheep.
            Never did manage to get the hang of that myself, although I tried a few times.

        • McFlock

          Funnily enough, politics is the only profession where actually being trained in its nuances is somehow worse than being a rich dilettante. We expect our doctors to be trained and sober, yet apparently prefer our politicians to be drunk and incompetent. OK, I added “drunk”. Adds a certain style.

          God forbid a politician would know how legislation is formed, policy areas interact, and so on.

          • Psycho Milt

            Ha! For the kind of person who’s had a “proper” job facilitating currency speculators’ attacks on his own country’s dollar, those things are trivial matters unworthy of attention. That’s what you have flunkies for.

        • odysseus

          “Give me someone like Key who had a proper career…”. What? Like currency dealing???!!

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          This notion of ‘proper’ jobs is interesting.

          “He said, ‘If I put you in a room, Clive, you couldn’t do anything’.

          Morris Hayes.

          For “Clive” read “Dr. Sir John Key”. If you want to go judging people’s careers, that is.

        • Drum

          And shifting currency is a proper job?

    • Ad 5.3

      Would be good to see you do a post here on the prospects for the New Zealand economy. You can insert classical references.

    • I could almost be tempted to study something new in my old age. Medieval European music or something like that.

      Do it. You’ll probably enjoy it and also get to become an art director/critic/auctioneer/…

      I do find it amusing when you RWNJs come out with what you think are worthless courses that often have careers with pay-checks far more than what you’re getting now.

      • alwyn 5.4.1

        “come out with what you think are worthless courses”.
        What do you mean “worthless”?
        That was a perfectly serious comment. I think it would be interesting, regardless of any earning potential.

        ” with pay-checks far more than what you’re getting now.”
        I don’t know quite how to judge that. I retired nearly 25 years ago and haven’t had an actual “pay-check” since then.
        Since that time I have only earned money from our investments and from a variety of consulting jobs I am offered. They are not long term work and what I charge varies greatly depending on how interesting it seems. I don’t really care any more what I am paid. How much can you spend once you are past 70?

        What does an art critic or director earn anyway?

        • Draco T Bastard

          Since that time I have only earned money from our investments…

          Ah, so you’re a professional bludger.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Only in the sense that Capitalism bludges by nature.

          • alwyn

            “earned money from our investments…”
            Why did you leave out the rest of the sentence? Did it spoil your image to find that I was actually in demand sometimes?
            Even from a Labour Government on a number of occasions in the past.
            I merely did what the sainted Sir Michael Cullen wanted me to do of course.
            Saved to help provide for my own retirement.
            I take it you never save anything, and never invest in anything?
            And, incidentally why didn’t you tell me what the arty types can earn?

        • Ad

          Art critics are usually paid by the column, and it’s a hobby.

          Art directors of a dealer gallery do all right.

          I did a PhD in art history with dump loads of Frankfurt Marxism, ritual theory, and German phenomenology.

          Fair to say I don’t use a lot of it now. In fact I got out fast because no one told me the pay was crap and the curators made the neuroses of Handbag Labradoodles look like the Dalai Lama on Kaitaia’s finest hash brownies.

          • alwyn

            Well that certainly destroys any illusions I might have got from DTB’s comment at 5.4.
            That is information that was what Stephen Joyce wanted tertiary institutions to provide to their prospective students. He wanted them to be told what the course they were committing so much time and money to would mean to their future. Seemed a good idea to me.
            At my stage of life it wouldn’t matter of course. Any Music study I did would be purely for my own enjoyment.
            The image you offer in the final sentence is certainly a striking one though. I think it will make me check that I have a clear unobstructed path to the outside door when I visit any Gallery. Charles Manson may have had a brother running an Art Gallery.

    • Tricledrown 5.5

      Why are you not eligble Alwyn.

      • alwyn 5.5.1

        Far, far too many years of study already. You aren’t allowed to have had more that six months prior post-school study or suchlike.

    • Tricledrown 5.6

      Alwyn student association levies have long gone.

      • alwyn 5.6.1

        What I was thinking of was this fee. From Auckland University they mention

        “In addition to the tuition fees below, there is a Student Services Fee of $6.78 per point, estimated at $813.60 for full time study (120 points).”

        That is the equivalent of the old Student Association Isn’t it?

        • Tricledrown

          Democratically elected service provider cheap healthcare student job search sports career advice counselling and many buildings cheap at $15 pw.
          Helping students stay in education.

          • alwyn

            In other words yes it is the old Students Association Levies.
            It was the University’s way of helping the Students Association get round the voluntary membership of the Association.
            Just make the fee compulsory and hand the money over to the left wing Labour MPs in training to practice on.
            It is certainly not cheap if you don’t want to use ANY of the facilities is it?

    • red-blooded 5.7

      Yes, alwyn, the policy covers SA fees.

      • alwyn 5.7.1

        Thank you for the info.
        It doesn’t apply to me of course but I was curious whether it was all inclusive.
        I have grand-children who may be affected in a few years.

  6. What does this term ‘raising or aiming for higher productivity’ mean in the context of this initiative? Is it that people won’t be sitting on their bums or that they’ll get better jobs and make more money potentially, or something else? I can’t quite fathom it sorry.

  7. savenz 7

    I can already see a hitch if the aim is to get Kiwi citizen’s trained up.

    People on work visas entitled to fees-free apprenticeships and industry training


  8. James 8

    Looks like it’s limited to 12k – but that’s got to be a good help.

    • Cinny 8.1

      Far out yes 🙂 Such good news for those who want to be educated but simply can’t afford it.

  9. David Mac 9

    I think it’s a positive move towards addressing what the future holds for us. The menial jobs are disappearing. Google are coding us up taxi drivers.

    • BM 9.1

      The future will be no children unless approved by the state.

      Breeding people to sit around and do nothing is pointless and will lead to the collapse of society unless controls are put in place.

      Probably got about 10-15 years before some seriously hard calls need to be made.

      • David Mac 9.1.1

        Yep, that’s one visualisation of the future.

        I’m reluctant to subscribe. I’m frightened that if I was to over visualise a dire future I’d arrive at the conclusion: “Why bother getting there?”

        I’d rather get through the day with a zing in my step. Hope springs eternal.

        • BM

          It’s not dire, it’s just a natural progression.

          People living far far longer, most work done by computers and cyborg units, we’ve sort of made breeding a bit redundant.

          • David Mac

            You seem to be throwing out the apocalypse welcome mat BM.

            i’d prefer to see us poised to enter a new age of human civilisation.

            Once were taxi drivers, today ridding Alzheimer’s.

          • McFlock

            Well, two points argue against that.

            The first is that birth rates drop as standards of living increase. A society of great inequality where there are many poor people will have a population growth problem, but a developed society with no poor people would actually have an aging population problem.

            Secondly, if automation does all the work, why should the owners of the robots keep all the profits? Either they voluntarily recirculate the profits throughout the land, or their capitalist system collapses. It’s interesting that you went to “cull the population” long before you considered a non-capitalist, even currency-less, society.

      • Breeding people to sit around and do nothing is pointless and will lead to the collapse of society unless controls are put in place.

        1. We already have people breeding others to do nothing – it’s the rich and they are destroying society.
        2. There’s actually a hell of a lot for people to do if we remove jobs – there’s research and development, care giving, health services and numerous other work that requires higher education and people being well looked after.
        3. The Earth is already over-populated due to the capitalists and their idea that they can always make more profit if there’s more people to sell to.

  10. adam 10

    I for one am glad apprentices got a break. Would have liked them to get it totally free so they feel they can stay in NZ without debt around their necks.

    But on the whole, a good move by this government.

  11. Antoine 11

    Nice to see a bit of targeting (apprentices and trainees)


  12. Antoine 12

    Question. Does the Govt:
    (a) forbid tertiary institutions from charging fees to students using a free year? (if so, how can it do this?) – Or,
    (b) allow them to charge, but pay the fees itself? (if so, how can it make the institution keep the fees down to a reasonable level?)


    P.S. I am not concern trolling, I am genuinely interested because I don’t know how this works.

  13. Sparky 13

    We used to have three years free tertiary education before Labour took it away. Still a step in the right direction but not a big enough step and don’t be surprised if the Nats take it away at some point in the future.

    • Ed 13.1

      They may find it hard to repeal.

    • solkta 13.2

      It was National!

      • It was the 4th Labour government that started the reforms in the 1980s:

        In the late 1980s, as had happened earlier in other areas of the public sector, the tertiary education sector was opened up to the forces of the free market. A series of competitive policies were introduced by the Labour government with the intention of making tertiary institutions more financially self-sufficient. Increasing demand for places at tertiary institutions, and pressure to expand the tertiary education system meant that the government could not be relied upon for a significant chunk of the funding required by tertiary institutions. Tertiary education in New Zealand, from 1990 onwards—in simple terms—operated on a “user pays” basis. The student loans scheme was introduced to assist students with their fee payments. Students were not happy, and mass protests, complete with banners, placards and arrests, ensued.

        • solkta

          Oh. OK.

          • McFlock


            Lockwood Smith signed a pledge in 1989/1990 to repeal the student loans system and lower fees again if National won the 1990 election.

            Instead they doubled down.

            The pisser is that students’ and university unions totally predicted the outcome: massive debt inflating professional fees, and keeping the disadvantaged poor and uneducated. Money that could go on education goes on marketing competitive institutions against each other. Some institutions inflate student numbers and lower course difficulty, others restrict entry to people who have had the advantage of better schooling and private tutors (sorry, “restrict academic progression to preferred courses based on academic achievement”).

            But worst of all, an education is now just a tool to get a better job. We lose blue-skies study in favour of just doing what you need to do to get a qualification that current employers think they want.

  14. Angel Fish 14

    An education system is ONLY free when it’s CURRICULUM is made free!
    What Labour is doing is not free education, it’s tax payer funded education!
    Call it as it is! As long as the curriculum is behind curtains, education will not cannot be free!

    • Ad 14.1

      Would it be easier for you if I said “free to the student.”

      As in, when you drive on New Zealand roads, you should say “Free to the driver”

      Or, taking out a library book, you should say “Free to the borrower”

      Or, a citizen getting an examination at a hospital, you should say “Free to the patient”

      Rather than using your actual common sense and saying “First year of education is free”
      Like an actual logical person.

      On the other hand, you can add useless words into the sentence if you like.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.2

      The NZ curriculum.

      I think tax-payers should get down on their filthy knees and beg to fund education.

  15. SSG 15

    The funny thing is that when these kids graduate, most of them are
    going to whine about Labour policy and will vote for National because
    of promise of less taxes. They won’t care to pay a fee to pass the benefit that
    they received.lol. Well I guess, it’s sad more than funny…

    • Ad 15.1

      It’s a free country. They can, thanks to Labour, think and express what they like, and we should all just let them.

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    3 days ago
  • Concern at introduction of national security legislation for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong.  “We have a strong interest in seeing confidence maintained in the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong ...
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    4 days ago
  • Samoa Language Week theme is perfect for the post-COVID-19 journey
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, says the theme for the 2020 Samoa Language Week is a perfect fit for helping our Pacific communities cope with the unfolding COVID-19 crisis, and to prepare now for the journey ahead as New Zealand focuses on recovery plans and rebuilding New ...
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    4 days ago
  • Adult kakī/black stilt numbers soar
    A nearly 40-year programme to protect one of New Zealand’s most critically endangered birds is paying off, with a record number of adult kakī/black stilt recently recorded living in the wild, the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage announced today. “Thanks to the team effort involved in the Department of Conservation’s ...
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    5 days ago
  • Waikato-Tainui settlement story launched on 25th anniversary of Treaty signing
    The story of the Waikato-Tainui Treaty process and its enduring impact on the community is being told with a five-part web story launched today on the 25th anniversary of settlement, announced Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “I am grateful to Waikato-Tainui for allowing us to help capture ...
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    5 days ago
  • Taita College to benefit from $32 million school redevelopment
    Taita College in the Hutt Valley will be redeveloped to upgrade its ageing classrooms and leaky roofs, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “The work is long overdue and will make a lasting difference to the school for generations to come,” Chris Hipkins said. “Too many of our schools are ...
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    5 days ago
  • Redeployment for workers in hard-hit regions
    The Government is allocating $36.72 million to projects in regions hard hit economically by COVID-19 to keep people working, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Projects in Hawke’s Bay, Northland, Rotorua and Queenstown will be funded from the Government’s $100 million worker ...
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    5 days ago
  • $35m to build financial resilience for New Zealanders
    A $35m boost to financial capability service providers funded by MSD will help New Zealanders manage their money better both day to day and through periods of financial difficulty, announced Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni. “It’s always been our position to increase support to key groups experiencing or at risk ...
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    6 days ago
  • New District Court Judge appointed
    Dunedin barrister Melinda Broek has been appointed as a District Court Judge with Family Court jurisdiction to be based in Rotorua, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Broek has iwi affiliations to Ngai Tai. She commenced her employment in 1996 with Scholefield Cockroft Lloyd in Invercargill specialising in family and ...
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    6 days ago
  • $206 million investment in upgrades at Ohakea Air Force Base
    The Coalition Government has approved a business case for $206 million in upgrades to critical infrastructure at Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, with the first phase starting later this year, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. The investment will be made in three phases over five years, and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Review of CAA organisational culture released
    Transport Minister Phil Twyford today released the Ministry of Transport’s review of the organisational culture at the Civil Aviation Authority. Phil Twyford says all employees are entitled to a safe work environment. “I commissioned this independent review due to the concerns I had about the culture within the CAA, and ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Board appointed at Stats NZ
    Ensuring that Stats NZ’s direction and strategy best supports government policy decisions will be a key focus for a new Governance Advisory Board announced today by the Minister for Statistics, James Shaw. The new Governance Advisory Board will provide strategic advice to Stats NZ to ensure it is meeting New ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Principal Environment Judge
    Environment Judge David Kirkpatrick of Auckland has been appointed as the Principal Environment Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  Judge Kirkpatrick was appointed an Environment Judge in February 2014. From December 2013 to July 2016 he was Chair of the Auckland Unitary Plan Independent Hearings Panel. Prior to appointment he ...
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    1 week ago
  • Digital connectivity boost for urban marae
    A programme to connect marae around the country to the internet has received $1.4 million to expand to include urban marae in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Kris Faafoi and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The funding for the Marae Connectivity Programme ...
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    1 week ago
  • Govt increases assistance to drought-stricken Hawke’s Bay farmers
    The Government will provide $500,000 to the Hawke’s Bay Mayoral Drought Relief Fund to help farmers facing one of the worst droughts in living memory, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “Yesterday afternoon I received a letter from Hawke's Bay's five local Government leaders asking me to contribute to the Fund. ...
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    1 week ago
  • Investment in New Zealand’s history
    Budget 2020 provides a major investment in New Zealand’s documentary heritage sector, with a commitment to leasing a new Archives Wellington facility and an increase in funding for Archives and National Library work. “Last year I released plans for a new Archives Wellington building – a purpose-built facility physically connected ...
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    1 week ago
  • Driving prompt payments to small businesses
    Government Ministers are asking significant private enterprises to adopt prompt payment practices in line with the state sector, as a way to improve cashflow for small businesses. The Ministers of Finance, Small Business, Commerce and Consumer Affairs have written to more than 40 significant enterprises and banking industry representatives to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Rotorua tourist icon to be safeguarded
    Maori Arts and Crafts will continue to underpin the heart of the tourism sector says Minister for Maori Development Nanaia Mahuta.  “That’s why we are making a core investment of $7.6 million to Te Puia New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, over two years, as part of the Government’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • $14.7m for jobs training and education
    The Government is funding more pathways to jobs through training and education programmes in regional New Zealand to support the provinces’ recovery from the economic impacts of COVID-19, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Employment Minister Willie Jackson have announced. “New Zealand’s economic recovery will be largely driven by ...
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    1 week ago
  • Is it time to further recognise those who serve in our military?
     Minister for Veterans Ron Mark has announced the launch of a national conversation that aims to find out whether New Zealanders think there should be a formal agreement between service people, the Government, and the people of New Zealand. “This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of World ...
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    1 week ago
  • Paving the way for a fully qualified early learning workforce
    The Government’s drive to improve the quality of early childhood education (ECE) is taking another step forward with the reintroduction of a higher funding rate for services that employ fully qualified and registered teachers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced. “Research shows that high-quality ECE can improve young people’s learning ...
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    1 week ago
  • Sport Recovery Package announced
    The Sport and Recreation sector will receive a multi-million dollar boost as part of the COVID-19 response funded at Budget 2020.  Grant Robertson says the Sport and Recreation Sector contributes about $5 billion a year to New Zealand’s GDP and employs more than 53,000 people. “Sport plays a significant role ...
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    1 week ago
  • Major boost in support for caregivers and children
    A major increase in funding and availability of support will improve the incomes and reduce the pressure on 14,000 caregivers looking after more than 22,000 children. Children’s Minister Tracey Martin says that caregivers – all those looking after someone else’s children both in and outside the state care system – ...
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    1 week ago
  • Great Walks recovery on track for summer
    Vital conservation and visitor infrastructure destroyed by a severe flood event in Fiordland earlier this year is being rebuilt through a $13.7 million Budget 2020 investment, announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.   “This investment will mean iconic Great Walks such as the Routeburn track and the full length of ...
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    1 week ago
  • Māori – Government partnership gives whānau a new housing deal
    The Government is investing  $40 million in a partnership with Māori to get more whānau into warm, dry and secure accommodation, Associate Minister for Housing (Māori Housing) Hon Nanaia Mahuta says.. “We are partnering with Māori and iwi to respond to the growing housing crisis in the wake of COVID-19. ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders Safe In The Water
    Keeping New Zealanders safe in the water Our lifeguards and coastguards who keep New Zealanders safe in the water have been given a funding boost thanks to the 2020 Budget, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Poto Williams has announced. The water safety sector will receive $63 million over ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • Legal framework for COVID-19 Alert Level referred to select committee
    The COVID-19 Public Health Response Act 2020, which set a sound legal framework ahead of the move to Alert level 2, has been referred to a parliamentary select committee for review.  Attorney-General David Parker said the review of the operation of the COVID-19 specific law would be reported back to ...
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    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand condemns shocking attacks on hospital and funeral in Afghanistan
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says New Zealand condemns the targeting of civilians in two terrorist attacks in Afghanistan earlier this week. “The terrorist attacks on a hospital in Kabul and a funeral in Nangarhar province are deeply shocking. The attacks were deliberate and heinous acts of extreme violence targeting ...
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    2 weeks ago