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Key is on top of the dairy crisis

Written By: - Date published: 3:28 pm, March 15th, 2016 - 107 comments
Categories: exports, farming, john key - Tags: ,

Parliament today, our PM at work:

107 comments on “Key is on top of the dairy crisis”

  1. Magisterium 1

    So… we like dairy farmers now? They should be propped up with taxpayer dollars?

    • AB 1.1

      Well it might be worth having a reasonable estimate on how many farms are in danger of passing into foreign hands, and what the effect might be of failures on rural/provincial unemployment.
      If you don’t give a sh*t about either of things because you essentially don’t govern with the interests of every citizen and future generations in mind, then you shrug it off like Key.

    • Eyre 1.2

      So right. For years the greens have been saying nz is reliant on dairy. Dairy is wrecking the environment. Need to half the dairy stock. Now they want to prop them up. Does this include the corporate farmers based in parnell.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.1

        Now they want to prop them up

        Are you running this line because you believe it or because you think you can score points?

        Or is Polly in desperate need of a cracker?

        Have the Greens ever advocated abandoning New Zealanders to predation by the National Party’s owners? Why would they start now?

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          am I missing something? How do people get ‘the Greens want to bail out dairy farmers’ from this post?

          • Eyre 1.2.1.1.1

            Probably from James shaw in the house today, he seemed very concerned about the number of dairy farmer who will lose their farms. I thought he would be celebrating

            • Eyre 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Sorry “dairy farms”

            • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.1.1.1.2

              I thought he would be celebrating

              Why, what’s wrong with you? Blinded by hate much.

            • weka 1.2.1.1.1.3

              The Greens have never been anti-dairy farmers, what are you on about?

              Listening to Shaw’s questions in the House, it’s clear that the GP is concerned about rural communities and the risks to the NZ economy, which is consistent with its kaupapa and policies.

              http://www.inthehouse.co.nz/video/42053

            • Matthew Whitehead 1.2.1.1.1.4

              The Greens think that Dairy farmers get some unfair subsidies from the government and need to use clean farming techniques if they don’t already.

              That’s not the same thing as wanting farmers to fail. I want farmers to do better, not sell up to overseas interests.

            • saveNZ 1.2.1.1.1.5

              Nobody should be celebrating as Dairy farmers losing their farms because the new buyers will probably be off shore and not give a F about NZ, our exports or our environment.

              If enough farms get sold then the new buyers could get the majority voting rights of Fonterra and our main export of NZ will be out of NZ control and probably the co operative approach destroyed and then NZ Dairy will be controlled by finance companies and wall street.

  2. Dazzer 2

    Of all the nutty comments the Greens could make, this takes the tofu. Who would know how many farmers will fail? And if he knows that, why doesn’t he tell them so the poor buggers can have a sleep in and not worry about getting up for milking.

    I’m happy to admit that the Nats can be poor but like a low grade, mid week horse race, the winner doesn’t need to be a champion if it’s up against hopeless competition.

    • DoublePlusGood 2.1

      You know that Treasury is able to do modelling to work out estimates of the number of farms that will fail, right? National should be aware of the forecasts and the consequences coming in the next 12 months. If they are not, they are incompetent.

      • Stuart Munro 2.1.1

        No if about it mate – we didn’t get $120 billion in debt by National knowing what they were doing. $150 billion this year – IMF’ll be stepping in before very long.

    • Jones 2.2

      The banks will know which of their borrowers are in danger of default. And I suspect John Key does know but the number isn’t a good one.

    • He’ll know how many are at risk of failing, and he can have a reasonable guess at which are most likely to with the current facts. I don’t think anyone is asking him to be exactly right, just to put some sort of scope on the problem using the government’s resources.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      “You can’t manage what you’re not measuring, and the National Government are clearly not measuring.

      This government doesn’t expect to have to manage. That’s what the market is for.

  3. Brutus Iscariot 4

    The Standard implicitly calling for bailouts of Tory dairy farmers – i think i’ve seen it all.

    Next thing those wildly excreting bovines will be flying past my window.

    • McFlock 4.1

      No, an author on The Standard is explicitly calling for the government to show some interest in the economic troubles facing the regions.

      • Brutus Iscariot 4.1.1

        With a view to doing what?

        Have a read of TRP’s nonsensical post and thread.

        There is functionally no difference between favours to Sky City and favours to Dairy Farmers.

        • McFlock 4.1.1.1

          There is a fundamental difference: casinos suck money from their locality, like vampires.

          Farming, of whatever type, injects money into the regions. Sure, our waterways will be cleaner, but it could result in a rural disaster.

          Rather than waiting for bubbles to burst and market corrections to evolve, the government can help manage the transition towards more diverse production.

        • Natwatch 4.1.1.2

          With a view to knowing what is going on in your own economy. Anticipating the likely consequences. Mitigating the ones you want to mitigate. You know – governing.

          Favours to dairy farmers is one possible outcome – it makes a hell of a lot more sense than favours to SkyCity.

        • Unlike corruption, farming can actually be done in a sustainable fashion, lol.

          This is the problem with some of our friends on the left- we still need to have some room for nuance. Just because dairy farmers as a whole pollute too much and have lobbied national to destroy local government in Canterbury shouldn’t mean we want their individual businesses to fail. We should be supporting them to do better, if they’re willing.
          (ie. better on not polluting things. If people overspecialise in dairy and overleverage, we may just have to let them fail, unfortunately. Hopefully we can stop them from selling our farmland at cut rates to overseas buyers if they do. =/)

          • Sacha 4.1.1.3.1

            “Hopefully we can stop them from selling our farmland at cut rates to overseas buyers if they do.”

            Unfortunately it’s the banks who get to make that decision under current arrangements. Gee, wonder what they’ll do?

      • Natwatch 4.1.2

        Exactly – thank you McFlock.

    • I think the phrase ‘ex Tory dairy farmers’ is closer to the mark, Bruce. That’ll be why National are crapping themselves over the issue. Yesterday Key reckoned ten percent were going to be going bust, today … he has no fucken clue how many. Of course, he may be lying. It could be because the figure is way higher than 10% and he actually knows that.

      It’s not often we see Key blindsided, but this one has got him stumped. If he can bail out his bankster mates, why doesn’t he give a shit about National Party loyalists? He’s looking more and more like a typical JAFA out in the heartland.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.2.1

        He’s looking more and more like a typical JAFA out in the heartland.

        No. An actual JAFA would be taking an interest in what’s happening. Key just doesn’t give a shit.

        • Jones 4.2.1.1

          Perhaps we can repurpose it Just Another F****** American-wannabe.

        • s y d 4.2.1.2

          Or maybe he’s keeping that inside knowledge to allow,say, someone’s blind trust to make a killing picking up some cut price land….

    • Draco T Bastard 4.3

      Can’t see any implication that anyone is calling for farmers to be bailed out.

  4. McFlock 5

    Direct assistance might be complicated by various free trade bullshit, but what about this:

    1) declare a climate emergency in some of the hardest hit areas in order to enable relief efforts

    2) target longer term relief efforts at transitioning towards crops and animals that are more approriate to the expected regional climates, rather than sucking water from strained aquifers. Olives and that sort of thing, maybe.

    3) a coherent regional development plan, from infrastructure to moving people away from cities (with actual financial encouragement, not just to juggle declining state houses). Real wealth is produced in the regions, and moves towards the financial centres. Service sector money just travels in circles between corporations in the cities.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      declare a climate emergency in some of the hardest hit areas in order to enable relief efforts

      Yeah, That may not work.

      Olives and that sort of thing, maybe.

      Coffee. Definitely need coffee. And from what I can make out it may actually grow quite well in some parts of Te Waipounamu (Once we start to feel the effects of AGCC – oh, wait).

      a coherent regional development plan, from infrastructure to moving people away from cities

      Building up the infrastructure to develop our economy – I like it. R&D on electronics, aeronautics industry, developing our full resources, recycling, etc, etc.

      Could probably do that Space Program that I think we need.

      • McFlock 5.1.1

        coffee is a good one.

        It’s about using the land for what it is best suited to, and diversity in produce.

        The Indian solar panel thing was interesting – it was overruled on the basis that it stipulated using local parts. We don’t need to do that if we’re just talking about regional recovery. Think agresearch being better funded and more diverse.

        Making it easier to decentralise some tech jobs into the regions by developing infrastructure is a way to diversify the regional income streams – the fibre rollout is definitely A Good Thingtm

    • Graeme 5.2

      You’re getting ahead of things there.

      It’s not so much the ongoing use of the land, but rather the immediate effect of a very large (10-40%) of one of our largest industries going tits up. The capital loss from this is going to affect the capitalisation of every farm and rural business in the country. And in the very short term.

      The immediate issue is to get some control over the implosion to try and limit the loss of equity of operations that have positive EBIT. Something like Crown Asset Management after GFC, or using Landcorp to manage the disbursement in a controlled way.

      I’d almost bet there’s frantic work going on along these lines to try and stave off the coming implosion in the Tory heartland.

  5. Brutus Iscariot 6

    “Relief efforts” is just code for removing money from the public purse (whether its cutely called tax breaks or whatever), and i can guarantee it will be a lot more than the 28m for the flag that raised so much ire.

    If anything this shows that primary production is a shit way of making money, unless you are adding value significantly. And we aren’t doing that because, more or less, our farmers are dumb hicks. We’ve struggled to do it with our logs too. And finally, the service sector isn’t necessarily inferior to hard production – after all not everything people want and need is material.

    • McFlock 6.1

      🙄

      What this situation shows is that leaving primary production purely to the markets creates bubbles.

      People will always need food and raw materials. Not everyone needs an accountant, or a convoluted and hedged stock trading plan.

      The difference between money for economic management and money for a fucking flag is that economic management improves people’s lives and produces a net benefit to the nation. A flag does neither.

    • Macro 6.2

      Ever heard of “holidays” on mortgage repayments? Lowering interest rates on loans? The major banks have been sucking Billions out of NZ over the past few years . They are partly responsible for the crap the dairy industry finds itself in right now – so being partly to blame – the Banks – as much as the farmers should be taking some of the pain. Of course banks structure their lending so that they loose as little as possible should things go belly up. But this is where the Government can step in and direct banks to moderate their behaviour towards those farmers who are in dire straits wrt loan repayments. Remember the GFC and Banks needing guaranteed funding from govt – too big to fail. Well now its the turn of the banks to behave in a manner that is beneficial to society. They can take a cut in their profits for a while,a s farmers struggle to get back on their feet.
      Of course those who can only see the market as the solution to every problem are those with very little brain and very little learning. A managed economy out-performs a market economy every single time. ( there is in fact no such thing as a purely free- market economy). But just suppose the government continues to ignore the plight of farmers over their heads in debt. What will be the outcome?
      a. Farmer suicides will continue to increase.
      b. Land values will drop as more and more farmers are forced off their land and farm mortgage sales will increase.
      c. As land values drop even more farmers will find the equity in their land diminishing and their gearing increasing meaning that they in turn will be finding pressure from banks desperate to not loose money on their “investment”.
      d. Those farmers who have not suicided and who are now off their farm will be adding to a growing rural unemployment.
      e.Rural towns which are essentially service towns to farming will also be closing down. (this is a particularly strong trend in Australia where many rural towns have vanished in recent years following the long term drought and the down turn in the farming industry in those areas such as southern NSW).
      Of course if this is the wish of the RWNJ that is what they want. One has to question why they desire this sort of outcome – but that is for them to justify.

      • Brutus Iscariot 6.2.1

        Sounds like a normal economic cycle to me. People who overreach and make malinvestments losing money. The role of the taxpayer is not to insure against business failure.

        Land values dropping is exactly what needs to happen, to return what has been a bubble, to real and sustainable values. Given the amount of talk about the need for this to happen in the Auckland property market, i thought more people here would get it.

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1

          “Sounds like a normal economic cycle to me.”

          Yes, unstable and damaging boom-busts have become the new normal of bankster/hot credit/irresponsible lending driven economic cycles.

          • tinfoilhat 6.2.1.1.1

            “Yes, unstable and damaging boom-busts have become the new normal of bankster/hot credit/irresponsible lending driven economic cycles.”

            Pretty much not sure why anyone is surprised by this – oil has been bouncing around wildly and will be just about due to spike upwards anytime now.

  6. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 7

    You really do expect a lot from the PM, don’t you. It’s not like he’s Nicolas Maduro, who understands the inner workings of all parts of the economy that he can manage it all in concert for the best.

    • Stuart Munro 7.1

      Well he’s paid handsomely for not doing this job – and has the whole of Treasury to help him with the math. But all he wants to do is schmooze the spooks and daydream about spying. Useless tosser.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 7.1.1

        No. He is not paid to run dairy farms. He should leave that up to dairy farmers. And, if they fuck it up, that’s their look out, not the government’s.

        • miravox 7.1.1.1

          “He is not paid to run dairy farms”

          He is paid to have a handle on the impacts of the policies his government promotes.

          He’s an accountant. for goodness sake. He knows the importance on numbers (to the exclusion of all else usually). I don’t believe he doesn’t know these numbers – lying and incompetent.

        • Stuart Munro 7.1.1.2

          He’s paid to govern in the public interest and he’s never done it. He should be thrown in jail and every cent he’s been paid taken back, while the damages are calculated. The asset thefts alone cost NZ billions.

  7. Colonial Viper 8

    Cows are major emitters of GHGs. Time to halve the NZ dairy herd, not prop up its numbers with tax payer subsidies.

    • McFlock 8.1

      Who’s saying dairy farms should be propped up?

      The regions need to be supported. And we need information about the likely extent of the dairy collapse before that can happen.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        The regions need to be supported.

        And that won’t involve financially supporting dairy farms, which are massive emitters of GHGs?

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          who is saying that dairy farms should be propped up?

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.1.1

            Don’t care who. I’m asking if politicians are about to throw money at GHG producing dairy farms.

        • Don’t think any of the parties are proposing bailing them out at this stage, CV.

        • McFlock 8.1.1.3

          I’m sure that if someone tried really hard to be a one-eyed zealot who insists on thinking the absolute worst of any plan not their own, then the words “The regions need to be supported” could translate only into “financially supporting dairy farms”.

          In the real world, however, many other activities can fall under the umbrella of “regional development”. Some of them have already been mentioned in this very comment thread, That makes it much more difficult to assume that “The regions need to be supported” means “financially supporting dairy farms”. But I’m inspired that you keep reaching for that rainbow, CV.

  8. ianmac 9

    A bit of history. In the 80s there was a drought bailout for farmers. For a fact I know two farmers who lied and were proud of the handout they received. Further back in time there was “Sheep Retention scheme” where there was a payout of dollars per head of sheep to encourage the sheep-farming industry. Local farmers recounted their flocks to discover overnight a 15-20% increase in their numbers. Funny that.
    Nowdays it would become very public on the net.

    • b waghorn 9.1

      If you did it on a per kilo of solids supplied it couldn’t be fudged.

    • Acting Up 9.2

      And I’m sure these cheat farmers were voting National in a few years, and applauding Bolger and Richardson as they ‘got stuck into those lazy welfare bludgers!!’

    • weka 9.3

      In the 80s farmers also had their land confiscated by banks. Deja vu.

  9. Johan 10

    The dairy industry, fronted by Fonterra has pushed New Zealanders to pay global prices for their products. Why should the consumer care if a certain number of dairy farmers hit the wall? However, we need to make certain, written in law, that none of our land goes, again, into foreign ownership. Be like some African countries that lease portions of land.

    • Jones 10.1

      Losing the land to foreign ownership is a major risk if this is left to the market.

    • Colonial Viper 10.2

      The dairy industry, fronted by Fonterra has pushed New Zealanders to pay global prices for their products.

      How is it that “global prices” seem higher in NZ supermarkets than in just about every other western country that Kiwis live in?

  10. Ad 11

    Would be good to see someone like Swordfish evaluate which high-capital dairy electorates could change their vote share if Labour, Greens and New Zealand First campaigned intelligently. Concentrating solely on the Party vote:

    West Coast-Tasman
    National 16,000
    Labour 8,400
    NZF 3,100
    Green 4,600

    Clutha-Southland
    National 21,700
    Labour 5,000
    NZF 2,100
    Green 4,600

    Taupo
    National 20,700
    Labour 6,700
    NZF 3,700
    Green 2,200

    Waikato
    National 21,600
    Labour 5,300
    NZF 3,900
    Green 2,000

    New Plymouth
    National 21,000
    Labour 8,000
    NZF 3,400
    Greens 3,000

    Waitaki
    National 22,600
    Labour 7,162
    NZF 2,700
    Greens 4,400

    We should be under no illusions that any of these seats will shift as MPs. But thinking in MMP terms, the potential for a 2-3% change in overall party vote when spread across all three potential coalition parties in these dairy-dependent electorates would be a huge harvest that National would struggle with.

    Seems counter-intuitive, but an MMP attack straight into dairy heartland could yield strong electoral rewards if well coordinated across the thee opposing parties.

    • weka 11.1

      very smart thinking Ad.

    • Yeah, whoever’s nominated for those seats needs to be campaigning hard on the party vote. Arguably you could even have people very high on the list parachuted into those electorates for Labour so that it’s clear that Labour is taking the regions seriously. (although most of them love their electorate safety net, so won’t want to go…)

      • Ad 11.2.1

        With only one electorate between their many MPs, Greens and NZFirst would be free to campaign and reap the rewards.

    • Brutus Iscariot 11.3

      You’d lose easily that 2-3% from the urban poor and middle class.

      Leave the regions to the Muldoonists in NZF.

      • Ad 11.3.1

        You get my logic clearly.

        As you can see from the NZFirst results, their party vote base is very low in these electorates. So it would take cooperation across the Opposition to achieve a strong measurable result.

        I think there’s much more likelihood of voter movement in the regions than in the cities this time.

  11. b waghorn 12

    While I don’t have much sympathy for people who have borrowed themselves into a deep hole, the knock on effects in the rural communities will be massive.
    If a government was planning some form of spending to help nz through the coming pinch, a $1.50 subsidy per kilo on dairy would go a long way.
    Socialism by stealth.

    • Richard@Down South 12.1

      At no stage should we consider a bailout for the dairy industry… farming should be look upon like any other business…. if it costs a farm $500,000 (random number) a year to run, and if they only bring in $450,000 , then you would have to look seriously at your costs or your sales… seeing as they are selling milk at auction, they cant really look at sales, so can only look at costs… but there would be little room there generally (I cant see dairy farmers spending more than they have to already)…

      It’s a business, and kiwis shouldn’t be subsidizing the farmers

      • Glenn 50 12.1.1

        Agree Richard however theres warehouses full of Palm Kernels in Taranaki and from what I see and hear the demand for them hasn’t diminished.
        Perhaps excess stock should go and cows could eat grass and hay for their diet.
        After all they have been doing that for centurys.

        I remember the chortles from my farming acquaintances if not laughter every time the government tightened the screws on the unemployed and beneficiaries. I remember the whinging and outright racism every time the word Maori came up. Usually it didn’t because the subject wasn’t welcome.

        Subsidizing the farmers is just a waste of time and a load of taxpayers money and if allowed once will come back to haunt us in future generations when the mistakes of the past are repeated as they will be.

        Basically screw em. They are adults and are responsible for their own problems.
        After all thats what the free market and true capitalism that they adhere to when things are going well is all about. Lets see how it works when things are tough.

        • b waghorn 12.1.1.1

          “Basically screw em. They are adults and are responsible for their own problems.”
          What about the young falla in his first job on a dairy farm that’s going to be one of the first expences pruned, or rural subcontractors whose pH has gone quiet and has a mortgage to pay, screw them to,??

        • Richard@Down South 12.1.1.2

          Theyre still hoping the next years auction prices will rise… its possible, but then again, other countries are learning to do what we do, and while we are (were) a major player, we didnt have a monopoly on it, and we were pretty much at capacity…

      • Any “bailout” should only be considered to stop the land going overseas, IMO.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.2.1

          Seems like people are talking farm bailouts already eh. It was predictable that bailing out massive GHG producers will be considered seriously as an option.

        • Brutus Iscariot 12.1.2.2

          Why not just tighten the OIA if that’s the problem?

    • weka 12.2

      I’d be happy for bail outs or subsidies as long as the farm was bonded to convert to organics or other sustainable land management within 5 years. You’d need to put other supports in place via advisors etc.

      You’d probably get a riot if the govt tried to pay farmers extra to keep dumping cowshit and nitrates in our rivers.

      • b waghorn 12.2.1

        I would settle for them excepting a carbon tax and a cgt .

        • weka 12.2.1.1

          not enough. We’re already going to be picking up the pollution clean up bills for farmers, it’s unethical to pay them to keep polluting.

      • Colonial Viper 12.2.2

        You asked me who was considering dairy farm bail outs; it seems that you and many other people are mulling over it at least.

        • weka 12.2.2.1

          I replied to b about an ideal. But if you listen to what I am actually saying I am saying that in 2016 there shouldnt be any bailouts (unless you think that the National govt would put my kinds of conditions on them).

          No idea who the ‘many others’ are, and I suspect you don’t either because there aren’t many (you could link if I am wrong). B wants a bail out in the form of a subsidy. Is there anyone else?

    • Graeme 12.3

      The last thing we need is a subsidy. It only reinforces the bad decision making.

      The problem isn’t $3.90 , it’s the $8.40 and other spike payouts before that. Have a look at http://www.interest.co.nz/rural-data/dairy-industry-payout-history to see these spikes above the normal curve in the graph at the bottom. These have encouraged some poor decisions in the industry that it’s having to deal with now.

      And Fontera is carrying a huge debt, is this the result of these spike payments? They are technically insolvent since they can’t pay their bill on time, so have a thought about them going tits up too.

      We need to manage this to minimise the impacts and change behaviour, not reinforce bad behaviours.

  12. cowboy 13

    I listened to question time today and think there is a danger of the opposition overplaying their collective hand. Virtually all the questions were about the dairy situation and Ron Mark asked essentially an identical question to the one Grant Robertson had just asked in the previous question.

    I get this is a very big deal (im a farmer so understand the reality of the situation) but there is a danger that the opposition appear over zealous exploiting real peoples hardship for the purpose of political gain.

    Labour seem to be making up policy responses on the hoof which to me seems unnecessary when it is the govt that is on the ropes over this. This issue is a slow motion trainwreck and the govt have backed themselves into a corner the opposition will have plenty of opportunity capitalise if they play their cards right.

    • Gristle 13.1

      I am a farmer, but not a dairy farmer.

      New dairy farmers, or dairy farmers that have expanded, paid too much for just about everything. To a large extent I think that’s tough shit.

      Banks not reducing interest rates as the OCR drops is sickening. They expect to make extraordinary profits regardless of both the general economic performance and to cover the gambling they have been making in an industry that has fundimental flaws.

      The government has been actively making things easy for them in relation to water rights (ECAN) and subsidising irrigation when the business and environmental impacts do not justify it. Having the government as your cheerleaders probably should be regarded as a kiss of death: remember the white gold.

      9% of global milk production is exported. Fonterra (with milk from NZ) accounted for 25% of the total milk production that was exported.

      The production capability of farms that were not exporting needed only to rise by a couple of percent for them to swamp the demand for export milk. (A couple of percent rise in the 91% is equivalent to Fonterras total export.) This why Fonterra are extremely vulnerable. This is why high cost dairy production in New Zealand is counter to the business model that made its milk attractive overseas.

      Fonterra needs to be fixed because otherwise dairy farmers will always be tettering on the edge of one type of oblivion or another.

      Fixing one farmer’s debt or one hundred farmer’s debt through tax payer intervention is not going to really put the country in a better position.

  13. The history regarding dairy farmers and working people is shocking .
    Massey Cossack’s, the 1951 lockout, their anti union agenda and their disgraceful way most of them treat their workers makes it hard for me to have any sympathy for their present plight.Instead of having their overseas holidays and spending non-stop they should have done what most people try to do save a bit for hard times.
    I have never heard of dairy farmers calling for action to help the unemployed or solo parents in fact just the opposite they protest with anger at any help given the underprivileged.
    However despite this crisis their Tory government has got them into
    they will still vote National and still bash unions .

    • McFlock 14.1

      Thing is, it’s not just about them though, is it?

      Think about if a factory in a small town cuts its workforce – yes, the factory might have been mismanaged, or is obsolete, or is simply being swampd by other suppliers in the global market. All of that is by-the-by, none of it helps the town face the sudden problem.

      Well, magnify that effect throughout the regions. Cafes, shops, garages, vehicle dealerships, all getting hit by a drop in customers…

      And the regions are the areas that feed money through to real people, rather than corporations.

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    5 days ago
  • Greens call for Guaranteed Minimum Income to alleviate skyrocketing debt with MSD
    Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson is calling for the introduction of a Guaranteed Minimum Income to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and prevent more families entering into further debt with the Ministry of Social Development.  ...
    5 days ago
  • Winston Peters: Facts matter when taxpayer money is on the line
    There has been renewed focus on New Zealand First acting as a handbrake on the Government after our decision to not support Auckland light rail. We are a handbrake for bad ideas, that is true, but our track record since 2017 has seen New Zealand First constructively also serve as an ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill raising minimum residency requirement for NZ Super passes first reading
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP New Zealand First’s Fair Residency for Superannuation Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill makes a significant change to NZ Super by raising the minimum residency requirement from 10 to 20 years, after age 20. “Currently, a migrant of ...
    5 days ago
  • Harsher penalties for assaults on first responders one step closer
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order A New Zealand First member’s bill in the name of Darroch Ball introducing a six-month minimum prison sentence for assaults on first responders has passed its second reading in Parliament. The new offence of "injuring a first responder or corrections officer with ...
    5 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission delivers Coalition promise
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Deputy Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the launch of the new Criminal Cases Review Commission, gifted with the name from Waikato-Tainui - Te Kāhui Tātari Ture, announced in Hamilton today by Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealand First has long believed in and ...
    6 days ago
  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
    The Green Party is celebrating over $800m in new funding for green projects, which will get people into jobs while solving New Zealand’s long-term challenges. ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is appalled that Meridian seems to have been unnecessarily spilling water from its dams to drive up its profits."While New Zealanders have been coming together in some of our darkest hours, we don’t expect power gentailers to waste water and ...
    6 days ago
  • Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020
    We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and agriculture sectors, and set ...
    7 days ago
  • Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission. Mr Davis (Ngāti Maniapoto), is the seventh and final appointment to the board led by former Reserve Bank Governor ...
    7 days ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand’s click bait journalism is taking a turn for the worse, with yet another example of sensationalist, wilful-misrepresentation of the facts. “New Zealand First has worked constructively with its Coalition partner on hundreds of pieces of legislation and policy, and ...
    7 days ago
  • Green Party proposes transformational Poverty Action Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity.     ...
    1 week ago
  • PGF accelerates Rotorua projects
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Rotorua Museum redevelopment and Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest projects will be accelerated thanks to a $2.09 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) boost, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
    This week, we rolled out the next steps of our recovery plan, with new infrastructure investment, extra support for tourism operators, and a new programme to get Kiwis into agriculture careers. The global economic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge, but we have a detailed plan to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its final reading in Parliament today fulfilling a coalition agreement commitment. “This is an important step in saving the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a key coalition commitment ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
    Whakatāne has been given a $2.5 million boost to speed up previously funded projects and create more than 450 jobs in the next decade. Of those, the equivalent of 160 full-time jobs could be delivered in the next six weeks. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in town to make ...
    2 weeks ago
  • $2.5m PGF funding to speed up economic recovery in Whakatāne
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “This package is about ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is throwing his weight behind a bid by the Auckland Council to fast-track the more than doubling of the city's water allowance from the Waikato River. And he's coming out strongly against anyone who plans on getting in the way of this campaign. "It is my ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA
    The Green Party is thrilled to see changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that mean consents for large projects can be declined if they will have significant climate change implications that are inconsistent with the Zero Carbon Act and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Paris Agreement obligations.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence The Royal New Zealand Navy’s new ship, Aotearoa, set sail for New Zealand on 10 June from the Republic of Korea, and is due to arrive in Auckland tomorrow, announced Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “Aotearoa is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new fleet ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Racing Industry Bill passes third reading
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters has today welcomed the Racing Industry Bill passing its third reading, creating the legislative framework for revitalising the racing industry while limiting the need for future government intervention. “For too long our domestic racing industry has ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party seek amendment to ensure all prisoners can vote
    The Green Party has today put forward an amendment to the Electoral (Registration of Sentenced Prisoners) Amendment Bill to ensure all people in prisons can vote in general elections. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party welcomes new approach to delivering light rail
    The Green Party welcomes the decision to not proceed with Public Public Investment (PPI) delivery of Auckland’s light rail project and to instead run the process through the public service. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes PGF investment in Wairarapa Water
    Hon Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in the Wairarapa New Zealand First List MP Hon Ron Mark welcomes the announcement of Provincial Growth Funding investment of $1.4 million to help secure the Wairarapa’s water supply. The funding boost will allow the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First MP Mark Patterson selected as candidate for Taieri
    New Zealand First list MP Mark Patterson has been selected to represent the party in the newly formed Taieri electorate at the upcoming election. Mr Patterson, his wife Jude and two daughters farm sheep and beef at Lawrence and Waitahuna. He previously stood in the Clutha-Southland electorate however boundary changes ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ground-breaking on NZ Post depot
    Hon Shane Jones, Associate Minister for State Owned Enterprises A new ‘super depot’ to be built for NZ Post in Wellington will create around 350 jobs during construction, Associate Minister for State Owned Enterprises Shane Jones says. Shane Jones today attended a ground-breaking and blessing ceremony for the parcel-processing depot ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Putting our economic plan into action
    Our strong economic management prior to COVID-19 - with surpluses, low debt and near-record-low unemployment - put us in a good position to weather the impact of the virus and start to rebuild our economy much earlier than many other countries. Now we're putting our plan to recover and rebuild ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fleeing drivers hit new record-high yet again
    Darroch Ball MP, New Zealand First Spokesperson for Law and Order Recently released Police fleeing driver statistics have shown yet another increase in incidents with another record-high in the latest quarter. “This new quarterly record-high is the latest in a string of record-high numbers since 2014.  The data shows incidents ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Fletcher Tabuteau selected as candidate for Rotorua
    New Zealand First MP Fletcher Tabuteau is pleased to be confirmed today as the party’s candidate for the Rotorua electorate. Speaking at the Rotorua AGM for New Zealand First, Mr Tabuteau said this is an election that is incredibly important for the people of Rotorua. “The founding principles of New ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call for Government office to address Rainbow issues following Human Rights Commission report
    The Human Rights Commission’s PRISM report on the issues impacting people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) provides an excellent programme of work for future governments to follow, say the Greens. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters continues push for trans-Tasman travel as military take control of operations
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said the trans-Tasman bubble had not been jeopardised after a border botch-up resulted in New Zealand having two active cases of COVID-19. On Friday, Mr Peters told RNZ's Morning Report he had heard from Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison that borders for trans-Tasman travel would open by ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters on the Government’s Covid-19 border blunder
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters said today he was pleased the army was now running the quarantine and isolation process - up until now it has been the Ministry of Health. Peters told Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking that the army knew how to introduce and follow protocols and instil discipline. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First’s Ron Mark confirms bid for the Wairarapa seat
    Hon Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in the Wairarapa New Zealand First MP and Minister for Defence and Veteran’s Affairs Ron Mark has confirmed his bid for the Wairarapa seat.“The Coalition Government has done a lot of good work throughout the Wairarapa, but many constituents have told ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First welcomes second tranche of candidates
    New Zealand First is pleased to release the names of its next tranche of candidates for the 2020 election. We’re proud to announce these hardworking New Zealanders that have put their hand up to fight for a commonsense and resilient future.Jamie Arbuckle – Kaikoura Mark Arneil – Christchurch Central Jackie ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Extended loan scheme keeps business afloat
    Small businesses are getting greater certainty about access to finance with an extension to the interest-free cashflow loan scheme to the end of the year. The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme has already been extended once, to 24 July. Revenue and Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says it will be ...
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    2 days ago
  • New investment creates over 2000 jobs to clean up waterways
    A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects put forward by local councils receiving $62 million and the Kaipara ...
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    2 days ago
  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
    Tena koutou katoa  Nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe o Pōneke, tena koutou Nau mai, haere mai ki te hui a tau mo te roopu reipa Ko tatou!  Ko to tatou mana!  Ko to tatou kaupapa kei te kokiri whakamua  Tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa   Welcome. I ...
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    2 days ago
  • PGF top-up for QE Health in Rotorua
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $1.5 million to ensure QE Health in Rotorua can proceed with its world class health service and save 75 existing jobs, Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF funding announced today is in addition to the $8 million ...
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    4 days ago
  • Building a more sustainable construction sector
    A new programme, which sets a firm course for the Building and Construction sector to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, has been announced by the Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. “A significant amount of New Zealand’s carbon emissions come from the building and construction sector.  If we’re serious ...
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    4 days ago
  • PGF funds tourism boost in Northland
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing more than $7.5 million in Northland ventures to combat the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones have announced. The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) investment is going to the Northern Adventure Experience and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Four new projects announced as part of the biggest ever national school rebuild programme
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced significant funding for Auckland’s Northcote College as part of the first wave of a new nationwide school redevelopment programme to upgrade schools over the next 10 years. The $48.5 million project brings the total investment in Northcote College to ...
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    4 days ago
  • COVID-19: Support to improve student attendance and wellbeing
    The Government has opened an urgent response fund to support schools and early learning services to get children and young people back on track after the Covid-19 lockdown. “While we are seeing improvements in attendance under Alert Level 1 Ministry of Education data shows that attendance rates in our schools ...
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    4 days ago
  • Fast-track consenting law boosts jobs and economic recovery
    The law to boost the economic recovery from the impact of COVID-19 by speeding up resource consenting on selected projects has passed its second and third readings in the House today. “Accelerating nationwide projects and activities by government, iwi and the private sector will help deliver faster economic recovery and ...
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    4 days ago
  • Whanganui Port gets PGF boost
    Five port-related projects in Whanganui will receive a $26.75 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to support local economic recovery and create new opportunities for growth, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This is a significant investment that will support the redevelopment of the Whanganui Port, a project governed ...
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    5 days ago
  • More support for Sarjeant Gallery
    Whanganui’s Sarjeant Gallery will receive an investment of up to $12 million administered by the Provincial Growth Fund to support its redevelopment, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. The project is included in a $3 billion infrastructure pipeline announced by Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Shane Jones yesterday. ...
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    5 days ago
  • Funding for training and upskilling
    The Provincial Growth Fund is investing nearly $2.5 million into three Te Ara Mahi programmes to support Manawatū-Whanganui jobseekers and employees to quickly train and upskill, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Up to 154 local people will be supported into employment within the first year by these ...
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    5 days ago
  • Statement from the Minister of Health Dr David Clark
      This morning I have formally tendered my resignation as Minister of Health, which was accepted by the Prime Minister. Serving as Minister of Health has been an absolute privilege – particularly through these extraordinary last few months. It’s no secret that Health is a challenging portfolio. I have given ...
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    5 days ago
  • Scholarship placements for agricultural emissions scientists doubles
    Scholarships for 57 early-career agricultural emissions scientists from 20 developing countries is another example of New Zealand’s international leadership in primary sector sustainability, says Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. Mr O’Connor, announcing the scholarships today, says hundreds of applications were received for this fourth round of the CLIFF-GRADS programme (Climate, Food ...
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    5 days ago
  • Funding for Foxton regeneration
    A project to help rejuvenate the Horowhenua town of Foxton will receive a Provincial Growth Fund investment of $3.86 million, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This funding for the Foxton Regeneration project will be used to make the well-known holiday town even more attractive for visitors and ...
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    5 days ago
  • Plan to improve protection of moa bones
    Moa bones and other sub-fossil remains of extinct species are set to have improved protection with proposals to prevent the trade in extinct species announced the Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. “We have lost too many of our native species, but these lost species, such as moa, remain an ...
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    5 days ago
  • Free lunches served up to thousands of school children in the South Island
    The Government’s free and healthy school lunches programme moves south for the first time creating jobs for around 30 people in Otago and Southland. “Eighteen schools with 3000 students are joining the programme – 11 have already begun serving lunches, and seven are preparing to start during Term 3. This is ...
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    5 days ago
  • Screen Sector recovery package protects jobs, boosts investment
    Thousands of Kiwi jobs and investment in New Zealand productions will be protected through a screen sector support package announced today by Associate Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Carmel Sepuloni, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford and Minister for Broadcasting Kris Faafoi. The package also includes investment in broadcasting ...
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    5 days ago
  • New fund to help save local events and jobs
    The Government has established a new $10 million fund for the domestic events sector to help save jobs and protect incomes as it recovers from the impacts of COVID-19, Minister of Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. This funding from Budget 2020 follows talks with the event sector designed to ...
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    6 days ago
  • Bill to improve fuel market competition
    The Government has taken another step in its commitment to making sure New Zealanders get a fairer deal at the petrol pump with the introduction of legislation to improve competition in the retail fuel market, says Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods. “The fuel market study that this Government ordered ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Zealand joins global facility for pre-purchase of COVID-19 Vaccine
    New Zealand has joined a global initiative that aims to enable all countries to access a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. The COVAX Facility was recently launched by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. The Alliance includes the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank ...
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    6 days ago
  • Right to legal representation in Family Court restored today
    From today new legislation takes effect to both restore the right to legal representation at the start of a Care of Children (CoCA) dispute in the Family Court, and allow parties to those proceedings to access legal aid where eligible. During a visit to the Family Court in Auckland today, ...
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    6 days ago
  • Transitioning to a fully-qualified home-based ECE workforce
    Home-based early childhood education (ECE) subsidised by the government will transition to a fully qualified workforce by 2025 to ensure better and more consistent quality, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “Quality early learning helps provide children with a strong foundation for their future,” Chris Hipkins said. From 1 January ...
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    6 days ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission gets to work
    The new Criminal Cases Review Commission | Te Kāhui Tātari Ture (CCRC) has started work and can now independently investigate claimed miscarriages of justice. “Even though we have appeal rights and safeguards against unsafe convictions, from time to time our justice system does get things wrong. The design of the ...
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    6 days ago
  • Speech by the Minister of Defence to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
    E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha, tēnā koutou Ki a koutou Te Āti Awa, Taranaki Whānui, Ngāti Toa Rangatira, ngā mana whenua o te rohe nei, tēnā koutou Ko Te Whare Wānanga o Aotearoa ki ngā take o te Ao (NZIIA), Ko te Rōpū Tohu Tono ...
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    6 days ago
  • Six months with baby and $20 more a week for new parents
    The Government’s increase to paid parental leave kicks in today with another 4 weeks taking New Zealand up to a full 6 months (26 weeks, up from 22 weeks) leave for new parents, and the maximum weekly payment will increase by $20pw, Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. ...
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    6 days ago
  • Infrastructure investment to create jobs, kick-start COVID rebuild
    A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones today outlined how the $3 billion infrastructure fund in the ...
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    6 days ago
  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today expressed the New Zealand Government’s deep disappointment at the passage by China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee of a national security law for Hong Kong. “New Zealand has consistently emphasised its serious concern about the imposition of this legislation on Hong Kong without inclusive ...
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    6 days ago
  • July 1 marks progress for workers, families
    More jobs and more family time with newborns are the centrepiece of a suite of Government initiatives coming into effect today. July 1 is a milestone day for the Government as a host of key policies take effect, demonstrating the critical areas where progress has been made. “The Coalition Government ...
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    6 days ago
  • Auckland water consent referred to Board of Inquiry
    Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses.  The call-in means the application has been referred ...
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    7 days ago
  • New Zealand to host virtual APEC in 2021
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker announced today that New Zealand’s hosting of APEC in 2021 will go ahead using virtual digital platforms. Mr Peters said the global disruption caused by COVID-19, including resultant border restrictions, had been the major factor in the ...
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    7 days ago
  • Matakana Link Road construction kicks off and drives jobs
    The start of construction on a new link road between Matakana Road and State Highway 1 will create jobs and support the significant population growth expected in the Warkworth area, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Mayor Phil Goff announced today. Transport Minister Phil Twyford said construction of the Matakana Link ...
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    7 days ago
  • PPE supplies secured as COVID-19 response focuses on border
    The Government is prioritising its latest investment in PPE for frontline health workers, including staff at managed isolation and quarantine facilities, Health Minister David Clark says. “With no community transmission of COVID-19 our response now has a firm focus on keeping our border safe and secure. “We must ensure that ...
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    1 week ago
  • PGF funding for Parihaka settlement
    The Parihaka Papakāinga Trust in Taranaki will receive up to $14 million for a new visitor centre and other improvements at the historic settlement that will boost the local economy and provide much-needed jobs, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little have ...
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    1 week ago
  • Protections for workers in triangular employment
    Protections for workers who are employees of one employer but working under the direction of another business or organisation have come into force, closing a gap in legislation that  made the personal grievance process inaccessible for some workers, says Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “This Government is working hard to ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government strengthens managed isolation system
    A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify and understand current and emerging risks to ensure the end-to-end ...
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    1 week ago
  • Whakatāne to go predator free with Government backing Ngāti Awa led efforts
    The important brown kiwi habitat around Whakatāne will receive added protection through an Iwi-led predator free project announced by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. “The Government is investing nearly $5 million into Te Rūnanga o Ngāti Awa’s environmental projects with $2.5 ...
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    1 week ago
  • Growing Goodwood: Expanding wood waste recycling plant in Bay of Plenty, Waikato
    An extra 4,000 tonnes of offcuts and scraps of untreated wood per year will soon be able to be recycled into useful products such as horticultural and garden mulch, playground safety surfacing and animal bedding as a result of a $660,000 investment from the Waste Minimisation Fund, Associate Environment Minister ...
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    1 week ago
  • Scott Watson’s convictions to be referred to Court of Appeal
    The Governor-General has referred Scott Watson’s convictions for murder back to the Court of Appeal, Justice Minister Andrew Little announced today. Mr Watson was convicted in 1999 of the murders of Ben Smart and Olivia Hope. His appeal to the Court of Appeal in 2000 was unsuccessful, as was his ...
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    2 weeks ago