Let’s avoid an expenses side-show

Written By: - Date published: 9:36 am, June 11th, 2009 - 30 comments
Categories: corruption, Parliament - Tags:

Most people with an interest in politics will have heard about the expenses scandal in the UK. Their system allowed rorts of all shapes and sizes to take place – MPs’ expenses were not questioned because they were Honourable Members. Intense scrutiny has proved quite a few of them otherwise.

Could this be happening here? Does it matter and should you and I be concerned? The total expenses bill is $14 million annually. We can’t get the details of this because spending is managed by Parliamentary Services, which is exempt from the Official Information Act. The upshot is we don’t know who spends what on taxis, flights, food and accommodation.

And I don’t want to. I can’t be certain that every cent is well spent, 100% in line with the intent of the law. But we have a robust system as Colin Espiner states “But fortunately in this country we have a system whereby all payments are only made upon receipts, all must be first checked by party whips before they are submitted, and there are a limited number of categories under which MPs can claim anything.”

Why not go more open, transparency’s always good right? Yeah, if the media wouldn’t act like children. Several mornings ago I had to listen to the inane, yet inevitable: a reporter asking Metiria Turei why she flew on aircraft since she was in the Greens. Equally stupid would be asking Boscawen why he used our National Carrier.

Can you imagine what it would be like all if MPs’ expenses were published? I would just about be happy to pay my share of the $14 million, even if I know some was misappropriated, if it would spare me from the interminable questioning that will result from expenses being released to the media. There would be no limit to the stories that would result every time expenses were explained: MP X spent $6,500 on flights in the last three months, but MP Y spent three times that! Scandal! Three weeks later it is pointed out MP X is based in Napier, MP Y has constituents in the Chatham islands.

How much time would our MPs spend defending themselves from these manufactured scandals? What would be missed because the media were focussed on the low-hanging fruit? You only need to look at how Worth has dominated the news while what Hide is proposing to do to councils across NZ slips under the radar to get an idea of what neverending expenses stories can deflect attention from.

Here’s a worrying thought: does this mean I trust MPs more than the media? Well, perhaps not – but I would rather see the media attend to the issues of substance, and avoid the sideshows.

30 comments on “Let’s avoid an expenses side-show ”

  1. Graeme 1

    Do you want to know how much the CEO of NZ Post spends on accomodation, or the deputy assistant head of pen and pencil procurement for the Minister of Something spends on bics?

    Neither do I. But I’m entitled to ask under the OIA, and they have to have a good reason not to tell me. Should we amend the law so that spending of this sort isn’t subject to public scrutiny?

    • Maynard J 1.1

      Is there any way to amend the law in favour of disclosure from the Parliamentary service that would not lead to the obvious outcome?

      The CEO of NZ post can do their job in the circumstances – I am not sure that the same holds true for MPs, though I realise that is not justification to be excluded from the OIA in of itself.

      • Graeme 1.1.1

        Probably not.

        But I’m not sure it would be as bad as you think. The UK has had this for a couple of years. There were a few stories about flights and taxis a few years ago, but then people got over it. There were even questions about why MP X wasn’t spending money, wasn’t he doing his job properly, etc.

        For a year or two this will be something. People won’t be up in arms and then we’ll all get over it. And then, like the special dinner prisoners get at Christmas (the same as usual except with a Christmas mince pie) there will be a three or four paragraph story once a year about the big spenders. Unless something big happens. Personally, I’d like not to have to rely on leaks to find out that MPs are erroneously claiming the out-of-town allowance despite living in Wellington.

        • Rich 1.1.1.1

          I agree with Graeme. People will tire of it, unless there’s something exciting the MPs have been up to like visiting Hawaii five times a year.

          (Does Annette King get out to the Chathams much?)

          • Maynard J 1.1.1.1.1

            That is a lot of faith to put in the media – and a lot of people would enjoy these silly ‘scandals’. There is no ‘right’ amount of spending so whoever spent more than most would find themselves wasing a lot of time explaining.

            I also consider it akin to polls – somewhat interesting, but not news, yet they drive half the stories in the build up to an election at the expense of real news.

            There is probably no way around it though

          • Graeme 1.1.1.1.2

            I don’t need faith. If they run stupid stories, they run stupid stories. We shouldn’t ban them from running stupid stories.

            This is pretty much the argument being run: people are spending public money, but if we let people ask what they’re spending public money on, the media might be irresponsible with that information, and run articles which are shrill and over the top, and detract from real stories.

            You could almost make the same argument about bills. They’re proposing to pass a law that will affect is, but if we let people know what bills the government is proposing, then the might be irresponsible with that information, and run articles which are shrill and over the top, and detract from real stories…

  2. Tigger 2

    I agree, no more sideshows. I swear, it’s like watching TV while the house burns down around you… At some point the public will wake from this slumber and realise they’ve been utterly dorked – and that’s when they will punish those who did the dorking.

  3. I don’t necessarily think all parties should have to make a big song and dance about releasing the information, but it makes sense for it to not be exempt from the OIA.

  4. StephenR 4

    Why would anyone care that Boscawen was travelling Air NZ? It’s one airline company among many, provides a service in exchange for money like all the others…

  5. StephenR 5

    The Greens make a point of consuming less, that including flying, so it’s a legitimate question for Turei. ACT make a point of less state ownership of most things, especially explicitly commercial enterprises, but i hardly think that extends to discouraging use of state-owned services. Indeed he’d be mad not to use whatever provides the best prices…

    • felix 5.1

      “The Greens make a point of consuming less, that including flying, so it’s a legitimate question for Turei.”

      I think the point was that she was being asked why she travelled by air at all.

      So unless you seriously think Green mps should travel by horse and carriage (and just think of the methane emissions!) then it’s hardly legitimate. Certainly no more so than the Boscowan hypothetical. (Hint: they’re both absurd).

    • Rich 5.2

      Given that MPs are required to be physically around parliament and expected to visit the rest of the country, I can’t see how Green or any other MPs can avoid flying.

      Introducing video confererencing for parliament would be one solution, maybe.

  6. Maggie 6

    Oh, dear. Some people’s brains couldn’t be prised open using a pneumatic drill.
    Turei should, of course, walk everywhere. Boscawen should travel only with privately-operate companies, Shearer only with state run ones and Melissa Lee only in a chaffeur driven limo.

    • Maynard J 6.1

      The ALCP candidate would have to ride in the canni-bus, but Judy Turner would be in trouble – trying to go up the middle of the road every time. Presumably the Destiny candidate would rely on faith, and Tamaki’s Harley.

  7. VT aka daVince 7

    Here’s a worrying thought: does this mean I trust MPs more than the media? Well, perhaps not – but I would rather see the media attend to the issues of substance, and avoid the sideshows.

    Okay, so much for you then.. so now what about the steal deals..? The watchables, the omitted, the committed (on behalf)..

    Instance: under a public/private partnership (PPP) where someone for instance travels freebie to pick up a briefcase full o’ private ‘congregation’ cash at an airport someplace.

    Knowing who they’re meetin’ is pretty relevant in these cases I’d say… and no way is this sort of thing just on the movies.. hell those guys have gotten it from real.. from crime scenery of so many ilks these days..

  8. Maggie 8

    Before left the editor’s chair at the Dom Post to become head honcho of the Newspaper Publishers Association, Tim Pankhurst was quoted as describing producing a newspaper as “like being in show business.”

    Sez it all, really……

  9. burt 9

    Dear Guest post

    Please open your wallet for me to take what I want and please trust me that I have spent it well and in your best interests. On that note – in your best interests I won’t bother counting what I take or telling you what I spent it on because then I would have less to spend on myself your best interests.

    Lovely that you agree being accountable is a hassle – now go back to sleep.

  10. Anita 10

    Guest poster,

    Can you make any argument at all that MPs expenses should be protected from the OIA?

    You seem to be claiming that they should be, but your grounds have nothing to do with the rights or wrongs of releasing them, it’s simply a grizzle about the media’s behaviour. While that grizzle is justified it has nothing to do with the ethics or principles underpinning transparency. The fact that you’re arguing against transparency for entirely irrelevant and spurious grounds makes you sound like any member of the current National and ACT parties.

    BTW I am kinda disturbed about an argument against transparency being posted without attribution on a “labour movement” blog as, by not claiming the opinion as your own, you imply that it is the view of The Standard, and therefore the wider labour movement. I, for one, seriously doubt that there are many in the labour movement who are against transparency.

    • Eddie 10.1

      Anita, it’s clearly not the view of The Standard. Only articles published with “The Standard” as the author are the view of The Standard. This was a guest post sent in by a regular commenter here who preferred to remain anonymous so as to avoid abuse for expressing an unpopular opinion. We decided to respect that.

      The Standard is a forum for people to express their individual views, and that includes an increasing number of readers and commenters. It doesn’t claim to speak for the entire labour movement, it’s simply a forum for people with labour movement values to express their opinions. These will often differ.

      For the record, I’m in favour of making parliamentary services subject to the OIA. Just haven’t got round to writing anything about it yet as I find the whole issue kind of boring.

      I know you’ve got your own blog and all, but as always you or anyone else is welcome to write a counter piece as a guest post here.

      • Anita 10.1.1

        🙂 Yeah, I guess part of my problem is that this post doesn’t have a sign-off on it (which most gues post’s do) so it feels less OpEd and more TS-line. If that makes any sense as a distinction 🙂

  11. Bryce Edward’s very good post on this.

    We very much need to know their expenses. It begs the question are they spending our money to keep themselves in power? The fact that MP’s are reluctant to open up the expenses would suggest they have something to hide.

    • VT aka daVince 11.1

      I didn’t get BE’s blog yet.. your point is well-stated on power retention and ‘hide’.

      I would be terribly miffed, I would, if any such member was doing both.. as funding a strip-joint chain across the land.. for instance.. (just because they aint recession-proof stateside)…

  12. Maynard J 12

    Anita: there are precedents for privacy and confidentiality in law, when the cost of revealing information outweights society’s desire for openness and transparency (not a financial cost), and in other situations where privacy and confidentiality are a core requirement of maintaining the effectiveness of a service.

    Examples of the first type are evidence/witness supression and media censorship (as in ratings/banning of offensive material). Examples of the second type are lawyer/client, doctor/patient privilege, the activities of the GCSB/SAS.

    Interestingly enough (I read the Espiner article) the claim by MPs is that they need this confidentality in order to best represent their constituents:

    “The claim has always been that MPs need to protect their privacy and that of their constituents. And I guess it’s fair that not every single flight and hotel needs to be itemised.”

    That does not sit well with me. Knowing that my MP flew up to my electorate would not be a violation of that privacy.

    I doubt that MPs could openly argue that revealing their expenses would hinder their abilities to be MPs, but I think it could be the case – whether this is enough to justify an OIA exemption is the point, I guess (tying in your point about the complaint with the justifications).

    If there are serious doubts about MPs’ expenses, then the first problem must be with the validation of those expenses. The article leftrightout linked to was a good example of that at a glance.

    • Anita 12.1

      *nod*nods*

      The solution I have, however, is the OIA 🙂 The OIA as it stands has lots of protection for privacy, security, maintenance of law, commercial sensitivity and so on. So extend coverage of the OIA to MP’s expenses (and other parliamentary information) and let the usual protections take care of it. If the extension were to identify the need for a new class of protection, then create the new class.

      We should trust the OIA, we should believe in the principle of transparency.

  13. Eddie 13

    I see that following Anita’s comments No Right Turn’s now running a post called “The Standard vs Transparency”.

    A more accurate headline would be “The Standard publishes guest post”, but nevermind.

    Makes you wonder whether it’s worth publishing unpopular opinions if you’re going to be accused of crimes against transparency just for allowing the debate.

  14. jarbury 14

    I think it has been a good post in that it’s produced some very interesting discussion about the pros and cons of expenses disclosure, rather than everyone just jumping on the same bandwagon.

    While I am a big fan of disclosing expenses, I do also understand the potential for the media to jump on stuff that is actually pretty fair enough. We saw a little bit of that when the Greens disclosed their expenses.

    However, even though these concerns are legitimate I think that people would fairly quickly realise what expenses are normal and necessary, and what (if anything) is out of order. It will certainly ensure the MPs keep their houses in order. And if it makes them extra-cautious then that’s OK. It’s less of my tax dollars being spent after all.

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    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    7 days ago
  • Baby You're A Rich Man
    “How does it feel to beOne of the beautiful peopleNow that you know who you areWhat do you want to beAnd have you traveled very far?Far as the eye can see”Yesterday the ACT party faithful were regaled with craven boasts, sneers, and demands for even more at their annual rally.That ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    7 days ago
  • Stopping a future Labour government from shutting down gas exploration
    A defiant Resources Minister Shane Jones has responded to Saturday’s environmental protests by ending Labour’s offshore oil exploration ban and calling for long-term contracts with any successful explorers. The purpose would be to prevent a future Labour Government from reversing any licence the explorers might hold. Jones sees a precedent ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23
    A listing of 32 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 2, 2024 thru Sat, June 8, 2024. Story of the week Our Story of the Week is Yale Climate Connection's Resources for debunking common solar and wind myths, by ...
    1 week ago
  • Fission by the river
    This is where we ate our lunch last Wednesday. Never mind your châteaux and castles and whatnot, we like to enjoy a baguette in the shadow of a nuclear power plant; a station that puts out more than twice as much as Manapouri using nothing more than tiny atoms to bring ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is the ocean acidifying?
    Skeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by John Mason in collaboration with members from the Gigafact team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline. Is the ocean acidifying? Acidification of oceans ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000+ on Queen St.
    The largest protest I ever went on was in the mid 90s. There were 10,000 people there that day, and I’ve never forgotten it. An enormous mass of people, chanting together. Stretching block after block, bringing traffic to a halt.But I can’t say that’s the biggest protest I’ve ever been ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Josh Drummond's Columns
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    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Saturday soliloquy and weekend Pick ‘n’ Mix for June 8/9
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: On reflection, the six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty this week were:The Government-driven freeze in building new classrooms, local roads and water networks in order to save cash for tax cuts is frustrating communities facing massive population ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The no-vision thing
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    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • When Journalists are Disingenuous
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    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • Me, elsewhere: Just say you’ll do the thing
    Wrote something over at 1/200 on a familiar theme of mine: The way we frame the economy as a separate, sacred force which must be sacrificed to, the way we talk about criminals as invaders who must be repelled, the constant othering of people on the benefit, people not in ...
    Boots TheoryBy Stephanie Rodgers
    1 week ago
  • A Voyage Among the Vandals: Accepted
    A nice bit of news today: my 4600-word historical fantasy-horror piece, A Voyage Among the Vandals, has been accepted by Phobica Books (https://www.phobicabooks.co.uk/books) for their upcoming Pirate Horror anthology, Shivering Timbers. This one is set in the Mediterranean, during the mid-fifth century AD. Notable for having one of history’s designated ...
    1 week ago
  • Ministerial conflicts of interest
    Since the National government came to power, it has been surrounded by allegations of conflicts of interest. Firstly, there's the fast-track law, which concentrates power in the hands of three Ministers, some of whom have received donations from companies whose projects they will be deciding on. Secondly, there's the close ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The 2024 Budget Forecasts Are Gloomy Prognosis About The Next Three Years.
    There was no less razzamatazz about the 2024 Budget than about earlier ones. Once again the underlying economic analysis got lost. It deserves more attention.Just to remind you, the Budget Economic and Fiscal Update (BEFU), is the Treasury’s independent assessment and so can be analysed by other competent economists (although ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • A government that can't see twenty feet ahead
    There are two failings that consistently characterise a National government. One is a lack of imagination, the other is their willingness to look after their mates, no matter what harm it might do to everyone else.This is how we come to have thousands of enormous trucks carving up our roads. ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • A post I hope is incorrect
    In May, we learned that National MP David MacLeod had "forgotten" to declare $178,000 in electoral donations. Filing a donation return which is false in any material particular is a crime, and the Electoral Commission has now referred MacLeod to police, since they're the only people who are allowed to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Māori Cannot Re-Write New Zealand’s Constitution By Stealth.
    The Kotahitanga Parliament 1897: A Māori Parliament – at least in the guise of a large and representative body dedicated to describing the shape of New Zealand’s future from a Māori perspective – would be a very good idea.THE DEMAND for a “Māori Parliament” needs to be carefully unpicked. Some Pakeha, ...
    1 week ago
  • Cowpats and Colonials.
    Dumbtown, is how my friend Gerard refers to people like ZB listeners - he’s not wrong.Normally on a Friday I start by looking at Mike Hosking’s moronic reckons of the week which he vomits down the throats of his audience like helpless baby birds in a nest, grateful for the ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Gordon Campbell on cutting the sick leave of vulnerable workers
    Should sick leave be part and parcel of the working conditions from Day One on the job, just like every other health and safety provision? Or should access to sick leave be something that only gradually accumulates, depending on how long a worker has been on the payroll? If enacted ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    1 week ago
  • Nobody Move: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.
    So long as we live in a democracy, economic policy can never be anything other than social-democratic.“HEH!”, snorted Laurie, as he waved his debit card over the EFTPOS machine. “Same price as last week. I guess budgets aren’t what they used to be.”“I wouldn’t know,” replied the young barman, wearily, ...
    1 week ago
  • In Search Of Unity.
    Kotahitanga: New Zealand’s future belongs to those who do not fear a nation carved out of unity and solidarity, and are willing to trust the carvers. Some New Zealanders will be required to step up, and others, perhaps for the first time in their lives, will be expected to step ...
    1 week ago
  • Weekly Roundup 7-June-2024
    Welcome to another Friday roundup! Here are some recent links and stories that caught our eye, perfectly timed for your watercooler discussions and weekend reading. As always feel free to share more in the comments. Our header image this week is by Patrick Reynolds, and shows Te Komititanga from above. ...
    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    1 week ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 7
    As Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, ACT’s Brooke van Velden is fronting proposed changes to sick pay regulations and The Holiday Act. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Did we boil the oceans by cutting pollution?
    Lowering aerosol emissions from shipping has altered clouds, with potentially drastic effects. Photo: Getty ImagesTL;DR: Here’s the top six news items of note in climate news for Aotearoa-NZ this week, and a discussion above between Bernard Hickey and The Kākā’s climate correspondent Cathrine Dyer:New evidence is increasingly pointing at efforts ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #23 2024
    Open access notables Abrupt reduction in shipping emission as an inadvertent geoengineering termination shock produces substantial radiative warming, Yuan et al., Communications Earth & Environment: Human activities affect the Earth’s climate through modifying the composition of the atmosphere, which then creates radiative forcing that drives climate change. The warming effect ...
    1 week ago
  • Fragments
    The best observation I’ve read this week about the deep, profound harm Trump is doingTrump has hurled threats and smears at witnesses, jurors and the judge (including his family)... [he] has tried to intimidate witnesses and delegitimize the New York courts as corrupt. In continuing to incite his mob (that ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • March for Nature
    Do do do do do do do doDo do do do do doDi di di di di di di di di di diNature enter me…In 2018 the Labour lead government banned new oil and gas exploration in Aotearoa. A change welcomed by those who care deeply for our environment and ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • Bernard’s Dawn Chorus and pick ‘n’ mix for Thursday, June 6
    The Transport Minister is trying to push through urgent legislation that would allow him to change emissions standards for car imports without approval from Parliament, after only consulting car importers. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Just as two major reports showed fossil fuel burning was warming the planet to dangerous levels and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago

  • High Court Judge appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Auckland King’s Counsel Gregory Peter Blanchard as a High Court Judge. Justice Blanchard attended the University of Auckland from 1991 to 1995, graduating with an LLB (Honours) and Bachelor of Arts (English). He was a solicitor with the firm that is now Dentons ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health workforce numbers rise
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti says new data released today shows encouraging growth in the health workforce, with a continued increase in the numbers of doctors, nurses and midwives joining Health New Zealand. “Frontline healthcare workers are the beating heart of the healthcare system. Increasing and retaining our health workforce ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government to overhaul firearms laws
    Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee has today announced a comprehensive programme to reform New Zealand's outdated and complicated firearms laws. “The Arms Act has been in place for over 40 years. It has been amended several times – in a piecemeal, and sometimes rushed way. This has resulted in outdated ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers landmark specialist schools investment
    The coalition Government is delivering record levels of targeted investment in specialist schools so children with additional needs can thrive. As part of Budget 24, $89 million has been ringfenced to redevelop specialist facilities and increase satellite classrooms for students with high needs. This includes: $63 million in depreciation funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Major health and safety consultation begins
    A substantial consultation on work health and safety will begin today with a roadshow across the regions over the coming months, says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Brooke van Velden.  This the first step to deliver on the commitment to reforming health and safety law and regulations, set out in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Growing the potential of New Zealand’s forestry sector in partnership
    Forestry Minister Todd McClay, today announced the start of the Government’s plan to restore certainty and confidence in the forestry and wood processing sector. “This government will drive investment to unlock the industry’s economic potential for growth,” Mr McClay says. “Forestry’s success is critical to rebuilding New Zealand’s economy, boosting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government cancels forestry ETS annual service charges for 2023-24
    Annual service charges in the forestry Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) will be cancelled for 2023/24, Forestry Minister Todd McClay says. “The sector has told me the costs imposed on forestry owners by the previous government were excessive and unreasonable and I agree,” Mr McClay says. “They have said that there ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the LGNZ Infrastructure Symposium
    Introduction Thank you for having me here today and welcome to Wellington, the home of the Hurricanes, the next Super Rugby champions. Infrastructure – the challenge This government has inherited a series of big challenges in infrastructure. I don’t need to tell an audience as smart as this one that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government boosts Agriculture and food trade with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard welcomed outcomes to boost agricultural and food trade between New Zealand and China. A number of documents were signed today at Government House that will improve the business environment between New Zealand and China, and help reduce barriers, including on infant formula ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ and China launch Services Trade Negotiations
    Trade Minister Todd McClay, and China’s Commerce Minister Wang Wentao, today announced the official launch of Negotiations on Services Trade between the two countries.  “The Government is focused on opening doors for services exporters to grow the New Zealand’s economy,” Mr McClay says.  As part of the 2022 New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement Upgrade ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon meets with Premier Li
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met with Chinese Premier Li Qiang at Government House in Wellington today.  “I was pleased to welcome Premier Li to Wellington for his first official visit, which marks 10 years since New Zealand and China established a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” Mr Luxon says. “The Premier and ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government and business tackling gender pay gap
    The coalition Government is taking action to reduce the gender pay gap in New Zealand through the development of a voluntary calculation tool. “Gender pay gaps have impacted women for decades, which is why we need to continue to drive change in New Zealand,” Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Funding Boost for Rural Support Trusts
    The coalition Government is boosting funding for Rural Support Trusts to provide more help to farmers and growers under pressure, Rural Communities Minister Mark Patterson announced today. “A strong and thriving agricultural sector is crucial to the New Zealand economy and one of the ways to support it is to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Latest data shows size of public service decreasing
    Spending on contractors and consultants continues to fall and the size of the Public Service workforce has started to decrease after years of growth, according to the latest data released today by the Public Service Commission. Workforce data for the quarter from 31 December 23 to 31 March 24 shows ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the Law Association
    Thank you to the Law Association for inviting me to speak this morning. As a former president under its previous name — the Auckland District Law Society — I take particular satisfaction in seeing this organisation, and its members, in such good heart. As Attorney-General, I am grateful for these ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 25 years on, NZ reaffirms enduring friendship with Timor Leste
    New Zealand is committed to working closely with Timor-Leste to support its prosperity and resilience, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “This year is the 25th anniversary of New Zealand sending peacekeepers to Timor-Leste, who contributed to the country’s stabilisation and ultimately its independence,” Mr Peters says.    “A quarter ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Inquiry requested into rural banking
    Promoting robust competition in the banking sector is vital to rebuilding the economy, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “New Zealanders deserve a banking sector that is as competitive as possible. Banking services play an important role in our communities and in the economy. Kiwis rely on access to lending when ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Ministry for Regulation targets red tape to keep farmers and growers competitive
    Regulation Minister David Seymour, Environment Minister Penny Simmonds, and Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard have today announced a regulatory sector review on the approval process for new agricultural and horticultural products.    “Red tape stops farmers and growers from getting access to products that have been approved by other OECD countries. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government to reverse blanket speed limit reductions
    The Coalition Government will reverse Labour’s blanket speed limit reductions by 1 July 2025 through a new Land Transport Rule released for public consultation today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  The draft speed limit rule will deliver on the National-ACT coalition commitment to reverse the previous government’s blanket speed limit ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Chair appointments for NZSO, CNZ and NZ On Air
    Minister Paul Goldsmith is making major leadership changes within both his Arts and Media portfolios. “I am delighted to announce Carmel Walsh will be officially stepping into the role of Chair of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, having been acting Chair since April,” Arts Minister Paul Goldsmith says.  “Carmel is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government focus on long-term food, fibre growth
    Food and fibre export revenue is tipped to reach $54.6 billion this year and hit a record $66.6b in 2028 as the Government focuses on getting better access to markets and cutting red tape, Agriculture Minister Todd McClay and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones say. “This achievement is testament ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt consulting on cutting red tape for exporters
    A new export exemption proposal for food businesses demonstrates the coalition Government’s commitment to reducing regulatory barriers for industry and increasing the value of New Zealand exports, which gets safe New Zealand food to more markets, says Food Safety Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The coalition Government has listened to the concerns ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand and Philippines elevating relationship
    New Zealand and Philippines are continuing to elevate our relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “The leaders of New Zealand and Philippines agreed in April 2024 to lift our relationship to a Comprehensive Partnership by 2026,” Mr Peters says. “Our visit to Manila this week has been an excellent ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Paid Parental Leave increase to help families
    Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says paid parental leave increase from 1 July will put more money in the pockets of Kiwi parents and give them extra support as they take precious time off to bond with their newborns. The increase takes effect from 1 July 2024 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Defence increases UN Command commitment
    The number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel deployed to the Republic of Korea is increasing, Defence Minister Judith Collins and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced today.  NZDF will deploy up to 41 additional personnel to the Republic of Korea, increasing the size of its contribution to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand to attend 'Summit on Peace in Ukraine' in Switzerland
    New Zealand will be represented at the Summit on Peace in Ukraine by Minister Mark Mitchell in Switzerland later this week.    “New Zealand strongly supports Ukraine’s efforts to build a comprehensive, just, and lasting peace,” Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Minister Mitchell is a senior Cabinet Minister and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Big step forward for M.bovis programme
    Farmers’ hard work is paying off in the fight against Mycoplasma bovis (M. bovis) with the move to a national pest management plan marking strong progress in the eradication effort, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard.  “The plan, approved by the Coalition Government, was proposed by the programme partners DairyNZ, Beef ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Build To Rent opening welcomed by Housing Minister
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Housing Minister Chris Bishop formally opened a new Build to Rent development in Mt Wellington this morning. “The Prime Minister and I were honoured to cut the ribbon of Resido, New Zealand’s largest Build to Rent development to date.  “Build to Rent housing, like the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Agriculture to come out of the ETS
    The Government will deliver on its election commitment to take agriculture out of the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZ ETS) and will establish a new Pastoral Sector Group to constructively tackle biogenic methane, Coalition Government Agriculture and Climate Change Ministers say. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand farmers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Luxon Tokyo-bound for political and business visit
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Japan from 16-20 June, his first visit as Prime Minister.   “Japan is incredibly important to New Zealand's prosperity. It is the world’s fourth largest economy, and our fourth largest export destination.  “As you know, growing the economy is my number one priority. A strong economy means ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Bayly travels to Singapore for scam prevention meetings
    Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Andrew Bayly, travels to Singapore today to attend scam and fraud prevention meetings. “Scams are a growing international problem, and we are not immune in New Zealand. Organised criminal networks operate across borders, and we need to work with our Asia-Pacific partners to tackle ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More help for homeowners impacted by severe weather
    People who were displaced by severe weather events in 2022 and 2023 will be supported by the extension of Temporary Accommodation Assistance through to 30 June 2025. Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says the coalition Government is continuing to help to those who were forced out of their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government to reverse oil and gas exploration ban
    Removing the ban on petroleum exploration beyond onshore Taranaki is part of a suite of proposed amendments to the Crown Minerals Act to deal with the energy security challenges posed by rapidly declining natural gas reserves, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “Natural gas is critical to keeping our lights on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand and Malaysia to intensify connections
    New Zealand and Malaysia intend to intensify their long-standing, deep connections, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “Malaysia is one of New Zealand’s oldest friends in South-East Asia – and both countries intend to get more out of the relationship," Mr Peters says.   "Our connections already run deep and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ending contracted emergency housing motels in Rotorua
    The end of Contracted Emergency Housing (CEH) motels in Rotorua is nearing another milestone as the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announces it will not renew consents for six of the original 13 motels, Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka says. The government is committed to stop using CEH ...
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    1 week ago
  • First Home Grant closure exemptions
    The Government is providing a narrow exemption from the discontinuation of the First Home Grant for first home buyers who may face unfair situations as a result, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “The First Home Grant scheme was closed with immediate effect on 22 May 2024, with savings being reprioritised ...
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    1 week ago
  • Faster consenting for flood protection projects in Hawke's Bay
    Work to increase flood resilience in Hawke’s Bay can start sooner, thanks to a new fast consenting process, Minister for Emergency Management and Recovery Mark Mitchell and Environment Minister Penny Simmonds say.  “Faster consenting means work to build stop banks, spillways and other infrastructure can get underway sooner, increasing flood ...
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    1 week ago
  • Judge Craig Coxhead and Nathan Milner newest Māori Land Court appointments
    Tangata tū tangata ora, tangata noho tangata mate. Minister for Māori Development Tama Potaka today announced acting Deputy Chief Judge Craig Coxhead as the new Deputy Chief Judge, and Nathan Milner as Judge of the Māori Land Court. "I want to congratulate Judge Coxhead and Mr Milner on their appointments ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade
    Trade Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, today signed three Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreements that will boost investment, grow New Zealand’s digital and green economies and increase trade between New Zealand and the 14 IPEF partners. IPEF’s partners represent 40 per cent of global GDP ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government signs Indo-Pacific Economic agreements to boost trade and cooperation
    Trade Minister Todd McClay and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts, today signed three Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) agreements that will boost investment, grow New Zealand’s digital and green economies and increase trade between New Zealand and the 14 IPEF partners. IPEF’s partners represent 40 per cent of global GDP ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago

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