Rolling back transparency

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, October 30th, 2010 - 43 comments
Categories: accountability, Parliament - Tags: , ,

Neither major party has a particularly proud record on encouraging transparency with respect to MPs’ spending. But The Greens certainly got something moving last year:

MPs’ expense accounts are likely to be opened to public scrutiny after a face-saving move by Prime Minister John Key led to an urgent cross-party meeting being called. Party representatives will meet this week to discuss ways of giving more details on how MPs use their $14,800 expense accounts and accommodation and travel allowances. …

The turnaround came after the Green Party promised to disclose its MPs’ expenses spending each year. Act and the Maori Party followed suit.

National made the best of a bad deal of course, piling on to the cases of inappropriate spending by Labour MPs, trying to minimise its own cases, and claiming credit for opening up the accounts. Some editorials, and the usual National spinsters, made a big issue of this “new transparency”. At the time I did wonder how long it would last.

Turns out, not so long. The roll back of transparency has begun:

MPs’ overseas travel costs to be secret

MPs’ international travel expenses will now be kept secret after a ruling by parliament’s Speaker.

The issue of MPs’ private travel blew up last year after it was revealed Act MP Rodney Hide took his girlfriend on a taxpayer-funded $50,000 trip. Under the new rules, the Speaker will only reveal the total amount spent by MPs on private travel and not give a breakdown for each MP.

Sounds like a cover-up!

But the Speaker denies that is a cover-up.

Oh, sorry, my mistake. Not a cover-up at all.

Under the new system, the likes of Hide and Chris Carter would have been spared the intense public scrutiny they got when it emerged they had clocked up big international travel bills with their partners at their sides.

Well there’s the heart of the matter. I think that in both cases the public was entitled to know. I also think that the subsequent witch hunt of Chris Carter was entirely over the top and a disgrace to the media that participated in it (Lockwood Smith appears to agree). But there doesn’t seem to be any way of having the transparency without opening the door to the possibility of the witch hunts. So which is the lesser evil?

Despite the risks of Carter-style persecution, I have to come down on the side of transparency. This move to start rolling it back is a mistake.

43 comments on “Rolling back transparency ”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    What is it about Kiwis and international travel. In the US some state politicians hardly leave their state let alone the country on official business.
    But no, from local bodies to Ministers they must rush overseas to a conference of nobodies or see the latest pedestrian precinct in Prague.

    The roll back of transparency will continue, bit by bit. Covered up by the bland moniker of ‘speakers rulings’, when they are really orchestrated at the highest political levels.

    • And with the technological options available now, there’s less justification than there ever was. Maybe it’s time an independent body, with a majority of ordinary citizens, approved MPs’ travel and at least had the right to officially comment on that of Ministers.

      But (to return to the original post) the “Carter witch hunt”?!

      It’s not a witch hunt if she’s living in a gingerbread cottage, rides a broomstick and eats small children. Sometimes it really is a witch.

      • Ari 1.1.1

        Well, if there’s a genuinely independant authority responsible for approving travel costs, that’s probably the best solution all-round, but it might be a bit inefficient to do that compared to just releasing MPs costs and responsibilities.

  2. Armchair Critic 2

    Too right, r0b. The information needs to be published to allow voters to hold their representatives to account, and to assist them decide on how to vote. This is another step away from open and democratic government.
    A lump sum figure for parliament is just too broad. At least the figure needs to be broken down by party. Of course, for one person parties this would also be individual data, which leads us back to releasing individual data.
    Here’s a thought, party leaders can release individual data for their MPs. Didn’t the Green party do this? Were Labour to do so it would put pressure on National to do the same.
    My vote is up for grabs. Openness on individual MPs expenses will influence my vote.

  3. Seems obvious that it was more about politics than transparency.

    Out Labour’s Ministerial expenses which those Ministers had little or no expectation that spending would ever be publicised – especially Shane’s blue movies (which was already rumoured due to a suspected leak from Ministerial Services) – why otherwise be so keen to lift the veil, take some self-damage so it doesn’t all look one way – Heatley and co, and then cover it back up so the Right Honourable Doctor can go on holiday.

    I would encourage the Goffice to come out with a policy promising a Labour Speaker would permanently restore the transparency around MPs spending. If this requires a small adjustment of salary to compensate, so be it.

    • Olwyn 3.1

      Yes, it does look that way, and it makes what happened to Shane Jones and Chris Carter all the more terrible, especially since both paid back personal expenses on their credit cards, and any spending they did beyond that was approved and within the rules.

      While transparency seems like a good idea, it is easier to be transparent about numbers than contexts: some ministerial jobs require more overseas travel than others, and even within the same ministerial job, there will be times when overseas travel is in order and times when it is not. Those who work for the media see no need to make such distinctions unless there is a politically expedient reason for doing so, instead preferring to roar, “Twenty thousand dollars! Of your money!” and similar.

    • Pascal's bookie 3.2

      I would encourage the Goffice to come out with a policy promising a Labour Speaker would permanently restore the transparency around MPs spending.

      Not sure he could do that. He could however say that while he is leader of the parliamentary LP, Labour party MPs will be expected to front up to the public with their expenses. There is nothing stopping the PM doing the same as the Leader of the parliamentary NP. No doubt he is going to get right on that, given his public frustration about the speaker’s ruling.

  4. Armchair Critic 4

    Seems that Mr Key does not support Lockwood’s roll-back
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10684086
    He’s quoted as saying
    …personally I’ve been of the view that transparency is a good thing. As Prime Minister I’ve tried to lead that charge when it comes to transparency and on that basis I made those feelings clear“, and
    The reality is we have worked on a process where we’ve opened up MPs’ expenses, and now in a way it will at least look to the public that we’re closing the door slightly
    Good call.
    He can back that up by releasing his MP’s individual expenses.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1

      The rest of the pollies would say Key can afford to be ‘transparent’.
      If he really believed this rather than being spin it would not have happened.
      Was he really out voted by English , Brownlee?

    • Dont fall for this con job by the Nats !.They win hands down .Their perks are kept secret but Mr Goody Key thinks they should not be ,. What a lovely man . Bloody hell is the country that dumb .Im afraid so.

    • gobsmacked 5.1

      Key relies on voters being dumb. Joe Bloggs duly obliges.

      Politics 101: Be against something the public are against, when you don’t have responsibility for it. Free hit.

      Of course Key is for “transparency”, when it’s the Speaker’s decision. Key isn’t for transparency, when it’s his own call. Like National Party funding, for example. Or Richard Worth.

      • Nick C 5.1.1

        So – you’re going to apply that critique to the labour opposition? They have no responsibility for government policy, perhaps they are doing what you claim key is doing here on issues like foriegn investment, GST?

        • Colonial Viper 5.1.1.1

          Yeah except Key makes more rapid and deeper changes to his policies and statements based on the latest polls. Hence more poll driven with less of an overarching plan or vision.

        • gobsmacked 5.1.1.2

          Don’t play dumb, Nick. You aren’t, nor am I.

          John Key is not aiming to become the Speaker. An opposition party aims to become the government. Ergo, comparison meaningless.

        • Ari 5.1.1.3

          There’s a difference between populism and simply changing your mind. Populism is when you don’t have any principles, changing your mind is when you apply them differently because other people have convinced you of the merits of doing so.

          Populism is dumb, (because there’s no guarantee you get good or useful ideas) but changing your mind in accordance with principles is fine.

  5. Anthony C 6

    I’m in two minds… the whole ‘expenses’ sideshow is an unnecessary distraction when it would be more productive for the public/media to be focusing on policy. Conversely it’s important to know this information especially with hypocrites like Rodney Hide projecting a ‘perk busting’ persona whilst troughing to the highest order.

  6. ianmac 7

    I am confused. There are two sorts of travel for MP’s.
    1. Travel in relation to official trips.
    2. Travel as a “perk” as for Hide after x years of service and paid for from a fund made up from MP salaries.
    As I understand it it is the private travel “perks” that will be kept secret. Yes?
    (It would be total hypocrisy and plain wrong to make the official trips secret.)

    • bobo 7.1

      Didn’t Hide mix so called business with pleasure so its not even a case of just an MPs holiday.

      -Hide said the main reason for his trip was work and the Cabinet paper he wrote on the issue showed that.

      Mr Hide used his Parliamentary Service travel budget to pay for his girlfriend, getting around a ruling by Mr Key that Ministerial Services money could not be used for such trips during the recession.

  7. vto 8

    Lockwood Dipstick must think we can’t see through his weasel words and excuses. Bloody pathetic.

    Why is it that every new bunch of hicks who occupy the seats of power so quickly think themselves something special?

  8. Colonial Viper 9

    Lockwood Smith was pretty clear that MPs pay out of their own salaries into a collective fund for their ‘travel perks’. And that the ‘perks’ paid back out to MPs as a group are frequently much less than what the fund receives over the course of a year from their individual contributions. Is this not correct? If there are areas which need to be focussed on in terms of transparency, I would have thought that this was near the bottom of the list, roughly on the same level as knowing what Parliamentary Services spend their social club contributions on and who went to the events to benefit from their individual personal contributions.

    At the top of the list for issues of transparency – Ministerial OIA performance.

    edit – ianmac I see you made the point I was trying to make

  9. bobo 10

    So Key makes out he is against the roll back of transparency, what a con, he hates transparency as was the case with Richard Worth need to know affair, his conflict of interest trans-rail shares, investments in uranium, Warner’s commercial confidentiality bollocks, Nat Party donation trusts, so he can distance himself from Lockward with a statement and if the public becomes so outraged he can come in as the savior to change it back.. This was announced when he is out of the country, typical.

    • Inventory2 10.1

      bobo – who made the push for greater transparency? Hint: his first name starts with J, and his last name starts with K

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Key’s led the charge? Oh thats why NAT Ministerial OIA performance has been shite.

      • gobsmacked 10.1.2

        Can we have some transparency about the National party’s backers then?

        Oh, and there was a generous gift from the taxpayers on Thursday which doesn’t seem very “transparent”. Why won’t Key tell us how much he handed over?

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.3

        It was the Greens – nothing to do with NACT at all. They just followed suit when they realised that the public were going to demand it.

  10. Jeremy Harris 11

    Why does it always suprise the fans of big government on this blog when the politcians ensure they get higher salaries and a bigger trough..? Their is no difference between Labour and National when it comes to rorting us…

    Yet your solution is to increase their power… It boggles the mind…

  11. Jim Nald 12

    So where are the responses and what are the policy intentions of parties from the progressive Left?

    Oh, Newsroom shows Meteria commenting:

    “Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is calling on the Speaker of the House Dr Lockwood Smith, to promote genuine transparency over MPs expenses in the wake of his announcement to change the current expenses disclosure regime.”

    Where is Labour? Anderton?
    And perhaps Maori Party?

  12. They must be ice-skating in Hades today; I agree with r0b. Dr Lockwood Smith has made a great fist of the Speaker’s role, to pretty much universal acclaim in the House, Trevor Mallard possibly excepted. But he’s got this one wrong IMHO.

  13. ianmac 14

    I think that Lockwood is the best Speaker yet and I am pretty sure that Trevor would support that view. Not sure that some Nat Ministers would agree though since for the first time ever he is usually successful in getting answers to improved questioning.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Lockwood telling Bill English that he was tempted to send that member out of the House – but that it would be somewhat unfair to do so since all the MPs/Ministers had been playing up on that day – really won my respect. Balanced and forthright. Rare enough qualities.

  14. Draco T Bastard 15

    I think that in both cases the public was entitled to know.

    The public always has a right to know how our money is spent.

    • ianmac 15.1

      Not so sure about that Draco. If we are not careful we make it hard for any action to take place.
      Analyse every word spoken by MPs and we get wooden non-committal answers.
      Analyse every dollar spent and you get over-cautious timid action.

      And think of the damage done to the big picture by quibbling over a few insignificant sums spent on the trivial. I don’t care if flowers were bought by taxpayers money, or whether they went business class or not, – and so on.

      • Draco T Bastard 15.1.1

        The economy, within the renewable resource base, is a zero sum game and no amount of printing money will change that. Given this fact then we need to know if the resources available are being used appropriately. Ergo, we need to know how and why our “money” is being spent.

        i.e. Is there a viable reason for us to presently have a few MPs and their support staff in Canada?

        And think of the damage done to the big picture by quibbling over a few insignificant sums spent on the trivial.

        The quibbling over a few was a beat up by the MSM and shouldn’t have happened and, IMO, wouldn’t have happened if the expenses had been open before hand. We certainly haven’t had anything like it since.

        • Colonial Viper 15.1.1.1

          i.e. Is there a viable reason for us to presently have a few MPs and their support staff in Canada?

          Not to minimise your concerns DTB, but to me this is still ‘nickel and diming’ it. Billion dollar roads, Cullen fund mismanagement which is going to cost us billions over a few years, NZD speculation by foreign players costing our exporters up a billion or more annually, tens of thousands of MoE and teacher time taken up by trying to sort out and implement National Standards, thousands of NZ born graduates fleeing overseas every year for long term work….

          Spending $50K on Lee and Fenton going to Canada really doesn’t register with me, and maybe they might bring some good stuff back for the country, tangible and intangible.

  15. Tanz 16

    Why should it be up to the Speaker, anyway? MP’s travel exprenses should always have been transparent, and Lockwood Smith just lost my respect, I thought he was one of the good guys.

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    The election promises of ‘better economic management’ are now ringing hollow, as NZ appears to be falling into a deeper recession, while other economies are turning the corner. Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The economy and the housing market are slumping back into a deep recession this winter, contrasting ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • Scrutiny week off to rocky start
    Parliament’s new “Scrutiny” process, which is supposed to allow Select Committees to interrogate Ministers and officials in much more depth, has got off to a rocky start. Yesterday was the first day of “Scrutiny Week” which is supposed to see the Government grilled on how it spends taxpayers’ money and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    7 days ago
  • The choice could not be more stark’: How Trump and Biden compare on climate change
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady Illustration by Samantha Harrington. Photo credits: Justin Lane-Pool/Getty Images, Win McNamee/Getty Images, European Space Agency. In an empty wind-swept field in Richmond, California, next to the county landfill, a company called RavenSr has plotted out land and won ...
    1 week ago
  • Differentiating between democracy and republic
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    1 week ago
  • Bernard's mid-winter pick 'n' mix for Monday, June 17
    TL;DR: Chris Bishop talks up the use of value capture, congestion charging, PPPs, water meters, tolling and rebating GST on building materials to councils to ramp up infrastructure investment in the absence of the Government simply borrowing more to provide the capital.Meanwhile, Christopher Luxon wants to double the number of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • You do have the power to change things
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    1 week ago
  • Turning Away – Who Cares If We Don't?
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    1 week ago
  • Dissecting Tickled
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    1 week ago
  • New Zealand Webworm Popup + Tickled!
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    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    1 week ago
  • What China wants from NZ business
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    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Worm Ouroboros, by E.R. Eddison (1922)
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    1 week ago
  • 2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24
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    1 week ago
  • Sunday Morning Chat
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    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • The Book of Henry
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    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Fact Brief – Is ocean acidification from human activities enough to impact marine ecosystems?
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    1 week ago
  • Happiness is a Warm Gun
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    1 week ago
  • Still doing a good 20
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    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    1 week ago
  • Coalition of the Unwilling?
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    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Of red flags and warning signs in comments on social media
    Somewhat surprisingly for what is regarded as a network of professionals, climate science misinformation is getting shared on LinkedIn, joining other channels where this is happening. Several of our recent posts published on LinkedIn have attracted the ire of various commenters who apparently are in denial about human-caused climate change. Based ...
    1 week ago
  • All good, still
    1. On what subject is Paul Henry even remotely worth giving the time of day?a. The state of our nationb. The state of the ACT partyc. How to freak out potential buyers of your gin palace by baking the remains of your deceased parent into its fittings2. Now that New ...
    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    2 weeks ago
  • The looting is the point
    Last time National was in power, they looted the state, privatising public assets and signing hugely wasteful public-private partnership (PPP) contracts which saw foreign consortiums provide substandard infrastructure while gouging us for profits. You only have to look at the ongoing fiasco of Transmission Gully to see how it was ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The Illusion of Power: How Local Government Bureaucrats Overawe Democratically-Elected Councillors..
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    2 weeks ago
  • Lowlights & Bright Spots
    I can feel the lowlights coming over meI can feel the lowlights, from the state I’m inI can see the light now even thought it’s dimA little glow on the horizonAnother week of lowlights from our government, with the odd bright spot and a glow on the horizon. The light ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago
  • Weekly Roundup 14-June-2024
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    Greater AucklandBy Greater Auckland
    2 weeks ago
  • The Hoon around the week to June 14
    Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s moves this week to take farming out of the ETS and encourage more mining and oil and ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate policy axed in broad daylight, while taxpayer liabilities grow in the dark
    In 2019, Shane Jones addressed the “50 Shades of Green” protest at Parliament: Now he is part of a government giving those farmers a pass on becoming part of the ETS, as well as threatening to lock in offshore oil exploration and mining for decades. Photo: Lynn GrievesonTL;DR: Here’s the ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Rage Bait!
    Hi,Today’s newsletter is all about how easy it is to get sucked into “rage bait” online, and how easy it is to get played.But first I wanted to share something that elicited the exact opposite of rage in me — something that made me feel incredibly proud, whilst also making ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    2 weeks ago
  • Bernard's Dawn Chorus and pick 'n' mix for Friday, June 14
    Seymour said lower speed limits “drained the joy from life as people were forced to follow rules they knew made no sense.” File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: My six things to note in Aotearoa-NZ’s political economy around housing, climate and poverty on Friday, June 14 were:The National/ACT/NZ First ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Friendly but frank talks with China Premier
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    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #24 2024
    Open access notables Wildfire smoke impacts lake ecosystems, Farruggia et al., Global Change Biology: We introduce the concept of the lake smoke-day, or the number of days any given lake is exposed to smoke in any given fire season, and quantify the total lake smoke-day exposure in North America from 2019 ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live
    Photo by Mathias Elle on UnsplashIt’s that new day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for our chat about the week’s news with special guests:5.00 ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    2 weeks ago
  • Geoffrey Miller: China’s message to New Zealand – don’t put it all at risk
    Don’t put it all at risk. That’s likely to be the take-home message for New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon in his meetings with Li Qiang, the Chinese Premier. Li’s visit to Wellington this week is the highest-ranking visit by a Chinese official since 2017. The trip down under – ...
    Democracy ProjectBy Geoffrey Miller
    2 weeks ago
  • The Real Thing
    I know the feelingIt is the real thingThe essence of the soulThe perfect momentThat golden momentI know you feel it tooI know the feelingIt is the real thingYou can't refuse the embraceNo?Sometimes we face the things we most dislike. A phobia or fear that must be confronted so it doesn’t ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    2 weeks ago

  • Transformative investment in cancer treatments and more new medicines
    The coalition Government is delivering up to 26 cancer treatments as part of an overall package of up to 54 more new medicines, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti and Associate Health Minister David Seymour announced today. “Pharmac estimates that around 175,000 people will benefit from the additional treatments in just ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    13 hours ago
  • More support for drought-affected communities
    The coalition Government is providing more financial support to drought-stricken farmers and growers in many parts of the country to help with essential living costs. “Rural Assistance Payments have been made available in 38 districts affected by dry conditions to help eligible farmers and growers whose income has taken a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Job seekers to report on progress after six months from today
    A new requirement for people on Jobseeker Support benefits to meet with MSD after six months to assess how their job search is going gets underway today. About 20,000 Jobseeker beneficiaries with full-time work obligations are expected to attend MSD’s new ‘Work check-in’ seminars over the next 12 months, Social ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    19 hours ago
  • New cops means more Police on the beat
    The decision to deploy more Police on the beat in Auckland CBD has been welcomed by Police Minister Mark Mitchell and Associate Police Minister Casey Costello. Starting from 1 July, an additional 21 police officers will be redeployed in Auckland City, bringing the total number of beat police in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government takes action to address youth crime
    The Government is introducing a new declaration for young offenders to ensure they face tougher consequences and are better supported to turn their lives around, Children’s Minister Karen Chhour announced today. The establishment of a Young Serious Offender declaration delivers on a coalition Government commitment and supports the Government’s target ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Reserve Bank chair reappointed
    Professor Neil Quigley has been reappointed as Chair of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Board for a further term of two years, until 30 June 2026.  “Professor Quigley has played a key role in establishing the new Board after the commencement of the new RBNZ Act on 1 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • School attendance increases
    School attendance data released today shows an increase in the number of students regularly attending school to 61.7 per cent in term one. This compares to 59.5 per cent in term one last year and 53.6 per cent in term four. “It is encouraging to see more children getting to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Record investment in public transport services
    The Government has announced a record 41 per cent increase in indicative funding for public transport services and operations, and confirmed the rollout of the National Ticketing Solution (NTS) that will enable contactless debit and credit card payments starting this year in Auckland, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“This Government is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • GDP data shows need to strengthen and grow the economy
    GDP figures for the March quarter reinforce the importance of restoring fiscal discipline to public spending and driving more economic growth, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  Data released today by Stats NZ shows GDP has risen 0.2 per cent for the quarter to March.   “While today’s data is technically in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Women continue to make up over 50 per cent on public sector boards
    Women’s representation on public sector boards and committees has reached 50 per cent or above for the fourth consecutive year, with women holding 53.9 per cent of public sector board roles, Acting Minister for Women Louise Upston says. “This is a fantastic achievement, but the work is not done. To ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government supporting Māori business success
    The Coalition Government is supporting Māori to boost development and the Māori economy through investment in projects that benefit the regions, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka say. “As the Regional Development Minister, I am focused on supporting Māori to succeed. The Provincial Growth Fund ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Better solutions for earthquake-prone buildings
    Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk has announced that the review into better managing the risks of earthquake-prone buildings has commenced. “The terms of reference published today demonstrate the Government’s commitment to ensuring we get the balance right between public safety and costs to building owners,” Mr Penk says.  “The Government ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up visit to Japan
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has just finished a successful three-day visit to Japan, where he strengthened political relationships and boosted business links. Mr Luxon’s visit culminated in a bilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio followed by a state dinner. “It was important for me to meet Prime Minister Kishida in person ...
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    5 days ago
  • Major business deals signed on PM’s Japan trip
    Significant business deals have been closed during the visit of Prime Minister Christopher Luxon to Japan this week, including in the areas of space, renewable energy and investment.  “Commercial deals like this demonstrate that we don’t just export high-quality agricultural products to Japan, but also our world-class technology, expertise, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Strategic Security speech, Tokyo
    Minasan, konnichiwa, kia ora and good afternoon everyone. Thank you for the invitation to speak to you today and thank you to our friends at the Institute for International Socio-Economic Studies and NEC for making this event possible today.  It gives me great pleasure to be here today, speaking with ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • National Infrastructure Pipeline worth over $120 billion
    The National Infrastructure Pipeline, which provides a national view of current or planned infrastructure projects, from roads, to water infrastructure, to schools, and more, has climbed above $120 billion, Infrastructure Minister Chris Bishop says. “Our Government is investing a record amount in modern infrastructure that Kiwis can rely on as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Making it easier to build infrastructure
    The Government is modernising the Public Works Act to make it easier to build infrastructure, Minister for Land Information Chris Penk announced today. An independent panel will undertake an eight-week review of the Act and advise on common sense changes to enable large scale public works to be built faster and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • NZ enhances North Korea sanctions monitoring
    New Zealand will enhance its defence contributions to monitoring violations of sanctions against North Korea, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon announced today.  The enhancement will see the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) increase its contributions to North Korea sanctions monitoring, operating out of Japan. “This increase reflects the importance New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Speech to Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference
    Good afternoon everyone. It’s great to be with you all today before we wrap up Day One of the annual Safeguard National Health and Safety Conference. Thank you to the organisers and sponsors of this conference, for the chance to talk to you about the upcoming health and safety consultation. ...
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    7 days ago
  • Ōtaki to north of Levin alliance agreements signed
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone for the Ōtaki to north of Levin Road of National Significance (RoNS), following the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) signing interim alliance agreements with two design and construction teams who will develop and ultimately build the new expressway.“The Government’s priority for transport ...
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    7 days ago
  • Improvements to stopping Digital Child Exploitation
    The Department of Internal Affairs [Department] is making a significant upgrade to their Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System, which blocks access to websites known to host child sexual abuse material, says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “The Department will incorporate the up-to-date lists of websites hosting child sexual ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • New vaccine research aims to combat prevalent bovine disease
    A vaccine to prevent an infectious disease that costs New Zealand cattle farmers more than $190 million each year could radically improve the health of our cows and boost on-farm productivity, Associate Agriculture Minister Andrew Hoggard says. The Ministry for Primary Industries is backing a project that aims to develop ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Making it easier to build granny flats
    The Government has today announced that it is making it easier for people to build granny flats, Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters and RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop say. “Making it easier to build granny flats will make it more affordable for families to live the way that suits them ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks 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 ...
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    2 weeks ago

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