web analytics

We Need A Proper Constitution

Written By: - Date published: 8:26 am, September 20th, 2022 - 41 comments
Categories: Deep stuff, democracy under attack, jacinda ardern - Tags:

She’s in the ground and it’s time.

In May last year Prime Minister Ardern was centre stage at the Harvard Commencement Address and issued a dire warning that democracies can die, public institutions can wither, and states themselves can fall.

It is astonishing that a Prime Minister who has had to use legal and martial forces by the state against its own citizens in security and in public health, seen Parliament occupied for over a month, endured our worst terror attack, and made some of its deepest reforms in three decades in health, local government and water, cannot see any reason to connect weakening democracy to ourselves and hence a need for constitutional reform.

As Prime Minister Ardern herself stated while in London for the commemoration events, she will not act about the constitution unless and until there is a compelling reason to do so:

The only people who ever ask me about it are the media.”

This is a prime minister who simply will not act unless there is a strong and pressing will of the people to do so. That is her pattern.

So let’s go to  Ardern’s own words from that Harvard address, and turn that same to ourselves. When complaining about the corrosion of public discourse through social media, she said:

It ignores the fact that the foundation of a strong democracy includes trust in institutions experts, and government – and that this can be built up over decades but torn down in mere years.”

That’s just social media and its impact upon our Muslim community as a very good reason for constitutional reform that she herself has admitted.

In just one Parliamentary term we have seen, without specific electoral mandate, our democratic rights and input removed or deeply weakened by this government in water management, school boards, health, tertiary training, local government,  and independent oversight of children in need of protection. Ardern has stated her case that democracies can die, but that applies in New Zealand and from the left as much as anyone else.

Then there’s COVID19. Minister Parker has set out clearly what the legal and constitutional impact of COVID-19 has been. I have not been more chilled by the state than when I was stopped at Meremere by both the Police and the NZDF to determine whether I could drive out of Auckland for work, handing over three sets of approvals, while 99% of other citizens and residents were confined by force to their homes. Minister Parker could see the constitutional ramifications, even before they started re-nationalisation.

That’s them in their own words.

Why constitutional reform now?

Timing. The Queen is dead and what will replace her will be far weaker in its importance to us. The World War 2 generation is 95% dead. 90% of historic Treaty settlements are done. The Bicentennary is only 18 years away.

Then there’s politics. Mixed Member Proportional Representation has dampened ideological extremism and delivered greater Parliamentary diversity. But we’re not safer, nor stronger, nor clearer about where we are going for having it as a set of mechanisms.

Then there’s necessity. In a term or so all historic Treaty claims will be done. In 2048 the Antarctic Treaty will expire. The New Zealand Realm countries Tokelau, Niue and Cook Islands are going to get really important in territorial contests over resource. The relationship of the state to Maori is changing fast and often too fast. Then there’s deep institutional failure: the Royal Commission into state care, the security and intelligence failures from the Christchurch Massacre, and across the justice system continued instances of individuals unable to stop being crushed.

What could be in scope?

In no particular order.

  • Relationship of New Zealand to the United Kingdom.
  • The Canberra Pact of 1944 to come to the defence aid of Australia.
  • The role of the branches of government including the judiciary, armed forces, and NZ Police, including who they answer to and how operationally separate they are.
  • The role of the  Treaty of Waitangi and going through each of the provisions including right of the state to form and transfer property title, protection of rights to water and native lands, and all the rest.
  • Broad scope of regional and local government to the state. Coming out of that will be property rights, enforcement of contract.
  • Any lands or asset classes to be entrenched in Parliament for example National Parks and Marine Reserves.
  • Deep sea territorial reach.
  • What references to Australia.
  • Whether the Bill of Rights Act should be entrenched by a super-majority.
  • Rights of citizens and their defence, for example the right to detain, search, seize property, to jail, rights perhaps of compensation.
  • What if any references to the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.

Then you might get to who runs the show. Purposes of the Governor-General, or if we decide to remove the sovereign what if any major changes for a replacement. If they remain largely ceremonial powers, not much changes. If an active President (insert te reo equivalent if you like), a lot changes: to whom do the core branches of government answer and how including judiciary and powers of the Supreme Court, NZDF, NZ Police, and role of Prime Minister. Elected or appointed by Parliament, full can of worms.

Mechanisms to amend the Constitution.

Maybe consider direct Parliamentary representation for Realm states. Ask the regional representation question. Ask the broad question of whether we are over-governened for our size or under-governed for our diversity.

Use useful precedents like the constitutional reforms of Singapore, Denmark, Netherlands, Fiji, Australia, Jamaica, France, and Canada.

Out of scope could be annoying distractions like changing the flag, the national anthem, or the country’s name. Don’t open the box called Australia. Don’t specify any electoral system. Maybe don’t get tangled in an Upper House discussion. Give people enough to get excited about but don’t expect catharsis, cathexis, or any examination involving masks or rubber gloves.

Keep it tidy. Don’t do a Chile and jam every progressive idea you can think of in it, and then see it burn like the Hindenburg.

Aim to get the legible basics on one side of a business card.


Aim for a Big Reveal in 2036, then down the runway preparing for the Bicentennary in 2040.

Working backwards:

2036-9                Bicentennary plans, mandate and outcomes

2033-6                Election of new entity heads, re-forming Parliament

2029-32              Engagement, legislation, process design and regulation

2023-26              Cross-Party agreement on scope, timing, and purpose

We should allow a gradual process to bed all this down. Depends on public appetite and of course on events.

It would be a job worth doing, clearly not within the appetite of this Prime Minister. But it’s well time to talk about it.

41 comments on “We Need A Proper Constitution ”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Everyone wants a constitution, as long as it is a constitution that suits them…

    • Hunter Thompson II 1.1

      That's it right there – it surely is question-begging to assert we need a "proper constitution". What is meant by "proper"?

      But whatever constitution we get, the lawyers will do very nicely out of it, you can bet the house on that.

      • solkta 1.1.1

        I think by proper he means an actual constitution document. We have constitutional law but it is splattered around in a number of different pieces of legislation.

  2. Blazer 2

    It's a big project and a commendable one.

    When both National and Labour favour the status quo….who would have the determination,the fortitude to take it on?

    Maybe when the newer ,younger voters rebel against the 'open economy' we run and decide NZ's destiny should be more than a huge retirement home and profit centre for overseas companies,change may come ..about.

  3. Descendant Of Smith 3

    "while 99% of other citizens and residents were confined by force to their homes. "

    This bullshit doesn't help your case. It would be far more accurate to say 99% of us understood the need for health measures and voluntarily stayed at home but also saw the need for the state to intervene for the 1% that wanted to be dicks about it.

    Now I don't necessarily think the percentages were 99% and 1% – they are your pieces of nonsense but I'm sure my statement is far more accurate than yours.

    Was free as a bird to go to the supermarket when I needed to for instance and did so.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 3.1

      Was free as a bird to go to the supermarket when I needed to for instance and did so.

      Or go for a daily walk on car-free roads, surveying bears and other exotics – great times.

      • Descendant Of Smith 3.1.1

        Yep cause most people knew it made sense to stay home and not circulate. The end result was much fewer deaths than nearly every other country so the people were right.

        Nor was the approach a product pulled out of thin air. Pandemic planning had been going on for years under both National and Labour coalition governments and I'd say 90% of what was implemented was in those planning documents.

        Nobody wanted a pandemic but when it came New Zealander's responded well. That some people didn't like it and for some it was hard was always going to be the case.

        I look at my mate in the US in a wheelchair in an anti-vax state, anti-mask state who last I spoke to him hadn't been outside his house for over two years.

        Some of the alternative options weren't pretty either just different people affected and in different ways.

      • Sabine 3.1.2

        So as long it is within five kms of your home, enforced by police stopping and checking drivers as to their home addresses as it was enforced in lovely Rotorua, which ment that the redwood forest was literally a place only those living near by could go.

    • mikesh 3.2

      Perhaps, though, the decision should have been the governor general's rather than the PM's. as I understand it, it is GG's prerogative to declare a state of emergency, but usually on the advice of the PM.

      • Hanswurst 3.2.1

        You'd actually, seriously prefer decisions on something of that nature to rest in the hands of an unelected dignitary, rather than those of an elected government? I don't think I'll ever understand that sentiment.

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    You don't think a constitution might be a can of worms? A perceived pork barrel for minority interests like NZinc, and the usual suspects to fight for the champion's portion while ordinary New Zealanders look on aghast?

    Or for de Tocqueville's oligarchic lawyers (yes, you Palmer) to engineer something for their benefit with little or no relevance or value to the public at large?

    Elizabeth is barely even cold, and Charles's indiscretions thus far seem to go no further than scolding a servant who didn't check the pen for a key state occasion. There are many wrongs that can be laid at the door of the British monarchy, but largely speaking not by us.

    Let us see a few drafts before setting an end point on the process – and for God's sake, let the document be a popular one, not yet another wretchedly worthless technocratic imposition.

    • lprent 4.1

      and the usual suspects to fight for the champion's portion while ordinary New Zealanders look on aghast?

      Like the rort called the Taxpayers 'union'.

      • Stuart Munro 4.1.1

        NZ has an abundance of entitled groups looking for more than their share. A popular constitution is built on and stands and falls on, an equal franchise.

        The Taxevader's Union are nothing more than a subconscious declaration that they desperately want to be audited by IRD. NZ can afford to humour that craving.

        Issues like He Puapua, expect what might be some kind of affirmative action. But any such policy must survive a review under whatever the final constitution might turn out to be. And that is one of the more legitimate causes the constitution must navigate.

        Things like Trans advocacy will not fare well if the public have any meaningful input.

        With this in mind, a Palmerian solution is probably as far as government would be prepared to go – ineffectual, with no popular support – a game not worth the candle, and electorally costly.

    • Anker 4.2

      100% Stuart Munro

  5. Anker 5
    • We definitely need a discussion about the way forward for Aotearoa/New Zealand.

    He puapua declares constitutional transformation. This needs to be put on the table and clearer stated what is intended.

    I note Jacinda Ardern casually mentioned in an interview with the BBC that NZ will become a republic (this was before the Queens funeral I might add). I didn’t realize that that debate had been had.

    The UK and the monarchy are my whakapapa. Pretty pissed off that it can be so casually dismissed.

    The points you outline that need addressing eg, the relationship with the UK are bang on.

    I would also add if it is not there already our right to free speech, which is significantly eroded and will become more so if hate speech laws are passed.

    • Jack 5.1

      I too was very surprised with the PMs casual comment in a BBC interview Anker. There was an inevitability about it with zero discussion.

      Iwi views on what happens to the 1840 contract between Iwi and the Crown, when the Crown is removed would be interesting. Does it get torn up given the removal of one party to that contract?

      • solkta 5.1.1

        The Treaty has already transferred from the British Crown to the New Zealand Crown. When the New Zealand Crown transforms itself the Treaty will still be there, it is the founding document of this country.

        • Anker

          Who is the NZ Crown? Geniune question. I thought the monarchy, Charles 3 now was the King of NZ, so therefore if we get rid of the British Monarchy, we have no crown. I am not sure about this, just wondering.

          • solkta

            When NZ became independent from Britain "The Crown" became the New Zealand Crown with the British monarch as the head of state.


            Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer: One of the complexities of New Zealand relates to the expression, the Crown, well the Crown is a very complicated entitiy, the Crown wears many hats, its not just the crown on the head of the Queen, it is in a sense the government and how do you distinguish the crown from the government. Where does one start and the other end.

            Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias: Well the Crown is the successor of the British Crown and the Queen Victoria, was of course a party to the treaty. So the Crown, the executive in New Zealand if you like is the inheritor of the obligations that the Queen took on in 1840.

            Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer: The Crown is also the the principal part of the justice system, the judges are Her Majestys judges, the Queen is the fountainhead of justice. Ah, the public service operates in the name of the Crown and so the Crown is the Head of State as well.

            Rt Hon Dame Sian Elias: When I use the Crown, I'm really talking about the executive government but, that, that's perhaps a technical use and maybe people use the Crown to mean the state, because that's also possible. In which case it would embrace all branches of government, legislative, executive and judicial.

            Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Palmer: So you see, these ideas merge together, they become quite complicated and people don’t understand them. It's, it's not surprising.


            • solkta

              So when we get rid of the King the New Zealand Crown will still exist, but we will probably call it something else.

              • Anker


                Seems very unclear to me.

                • Hanswurst

                  Why should we call it anything else? We talk about a head of state, but we aren't referring to a giant head; we speak of the houses of parliament, but we're not referring to where the MPs cook and sleep; we talk of cupboards, but we don't mean boards that we hang cups on; we refer to Charles III as 'King', despite his being a mere figurehead, who is, in all practical senses, powerless; is there really any advantage to adopting a more prosaic term for something that is in any case probably too complex to be grasped by the precious few who are so thoroughly literally minded as to be thrown by the use of the word 'crown' for something other than an actual crown or monarch?

                  [typo fixed in user name]

    • SPC 5.2

      She said she expected a republic within her lifetime.

      This leaves two scenarios

      1. a bicentennial republic or King William choice.
      2. she outlives King William.
      • lprent 5.2.1

        she outlives King William.

        Demographically likely.

        • Phil

          But for all of the genetic faults of royal inbreeding, the British ones do have a habit of living for fucking ages. William's great grandmother cracked 100 and famously got a telegram from her daughter. Both his paternal grandparents made it comfortably into their 90's. Oddly, Diana's parents both died relatively young (in their 60's).

          • lprent

            We're talking local XX vs in-bred XY here. Have a look at death rates of the male line. Their imported males usually lasted longer than the Windsors males.

  6. mikesh 6

    I think we should give some thought to the question of crown prerogatives. For example, it is the prerogative of the crown to appoint judges, but Donald Trump (though of course he is not part of the British system) appointed judges alleged to have been opposed to Roe v Wade, to the US supreme court. When appointments are made in this country I understand the crown is required to accept the advice of the PM. Is this an entirely satisfactory situation, or should the king, or GG, be able to make independent appointments?

    The crown also has a prerogative in the printing of of banknotes and the minting of coins. This was sensible since in these cases the authority of the crown acted as a guarantee of their acceptability. These days however demand deposits with the trading banks are also considered a form of money. Should there also be restrictions on the banks' creation of money by means of a simple bookkeeping entry? And what about the "independent" Reserve Bank governor: should his or her appointment also be a crown prerogative independently arrived at?

    It is believed by some that the head of state should be an apolitical figure, so should he or she sit outside the political arena? Even the election of a president doesn’t guarantee that.

    • lprent 6.1

      When appointments are made in this country I understand the crown is required to accept the advice of the PM. Is this an entirely satisfactory situation, or should the king, or GG, be able to make independent appointments?

      Not correct and simplistic even when you look at the US judges. They do have to get past senate and a lot of vetting inside the legal profession.

      The cabinet is one of the groups that the crown uses to select their officials, and the PM is is just one member of the executive council.

      Judges are largely selected by lawyers through various means before the PM as lead minister offers their name to the crown. If the PM tried to override that, then they'd find a few teeny problems – like judges and QCs disagreeing directly to the GG or the crown.

      The military and police hierarchy are highly involved in selecting their crown appointed leadership.

      Should there also be restrictions on the banks' creation of money by means of a simple bookkeeping entry?

      Perhaps you should read up on the role of Reserve Bank. Who do you think issues all money directly or indirectly. And if you think that politicians make that decision without getting a general agreement before the name goes before the crown, then you're sorely mistaken.

      All of the things that you're looking at are conventions – they are about as real as the convention that the crown accepts the PM's advice.

      It is believed by some that the head of state should be an apolitical figure, so should he or she sit outside the political arena? Even the election of a president doesn’t guarantee that.

      Having a monarchy and crown detached from the day to day running of their government, but still responsible for the powers that they let others to run directly , is not apolitical? Having the local GG appointed with widespread support from parliament, courts, military, police, maori, and dozens of other interest groups isn't apolitical enough for you? Why exactly?

      You really need to do some reading of history and to exercise your brain a bit…

      The system we have was hammered out over several revolutions and massive strife between parliaments and the crown. It was imposed on NZ, modified several times, and seems capable of all of the required adjustments to issues we have used on it so far. I can't see a reason to do more than tinker with it.

      • RedLogix 6.1.1

        Exactly. It is a stable and yet responsive system when necessary.

        Equally important in my eyes it decouples the symbolic figure-head of the state from the political leadership which when you consider how overseas major power republics are so very prone to personality cult autocracy – Putin, Xi and Trump being very proximate examples – is a very good thing.

        The younger version of me was all for getting rid of an ‘irrelevant monarchy’, but the older version has seen too many fashionable political changes that had unintended consequences.

        • lprent

          I have come to prefer our current state of being a republic in all but name.

          Mostly because reading the history of actual constitutional republics indicates that they are inherently unstable, subject to periods of ridiculous instability, and inherently subject to authoritarian rule.

          Currently the longest lasting republic of a substantial size is Switzerland, which became a republic in 1648 – as part of a international treaty that still holds today. Arguably the treaty to stop Swiss mercenaries being used as they had been in the 30 years and 80 years religious wars has provided the sustaining basis of their republics continued stability.

          The next oldest is the US, which has been showing its age recently with a rigid constitution allowing some authoritarian tendencies (think the Gulf of Tonkin incident or the unjustified 2003 invasion of Iraq) in a burgeoning of active authoritarian executive. Plus its eternal deadlocks in congress that are steadily forcing government by presidential decree.

          Next up is a Paraguay – that has had one of the most consistent records of being a republic in name only since before the Paraguayan war of 1864-1870. Essentially it has been a de facto dictatorship for most of its republican existence.

          Rather similar to all of its compatriots of Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, Columbia, and the other republics spawned out of the dissolution of the Spanish empire in the 19th century.

          Basically having a stable republican government that doesn't fall into periodic de facto dictatorships for long periods appears to be the rule rather than the exception.

          This is a clear trend that goes all the way back to the Greek city-states and the Roman republic. It appears to be what the US is teetering on the cusp of now.

          Whereas constitutional monarchies like ours have a much better record of adaption without descent into dictatorship or revolution. It appears that shared fiction is a powerful way to avoid rigidity.

        • higherstandard

          Find it difficult to argue with any of the points that you've both made.

          Suspect it points to all of us suffering from the same age related grumpiness.

      • mikesh 6.1.2

        Having a monarchy and crown detached from the day to day running of their government, but still responsible for the powers that they let others to run directly , is not apolitical?

        I did not deny that it was. I merely questioned whether the same thing could apply to an elected president.

        I was also questioning why PM, cabinet or parliament has to be involved at all in some of these decisions.

        • lprent

          I merely questioned whether the same thing could apply to an elected president.

          Sorry – got the wrong end of the stick in that case. In theory yes.

          In practice it doesn't seem to be the case. Personally I think the issue is with term limits and impatience. You're trying to find someone who is willing to waste part of their life doing a ridiculous 'apolitical' job. It either means that you get a useless someone who is willing to do that and who you can't count on in a crisis or someone competent who gets frustrated with the role.

          Our GGs do it for a limited 5 year period, mostly from roles inside our public service system, and ultimately who aren't fully responsible for it. It has proved to allow people of high competence in a public service role on behalf of their remote boss. It is hard to see any of the recent GGs who wouldn't make their and their monarchs displeasure clear if parliament or the executive council tried to do something dodgy.

          The monarchy doesn't have term limits and is a lifetime career to which people have been trained from a early age as to being a pretty useless hod carrier with constitutional opinions – and ultimately the ability to constrain a government or parliament from poor decisions.

          Seems to work. It is really hard to find similar restraint amongst elected presidents, protectors, and other variants throughout history in republics.

          The Swiss Executive Council would probably be a better model for a what is known as semi-presidency if we had noticeable regional differences in NZ.

          I was also questioning why PM, cabinet or parliament has to be involved at all in some of these decisions.

          Absent of a revolution or the abdication of the NZ monarchy from the role.. Then the only way that this could be done is using Parliament under our current laws. We are a representative democracy without binding referendums.

          I don't think that we will get a revolution or our monarch abdicating or binding referendums any time soon.

  7. This is not a prime problem for NZ and New Zealanders.

    Environmental problems are! Rising sea levels/sinking coast lines/wild weather.

    Meeting and understanding Maori needs and wishes.

    Providing enough shelter food and work in a sustainable way.

    We need to be pushing for regenerative farming.

    We need to be developing ways to control and use our waste.

    We need to rebuild our supply lines., and look at food miles.

    We need to monitor "Let's make NZ ungovernable" proponents.

    There is no constitutional crisis in NZ, but there are enough concerns as it is imo

    By your own admission the PM listens to the people.

    devil Bloody Hurrah!! Who did you have in mind if not the people?…?

  8. Kat 8

    Timing. The Queen is dead and what will replace her will be far weaker in its importance to us……………"

    Events. That is what replaces the Queen and the PM at this time is wise to hold her counsel and keep the country's powder dry. The PM certainly said NZ will ultimately become a republic over time. This is the continuation and evolution of events that Queen Elizabeth 11 herself oversaw as Monarch in her subtle and deft handling of Deimperialization during the past seventy years.

  9. lprent 9

    I can't see any current or obvious compelling reason to change. You said it yourself…

    It is astonishing that a Prime Minister who has had to use legal and martial forces by the state against its own citizens in security and in public health, seen Parliament occupied for over a month, endured our worst terror attack, and made some of its deepest reforms in three decades in health, local government and water, cannot see any reason to connect weakening democracy to ourselves and hence a need for constitutional reform.

    Those powers were all there already to handle them in whatever manner was required. The Director General of health has the go to power on pandemics – that was set in the 1920s and updated twice since then. The police and military have pretty clear instructions in legislation and regulation on how to support. Same with everything else you mention.

    The basic problem is that you seem to be framing it as political entertainment rather than framing a need for it. Geoffery Palmer's piece was the same. It concentrated on that we could do it rather than why we would want to do it.

    Palmer also governed (in inverse) why the various treaties simply don’t matter either way. Apart from the Treaty Of Waitangi, the others can be flicked over easily.But also non eof them provide a reason why we need to change.

    Sounds like fashionista thinking to me.

    • Phil 9.1

      …concentrated on that we could do it rather than why we would want to do it… none of them provide a reason why we need to change.

      I think you could reasonably look to the bloodshed that America, India, and countless other nations have gone through over hundreds of years to rid themselves of a foreign ruler as a substantial reason why. We currently have an opportunity to do so with a considered, collaborative, process rather than one driven by hurried gunfire. By historical standards that's a rare opportunity.

      • lprent 9.1.1

        Probably pay to have a look at my comment further up where I criticise the historical inherent inability of republics to provide stable, responsive, adaptive, and democratic government.

        I wasn't looking at other countries. I was looking at why this nation would want to change its constitutional base.

        You drifted off into a silly fashionista argument about other countries which had all of the relevance of a Mike Hosking PR line about why we should change a flag. Which so far is all that this discussion has thrown up.

        The mere fact that we have an ability to change a flag or a constitutional basis of a state does not constitute a reason to do it.

        Sure it may please constitutional lawyers with providing a avenue of work, or placate someone with an Irish historical meme. But none of those things provide a reason for me to do it.

        The total interference in my life and my nations life back to a grandparents of being a constitutional monarchy has been an occasional traffic jam, and being forced as a kid to go to Eden park. All of the rest has been from our local government.

        So far I haven’t seen a actual reason offered to make the effort to change that I can’t attribute to people blindly following a fashion.

  10. Maurice 10

    The radical journalist Thomas Wooler mentioned constitutions in Black Dwarf back in January 1817:

    "States must either proceed, or retrograde. ……….

    The people ought to have remembered that they were the guardians of the constitution. Instead of that the simpletons expected protection from the constitution; which is in fact nothing but the recorded merits of our ancestors."

Leave a Comment

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Govt invests in New Zealand’s wine future
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has officially opened New Zealand Wine Centre–Te Pokapū Wāina o Aotearoa in Blenheim today, saying that investments like these give us cause for optimism for the future. Funding of $3.79 million for the Marlborough Research Centre to build a national wine centre was announced in 2020, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Appointment of Judges of the Court Martial Appeal Court
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Colonel Craig Ruane, Commander Robyn Loversidge, and James Wilding KC as Judges of the Court Martial Appeal Court. The Court Martial Appeal Court is a senior court of record established under the Court Martial Appeals Act 1953. It is summoned by the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Government strengthens measures to combat migrant worker exploitation
    Offence and penalty regime significantly strengthened New infringement offences for non-compliance Public register of individuals and businesses that are found guilty of migrant exploitation New community-led pilot to educate migrants workers and employers of employment rights Implemented reporting tools successfully brings exploitation out of the shadows Take-up of protective visa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Livestock exports by sea to cease
    The passing of a Bill today to end the export of livestock by sea will protect New Zealand’s reputation for world-leading animal welfare standards, Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor said. “The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill future-proofs our economic security amid increasing consumer scrutiny across the board on production practices," Damien ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Extra measures to increase census turnout in 2023
    3500 census workers on the ground, twice as many as last census More forms to be delivered – 44% compared to 3% in 2018 Prioritisation of Māori and other groups and regions with lower response rates in 2018 Major work to ensure the delivery of a successful census in 2023 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Shining the light on screen workers
    Improved working conditions for workers in the screen industry is now a reality with the Screen Industry Workers Bill passing its third reading today, announced Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood. “It’s fantastic to see the Screen Industry Workers Bill progress through Parliament. The new Act will strengthen protections ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Mental health resources for young people and schools launched
    Associate Minister of Education (School Operations) Jan Tinetti and Associate Minister of Education (Māori Education) Kelvin Davis have today launched two new resources to support wellbeing, and the teaching and learning of mental health education in schools and kura. “Students who are happy and healthy learn better. These resources ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Progress continues on future-proofing Auckland’s transport infrastructure
    Transport Minister Michael Wood has welcomed the latest progress on Auckland’s two most transformational transport projects in a generation – Auckland Light Rail and the Additional Waitematā Harbour Connections. Auckland Light Rail and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency have named preferred bidders to move each project to their next phase, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government supports local innovation in homelessness prevention
    Ten successful applicants in round two of the Local Innovation and Partnership Fund (LIPF) Close to $6 million allocated as part of the Homelessness Action Plan (HAP) Māori, Pasefika and rangatahi a strong focus Round three opening later this year with up to $6.8 million available. Government is stepping up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • More medicines for New Zealanders, thanks to Govt’s Budget boost
    Health Minister Andrew Little is welcoming news that two more important medicines are set to be funded, thanks to the Government’s big boost to the country’s medicines budget. “Since coming into Government in 2017, the Labour Government has increased Pharmac’s funding by 43 per cent, including a $71 million boost ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Government delivers ACC change to support 28,000 parents
    The Maternal Birth Injury and Other Matters Bill passes Third Reading – the first amendment to ACC legislation of its kind From 1 October 2022, new ACC cover to benefit approximately 28,000 birthing parents Additional maternal birth injuries added alongside new review provision to ensure cover remains comprehensive Greater clarity ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Further cuts for East Coast tarakihi limits to rebuild numbers faster
    Commercial catch limits for East Coast tarakihi will be reduced further to help the stock rebuild faster. “Tarakihi is a popular fish, and this has led to declining levels over time. Many adjustments have been made and the stock is recovering. I have decided on further commercial catch reductions of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Ambassador to Colombia announced
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced the appointment of diplomat Nicci Stilwell as the next Ambassador to Colombia. “Aotearoa New Zealand’s relationship with Colombia is fast growing with strong links across education, climate change and indigenous co-operation,” Nanaia Mahuta said.  “Trade is a key part of our relationship with Colombia, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 3000 more RSE workers to ease workforce pressures
    The Government continues to respond to global workforce shortages by announcing the largest increase in over a decade to the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE), providing 3000 additional places, Immigration Minister Michael Wood and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have announced. The new RSE cap will allow access to 19,000 workers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Sanctions on more of the Russian political elite
    Further sanctions are being imposed on members of President Putin’s inner circle and other representatives of the Russian political elite, as part of the Governments ongoing response to the war in Ukraine, says Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta. “Ukraine has been clear that the most important action we can take to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Principal Youth Court Judge appointed
    Judge Ida Malosi, District Court Judge of Wellington, has been appointed as the new Principal Youth Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Born and raised in Southland, Judge Malosi graduated from Victoria University of Wellington and spent her legal career in South Auckland.  She was a founding partner of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Visitor arrivals highest since pandemic began
    Overseas visitor arrivals exceeded 100,000 in July, for the first time since the borders closed in March 2020 Strong ski season lifts arrivals to Queenstown to at least 90% of the same period in 2019 Australia holiday recovery has continued to trend upwards New Zealand’s tourism recovery is on its ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Language provides hope for Tuvalu
    Climate change continues to present a major risk for the island nation of Tuvalu, which means sustaining te gana Tuvalu, both on home soil and in New Zealand Aotearoa, has never been more important, Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio said. The Tuvalu Auckland Community Trust and wider Tuvalu ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Minister Sio to attend Asian Development Bank meeting in Manila
    Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio travels to the Philippines this weekend to represent Aotearoa New Zealand at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) Board of Governors in Manila. “The ADB Annual Meeting provides an opportunity to engage with other ADB member countries, including those ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • United Nations General Assembly National Statement
    E ngā Mana, e ngā Reo, Rau Rangatira mā kua huihui mai nei i tēnei Whare Nui o te Ao Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa, mai i tōku Whenua o Aotearoa Tuia ki runga, Tuia ki raro, ka Rongo to pō ka rongo te ao Nō reira, tēnā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • New strategy unifies all-of-Government approach to help Pacific languages thrive
    A united approach across all-of-Government underpins the new Pacific Language Strategy, announced by the Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio at Parliament today. “The cornerstone of our Pacific cultures, identities and place in Aotearoa, New Zealand are our Pacific languages. They are at the heart of our wellbeing,” Aupito ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Upgrades for sporting facilities ahead of FIFA Women’s World Cup
    Communities across the country will benefit from newly upgraded sporting facilities as a result of New Zealand co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023. The Government is investing around $19 million to support upgrades at 30 of the 32 potential sporting facilities earmarked for the tournament, including pitch, lighting and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Partnership supports climate action in Latin America and Caribbean
    Aotearoa New Zealand is extending the reach of its support for climate action to a new agriculture initiative with partners in Latin America and the Caribbean. Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced a NZ$10 million contribution to build resilience, enhance food security and address the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Landmark agreement for Māori fisheries celebrates 30th year
    The 30th anniversary of the Fisheries Deed of Settlement is a time to celebrate a truly historic partnership that has helped transform communities, says Parliamentary Under-Secretary to the Minister for Oceans and Fisheries Rino Tirikatene. “The agreement between the Crown and Māori righted past wrongs, delivered on the Crown’s treaty ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government backs initiatives to cut environmental impact of plastic waste
    The Government has today announced funding for projects that will cut plastic waste and reduce its impact on the environment. “Today I am announcing the first four investments to be made from the $50 million Plastics Innovation Fund, which was set last year and implemented a 2020 election promise,” Environment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Call for expressions of interest in appointment to the High Court Bench
    Attorney-General David Parker today called for nominations and expressions of interest in appointment to the High Court Bench.  This is a process conducted at least every three years and ensures the Attorney-General has up to date information from which to make High Court appointments.  “It is important that when appointments ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Depositor compensation scheme protects Kiwis’ money
    New Zealanders will have up to $100,000 of their deposits in any eligible institution guaranteed in the event that institution fails, under legislation introduced in Parliament today. The Deposit Takers Bill is the third piece of legislation in a comprehensive review of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New fund to help more Pacific aiga into their own homes
    The Government has launched a new housing fund that will help more Pacific aiga achieve the dream of home ownership. “The Pacific Building Affordable Homes Fund will help organisations, private developers, Māori/iwi, and NGOs build affordable housing for Pacific families and establish better pathways to home ownership within Pacific communities. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More than 100,000 new Kiwis as halfway point reached
    Over 100,000 new Kiwis can now call New Zealand ‘home’ after the 2021 Resident Visa reached the halfway point of approvals, Minister of Immigration Michael Wood announced today. “This is another important milestone, highlighting the positive impact our responsive and streamlined immigration system is having by providing comfort to migrant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Maniapoto Claims Settlement Bill passes third reading – He mea pāhi te Maniapoto Claims Settl...
    Nā te Minita mō ngā Take Tiriti o Waitangi, nā Andrew Little,  te iwi o Maniapoto i rāhiri i tēnei rā ki te mātakitaki i te pānuitanga tuatoru o te Maniapoto Claims Settlement Bill - te pikinga whakamutunga o tā rātou whakataunga Tiriti o Waitangi o mua. "Me mihi ka ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 50,000 more kids to benefit from equity-based programmes next year
    Another 47,000 students will be able to access additional support through the school donations scheme, and a further 3,000 kids will be able to get free and healthy school lunches as a result of the Equity Index.  That’s on top of nearly 90% of schools that will also see a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Healthy Active Learning now in 40 percent of schools across New Zealand
    A total of 800 schools and kura nationwide are now benefitting from a physical activity and nutrition initiative aimed at improving the wellbeing of children and young people. Healthy Active Learning was funded for the first time in the inaugural Wellbeing Budget and was launched in 2020. It gets regional ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech at 10th meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty
    Kia Ora. It is a pleasure to join you here today at this 10th meeting of the Friends of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty. This gathering provides an important opportunity to reiterate our unwavering commitment to achieving a world without nuclear weapons, for which the entry into force of this ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech for Earthshot Prize Innovation Summit 2022
    Kia ora koutou katoa Thank you for the invitation to join you. It’s a real pleasure to be here, and to be in such fine company.  I want to begin today by acknowledging His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and Sir David Attenborough in creating what is becoming akin ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New accreditation builds capacity for Emergency Management Volunteers
    Emergency Management Minister Kieran McAnulty has recognised the first team to complete a newly launched National Accreditation Process for New Zealand Response Team (NZ-RT) volunteers. “NZ-RT volunteers play a crucial role in our emergency response system, supporting response and recovery efforts on the ground. This new accreditation makes sure our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt strengthens trans-Tasman emergency management cooperation
    Aotearoa New Zealand continues to strengthen global emergency management capability with a new agreement between New Zealand and Australia, says Minister for Emergency Management Kieran McAnulty. “The Government is committed to improving our global and national emergency management system, and the Memorandum of Cooperation signed is another positive step towards ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Christchurch Call Initiative on Algorithmic Outcomes
    Today New Zealand, the USA, Twitter, and Microsoft, announced investment in a technology innovation initiative under the banner of the Christchurch Call.  This initiative will support the creation of new technology to understand the impacts of algorithms on people’s online experiences.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms play a growing role in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • JOINT PR: Trans-Tasman Cooperation on disaster management
    Hon Kieran McAnulty, New Zealand Minister for Emergency Management Senator The Hon Murray Watt, Federal Minister for Emergency Management Strengthening Trans-Tasman cooperation on disaster management issues was a key area of focus when Australia and New Zealand’s disaster management ministers met this week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • More transparency, less red-tape for modernised charities sector
    The Charities Amendment Bill has been introduced today which will modernise the charities sector by increasing transparency, improving access to justice services and reducing the red-tape that smaller charities face, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector Priyanca Radhakrishnan said. “These changes will make a meaningful difference to over 28,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pacific visas reopened to help boost workforce
    Work continues on delivering on a responsive and streamlined immigration system to help relieve workforce shortages, with the reopening of longstanding visa categories, Immigration Minister Michael Wood has announced.  From 3 October 2022, registrations for the Samoan Quota will reopen, and from 5 October registrations for the Pacific Access Category ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago