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What if anything does Bill English believe in?

Written By: - Date published: 7:05 am, February 21st, 2017 - 71 comments
Categories: bill english - Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m having trouble getting a handle on Bill English. On paper he should be more principled than Key, but in practice he seems to be just as morally “flexible”. He’s a Catholic who has changed his mind on marriage equality and attended (but did not speak at) the Big Gay Out. He’s a “compassionate conservative” who has presided over increases in poverty and homelessness, while describing young Kiwi workers as “pretty damned hopeless”. A “fiscal conservative” who has run up record-breaking government debt. An “honest bloke” who bent the rules to screw every last cent out of Parliamentary perks. Mmmmm.

Vernon Small seems to be wrestling with the same ambiguities in this interesting piece:

English punts talk of electoral deals, Maori seat strategy, into the stands

Faced with queries about the impact of the Maori-Mana non-aggression pact, announced on Monday, he punted them all into the distant future. Would National continue its long-standing policy of not fielding candidates in the Maori seats? “There is likely to be some discussion about that. We haven’t come to a conclusion but we didn’t stand last time.”

(Yes folks it’s true, National does repeated “dirty deals” in the Maori seats – does Patrick Gower know about this scandal???)

Well then, what about abolishing the Maori seats? Hmm. If it was “on the books” it was not a policy National was pursuing and he would need to check. (Yes the policy is still on the books, prime minister, but pursuing it would likely end the Maori Party’s support.) It all sounded as clear as mud and as weak as dishwater compared to John Key’s unequivocal answer before the 2014 election. … It would be a mistake to assume there is a change of policy in the wind on either score. More likely it is English’s instinctive default to caution.

At what point does caution become paralysis? And speaking of election deals, what about Winston?

Interestingly while Labour’s Andrew Little has reserved finance for Grant Robertson, English would not rule out Peters even in that role.

English won’t share the PM role, but anything else goes! How very “flexible”.

So, silly to ask if Mana leader Hone Harawira would have a place in his Government if the Mana-Maori Party deal delivered him the Te Tai Tokerau seat? You guessed it, English wouldn’t want to speculate on that, and it was not clear if the deal would make any difference … but it was (drum roll) “unlikely”.

Flexible even enough for Hone Harawira! (It would almost be worth it, just to watch certain commentators explode.)

So back to my titular question, what if anything does Bill English believe in? I guess we have to take him at his word, a blast from 2008:

English suggesting that winning is everything despite National’s highly principled statements – he suggests you target a few and do what you need to in order to win. “Winning is everything my man,” he said in the tape.

And there we have it.


PS – Unlike certain commentators Small can add – here’s a final quote from the piece:

… Sunday’s One News-Colmar Brunton poll sent a reminder to National – if one was needed – how tight the race is despite National’s strong polling … Even on 46 per cent, and with three or even four viable allies, there was still a majority out against the current Government. Together Labour, Green and NZ First totalled 52 per cent support. And they will all be in the next Parliament. …

71 comments on “What if anything does Bill English believe in? ”

  1. Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster 1

    What a silly post! Of course Blingish believes in things.

    He believes that John Key could walk on water.

    He believes in keeping his snout in the public trough.

    He believes the market knows best.

    He believes that no vision for a better NZ for all people is the best vision. Choice, don’t you know.

    And yes, he believes in winning. That is all that matters. The end sure justifies the means.

    Our temporary PM is a man of strong beliefs!

    • paul andersen 1.1

      english believes that if he keeps on with the southland farmer bullsh*t , that most of the faithfull will look past his obvious hypocrisies .

  2. ianmac 2

    Key had very flexible beliefs which he modified according to his audience. He maintained his popularity. English will do the same. Do the people care?

  3. greywarshark 3

    Does English believe that there is a self-governing country called New Zealand that he is devoted and belongs to? If so, why is he and the ‘National’ Party not constantly protesting and threatening sanctions against Australia for locking away the citizens of our nation on trumped up immigration charges?

    Shades of the USA and their Mexican wetbacks. We apparently are Tasman wetbacks, not friendly allies, just subjects of this bullying, bellicose, belligerent nation of Oz which looks to the USA for its model.

    129 NZ in custody, second only to Iran with 184 (e&oe) that’s how I remember the figures that have just come over RadioNZ.

  4. Sabine 4

    i think the double dipper likes money, especially in his own bank account. So anything that makes him a coin is good business. The country? the people? ahh, who cares, that is not what he went into politics for.

  5. Cinny 5

    I know, I know… he believes in God. That’s all I could come up with.

    • garibaldi 5.1

      That’s OK Cinny. It’s a bloody good starting point to explain his hypocrisy.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.2

      I’m pretty sure that he doesn’t. If he did he wouldn’t do 90% of what he does in government. Belonging to the church is camouflage.

  6. Antoine 6

    I think you guys don’t understand English very well at all and don’t want to either. You are just trying to reinforce a bogeyman image of him in your minds so you can stoke your anger against the National Party.

    A.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      The bogeyman isn’t usually portrayed as an incompetent hypocrite: English hasn’t the character to play one.

      PS: Anthony Robins: I’m having trouble getting a handle on Bill English”
      Blandtoine: “You don’t understand Bill English”.

      What next, a doctorate in tautology?

    • Cinny 6.2

      Will you help Antoine? By explaining what you think English believes in?

      • Antoine 6.2.1

        It wouldnt help, because people would just rubbish whatever I said.

        For anyone who really wants to form an accurate view, theres plenty of public domain information.

        I’m not asking you to support or like the guy, but you should at least know your enemy.

        A.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1.1

          You mean, like the links in the OP, one of which details private off-the-cuff remarks?

          The effects of the policies he pursues count far more than anything he might say.

        • Cinny 6.2.1.2

          Antoine, you won’t say what English stands for.

          And use the excuse that people would rubbish whatever you said.

          Yet you are brave enough to come here and stir up things whenever it suits you?

          Knowledge is important and sharing it even more so, with holding knowledge is just a thirst for control.

          So if you do not wish to share your knowledge Antoine, that’s all on you, maybe you don’t know what English stands for either?

          I prefer facts to excuses any day of the week.

          • Antoine 6.2.1.2.1

            Go find some facts then

            More productive than wrangling with me

          • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1.2.2

            Yet you are brave enough to come here and stir up things whenever it suits you?

            It’s almost like he’s trying to start a flame war without being obvious about it.

            • Antoine 6.2.1.2.2.1

              Nope

              Encouraging people to break out of the groupthink and be a bit more realistic

              Some of the characterisation of English here is simply delusional. When people make him into a cartoon ogre in their minds, all they’re doing is treading their own judgement in the mud.

              Just as a right-winger would be doing if they thought Andrew Little was some sort of Stalinist butcher.

              A.

              • Cinny

                Antoine, “Encouraging people to break out of the groupthink and be a bit more realistic”. Yet you are reluctant to give them any direction.

                Was looking for the 2002 leaders debate, seeing English was leader at the time.

                And am looking forward to the 2016 leaders debate. Maybe I’ll learn more about what English believes in then, maybe you will too Antoine.

                • Antoine

                  > Was looking for the 2002 leaders debate, seeing English was leader at the time.

                  Is ancient history really, 15 years ago

                  I don’t mean this in a rude way, but how about googling
                  “Bill English” NZ
                  and see what comes up?

                  There’s quite a few media interviews, potted bios, opinion pieces, etc, if you go down far enough.

                  Or for that matter
                  “Mary English” NZ

                  His family seems similar to mine in that she has all the good sense 🙂

                  Or
                  “Bill English” social investment NZ
                  is another good one

                  And then there’s his 2017 ‘state of the nation’ speech

                  And yes of course there’ll be the leaders debate(s)

                  A.

                  (Preparing mentally to get rubbished by every one)

                  • Cinny

                    Can’t find his 2017 state of the nation video Antoine, I’ve just spent some time searching for it, if you know where to find it would you please post the link for me. Thanks.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    English knows what he has to pay lip-service to: his remarks about swallowing dead rats demonstrate that quite clearly. “Social investment”, for example, is just another ambulance at the bottom, sold using the asinine truism that everyone approves of something to help the kids.

                    Lifting people out of poverty by improving their household income and security of tenure isn’t on the horizon, let alone the agenda.

                    • Antoine

                      If someone thinks English doesn’t prioritise poverty alleviation enough or doesn’t have a good strategy for tackling it, that’s their prerogative and no doubt they will vote accordingly.

                      If someone thinks he genuinely wants to see people poor or miserable, or simply doesn’t care, or is in thrall to some kind of sinister masters who thrive on poverty, then I’m sorry, that’s just loopy.

                      A.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Greed and attribution bias are thoroughly toxic; the banality of evil isn’t that sinister when you break it down.

                    • McFlock

                      If someone’s been in politics for thirty-odd years and still doesn’t have a good strategy for tackling any of the problems facing ordinary NZers (e.g. housing, food, poverty, health, education, underemployment) then they’re incompetent and should fucking quit.

                      Or they’ve found a reason to not care.

                    • Antoine

                      Well to state the obvious, he does think he has some good strategies, hence him not quitting.

                      You get a chance to fire him soon though, so there’s that 🙂

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Or, he’s motivated by something else, like personal material benefit, for example. Or, as he told the guy with the tape: “winning”.

                      Your belief that his motives are genuine or even benign has no more rational basis than the notion that he is a shape-shifting lizard.

                      For your belief to have any factual basis, we are talking about a person who has changed significantly since he made that remark about “highly principled statements”.

                      I reckon he’s the same hollow man now as then, and you, knowing this, will twist and turn and deny and vote for him anyway.

                  • Antoine

                    Well, OAB, if you want to believe he’s a shape shifting lizard, this will hurt no one but yourself 🙂

                    A.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      As I said, it’s a notion that has no rational basis, and that being so: you have more in common with the people who believe it than I.

                      Let’s imagine for a moment that Bob Jones knows what he’s talking about, and “the stultification corresponding with National governments is welcomed by bigger players as it throws up acquisition opportunities, ”

                      Ponder for a moment the people on the other end of those “acquisition opportunities”, and your remark about those who “thrive on poverty”.

                    • Cinny

                      Thanks for the link Antoine, much appreciated. Will still look for the video, because for me tone of voice etc is important.

                      Bloody annoying that it’s so hard to find, thought it would be front and centre, after all it’s Bills first State of the Nation speech.

                    • Antoine

                      Cinny if you are out of NZ, some video links will not work…?

    • Sabine 6.3

      so what is Bill English known for?
      other then douple dipping re housing alowance

      and selling state houses and state assets?

      Care to let us know, and no i don’t hate National, i just would never vote for them, cause bigotry and hypocrisy.

    • reason 6.4

      Lignite …… Brown gold …. Bills sleeper in Southland … and election winner …

      . “And it’s hugely significant to Eastern Southland because of the extensive damage which large-scale lignite mining would cause to air quality, living conditions, and the high-quality rivers and streams on which Southland depends.” https://coalaction.org.nz/coal/lignite/stop-sniffing-the-lignite-bill

      Bill and National were more proactive … in doing nothing rather than building a lignite industry …… after their initial 2008 election win ……Stopping New Zealands tiny first steps towards Govt regulations and real change in response to Global warming was more pragmatic and sensible …….because it was the road to HelenGrad ….

      Herr Helens feminazi nanny state was the real threat …. to kiwi men in particular…….

      A real non emasculated kiwi man picked up a shovel, rolled up his sleeves, (unless he was a one sod wanker with a spade ) , and dug for New Zealand …. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/71131637/finally-the-government-accepts-solid-energy-was-more-than-a-perfect-storm

      Beyond the ‘get stuck in’ smart thinking behind breeding millions more dairy cows and digging up brown coal from under cow pasture ……Bill knows New Zealand has to get more creative …. with maths.

      When PM ….. Johhny made-off shared some of his Merrill magic number tricks to Bill and others like Paula … it brought us wealth

      You have to be very smart to bend numbers …. forcing them to submit to your creativity ..

      Bent numbers start weak and get worse,……. so a compassionate number lovers man will make safe “havens”……. To protect and hide this poor vulnerable monjey

      Jealous people may call it fraud or cheating …. like our cheap corruption sourced cabon credits http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/71131637/finally-the-government-accepts-solid-energy-was-more-than-a-perfect-storm …. which we are still trading with

      In reality New Zealand polluters and our National party were so smart it was embarrassing ….. to make millions from climate change initiatives … while increasing their/our CO2 pollution.

      Pure Genius letting NZ win on the world stage …… and leading the war on green talibanastas

      Blue Greens …… also know as the ‘Black Ands’ …..

      Describes The Hiding that Nationals ‘wealth ‘ generation gives sustainability or other environmental concerns …. every time.

  7. saveNZ 7

    Bill English, like Key is open to anything to the highest bidder and the most persuasive crony argument – but unlike Key who probably paid a fortune to keep the idea alive in MSM that ‘he was such a popular PM’ – English is unable to keep the charade alive that he actually has a plan, let alone if it makes any sense.

    It’s now harder for Labour, because National has poisoned all the wells so it is hard to untangle from their destruction of our economy and social systems, from dirty environmental and stone age economics (building for new migrants and offshore commercial interests, Agriculture, citizenship, dodgy degrees and tourism) into the new economy – because we are now in very deep in that area and that’s exactly how Key, his banker friends and his off shore IDU chums probably wanted it. Any sudden changes and the ponzi scheme falls over, taking it’s victims with it.

  8. He is being pushed and prodded by his masters. He knows the big picture but can’t fill in the gaps. Sort of like making the village idiot kid the school dux. Andrew is going to slaughter him in the leaders debate.

  9. Sable 9

    The problem with the current crop of political parties is the same one the US voters face. Its not picking a good party is making the best of what you have and whats on offer is none too inspiring.

    • greywarshark 9.1

      We aren’t at Trump level at present, though Key was going amuse-and-confuse-the-populace route. So try to develop critical thinking in NZ, first applying to ourselves personally and then the country and its economy and we will be unlikely to get caught in a USA mire.

  10. Ad 10

    English is the most you can expect. Underneath English is his Minister of Finance, Mr Joyce.

    Neither of them have been able to explain clearly their plan for New Zealand. They definitely have individual plans, and individual deals.

    But what I would hope for any fresh government is this sense:
    – What kind of society do we want to encourage?
    – What kinds of industries do we want to encourage?
    – By what we celebrate, what do we show we value?

    I still find it a whole lot easier to answer those with Labour and Greens leadership than I do with English and his mob.

    Even with our shrunken, truncated, low-ambition and disaggregated public state as it is, a minimum job of government is to be coherent. It’s a big part of how I decide to vote.

    • saveNZ 10.1

      “Neither of them have been able to explain clearly their plan for New Zealand.”

      Their plan is to stay in power as long as possible!

      We all know their election strategy is to introduce tax cuts and ALSO seems to be to pump money into the regions to counter Winston Peters and Labour and into tech and science areas to counter they are complete idiots.

      This is to show they actually ‘care’ about the regions. sarc. And they are also funding areas outside of their normal stone age criteria, so they have something to say and pretend they are not dinosaurs, come election time. AKA Centre for Space Science Technology (CSST) which will be based in Alexandra, with offices in Dunedin, New Plymouth, and Lincoln.

      Of course under a Labour government this would probably have been started years ago and is clearly a step in the right direction – but the timing of starting this, and the locations are interesting – especially since it is rumoured the government refused to properly fund and support previous climate change research and actually nearly drove the scientist over the edge… What a change of heart in election year!

      No doubt if Natz get re-elected the money will dry up next funding round or run into the ground with Natz cronies and go back to normal National pursuits and cronies of building leaky buildings, mining coal and leaching nitrates into waterways.

      That is why it is so hard to win against National – they can buy the election with OUR money and mimic other opposition policy for the short term to win.

      Hope Labour promises more and for the right reasons!

  11. Ian 11

    “A “fiscal conservative” who has run up record-breaking government debt.”

    I don’t want to get nit-picky and I am certainly no fan of Farmer Bill, but by what measure do you assert ‘record breaking govt debt’? If we use the commonly used public debt to GDP ratio, then that honour belongs to Labour (c. 66% in 1988).

    Second, our fixation on debt and deficit reduction – something both major parties focus on, is a Monetarist (and neo-liberal) approach to the economy and its management.
    A Keynsian or neo-Keynsian would make a good case that we haven’t leveraged enough deficit spending when the economy is tanking.

  12. Sam C 12

    Flipping this post on its head, what does Andrew Little believe in?

    Maybe that’s why he is mired in the preferred PM stakes, behind even Winnie.

    Come on Andy, tell us what you believe in!

  13. AB 13

    My impression is that Bill believes:
    1.) That markets are efficient and always produce fair and just outcomes
    2.) That there is a natural social hierarchy and that the shots should by and large be called by the better class of people who have demonstrated their superiority by accumulating wealth and power
    3) That the better class of people have obligations to the lower orders to ensure that they don’t suffer too badly, but not so much as to disrupt the natural order of things
    4) That human beings (particularly the lower orders) are sinful and will tend do the wrong thing ethically and financially (i.e. make bad choices) unless watched, controlled and generally not given too much leeway. While the better class of people should generally be free to operate as they please.

    I think Bill’s vision is essentially pre-Democratic.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    So back to my titular question, what if anything does Bill English believe in?

    He believes in personal wealth and power.

    Thing is, he also knows that to have that wealth and power the country needs to have lots of poor people and so he works in a government that creates poor people while a few get wealthier upon the work of those poor people.

  15. KJT 15

    From his own statement, “prisons are a moral and fiscal failure”.
    Just before approving the finances to build more!

  16. reason 16

    Sounds like a overt derail sam c ….

    If you know Bill E s stance on spam and dick pic s you could make yourself relevant to the topic

  17. In Vino 17

    Do I not remember Blinglish being secretly taped at a National Party Conference, where he did express some honest views about how we needed to toughen up on Welfare and spending on the people at the bottom of the heap? That was probably genuine, but I cannot remember the exact wording…

  18. risildowgtn 18

    He believes in low wages

    • In Vino 18.1

      For certain people – not himself. Double-dipper… By his deeds shall we know him.

      • In Vino 18.1.1

        There was definitely something he said about the need to ‘cut back’ (I think) on spending or policies aimed at assisting the lower echelons. Probably impossible to find it now unless somebody else remembers more than I do.

  19. Red Hand 19

    Religiously speaking he believes the Catechism of the Catholic Church, including forgiveness of sins.
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/credo.htm

  20. Ffloyd 20

    English believes that Nick Smith is ‘doing a good job acksherly’ Chuckle,wheeze,fall about!

  21. rod 21

    English believes in Hosking, Gower,Young and Trevett.

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    5 days ago
  • Government launches new Ministry of Disabled People
    New Ministry will officially be called Whaikaha - Ministry of Disabled People Public Service Commission have appointed Geraldine Woods as Interim Chief Executive Office for Disability Issues to be folded into the new Ministry In what is a milestone day, the Government has launched Aotearoa New Zealand’s first Whaikaha ...
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    5 days ago
  • Further Investment to support rangatahi to overcome barriers to employment
    Nine new He Poutama Rangatahi programmes have been approved funding.  These programmes will provide work-readiness, training and employment initiatives for over 820 rangatahi NEETS (not in education, employment or training), across Aotearoa New Zealand.  "He Poutama Rangatahi has proven to be a very successful initiative which supports rangatahi to overcome ...
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    5 days ago
  • Crown appointments to Ihumātao Steering Committee
    Minister for Māori Development Willie Jackson today announced the appointment of Crown representatives, Dr Charlotte Severne and Mr Bernie O’Donnell, to the Steering Committee that will determine the future of the Ihumātao land.   “I’m pleased to have made the Crown appointments. Both Dr Severne and Mr O’Donnell have extensive ...
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    5 days ago
  • Health Minister Andrew Little's address to first joint meeting of the boards of Te Whatu Ora &#...
    I begin by thanking each of you for accepting appointment to these boards. You’ve each been on the Ministerial committee that established Te Whatu Ora - Health New Zealand and Te Aka Whai Ora - the Māori Health Authority and I express my appreciation for the enormous task you collectively ...
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    5 days ago
  • Hong Kong National Security Law
    Aotearoa New Zealand has reiterated its concerns over the continued erosion of rights, freedom and autonomy in Hong Kong. On the second anniversary of the introduction of the Hong Kong National Security Law, the Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta says developments in Hong Kong remain a cause for worry. “Two years ...
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    5 days ago
  • Europol Agreement will assist New Zealand law enforcement in tackling serious crime
    The Europol Agreement signed is a significant milestone for New Zealand and the European Union’s relationship, and reflects our shared principles of democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. The Prime Minister attended a signature ceremony in Brussels, as part of ...
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    5 days ago
  • New era for better health in Aotearoa New Zealand
    ·       New nationwide public health system ·       20 district health boards disestablished and deficits wiped ·       82,000 health employees directly employed by Health New Zealand ·       $24 billion health budget this year – up 43% since Labour took office in 2017 – in addition to separate funding for the new ...
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    5 days ago
  • New chairs appointed to the Teaching Council and Te Kura
    Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced appointments to the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and the Board of Trustees of Te Aho o Te Kura Pounamu (Te Kura). “Robyn Baker ONZM has been appointed as the chair of the Teaching Council. She has considerable governance experience and is a ...
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    5 days ago
  • Joint media release on the occasion of the meeting between European Commission President von der Ley...
    European Commission President von der Leyen and Prime Minister of New Zealand Ardern met in Brussels on 30 June 2022. The encounter provided an opportunity to reaffirm that the European Union and Aotearoa New Zealand are longstanding partners with shared democratic values and interests, aligned positions on key international and ...
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    6 days ago
  • New Zealand secures major free trade deal with European Union
    Export revenue to the EU to grow by up to $1.8 billion annually on full implementation. Duty-free access on 97% of New Zealand’s current exports to the EU; with over 91% being removed the day the FTA comes into force. NZ exporters set to save approx. $110 million per annum ...
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    6 days ago
  • Biggest Year for Clean Cars on Record
    57,000 EVs and Hybrid registered in first year of clean car scheme, 56% increase on previous year EVs and Non Plug-in Hybrids made up 20% of new passenger car sales in March/April 2022 The Government’s Clean Car Discount Scheme has been a success, with more than 57,000 light-electric and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Police Wing 355 includes the highest ever proportion of Wāhine Māori
    Police Minister Chris Hipkins congratulates the newest Police wing – wing 355 – which graduated today in Porirua. “These 70 new constables heading for the frontline bring the total number of new officers since Labour took office to 3,303 and is the latest mark of our commitment to the Police ...
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    6 days ago
  • New RBNZ board takes up role from 1 July
    Members with a range of governance, financial and technical skills have been appointed to the Reserve Bank Board as part of the shift to strengthen the Bank’s decision-making and accountability arrangements. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 2021 comes into force on 1 July 2022, with the establishment of ...
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    6 days ago
  • New measures to help manage COVID-19 as country stays at Orange
    New Zealand to remain at Orange as case numbers start to creep up 50 child-size masks made available to every year 4-7 student in New Zealand 20,000-30,000 masks provided a week to all other students and school staff Extra funding to schools and early childhood services to supports better ...
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    6 days ago
  • NZ to join International Court of Justice case against Russia
    Aotearoa New Zealand will join Ukraine’s case against Russia at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which challenges Russia’s spurious attempt to justify its invasion under international law. Ukraine filed a case at the ICJ in February arguing Russia has falsely claimed genocide had occurred in Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as ...
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    6 days ago
  • New advisory group provides enduring Māori expertise for Te Aorerekura delivery
    The Government has taken another step forward in its work to eliminate family violence and sexual violence with the announcement today of a new Tangata Whenua Ministerial Advisory Group. A team of 11 experts in whānau Māori wellbeing will provide the Government independent advice on shaping family violence and sexual ...
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    6 days ago
  • Making work better for Kiwi women
    Te Mahere Whai Mahi Wāhine: Women’s Employment Action Plan was launched today by Minister for Women Jan Tinetti – with the goal of ensuring New Zealand is a great place for women to work. “This Government is committed to improving women’s working lives. The current reality is that women have ...
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    7 days ago