web analytics

Worth’s story unravels

Written By: - Date published: 3:54 am, March 31st, 2009 - 55 comments
Categories: corruption - Tags:

Despite getting a “bollocking” from John Key, Richard Worth last night denied that he had been acting as a minister when he went around India promoting flight training provided by a company he had shares in. Unfortunately for Worth, they have the internet in India too:

Indian Express 28 Feb 2009 ‘My personal commitment to Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal is that New Zealand will be committed to improve efficiency and productivity of the farmers in the state by providing them technology transfer in agriculture, horticulture and dairy sector,’ said Dr Richard Worth, Minister of Crown, New Zealand.
In an exclusive interview with Newsline, Worth said: ‘We can contribute a lot to agri-technology as our farmers became self-sufficient after the Government stopped giving them any subsidy a few years ago. According to our estimates, some 20 per cent of the perishable items in India are affected due to lack of technology. We can help here with our advance technology which ensures more storage life for vegetables and meat products.’
Worth said Tata, Kingfisher and Reliance are household names in New Zealand. ‘Ten per cent of the total population of our country, around two million, comprises Indians. Of this, 10 per cent, around 1.22 lakh, are Punjabis. Our embassy in Delhi issued 30,000 visitor visas last year and of this, 50 per cent were from this region. These exclude the student and business visas.’
‘Our visa rate is 88 per cent. This will also improve in the coming days with more student and visitor visas. We will be making it easy to get visitor visa as the rules will be relaxed and same will be done for business visas to attract more investment, especially in infrastructure, construction, telecom, energy and tourism.’ he said.
‘For students who want to study in New Zealand, the Civil Aviation sector has a lot of scope. One can get a Commercial Pilot Licence in our country in only eight months at the cost of 70,000 New Zealand Dollars, around Rs 18 lakh, from Southern Institute of Technology Civil Aviation Limited,’ he added.
Worth said: ‘We have asked the government to start a direct flight between India and Auckland and also an India Trade Centre in Auckland.’ (big ups to gobsmacked for the find)

UNP 27 Feb 2009 ‘A new chapter began in the bilateral relations of Punjab and New Zealand as both entered into two Memorandums of Understanding, declaring Waitkere and Amritsar cities as Sister cities and to provide training to Punjab pilots in New Zealand.In a formal ceremony held here today, representatives of Punjab and New Zealand signed two MoUs in the august presence of Deputy Chief Minister S. Sukhbir Singh Badal and New Zealand delegation led by their Internal Affairs Minister Dr. Richard Worth OBE.’ (credit to rOb for this one)

Worth is talking as a minister and he is promoting his flight school in the same interview. Then he signed an MOU as minister to advantage the flight school. He had an actual conflict of interest and, worse, he lied about it.

Key promised us a new era of accountabilty. Looks like we’re about to find out what Key’s word is worth.

PS. Last night Annette King shied away from using the word corrupt. I hope Labour won’t today during Question Time. National was very successful in labelling the Labour government. If Labour won’t do the same, no-one else will do it for them.

55 comments on “Worth’s story unravels”

  1. jtuckey 1

    At the very least Worth should be made to pay back the cost of flights and accommodation to and while in India.

    • r0b 1.1

      It’s my understanding that Worth paid for these privately. The issue is that while on a supposed “private” trip, he was touting himself as a Government minister, and drumming up trade for his own business. This is the kind of clear conflict of interest that MPs are required to avoid (as per Key’s own dodgy dealing over Tranz Rail shares for example).

      • jtuckey 1.1.1

        In that case I can see some COI involved as I’m pretty sure there are OPS that MPs are supposed to follow to stop this kind of thing occurring. I’d stop short of calling it corrupt though – corrupt is a different kettle of fish all together.

      • r0b 1.1.2

        A lot of the background to the issue of conflict of interest is set out in this post. As described in that post, Brownlee (like Key and Worth) has also been guilty of this kind of transgression. How many more?

      • Matthew Pilott 1.1.3

        Don’t ministers get about 90% off international air travel? We still paid for his flights… Who knows what other perks he used while over there.

  2. gingercrush 2

    Key was being accountable. He reprimanded Worth. Does that leave room for the left to attack on? Most certainly. Its something that enables Labour to actually have something. That those ministers allowed National something useful to use in question time so early on. Is surely a detriment to the National government and an advantage to Labour. Let’s see how useful Labour can be on the subject. Since this story may well continue all week till Friday and if they can find anymore on it can go into next week. But the reality is, that in political terms and how it is reported. A reprimand is actually serious. And Key was quick to say that wasn’t good enough. That is action, and its decisive. Leave things to fester then you’re in serious trouble. But of course Key didn’t do that.

    • r0b 2.1

      A reprimand is actually serious.

      Are you for real?

      If Key was “serious” about running a clean government, then Worth would be gone. But of course he isn’t serious at all.

      • gingercrush 2.1.1

        Yes you can play the dodgy game and corrupt line all you want. And sure it has some relevance. I’m not disputing that. Which is why Labour and other opposition need to go all-out in question time. Key though actually did something. He gave Worth a bollocking and a reprimand. And in political terms that is serious. Not as serious as forcing a MP to resign but nonetheless on its own serious.

        • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1.1

          So corruption isn’t a problem in and of itself, but only insofar as whether or not National can get away with it. Am I understanding your position?

          • gingercrush 2.1.1.1.1

            No I don’t see it as corrupt though the left are certainly entitled to label it as such.

          • Pascal's bookie 2.1.1.1.2

            Well that makes sense.

          • the sprout 2.1.1.1.3

            corruption is a problem in National when:

            a) you get caught

            b) what you get caught for reminds people that the PM also had a conflict of interest with his Tranzrail shares

            it seems to NOT be a problem for National if your actions have the potential to damage our export industry by tarnishing it with apparent corruption

  3. Good stuff Standard.

    To give the debate some context it would help to quote the Cabinet Manual provisions.

    Clauses 2.56 and 2.57 state:

    “Conflicts of interest may arise between Ministers’ personal interests and their public duty because of the influence and power that Ministers exercise, and the information to which they have access, both in the individual performance of their portfolio responsibilities and as members of the Executive … Ministers are responsible for ensuring that no conflict exists or appears to exist between their personal interests and their public duty. Ministers must conduct themselves at all times in the knowledge that their role is a public one; appearances and propriety can be as important as an actual conflict of interest.”

    This is really clear. Giving a speech as a minister and putting in a commercial plug that will benefit you privately is about as clear a conflict as you can get.

    Nothing this clear happened during Labour’s reign. Peters may have lied but even he did not use a ministerial speech to give a plug for one of his business interests. He is capable of the most crazy decisions however. His camel ride during the Anzac ceremony in 2002 is a classic example of this.

    Worth was previously a senior lawyer and partner of a downtown law firm. There is no way that he could plead ignorance.

    It would be interesting to know how the speech notes compare to the Departmental drafted speech. I suspect that a couple of additions will turn up.

    BTW the Herald have this story on page 6. Are their standards slipping?

    • Pascal's bookie 3.1

      Thanks Micky.

      Worth also knew well enough to pay for the trip himself. He asked permission from Key, (but left out his interest in the aviation school), but then went ahead and did what he did. It’s pretty clear cut.

    • Oops I mangled a sentence. Worth and not Peters had the camel ride in 2002.

  4. gingercrush 4

    The Herald didn’t break the story thus they’re pissed off so they sideline it.

    • the sprout 4.1

      yeah couldn’t be anything to do with the Herald trying to shield a lame duck government from any widespread public scrutiny about a very serious mistake.

      then again, considering their anti-EFA campaigning, perhaps the Herald doesn’t really understand the phrase ‘conflict of interest’?

      • gingercrush 4.1.1

        Only if you buy into the fact that media is bias against the left. Which doesn’t make sense when the right themselves see people as Guyon Espiner as liberals. In all, I think it very much has to do with they didn’t break it and less to do with any bias you’re trying to portray.

        • More importantly, what colored tie was he wearing?

          Always a good laugh when they make a big deal over Mr Garner wearing a red tie, of course, they don’t even notice when he wears a blue one.

        • the sprout 4.1.1.2

          the media aren’t inherently biased left or right, they’re biased towards their own business interests. that tends to make them pro-rigt, but they’ll happily change horses if they consider a left government to be pro their interests.

  5. Tim Ellis 5

    This does seem to be unfortunate. I don’t know where Worth got the figure of 2 million New Zealanders being Indian, or 10% of the population being Indian, or 10% of the population being two million people.

    It isn’t a good look for him to be pumping the flight school, though. The interview appears to have covered a wide range of issues and given some of the numbers above it does suggest that Worth might have been misquoted.

    I’m not sure it’s a hanging offence, but it is not a good look and I think John Key should be asking some serious questions about it. To term it as corruption is going a bit far though.

    • r0b 5.1

      To term it as corruption is going a bit far though.

      I agree. It’s dumb, sloppy, greedy, against the law, and an abuse of power. But the term “corrupt” has become thoroughly, thoroughly overused in our political lexicon, wouldn’t you say?

      • Tigger 5.1.1

        Agreed – it isn’t a firing offence nor is it ‘corrupt’ but it is an abuse of power (and possibly fraudulent?) and adds to the growing list of cock-ups by this new government. The honeymoon being over is one thing but National do you really want to start grounds for divorce so soon in your term?

        Of course, if most other people had done something like this in their job they’d probably be fired for gross misconduct and a ‘reprimand’ looks like a rather watery way to deal with it. Which begs the question, how much longer will Key get away with saying ‘I’ve reprimanded him/her’ (code for ‘yes, he really screwed up and if I was in private practice then I’d fire him but I can’t because I’m in the government now and can’t afford to piss off one of the ones who might turn against me in the inevitable coup that’s coming in 12 months’)? I think he’s probably got another two or three of these types of screw-ups before someone’s head needs to roll…

    • George Darroch 5.2

      It’s a confusing sentence. He says (as far as I can tell, that there are 122,000 people who claim Indian descent in NZ. That’s about right.

      But he also says 2 million, and I have no idea what he’s referring to there. Perhaps half of NZers don’t count?

      That would explain why they think that “most” New Zealanders will be better off with National’s tax cuts too.

      • George Darroch 5.2.1

        Wait that was 122,000 Punjabis, ten percent of the Indian population.

        Given that he lies/misleads about Tata and Reliance being household names in the lines above, I’m not inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.

  6. tsmithfield 6

    I noticed on Breakfast this morning that Paul Henry commented on how disgusting it was to shake Worth’s hands. He suggested that Worth’s hands were moist/slimy.

    At least he is consistent in remarking on personal qualities of individuals.

  7. Tim

    Saying it is not a good look is like saying the Titanic suffered a bit of a mishap.

    Helen moved people out for lesser offences.

    The right have continuously thrown the word “corruption” around about such things as a speeding police car, a misplaced tennis ball, signing of a painting given to a charity and drink driving.

    They can hardly complain if the favour is returned to them.

    The situation can be more accurately described as a Minister using his Ministerial position to gain privately. This is clearly a sacking offence and Worth should go.

  8. Tim Ellis 8

    Micky, I don’t know if it is a sacking offence. Given the fairly obvious factual inconsistencies in the report, I wouldn’t necessarily take it at face value.

    The more I think about it however the more I believe that if the substance of the report is accurate, and Worth did use his Ministerial position to advance his private interests, then he needs to be disciplined. At best it’s fair to say that if the news report is accurate, he didn’t do enough to avoid the perception of conflict of interest.

    I don’t believe you can automatically assume that Worth knowingly and actively used his ministerial position for private gain. That is a very serious allegation and I’m certainly not brave enough to make that claim against a senior lawyer who is perfectly capable of defending his reputation if defamed.

    I think Worth has some explaining to do. Good on the Standard for raising the issue but be very careful about destroying a person’s reputation if you can’t defend your position in court.

    • r0b 8.1

      I don’t know if it is a sacking offence.

      It’s certainly much more serious than the transgression for which Key called so vigourously for Labour MP Damien O’Connor to be sacked:

      Key gave former senior Labour minister Damien O’Connor heaps over his alleged conflict of interest when he allowed the husband of one of his secretaries – who was suspended from his job as a prison guard – to travel on a taxpayer-assisted trip to the Parliamentary Rugby World Cup.

      Indeed, Key said at the time that O’Connor was guilty of “unbelievable stupidity” and should be sacked.

      So why the inconsistency?

    • Kevin Welsh 8.2

      “…but be very careful about destroying a person’s reputation if you can’t defend your position in court.”

      Try peddling this line at KiwiBlog Tim, and see how far you get.

      • Tim Ellis 8.2.1

        Kevin, if people are going to make defamatory remarks alleging corruption and illegal activity against a Member of Parliament, I would expect them to have the courage to use their own names. I don’t have anything to do with Kiwiblog other than as an occasional commenter and I would expect DPF wouldn’t want to expose himself to litigation through other people’s recklessness.

        • r0b 8.2.1.1

          I would expect them to have the courage to use their own names.

          You really haven’t got the hang of blogs yet Tim, have you. This is typically the line you wheel out when you have resoundingly lost the debate.

          What difference does anyone’s online name make? How does anyone know that “Tim Ellis” is your “real name”? Unless or until there is system for securely and reliably verifying online identities (that people actively choose to participate in) a handle is just a handle.

          It’s about the quality of the arguments that are made Tim, not the online handles that people choose.

          Oh and furthermore, I don’t recall any instance of you running this line against a single right wing troll alleging corruption in the Labour government during the last election campaign. Why was that Tim?

          • Tim Ellis 8.2.1.1.1

            r0b, this is not about the quality of arguments. I have often debated with you and many other anonymous commentators on issues. My point specifically relates to anonymous commentators making defamatory allegations and exposing others to their reckless comments.

            r0b I’m not responsible for the behaviour of right-wing trolls just as I don’t expect you to be responsible for the behaviour of left-wing trolls. On the issue of anonymous right-wing trolls making defamatory comments I have just as dim a view of them as I do of left-wing ones.

            I don’t recall you making an issue of Labour’s breaches of the Electoral Finance Act, despite you advocating that it was good and necessary law during its passing. I don’t recall you backing down from that view despite the Labour Party doing so. I don’t expect you to justify it anyway. I expect you to comment and discuss issues that are important to you.

          • r0b 8.2.1.1.2

            r0b, this is not about the quality of arguments

            No it isn’t, you’ve taken it on to an irrelevant tangent about online identities.

            anonymous commentators making defamatory allegations

            If you think an allegation is defamatory that’s up to you (as is the threat of lawyers, a favourite tool for trying to shut down opposition). But the fact that the handle is “anonymous” is neither here nor there – it’s just a little obsession of yours that you keep coming back to.

        • mickysavage 8.2.1.2

          Tim

          My own comment was quite reserved. Most of the other comments are the same. I guess that we (lefties) get somewhat pissed off because over at Kiwiblogland Helen is practically accused of eating babies live and there is never any second thought about it. But over here the D word keeps being used every time a legitimate concern is raised.

          Of course the matter needs further investigation because the numbers are odd. But it would be hard pressed to imagine that Worth said “Massey University School of Aviation” when what was reported was “Southern Institute of Technology Civil Aviation Limited”.

          Worth is also a public figure. Qualified privilege applies. As long as there is not malice then they are fair game. The comments that I have read here are not radical.

          To refine what I said before if it is shown that Worth, during the course of giving a Ministerial Speech, advocated or supported the use of a commercial entity that he had an interest in and from which he would receive a financial benefit from, then that is inappropriate and in my view he should no longer be a Minister.

  9. Tim Ellis 9

    I really don’t see the similarity or comparison at all r0b.

    There are clearly a range of sanctions available to the Prime Minister when holding Ministers to account. Some of them are:

    1. Private dressing-down, no further discipline.

    2. Public dressing down and humiliation, requirement for apology, no further action.

    3. Public dressing down and humiliation, suspension and full investigation.

    4. Public dressing down and humiliation, suspension, full investigation, demotion or removal of portfolio.

    5. Public dressing down and humiliation, suspension, full investigation, sacking.

    The sanctions that the PM uses are dependent on the scale of the offence, and how often the Minister has offended. Helen Clark gave considerably more leeway to some Ministers than others and allowed some Ministers to get away with more than others.

    It doesn’t look like Richard Worth’s actions, a first offence as a Minister, warrant sacking. Worth’s actions, if correct, were unwise and messy he didn’t do enough to avoid a potential conflict of interest, which is a breach of the Cabinet Manual.

    Worth has since resigned from the aviation school and the Indian business association, and has received a public dressing down from Key. I don’t imagine there will be any tolerance for further transgressions from him, but on the scale of things I don’t think there’s any evidence that Worth wilfully used his public office for private gain. I think the sanctions have been appropriate.

    • Matthew Pilott 9.1

      It doesn’t look like Richard Worth’s actions, a first offence as a Minister, warrant sacking.

      So why, according to Key, did O’Connor’s actions require a sacking?

      If you don’t think that he did, then you’ll have to agree Key’s running a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ approach.

  10. Tigger 10

    This was actually a prime opportunity for Key to get rid of Worth (who has a profile for being lazy and ‘dead wood’, lets face it) and elevate a newbie to a Ministerial post.

    The public service can rightly wonder why they’re getting booted up and down the street (not to mention made redundant left and right) but this type of behaviour just warrants a ‘reprimand’.

  11. the sprout 11

    Seems like damaging our international reputation and competitiveness as an honest trading partner isn’t a sacking offence for National.

  12. “Two million“?

    Are there perhaps some problems in translation, here?

  13. Kevin Welsh 13

    Mind you, it would be a bit hypocritical of Key to sanction Worth after using Parliament to glean information about a company he has/had a shareholding in.

  14. aj 14

    Southland Institute of Technology CEO Penny Simmons is reported as saying that Worth told her prior to his trip that he had stepped down from directorships.

    Worth responded by saying she ‘must have got his conversation confused’

    Southland Times this morning.

    • Kevin Welsh 14.1

      And the lies keep getting bigger…

      Six month into this Government and so far we have Collins, Smith and now Worth all showing their true colours.

      If we are going to apply the same standards that those on the right applied to the previous Government then calling for these clowns to be sacked is neither unfair, nor unwarranted.

  15. gobsmacked 15

    Labour have (inevitably) put down Questions for both Key and Worth in the House this afternoon. Should be fun. Also Mallard is pursuing Bennett (i.e. Nick Smith) on ACC again.

    Memo to the Labour team (because we know you guys read this blog!):

    Do NOT waste time and energy arguing with the referee, as you did last week. Mallard made himself the issue, and nearly got thrown out, and so let Bennett/Smith off the hook. Dumb.

    Short, sharp questions, and quick follow-up. With all your experience, you guys should know how to do this by now. Lift your game.

  16. Quoth the Raven 16

    I/S makes a good point today:

    Then there’s this bit (as reported by the Herald):
    Mr Key said he would not have sanctioned the trip if he had known Dr Worth was a director and shareholder in an aviation company which was in a joint venture with an Invercargill flight training academy.
    But isn’t it his job to know? The relevant facts are right there in Worth’s statement of pecuniary interests [PDF], and are presumably in the equivalent Cabinet version as well. Does Key bother to read these? Or does he just turn a blind eye?

    So either Key doesn’t do his job and is as incompetent as we all thought or he knew about Worth’s conflict of interest and turns a blind eye to corruption either way it doesn’t bode well for the smiling assassin.

  17. gingercrush 18

    What the hell is Goff doing in the house. He’s falling apart.

  18. gobsmacked 19

    Ginger

    You made a wee typo there – the name is spelt Worth.

    Ah, the arrogance of power. I’m afraid it did for Benson-Pope, caught in a denial, and now it will finish off Worth. All he had to do today was appear contrite and he could have killed the story. Instead he stood up in the House and categorically denied he acted as a Minister at any time during the India trip.

    This will be very surprising news to his gracious hosts!

    Now, what’s the international dialing code for India, it’s time to make a few phone calls …

    • gingercrush 19.1

      Well that came later. And yes Worth is positively useless. But Goff was just terrible today. He allowed just one question? This is the one thing Labour has really had since they’ve been in opposition and all they could do was that performance in the house? Pretty lousy. Hodgson was better but I don’t think he carried himself well either.

  19. bobo 20

    Worth was sweating like a pig in the house today you could see homer simpson thought bubbles radiating from his head “what do I say , What do I say, hmm , entertaining expenses, donuts, mmmmm donuts” “I don’t recall”

  20. Quoth the Raven 21

    Didn’t Worth say “I don’t have an erection” than corrected it by saying “I don’t have any recollection”

  21. gobsmacked 22

    Check this out.

    Richard Worth, speaking today in the House:

    “I did not speak as a Minister of any portfolio at any event or ceremony during my visit to India.”

    Now, where can we find clear evidence of the Minister speaking in India as, er … a Minister? Some dodgy leftie gossip blog, perhaps?

    Answer: The Minister’s own website:

    http://www.richardworth.co.nz/uploads/Minister2.JPG

    Oh dear.

  22. sweeetdisorder 23

    Gobsmacked

    that shows nothing of the sort. Yes, he is a Minister, but in what capacity was he there?

    As it wasn’t a state funded trip its more likely he was not there wearing his Minister hat. Clark used to play this game as well, she would often change her hats from PM to Labour Party Leader as it suited he, same here me thinks. Not a good look for Worth, but, after the performance of Goff in QT today I can’t see any legs on this one.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • New Zealand First Statement on Muller Resignation
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters acknowledged today the heavy price of trying to lead the National Party today. ‘One’s sympathy goes out to Todd Muller and his family. Todd is a good man, unlike most of his colleagues he does ...
    11 hours ago
  • Week That Was: Keeping New Zealand moving
    We're keeping New Zealand moving, one progress-packed week at a time. Read below to find out how we're creating jobs, protecting the environment, looking out for the health of New Zealanders', and upgrading our critical infrastructure - and that's only this week. ...
    1 day ago
  • Week That Was: Keeping New Zealand moving
    We're keeping New Zealand moving, one progress-packed week at a time. Read below to find out how we're creating jobs, protecting the environment, looking out for the health of New Zealanders', and upgrading our critical infrastructure - and that's only this week. ...
    1 day ago
  • Government backs Northland innovation and enterprise park
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund is providing up to $19.5 million to boost innovative primary sector businesses and create training and job opportunities for Northland locals through the construction of an innovation and enterprise park at Ngawha, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones ...
    1 day ago
  • Green Party unveils Clean Energy Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling part one of its plan for a fossil-fuel free Aotearoa, including an immediate ban on new industrial coal boilers. ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand First calls for tahr cull halt
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industry New Zealand First is supporting calls by hunters and the New Zealand Tahr Foundation (NZTF) to halt a large scale cull of Himalayan Tahr by the Department of Conservation in National Parks. The calls are supported by a 40,000 strong petition and the ...
    1 week ago
  • Response to Spin-off allegations
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First leader Winston Peters today scoffed at suggestions that a team of six political operatives have been dispatched to New Zealand to assist his campaign. ‘As President Ronald Reagan once said, ‘there they go again.’ ‘The clickbait journos can’t ...
    1 week ago
  • Jenny Marcroft MP to represent New Zealand First in Auckland Central
    New Zealand First is pleased to announce Jenny Marcroft as the party’s election 2020 candidate for the Auckland Central electorate. Jenny spent years working in Auckland Central, having spent a vast proportion of her broadcasting career there. She says she, "knows the place and knows the people." Ms Marcroft says ...
    1 week ago
  • Creating jobs and cleaning up our rivers
    New Zealanders deserve healthy rivers and lakes that are safe to swim in - but they have been getting worse for decades. That's why, with our latest announcement, we're investing in projects that will help clean up our rivers and lakes and restore them to health, within a generation. ...
    1 week ago
  • Jacinda Ardern: 2020 Labour Congress Speech
    Jacinda Ardern's speech to the 2020 Labour Party Congress. ...
    1 week ago
  • Kelvin Davis: 2020 Labour Congress Speech
    Kelvin Davis' speech to the 2020 Labour Party Congress. ...
    1 week ago
  • Week That Was: Another week of major progress
    This week we moved into the second half of 2020 - and our Government delivered another week of big changes and major progress for New Zealanders. Read below for a wrap of the key things moments from the week - from extending paid parental leave, to making major investments in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party opposes RMA fast-track bill that cut corners on environmental safeguards and public cons...
    The Green Party has opposed the COVID-19 Recovery Fast-track Consenting Bill which shortcuts normal consenting processes under the Resource Management Act (RMA), reduces public participation and narrows environmental considerations. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Site of new freight hub revealed
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister of Regional Economic Development A regional freight hub for the lower North Island will be built just northeast of Palmerston North, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The Government is investing $40 million through the Provincial Growth Fund to designate and buy land and design ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens call for Guaranteed Minimum Income to alleviate skyrocketing debt with MSD
    Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson is calling for the introduction of a Guaranteed Minimum Income to lift hundreds of thousands of people out of poverty and prevent more families entering into further debt with the Ministry of Social Development.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston Peters: Facts matter when taxpayer money is on the line
    There has been renewed focus on New Zealand First acting as a handbrake on the Government after our decision to not support Auckland light rail. We are a handbrake for bad ideas, that is true, but our track record since 2017 has seen New Zealand First constructively also serve as an ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill raising minimum residency requirement for NZ Super passes first reading
    Mark Patterson MP, New Zealand First List MP New Zealand First’s Fair Residency for Superannuation Bill passed its First Reading in Parliament today. The Bill makes a significant change to NZ Super by raising the minimum residency requirement from 10 to 20 years, after age 20. “Currently, a migrant of ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Harsher penalties for assaults on first responders one step closer
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Law and Order A New Zealand First member’s bill in the name of Darroch Ball introducing a six-month minimum prison sentence for assaults on first responders has passed its second reading in Parliament. The new offence of "injuring a first responder or corrections officer with ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Criminal Cases Review Commission delivers Coalition promise
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Deputy Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand First welcomes the launch of the new Criminal Cases Review Commission, gifted with the name from Waikato-Tainui - Te Kāhui Tātari Ture, announced in Hamilton today by Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealand First has long believed in and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
    The Green Party is celebrating over $800m in new funding for green projects, which will get people into jobs while solving New Zealand’s long-term challenges. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
    Mark Patterson MP, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is appalled that Meridian seems to have been unnecessarily spilling water from its dams to drive up its profits."While New Zealanders have been coming together in some of our darkest hours, we don’t expect power gentailers to waste water and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Getting New Zealand moving again: June 2020
    We wrapped up the first half of 2020 with a busy month, taking additional steps to support New Zealanders as we continue with our economic recovery. We rolled out targeted packages to support key industries like tourism and construction, helped create jobs in the environmental and agriculture sectors, and set ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori union leader appointed to Infrastructure Commission board
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Infrastructure Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones has welcomed the appointment of Maurice Davis and his deep infrastructure and construction experience to the board of the Infrastructure Commission. Mr Davis (Ngāti Maniapoto), is the seventh and final appointment to the board led by former Reserve Bank Governor ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First New Zealand’s click bait journalism is taking a turn for the worse, with yet another example of sensationalist, wilful-misrepresentation of the facts. “New Zealand First has worked constructively with its Coalition partner on hundreds of pieces of legislation and policy, and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party proposes transformational Poverty Action Plan
    The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity.     ...
    2 weeks ago
  • PGF accelerates Rotorua projects
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Rotorua Museum redevelopment and Whakarewarewa and Tokorangi Forest projects will be accelerated thanks to a $2.09 million Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) boost, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
    This week, we rolled out the next steps of our recovery plan, with new infrastructure investment, extra support for tourism operators, and a new programme to get Kiwis into agriculture careers. The global economic consequences of COVID-19 will continue to be a challenge, but we have a detailed plan to ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First welcomes the passage of the Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission Bill through its final reading in Parliament today fulfilling a coalition agreement commitment. “This is an important step in saving the lives of New Zealanders and delivers a key coalition commitment ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Whakatāne gets a $2.5m ‘turbo boost’
    Whakatāne has been given a $2.5 million boost to speed up previously funded projects and create more than 450 jobs in the next decade. Of those, the equivalent of 160 full-time jobs could be delivered in the next six weeks. Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is in town to make ...
    3 weeks ago
  • $2.5m PGF funding to speed up economic recovery in Whakatāne
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $2.5 million to accelerate three infrastructure projects in Whakatāne, Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. “This package is about ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
    Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones is throwing his weight behind a bid by the Auckland Council to fast-track the more than doubling of the city's water allowance from the Waikato River. And he's coming out strongly against anyone who plans on getting in the way of this campaign. "It is my ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Another Green win as climate change considerations inserted into the RMA
    The Green Party is thrilled to see changes to the Resource Management Act (RMA) that mean consents for large projects can be declined if they will have significant climate change implications that are inconsistent with the Zero Carbon Act and Aotearoa New Zealand’s Paris Agreement obligations.  ...
    3 weeks ago
  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence The Royal New Zealand Navy’s new ship, Aotearoa, set sail for New Zealand on 10 June from the Republic of Korea, and is due to arrive in Auckland tomorrow, announced Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “Aotearoa is the Royal New Zealand Navy’s new fleet ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Racing Industry Bill passes third reading
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters has today welcomed the Racing Industry Bill passing its third reading, creating the legislative framework for revitalising the racing industry while limiting the need for future government intervention. “For too long our domestic racing industry has ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Wellbeing infrastructure for Kaipara
    A package of wellbeing infrastructure investments in Kaipara which focuses on improving the lives of the elderly and upgrading the iconic Kauri Museum has been announced by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones today. “These shovel-ready projects will have significant benefits for their respective communities and I’m pleased this funding ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • More support rolls out for SMEs
    More support is rolling out for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) from the COVID Response and Recovery Fund, to help them adapt and innovate to deal with the impact of the virus. The Ministers for Economic Development and Small Business have announced a further $40 million for the Regional Business ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • District Court Judge appointed
    Stephen Clark, Māori Land Court Judge of Hamilton has been appointed as a District Court Judge with jury jurisdiction to be based in Hamilton, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Judge Clark graduated with an LLB from Auckland University in 1988 and was admitted to the Bar in the same year. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Hawke’s Bay Airport agreement protects jobs, safeguards terminal development
    The Crown will provide a loan to Hawke’s Bay Airport to ensure it can trade through COVID-19 economic impacts, support the region’s recovery and protect up to 200 jobs. The Crown has a 50 percent shareholding in Hawke’s Bay Airport Limited (HBAL), with Napier City Council holding 26 percent and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Funding boost for four cultural events
    Four celebrated Māori and Pasifika events will receive up to $100,000 each in funding from the new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford announced today. The four events that were successful in the inaugural funding round are: Kia Mau Festival, Wellington Māoriland Film Festival, Otaki ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio is pleased to announce the inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week as part of the 2020 Pacific language Weeks programme. “I am so pleased that this year we are able to provide resourcing support to the Kiribati community in Aotearoa which will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New support package for wildlife institutions
    Wildlife institutions affected by a loss of visitor revenue during the COVID-19 lockdown are set to receive government support with nearly $15 million of funding available announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage.  “Eco-sanctuaries, zoos, aquariums, wildlife parks, and wildlife rescue, hospital and rehabilitation facilities provide crucial support for the recovery ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • 300,000 students to benefit from free mental health services
    The Government is expanding and accelerating frontline mental health and wellbeing services at tertiary education institutes (TEI) to help students manage ongoing stresses related to COVID-19. “The lockdown has been hugely disruptive for students. Many of them have had to relocate and move to online learning, isolating them from their ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Gang crime, meth harm targeted in Waikato
    The Minister of Police says a major operation against the Mongrel Mob in Waikato will make a big dent in drug harm and violent offending linked to organised crime networks. “Senior leadership of the Waikato Mongrel Mob has been taken out as a result of Operation Kingsville, which resulted in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supporting victims and families to attend mosque attack sentencing
    The Government is extending the border exception criteria to enable some offshore victims and support people of the Christchurch mosque attacks to attend the sentencing of the accused beginning on 24 August2020, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. “We want to support our valued Muslim brothers and sisters who were directly ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Boost for community freshwater restoration projects
    A project to support volunteer efforts to look after streams and rivers is getting a boost thanks to support from DOC’s Community Conservation Fund announced Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today.  “The government is backing efforts to look after waterways with $199,400 for the Mountains to Sea Conservation Trust from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More support for women and girls
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter today announced that funding for the COVID-19 Community Fund for women and girls will be doubled, as the first successful funding applications for the initial $1million were revealed. “Women and girls across the country have suffered because of the effects of COVID-19, and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Crown accounts stronger than forecast with higher consumer spending
    The Government’s books were better than forecast with a higher GST take as the economy got moving again after lockdown, Finance Minister Grant Robertson says. The Crown Accounts for the 11 months to the end of May indicate the year end results for tax revenue will be stronger than forecast. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Govt releases plan to revitalise wool sector
    A plan to revitalise New Zealand’s strong wool sector and set it on a new, more sustainable and profitable path was unveiled today by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. The newly-released report - Vision and Action for New Zealand’s Wool Sector - was developed by the Wool Industry Project Action Group ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Funding for Predator Free Whangārei
    Community efforts to create a Predator Free Whangārei will receive a $6 million boost, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Conservation Minister Eugenie Sage announced today. The new funding, through Government company Predator Free 2050 Ltd, will create around 12 jobs while enabling the complete removal of possums over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand to review relationship settings with Hong Kong
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment for international engagement there,” Mr Peters said. “New Zealand remains deeply ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding for Whangārei’s infrastructure projects revealed
    Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced details of a multimillion-dollar investment in Whangārei for infrastructure projects that will help it recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 200 jobs are expected to be created through the $26 million investment from the Government’s rejuvenation package ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Managed isolation and quarantine update
    Following a second incident in which a person escaped from a managed isolation facility, security is being enhanced, including more police presence onsite, Minister Megan Woods said. “The actions of some individuals who choose to break the very clear rules to stay within the facilities means that more resourcing is ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Funding for Kaipara district community waste programmes
    Waste reduction and recycling programmes in Kaipara are set to get a boost with Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage today announcing a $361,447 grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) Sustainable Kaipara. “The new funding will allow Sustainable Kaipara to partner with local schools, kura, community ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
    The Government will support the Southland economy in the wake of multinational mining company Rio Tinto’s decision to follow through with its long signalled closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter. “This day has unfortunately been on the cards for some time now, but nevertheless the final decision is a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
    New tools being developed to help boost Aotearoa’s Predator Free 2050 effort were unveiled today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage and Under Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau. A new rat poison, a camera with predator recognition software to detect and report predators, a new predator lure and a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Armoured vehicles for New Zealand Army
    The Coalition Government has approved the purchase of a fleet of Bushmaster vehicles to replace the New Zealand Army’s armoured Pinzgauers, Defence Minister Ron Mark has announced today. The new fleet of 43 Australian-designed and built Bushmaster NZ5.5 will provide better protection for personnel and improved carrying capacity. “The age ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
    The Government’s three prevention frameworks to reduce family violence in Aotearoa were launched this week by Associate Minister for Social Development Poto Williams.   The frameworks were developed in partnership with communities around New Zealand, and build on the work the Government has already begun with its new family violence prevention ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
    The Government is pleased to confirm funding for improvements to radiology and surgical services at Hawke's Bay DHB, Health Minister Chris Hipkins says.     "The Minister of Finance the Hon Grant Robertson and former Health Minister Dr David Clark approved funding for Hawke's Bay DHB’s redevelopment of their radiology facilities ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
    •    New funding for four beds at Napier’s Springhill Residential Addiction Centre •    A new managed withdrawal home and community service, and peer support before and after residential care at Tairāwhiti DHB  •    A co-ordinated network of withdrawal management services throughout the South Island •    Peer support in Rotorua and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
    Introduction, seafarers and POAL Good morning everyone, I am delighted to be online with you all today. Before I begin, I have to acknowledge that COVID-19 has disrupted the maritime sector on an unprecedented scale. The work of seafarers and the maritime industry is keeping many economies around the world ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
    A $13 million investment from Government will create jobs and improve the resilience of the rail connection between Christchurch and the West Coast, Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones and Regional Economic Development Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau say. The funding comes from the tagged contingency set aside in Budget 2020 for infrastructure projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Major investment in safe drinking water
    The Government is investing $761 million to assist local government upgrade under-pressure water services across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today.  The announcement was made at the site of the water bore that was found to be the source of the fatal ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
    Recognised Seasonal Employers and migrant seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand will be able to continue working and supporting themselves with more flexible hours and roles, says Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. The time-limited visa changes are: Stranded RSE workers will be able to work part-time (a minimum of 15 hours ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
    The Government is making immediate short-term changes to visa settings to support temporary migrants already onshore in New Zealand and their employers, while also ensuring New Zealanders needing work are prioritised, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. We are: Extending temporary work visas due to expire by the end of 2020 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
    Professor Peter Skelton CNZM has been appointed as Chief Freshwater Commissioner and Alternate Environment Court Judge Craig James Thompson as Deputy Chief Freshwater Commissioner for the newly established Freshwater Planning Process (FPP). Environment Minister David Parker today also announced the appointment of Chief Environment Court Judge Laurie Newhook as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
    Auckland Queen’s Counsel Neil Campbell has been appointed a Judge of the High Court, Attorney‑General David Parker announced today. Justice Campbell graduated with a BCom and LLB (Hons) from the University of Auckland in 1992. He spent two years with Bell Gully Buddle Weir in Auckland before travelling to the United ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
    The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to better enable the development and operation of commercial film and video facilities in Christchurch. The Proposal, developed by Regenerate Christchurch in response to a request from Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
    The Government has launched a bold plan to boost primary sector export earnings by $44 billion over the next decade, while protecting the environment and growing jobs. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today released Fit for a Better World – Accelerating our Economic Potential, a 10-year roadmap to unlock greater value ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
    A new approach to prevent family harm that encourages greater collaboration across government and community groups is being celebrated at the opening of a new facility in Auckland. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today opened the Multi-Disciplinary Family Harm Prevention Hub Te Taanga Manawa in Lambie Road in Manukau. The facility ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
    The Government has released a major new report on the options for relocating the Port of Auckland’s freight operations while deferring any decision on the issue. “That decision needs to be informed by policy analysis that is still to be completed. As a result it will be up to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
    The history of Rāpaki is being restored through the inclusion of te reo in thirteen official place names on Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula and around Lyttelton Harbour/Whakaraupō, the Minister for Land Information, Eugenie Sage, announced today.   “I am pleased to approve the proposals from Te Hapū o Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
    Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan Woods.  “Last week Air Commodore Darryn Webb and I ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • $80 million for sport recovery at all levels
    Grant Robertson has today announced the first major release of funding from the $265 million Sport Recovery Package announced at Budget 2020.  “Today we’re setting out how $80 million will be invested, with $54 million of that over the 2020/2021 financial year for organisations from community level through to elite ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Keeping ACC levies steady until 2022
    The Government is maintaining current levy rates for the next 2 years, as part of a set of changes to help ease the financial pressures of COVID-19 providing certainty for businesses and New Zealanders, ACC Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. “New Zealanders and businesses are facing unprecedented financial pressures as a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago