Foreign Minister Murray McCully has announced that New Zealand will open an embassy in Dublin, Ireland.
“New Zealand and Ireland enjoy a very warm relationship which is underpinned by our shared values,” Mr McCully says.
“We work closely together on issues such as climate change, disarmament, and human rights, and are also both members of the Small Advanced Economies Initiative.
“Having an embassy in Dublin will enable us to build on and strengthen this relationship.
“Ireland is an important member of the European Union, so the Embassy will also support New Zealand’s interests in Europe, including as they relate to the negotiation of a comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU.”
The Government, through Budget 2017, has committed $4.8 million in capital funding to establish the embassy and a further $9.1million to cover operating costs over the next four years.
The new funding was announced today as part of the launch of Trade Agenda 2030.
More information can be found at www.mfat.govt.nz/tradeagenda2030
| A Beehive release | March 24, 2017 |||.
Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith has today announced the winners of New Zealand’s most valuable and prestigious annual science awards, the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes.
“The Prime Minister’s Science Prizes celebrate scientific achievement, highlight the impact science has on New Zealanders’ lives, and aim to attract more young people into science careers,” Mr Goldsmith says.
“The awards were introduced to raise the profile and prestige of science careers and previous winners have become excellent ambassadors for science here in New Zealand and overseas.
“A prominent part of the Government’s science strategy is encouraging more engagement with science and technology among our young people and the wider community.
“The awards are a key part of the Curious Minds work programme - a national strategic plan for science in society launched in 2014 to help all New Zealanders engage with science and technology.
“The award recipients are role models, educators and communicators, who all play a part in inspiring others to become involved with science, I want to congratulate all of them on their awards, and for their commitment to promoting science,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The prizes were presented by Prime Minister Bill English at a ceremony at Parliament today:
- The Prime Minister’s Science Prize ($500,000) – The Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, led by Professor Richie Poulton (University of Otago).
- The Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist Prize ($200,000) – Professor Brendon Bradley for his work in Civil and Natural Resources Engineering (University of Canterbury).
- The Prime Minister’s Science Teacher Prize ($150,000) – Diana Christenson (Koraunui Primary School, Lower Hutt).
- The Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize ($100,000) – Rebecca Priestley (Victoria University of Wellington).
- The Prime Minister’s Future Scientist Prize ($50,000) – Catherine Pot (Onslow College, Wellington).
More information about this year’s winners is available at www.pmscienceprizes.org.nz.
| A Beehive release | March 21, 2017 ||
Finance Minister Steven Joyce, and Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment Minister Paul Goldsmith have welcomed the release of the Productivity Commission’s report New models of tertiary education.
“We would like to acknowledge the Commission’s time and effort in considering this issue, and the wide engagement of the tertiary sector in the inquiry,” Mr Joyce says.
“We share the Commission’s commitment to further improving the way that tertiary education delivers relevant skills for New Zealanders, and will review the recommendations and opportunities identified in the report.”
“The Government will carefully consider the Commission’s recommendations over the coming months. We have work underway on some of the matters raised such as improving the accessibility of information for prospective students,” Mr Goldsmith says.
The Commission’s report is wide-ranging, and makes 49 recommendations. These focus on:
- Improving information and its use across the tertiary education system,
- Improving regulatory settings, particularly around quality assurance,
- Reforming how Government purchases tertiary education,
- Ensuring the “system architecture” supports clear roles, accountabilities, and expectations to drive better, and more innovative, tertiary education performance.
“The Government will keep an open mind on all of the recommendations, with the exception of the Commission’s view that interest should be reintroduced on new student loan borrowing.
“The Government is committed to retaining interest-free student loans for borrowers residing in New Zealand,” says Mr Goldsmith.
“We do not want to see young people starting their working lives with unmanageable debt. We know that for those who stay in New Zealand after graduating, half will have repaid their loan in under six and a half years.”
“Tertiary education provides students with the skills and qualifications to get good jobs and good incomes, contribute to the country’s economy, and be part of an innovative and successful New Zealand,” Mr Joyce says.
The Government will respond formally to the Productivity Commission’s recommendations in due course. The report will be tabled in Parliament at 9am today, and can be found on the Commission’s website www.productivity.govt.nz.
| A Beehive release | March 21, 2017 ||
Prime Minister Bill English announced today that he and Premier Li will hold official talks in Wellington, and that he and the Premier will also meet business leaders in Auckland during his visit from 26 to 29 March.
"The visit is an important opportunity to set the agenda for the next stage of our strong relationship and demonstrates our shared commitment to open trade and economic growth," Mr English says.
Premier Li’s visit marks the 45th year of diplomatic relations between China and New Zealand, and comes three years after China and New Zealand declared a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during a visit to New Zealand by President Xi Jinping.
Li Keqiang previously visited New Zealand in 2009 as Vice Premier, at the invitation of Mr English in his then-capacity as Deputy Prime Minister.
"Premier Li knows New Zealand well, and I look forward to discussing with him opportunities for our two countries and the region."
The Premier will be accompanied by his wife, Professor Cheng Hong, as well as a large official and business delegation.
China is New Zealand’s second-largest trading partner. Two-way trade reached a new all-time high of NZ$23 billion in 2016. More than 400,000 Chinese tourists visited New Zealand last year, spending over $1.6 billion. In addition nearly 35,000 Chinese students are studying in New Zealand.
| A beehive release | March 19, 2017 ||
Waipukurau – New Zealand is potentially at risk of damaging its economy, unless the government does not act on improving rural health services, a national rural leader says.
Michelle Thompson, chief executive of the Rural Health Alliance Aotearoa New Zealand (RHAANZ), says rural New Zealanders do not receive equitable health services. She says Kiwis in cities receive far better health support than in rural areas.
The RHAANZ met politicians in Parliament this week and pleaded for a much better health deal for rural people.
“Agriculture and tourism are the powerhouses of our economy. Each year, more than two and a half million tourists visit rural New Zealand. In 2011-2012, $40 billion, or 19 percent of GDP, was generated directly or indirectly by the agri-food sector,” Thompson says.
“If the spending power of these people is considered, then the contribution of the agri-food sector is $53 billion, or one dollar in every four dollars spent in the economy. Yet the health and social services for this population are under increasing and significant pressure to deliver.
“We met with politicians from all the main parties this week and all were concerned for rural health. They are keen to follow this through and some have asked for further meetings before the election, because this has become a key election issue.
“More importantly, we hope to meet with Ministers of Health and Primary Industries as soon as possible, because the rural population of more than 600,000 needs easier access to modern health services and facilities, for the economic safeguard of our country. We need equitable health services for rural people. Currently we don’t have this and we urgently need to change this for rural people.
Rural health, a financial powerhouse
“New Zealand’s main producers live in the country and they are the economic backbone and financial heartland of our nation. So, it matters vitally to all New Zealanders that rural people have good health services and good health outcomes.
“Our appeal to government is a call to bring health services closer to home and timely transfer to emergency services when needed. We said we need a more vibrant rural health and social service workforce. We need social and technical connectivity in all rural areas. We are asking for rural health research.
“We need to make our small towns liveable so that people want to come and live there and stay. If we can make our rural communities vibrant again many of our issues will be solved,” Thompson says.
| A Make Lemonade release | March 19, 2017 ||
Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy has signed an Agricultural Cooperation Arrangement with Argentina today, aimed at building closer relationships between the two countries.
The Arrangement was signed at the Central District Fieldays in Feilding today with Argentina’s Secretary of Agriculture, Ricardo Negri, during his three day visit to New Zealand.
“New Zealand and Argentina have a close relationship, particularly in agricultural sciences,” says Mr Guy.
“This new Arrangement creates a framework for greater cooperation between our two countries in the agricultural, livestock and agro-industrial sectors, including opportunities for technical exchanges, joint research, innovation and value addition.
“Two-way trade between Argentina and New Zealand is growing, particularly in primary sectors. The Arrangement will support strengthened economic relations between both countries with agriculture at the centre of this.”
As like-minded countries, Argentina and New Zealand are active participants in the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.
“Agriculture is critical to the economic wellbeing of our countries and we both benefit by working together to address the challenges of climate change. We are natural partners in developing practical, sustainable solutions for reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our research institutions are already exploring opportunities for joint research into areas such as methane vaccines.
“New Zealand and Argentinean farmers have also worked together through an annual farmers study tour, organised by the Global Research Alliance and the World Farmers Organisation.
“Our countries are mindful that for research and development to be effective it will need to be readily picked up by farmers.
“Under the agreement there are also opportunities for us to collaborate on the development of new biosecurity tools to tackle pests and diseases of concern to both countries.”
| A Beehive release | March 16, 2017 ||
Viña del Mar, Chile - High Level Representatives from Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Malaysia, Peru, and Singapore and Vietnam met here today to discuss the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the margins of the High Level Dialogue on Integration Initiatives for the Asia Pacific.
The participating partners reiterated their firm commitment to collaborate in keeping markets open and to the free flow of goods, services and investment advancing regional economic integration and strengthening the rules-based international trading system noting our concern with protectionism in many parts of the world.
They recalled the balanced outcome and the strategic and economic significance of the TPP highlighting its principles and high standards as a key driver for regional economic integration and promoter of economic growth, competition, innovation and productivity, with the potential of generating jobs and lowering costs for consumers.
The high level representatives exchanged views on their respective domestic processes regarding TPP and canvassed views on a way forward that would advance economic integration in the Asia-Pacific.
Senior Trade Officials will meet and consult in preparation for the Ministers to meet again in the margins of the APEC meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade on 20-21 May 2017.
| A Beehive release | March 15, 2017 ||
Trade Minister Todd McClay travels from London to Chile today for the first combined meeting of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries following the United States’ withdrawal from the agreement.
“I welcome the opportunity to sit down with other TPP ministers, to take stock of current developments and to look at how we might move this important agreement forward together,” Mr McClay says.
Mr McClay says he believed the TPP Agreement continued to offer value as a common set of rules across the Asia-Pacific region.
"I have recently visited Australia, Japan, Singapore and Mexico, met with ministers from Brunei and Malaysia and talked directly with trade ministers from all other TPP countries. It is clear our partners remain committed to the benefits high quality trade agreements provide," Mr McClay says.
The meeting comes following strong public encouragement from New Zealand’s largest exporters for the Government to pursue a deal with the other 10 countries.
While in Viña del Mar at the High Level Dialogue on Integration Initiatives for the Asia-Pacific, Mr McClay will also meet with members of the Pacific Alliance and a number of other Asia-Pacific countries discuss regional trade issues.
“High quality regional trade deals are key drivers of economic development and job growth. The Government will continue to fight for a fairer deal for kiwi exporters and to push for better access for our goods and services around the world,” Mr McClay says.
| A Beehive release | March 12, 2017 ||
Trade Minister Todd McClay met International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox and Minister for Trade Policy Lord Price today to reaffirm their joint commitment to global trade liberalisation, and lay the foundations for the future trade relationship between the UK and New Zealand.
International Trade Secretary Liam Fox asserted the importance the UK places on its trading relationship with New Zealand, with total trade in goods and services between the two countries increasing by 13 per cent between 2014-15.
The ministers welcomed progress made during the inaugural Trade Policy Dialogue meeting earlier this month.
“Our dialogue will enable us to build on our existing trading framework, towards an agreement in the future,” Mr McClay says.
“Through the dialogue we will continue to push for greater global trade liberalisation and reform, share expertise, and identify ways to strengthen our trading relationship.”
Minister McClay also welcomed the UK’s ongoing commitment to be a champion of global free trade. Secretary Fox confirmed his intention to visit New Zealand in the coming months.
“During that visit we will hold a joint public event to highlight the importance and benefits of open markets to our citizens at a time when the global economy is facing a period of uncertainty”, Mr McClay says.
The Secretary of State confirmed that the UK would remain fully supportive of the New Zealand-EU FTA as long as it remained a member of the European Union, and that he was very pleased that the scoping phase had been finalised.
| A Beehive release | March 10, 2017 ||
Quai D’Orsay and Lambton Quay share a nightmare
The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade must now begin the difficult and counter-ideological process of accepting that Marine Le Pen’s National Front Party might win the pending Presidential Election in France.
The reason is that Miss Le Pen has pledged to extricate France from both the EU and also the eurocurrency.
Miss Le Pen (pictured) and her party according to the polls is now the front runner to take over the Presidency and thus the government of France.
The former Prime Minister Francois Fillon has dropped in the polls following revelations that the leader of the Republican (i.e. Conservative) Party had while serving President Sarkozy put most of his family on the parliamentary payroll for performing duties that still remain unclear.
The second-line Republican Party candidate Alain Juppe has ruled himself out from succeeding the beleaguered Mr Fillon, partly because Mr Juppe, also a former premier, had also been mixed up in what the French describe as “fictitious employees.”
This leaves Miss Le Pen, followed by Emmanuel Macron the youthful former economics minister under President Francois Hollande.
Mr Macron in exiting the government of President Hollande did not wait to become adopted by an existing party. He simply formed his own France En Marche—France on the Move.
The Socialist Party led by Mr Hollande is simply not in the running, and does not feature in any of the polls as a realistic winner.
All this is bad news of course on Quay D’ Orsay and equally on Lambton Quay. On the quays the fervent hope was that while Miss Le Pen’s National Front might win the first round in the election, the once solid-seeming Mr Fillon would wash her away in the second round.
If the current polls hold water also washed away will be two years worth of negotiations in formal support of the EU-New Zealand trade liberalisation agreement.
Also swept aside will be the European Commission’s mandate to put the trade deal into action.
The reason is that France’s departure from the EU, and it is likely to be abrupt if Miss Le Pen takes charge, will invalidate the central axis of the union which is the German-French one.
France is the link between the Nordic/ Teutonic zone and the Mediterranean member countries.
It is uncertain if New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has charted a contingency plan in the now likely chance that Miss Le Pen and her party will emerge victorious from the imminent general election in France.
But given last year’s upsets in the US and the UK a suitable such contingency scheme would be to have ready a shrink-wrapped substitute deal with the EU’s northern nations.
The victory of President Donald Trump in the United States indicated that the New Zealand apparatus did not lay any groundwork, notably alternatives, for an event that it most ardently hoped would not in fact happen.
To an only slightly less extent the Brexit development is a similar indicator in an antipodean belief in the status quo.
| From the MSCMewsWire reporters' desk | Thursday 9 March 2017 ||