Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Australia tomorrow to meet with Australian counterparts in Canberra.
“Our relationship with Australia is hugely important. For two independent nations, Australia and New Zealand enjoy an unparalleled level of connection and integration,” says Mr Peters.
Mr Peters will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Hon Michael McCormack, and with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop for their six-monthly Foreign Ministers’ Consultation.
“Ms Bishop and I see each other frequently at regional meetings so we have a good working relationship. These six-monthly consultations provide a formal opportunity for us to discuss the Australia-New Zealand relationship in-depth, as well as the many global and regional interests we share as partners,
“However we mustn’t take this for granted. During our meeting we will be focused on how we can keep working to strengthen and build on the bilateral relationship,
“In turbulent times such as these, our close friends like Australia are more important than ever,” Mr Peters says.
While in Canberra, Mr Peters will also make a keynote speech to the National Press Club.
The Green Party backs the Government’s decision to freeze MPs’ pay for the next year and welcomes a review that will investigate changes down the track to ensure pay increases are in line with increases other working New Zealanders receive.
“The Green Party has long called for fairer pay settings for MPs so pay changes match what is happening with workers’ pay,” Green Party Co-leader Marama Davidson said.
“MPs are paid well above the average worker, so giving them a percentage rise accentuates their higher pay. When it is right for MPs to get a rise, they should get the same in dollar terms as what the average worker receives.”
While in the last five years in percentage terms the median individual wage has risen substantially more than a Backbenchers’ pay – 16.9% versus 10.9% - that amount in dollar terms is nearly 3.5 times more for the MP -- $16,161 versus $4,641*. A Backbencher’s annual basic salary is $163,961.
Cabinet today agreed to freeze MPs’ pay, allowances and superannuation for the next year. Pay increases are currently determined by the Remuneration Authority under a formula set in law, so this new policy requires legislation in parliament. There will also be a review to scrutinise future MP pay increases down the track.
“It is fantastic that there will be a review into MP pay increases in the long run, it is absolutely right that we interrogate how much MPs are paid to ensure they’re not receiving increases that are unfair compared to other New Zealanders who are experiencing slow wage growth.
“This Government is committed to being responsible with public funds. We have had nine years under National that has caused widespread poverty, homelessness and a big percentage of people in work and out struggling to make ends meet. We consider increases in MPs’ pay better used for other Government priorities.”
Principals and teachers today enter their 21st day of talks since May, and are hopeful negotiations will lead to progress towards a settlement following strike action and an out-pouring of public support last week.
One of New Zealand’s most established economic research agencies, BERL, will explore the Government’s intention for a Wellbeing Budget next year at its inaugural annual wānanga in Wellington on August 23.
The Green Party has ensured that the next set of changes to the Overseas Investment Act will look at water extraction and whether stronger tests should be set for land sales involving water takes, Green Party Co-Leader Marama Davidson announced today.
The role of small business in the economy is to be enhanced with a new strategy to drive performance and better connect small and medium enterprises with government, large businesses and research institutions.
Donald Trump and Brexit have given many people cause for concern about the future of the current world order. British economist Philippe Legrain spoke to Sam Sachdeva about tackling the public pessimism behind the rise of protectionism - and why there should be greater optimism about employing refugees. Sam Sachdeva reports for Newsroom.