Nov 21, 2017 - MBIE commissioned Market Economics to evaluate the potential economic impact of an Auckland-based 36th America’s Cup. In summary it estimated the following: · From 2018-2021 provides between $0.6 - $1.0 billion in value add to New Zealand’s economy and an employment boost of between 4,700 and 8,300. The range reflects different assumptions around the number of syndicates competing, visiting super yachts, international tourists and the cost of hosting. · Impacts positively on sectors like services, manufacturing (mainly around boat building and super yacht refits) and tourism, including food, retailing and accommodation. · The cost-benefit analysis for the period of the 36th America’s Cup (excluding any future benefits associated with any new infrastructure, or ongoing benefits to the marine industry) is positive, ranging from 1.2 to 1.8. This cost-benefit ratio is for the economy as a whole; the costs included relate to all parties, including for example the Crown, Auckland Council, syndicates, Emirates Team New Zealand, retailers and tourism providers.
The economic evaluation does not capture any of the broader benefits associated with hosting an event of this scale, including showcasing New Zealand to international audiences (and associated reputation impacts), high performance sport outcomes, and participation and engagement of New Zealanders that may have “feel good” effects (increasing national identity and pride).
The study makes no assumptions around location or whether there are any incursions into the harbour or not. It does not, therefore, take account of any loss of value from reducing the available harbour space. At the time of commissioning, the location was undetermined.
The study is consistent with Treasury guidelines for studies of this kind. This is one input into the discussions between government, Auckland Council and ETNZ. Any decision needs to stack up for ETNZ, and the New Zealand ratepayers and taxpayers.
16 Nov 2017 - New Zealand has endorsed the Bonn Communique of the Climate and Clean Air Coalition on Tackling Air Pollution to Save Lives and Protect the Environment.
Climate Change Minister James Shaw endorsed the communique at the COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, overnight New Zealand time.
The communique focuses on “super pollutant” short-lived gases that cause air pollution and climate change, such as methane.
“It’s really good to see the momentum and hard work that’s going into finding solutions for agricultural and waste emissions,” Mr Shaw says.
“Endorsing this Bonn Communique recognises the important role that New Zealand plays internationally looking for ways to tackle agricultural climate pollution.
“We’ve known for a long time that tackling agricultural climate pollution and other sources of air pollution are critical to addressing climate change and ensuring we leave a stable climate for future generations.
“The Green Party’s confidence and supply agreement with Labour commits to significant reductions in waste to landfill by 2020, and this Bonn Communique recognises how important work to reduce waste emissions is.
“Auckland City has committed to a very ambitious target of zero waste by 2040. The new Government is proud of the leadership Auckland is showing. We support that goal, both at home and on the world stage,” Mr Shaw says.
16 Nov 2017 - Foreign Minister’s APEC and EAS visit. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister the Rt Hon Winston Peters returns to New Zealand overnight following a visit to Viet Nam and the Philippines where he attended the APEC Meetings in Da Nang, and the East Asia Summit in Manila. “My first visit to these two major regional summits as Foreign Minister provided a valuable opportunity to be reacquainted with counterparts who I have previously met, and to have introductory meetings with Foreign Ministers from a significant number of countries where New Zealand has strong economic and strategic interests”, Mr Peters said.
Across both summits, Mr Peters had formal meetings with the Foreign Ministers of eleven countries, including Australia, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic, Papua New Guinea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Viet Nam, and the United States.
Additionally, Mr Peters met informally with Foreign Ministers from a range of other countries, including Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Indonesia and Malaysia. Mr Peters also accompanied the Prime Minister the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern to meetings with her counterparts.
“The visit allowed me to participate in discussions on the big issues facing the Asia‑Pacific region, including the threat posed by North Korea’s actions, the territorial disputes in the South China Sea, the challenge of countering terrorism in South East Asia, and the conflict and resulting humanitarian crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State”, Mr Peters said.
Mr Peters also launched a new phase of New Zealand Official Development Assistance supporting the development of Viet Nam’s dragon fruit industry. In the Philippines, the Minister also announced a new phase of New Zealand assistance to support agriculture‑based livelihoods and agribusiness in Mindanao.
Mr Peters also confirmed the appointment of New Zealand Honorary‑Consuls to Davao and Cebu, further strengthening New Zealand’s relationship with the Philippines.
14 Nov 2017 - The revelation that Winston Peters filed court proceedings against Bill English and Paula Bennett at 4:59pm on the eve of the election makes a farce of his coalition negotiations with National. The decision was made as soon as the special votes gave Lab-Gre-NZF a comfortable three vote margin. Free Press (almost) feels sorry for all those who voted for and even made large donations (when will they be declared?) to New Zealand First but ended up with the former President of the International Union of Socialist Youth for a Prime Minister backed by a clean sweep of seven Maori seats.
For the first time, but very unlikely the last, in this term of Parliament, ACT voted against the whole House. When National abandoned the taxpayer and voted with the Green Party, Labour, and New Zealand First, ACT stood alone against New Zealand’s already excessive entitlement culture being further expanded.
What was the Bill?
National voted to expand (taxpayer) Paid Parental Leave to 26 weeks. Labour lied in the process saying the OECD average is 38 weeks (actually 17.7), but most countries have terrible policy we’d be looking over the shoulder of the dumbest guy in class anyway. Continually expanding entitlements has been the road to ruin since at least Roman times, here we are again.
Free Lunches All ‘Round
Paid Parental Leave is just part of Labour’s ‘Great Loosening.’ By abolishing Three Strikes, Andrew Little has told 2,500 of the country’s most violent criminals who have strike offences ‘have one on me.’ Even people who never supported Three Strikes think that’s nuts. Then there’s the first year free for students, but this weekend saw a new loosening from Carmel Sepuloni.
Ms Sepuloni now says that the Government won’t dock the welfare payments of beneficiaries who refuse to name the child’s other parent. This opens the taxpayer up to two kinds of behavior and we don’t know which one is worse: Deadbeat Dads get off Scott-free (who else is going to name them?). Meanwhile fraudsters get to claim maximum benefits while receiving under-the-table child support.
This Government is so hard left that we are starting to miss the Clark/Key era. Lindsay Mitchell helpfully points out this 2004 exchange between ACT’s Heather Roy and then Labour welfare Minister Steve Maharey: Roy: “When will he admit that this is just a rort so that fathers can dodge child support, and why should taxpayers always have to pick up the bill?” Maharey: “It is a rort, and I have said time and time again in this Parliament that fathers must front up to their obligations, and we will make sure they do, as much as we can.” Today’s Labour caucus would expel Maharey for saying such things.
It is not unkind to say Jacinda Ardern did nothing in her first nine years in parliament but it is inaccurate. While she never passed a valuable Private Members Bill, uncovered a major scandal or appeared to do much of anything in nine years, she worked hard on herself and her image.
Off to the Spin Doctor
Free Press has been approached by people astonished to see her reading papers at the airport that weren’t about the country’s future but hers. They appeared to be studies of herself through the eyes of the media. We’d be a lot better off right now if she’d read a bit about international relations.
Secure the Borders
You can’t win power in Australian politics without securing the borders. No Australian politician can give in to Ardern’s posturing on refugees without paying a heavy political price at home. Australian politicians know that giving into Ardern’s offer to take Australian refugees will do two things: One, encourage more to come in the hope they’ll be let into New Zealand and, Two, give the Manus Island detainees entry to Australia with New Zealand passports. They won’t back down because they can’t.
Not Actually Humane
If Ardern wants to help refugees she should adopt ACT’s Canada-inspired policy of allowing community groups to sponsor extra refugees above and beyond the taxpayer funded quota –if they pick up the bill. The Canadians find that private refugee programs perform better than Government ones (Free Press readers won’t be surprised). Her current alternative is just encouraging people to take dangerous boat journeys (and needlessly irritating our most important ally).
The National Party has leapt to the defence of Partnership Schools. The help is welcome as the Schools are the best thing that the previous Government did. In fact, they form the only policy that an incoming ‘left wing’ Government can’t easily stomach. If David Seymour ever feels important enough to write political memoirs we’ll all know how extraordinary this turn of events is.
14 Nov 2017 - The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand maintains its strong opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). “The Green Party has long opposed the TPPA. The new proposed deal, which came out of the weekend’s talks, still contains key ISDS concessions to corporations that put our democracy at risk, so our position remains the same,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman.
“We support fair trade that brings real benefit to all New Zealanders – not trade deals that put our rights and our Government’s ability to legislate to protect our people and our environment at risk.
“ISDS mechanisms are a particular threat to environmental protections, with 85% of ISDS cases being brought by corporations focused on exploiting the environment and natural resources.
“The Green Party will be seeking to introduce new measures that require all trade agreements in the future to be part of the solution to climate change, global and local inequality and the protection of human rights.
“Standing in opposition to the TPPA does not make a difference to our relationship with Labour. Indeed it is a sign of the strength of that relationship that we can respectfully disagree on an important issue like the TPPA but still get on with the business of government.
“We made it clear to Labour in negotiations that we cannot support the TPPA, and they understand our policy difference.
“We will continue to use our position in Government to fight for better trade agreements that protect the interests of people and the planet, not just corporations,” said Ms Ghahraman.
12 Nov 2017 - Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker has welcomed the 11-member Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) which incorporates the TPP. A Ministerial Statement has been issued today by all eleven Ministers in Da Nang, Viet Nam, which confirms the core elements of the deal are now agreed, with just four issues requiring further technical work and discussion.
"My Ministerial counterparts and I also agreed this week to suspend a number of the most controversial parts of the of the original TPP in the new Agreement,” says Minister Parker.
“At the same time, there will be no change to the goods market access outcomes contained in the original TPP.
“This is a now an improved deal for New Zealand.
“The overall outcome satisfies the five conditions that the Labour-led Government laid out for a revised TPP:
• It achieves meaningful gains in market access for farmers and supports the more than 620,000 New Zealanders whose jobs depend on exports. The CPTPP will also provide New Zealand for the first time with preferential market access into Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, as well as Canada, Mexico and Peru;
• It upholds the unique status of the Treaty of Waitangi;
• It preserves New Zealand’s right to regulate in the public interest. We have also retained the reciprocal agreement with Australia, which is the source of 80 per cent of our overseas investment from this new grouping, that ISDS clauses will not apply between our countries. We continue to seek similar agreements with the other countries in this new Agreement. In addition, the scope to make ISDS claims has also been narrowed;
• The Pharmac model continues to be protected. Further improvements now achieved include suspension of patent extensions which could have increased the cost of medicine to the government; and
• The ability to control the sale of New Zealand homes is being preserved by separate legislation in New Zealand.
“New Zealand will now be focused on working together with our partner countries toward signature, including on the four specific items to be finalised by the date of signature of the new Agreement.
“I expect negotiators will need to meet again in the next few months to take this forward.
“In the meantime, I want New Zealanders to have the opportunity to understand what has been agreed and what it means for them, their families and their country, before anything is signed or ratified.
“Like all free trade agreements, the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee will scrutinise the CPTPP and Parliament will consider the necessary legislative changes needed to give effect to the agreement.”
The CPTPP was negotiated between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Viet Nam, and New Zealand.
The four remaining specific items to be finalised by the date of signature are included at the end of the list of suspended provisions. Beehive.govt.nz
12 Nov 2017 - The Government has outlined its priorities across digital technology, media and open government signalling that the establishment of a Chief Technology Officer is at the top of the list. Delivering the keynote speech at NetHui 2017, the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and Government Digital Services and the Associate Minister of State Services (Open Government), Clare Curran, said that the Chief Technology Officer would be responsible for preparing and overseeing a national digital architecture, or roadmap, for the next five to ten years.
Ms Curran also said that the Government would begin work on a blueprint for digital inclusion to address the emerging digital divide, establish RNZ+ as the centrepiece of a full non-commercial public media service for all New Zealanders, institute a process for the proactive release of government information and create a framework for strengthening citizens’ rights in the digital environment.
“This Government will be modern, future-focused and innovative. We will also work collaboratively with industry, non-government organisations and communities.”
Further, Ms Curran said she would convene reference groups in her key portfolio areas and task them with pulling together leading thinkers and actors in each area, from inside government and across industry, local government, Māoridom, non-government organisations and community groups to ensure that the best thinking is applied to realising Government policy.
“This Government intends to progress its goals to close the digital divide by 2020, and to make ICT the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025.”
“New Zealanders rightly expect that their government should behave in a predictable, open and transparent way and ensure that nobody is left behind. The internet and digital tools are fundamental to us achieving these goals,” Ms Curran said.
10 Nov 2017 - Minister for Trade and Export Growth, David Parker, today welcomed the World Trade Organisation (WTO) decision to uphold New Zealand’s case against agricultural trade barriers imposed by Indonesia. On 9 November, the WTO's Appellate Body confirmed that a number of Indonesian agricultural trade barriers are inconsistent with global trade rules. The decision upholds key findings of a WTO dispute settlement Panel, which in December last year ruled in New Zealand's favour and was subsequently appealed by Indonesia.
New Zealand and the US initiated the case in 2013 in response to a range of next-generation agricultural “non-tariff” barriers applied by Indonesia to imports since 2011. They include import prohibitions, behind-the-border use and sale restrictions on imports, restrictive import licensing, and a domestic purchase condition.
This WTO case illustrates the value that New Zealand, as a small country, gains from international trade rules. Mike Moore, when Director-General of the WTO, described its dispute settlement system as “the jewel in its crown”. The last WTO case that New Zealand brought to the WTO challenged an Australian ban on our apples, which we initiated in 2007.
“These barriers affect opportunities for many New Zealand agricultural exporters, including producers of onions, apples and beef,” Mr Parker says.
“The restrictions are commercially significant for those exporters, and are estimated to have now cost the New Zealand beef sector close to a billion dollars of lost exports into an important market.”
“This decision from the WTO's highest dispute settlement body is an important result for our agricultural exporters and should pave the way to grow New Zealand exports to the Indonesian market.”
In 2010, prior to the introduction of the challenged restrictions, Indonesia was New Zealand's second-largest beef export market by volume, worth $180 million a year. That trade subsequently plummeted by 85 percent. This case aims to secure more open and predictable access into Indonesia for a range of our exports.
"New Zealand has a strong and mutually beneficial relationship with Indonesia, and this trade disagreement is only a small part of that broader bilateral relationship.
“Indonesia’s approach to these WTO hearings has been exemplary. The tone has been collegial and constructive. In the proceedings Indonesia also underlined the longstanding and mutually respectful relationship that Indonesia enjoys with New Zealand and a desire to strengthen this important relationship.
“I look forward to working with my Indonesian counterpart over the coming months to finalise resolution of this long-standing trade issue,” says Mr Parker.
10 Nov 2017 - Foreign Minister Winston Peters says Japan’s decision to continue whaling in the Southern Ocean is out of step with international opinion and defies scientific advice. Japan’s Institute of Cetacean Research announced on 9 November that the Japanese whaling fleet had departed Japan for the Southern Ocean.
“While the world calls for greater protection of the ocean’s ecosystems, Japan’s whaling vessels will be heading to the Antarctic to hunt over 300 minke whales.
“New Zealand has long been opposed to whaling and has repeatedly urged Japan to end its whaling programmes,” Mr Peters says.
“Japan’s decision to conduct whaling in the Southern Ocean flies in the face of the clear recommendations of the International Whaling Commission, its Scientific Committee and its expert panels.”
“Put simply, Japan can achieve its stated research objectives without killing whales. This is an outdated practice and needs to stop,” Mr Peters says.