Week That Was: Tightening our gun laws

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

Kia ora and welcome back to our weekly wrap of all things Beehive and beyond.

This week we saw:

  • The Arms Amendment Bill pass its first reading;
  • The Prime Minister visit China for bilateral talks;
  • The Prime Minister speak at the Te Hono Volume to Value forum in Hamilton;
  • And more…

The Government continued to carry forward the spirit of unity and community that New Zealand has shown since the March 15 terror attack, moving quickly to get military style weapons out of our communities.

The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill passed its First Reading, and the views of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders were heard at Select Committee.

The principle of this legislation is very straightforward. There is overwhelming consensus on the principle of the legislation, which is to permanently ban military style assault weapons and rifles. The Government is moving quickly to remove these unwanted weapons.

The groups at the Select Committee spoke on behalf of tens of thousands of farmers, hunters, recreational users, gun dealers, gun clubs, as well as representatives of the city of Christchurch, the Islamic community and legal and medical experts.

On Monday, the Prime Minister was in Beijing, China to meet with President Xi and Premier Li. Jacinda Ardern said that the terror attack in Christchurch highlighted why our global relationships matter so much. The trip was a success, with leaders discussing how to further strengthen the trade relationship between our countries.

A raft of key policies also came into effect on 1 April, including a tax incentive for NZ businesses investing in Research & Development, an increase to the minimum wage, and an increase to the Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension – read more here.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister joined primary sector leaders, as well as fellow MPs Nanaia Mahuta, Damien O’Connor and Jamie Strange, at the Te Hono Volume to Value Forum in Hamilton. It was a great opportunity to talk about growing the value of our primary exports, and how the Government can help drive sustainable growth in the farming sector.

In her speech, Jacinda Ardern talked about how New Zealand can be an example to the world, in producing high quality, ethical products, and of the value of kaitiakitanga – stewardship of the environment.

And on Friday the Prime Minister announced the selection of the Erebus Memorial Design. The design Te Paerangi Ataata – Sky Song, by Wellington firm Studio Pacific Architecture, artist Jason O’Hara and musician Warren Maxwell, has been selected. This project reflects the enormity of a tragedy that disrupted our sense of identity and security. It is a way for New Zealanders to honour the loss of 257 lives in the 1979 air accident in Antarctica.

This week the Government also focused on the response to the recent West Coast flooding. Many agencies and volunteers are engaged in the clean-up of the Fox River bed. The river has been successfully diverted from the landfill to make sure rubbish keeps clear of our rivers.


First reading: Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines and Parts) Amendment Bill

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

Mr Speaker, as we meet today New Zealand is under a terror threat level of HIGH.

As we meet today, Police are routinely carrying firearms, Bushmaster rifles and Glock pistols, in a significant departure from normal practice.

As we meet today, mosques around the country require heightened security measures and a visible Police presence to ensure safety of worshippers.

As we meet today, the largest criminal investigation in New Zealand history is underway.

Dozens of specialist Police investigators, supported by Australian Federal and State Police, are following up concerns about a number of high risk individuals.

As we meet today, a number of people are before the courts for trying to promote hateful publications and videos of death; for unlawfully possessing weapons; for making threats against our citizens, and, for murder.

Mr Speaker, as we meet today we are driven by one objective.

We are driven by the need to ensure public safety is as strong as it can be.

We are also driven by the memory of fifty men, women and children who were taken from their loved ones on 15 March.

Their memory is our responsibility.

We don’t ever want to see an attack like this in our country again.

We are compelled to act quickly.

The Prime Minister announced the morning after the attacks that gun laws must change.

That now falls to us as individual MPs, and to the whole Parliament.

I am grateful for the support of colleagues across the Chamber.

The attacks in Christchurch exposed the considerable weaknesses in our current firearms law.

The most critical weakness in our firearms law is that too many people have legal access to too many semi-automatic firearms capable of causing significant harm. 

The current Act is not fit for purpose

The current Arms Act has a legal definition for military style semi-automatics or MSSAs that is easily circumvented and is difficult in practice to apply.

There are 7,500 firearms licence holders who between them possess approximately 14,000 MSSA firearms. 

Many more have semi-automatic firearms in a so-called sporting configuration and are easily converted to a MSSA.

Far too many people in this country have access to these dangerous firearms for no legitimate purpose, but at significant risk to the public.

However, more broadly than this, too many people have legal access to the parts and magazines that, in a single change, can easily convert a semi-automatic firearm into a lethal MSSA, which then has the capacity kill many people very quickly.

So today, we are debating legislation that will substantively tighten the current open and easy access to semi-automatic firearms, to make our country a safer place.

Our current firearms legislation came into force 35 years ago.

It dates from the 1980s, a time when New Zealand was more isolated from the rest of the world.

There were strong import controls and no internet market place or social media.

Since this time, firearms technology has shifted, the weapons market has become global and there is a significant online community and trading environment.

To bring the firearms legislation more up to date and substantially reduce loopholes and risk, major change is needed.

This Bill takes the first steps to modernise the Act.

Banning of assault rifles and MSSAs

It will restrict access to the number of assault rifles and MSSAs, associated parts, and large capacity magazines in New Zealand.

We want to remove firearms that are capable of causing the death and devastation we witnessed on 15 March.

We are also banning parts of a prohibited firearm, or any part that can enable a weapon to be fired as a semi-automatic or fully automatic firearm.

There are legitimate uses for firearms

It is important to reiterate the legislation is not directed at law-abiding firearms owners who have legitimate uses for their guns.

Our actions are instead directed at making sure March 15 never happens again.

Semi-automatic firearms which are commonly used for hunting, pest control, stock management on farms, and duck shooting will not be affected.

People can still use .22 calibre rifle with a maximum 10-round magazine, and semi-automatic and pump-action shotgun with a maximum 5-round magazine.

These firearms are widely and safely used amongst our farming and hunting communities.

Indeed today the Game Animal Council has confirmed that recreational and commercial hunting of large game animals, such as deer, pig, tahr and chamois, will be largely unaffected.

There will be a small number of tightly controlled exemptions for professional animal cullers and licensed firearms dealers.

Those groups or individuals identified as “management agencies” in section 100 of the Biosecurity Act, can apply to the Commissioner of Police for a permit to possess a prohibited firearm. 

This will include the sort of pest control work undertaken by contractors for the Department of Conservation or a local council.

Those applying will need to demonstrate they will only use the firearm for that purpose stated, and must demonstrate that they cannot do the work with any other firearm.

I know already that Federated Farmers and professional animal control groups would like to ensure that applies to pest control on private land too, and the Select Committee will take advice on that.

While these types of semi-automatics do not present the same level of risk to the public as MSSAs, nevertheless they can cause harm.

We have already signalled that we will be doing further work on strengthening the Arms Act in a future Amendment Bill, including the criteria around who can get a firearms licence.

The Bill also proposes an exemption for bona fide collectors, including Museums, and for film and theatre companies.

They must take steps to disable the weapon and follow other guidelines around security and safety, including storage.

Mr Speaker, the exemptions I have described come with considerable checks and balances around them.

Owning a firearm is a privilege, not a right.

We need to remove the most dangerous weapons from our community.

New offences

The Bill proposes the introduction of a number of new offences.

This includes possessing, using, presenting, supplying, selling, manufacturing and assembling a banned firearm.

The offences attract penalties ranging from up to 3 years imprisonment to 10 years imprisonment, depending on the nature and seriousness of the offence. 

We know this law change will have an impact on law-abiding firearms licence holders.

That’s why we have confirmed details of the amnesty, and are working on fair and reasonable compensation through a buyback scheme.


There are good people in all of our communities who will find themselves in possession of banned firearms, parts and magazines.

This is because we are changing the law, not because these people have done anything wrong.

Given this, the Government is putting an amnesty in place.

This will allow people to let the Police know if they are in possession of newly banned firearm, part or magazine.

The Amnesty also means any other firearm, magazine, parts and ammunition not affected by the ban can also be handed over.

Police are already working with the NZ Defence Force around storage, transport and safe destruction of these weapons.

The Government recognises that people have invested money in these firearms.

Running alongside the amnesty, the Government will implement a buyback scheme for the newly banned firearms which are surrendered.

The Government is currently working on the details of the buy-back scheme and will make announcements shortly.

The underlying principle is that fair and reasonable compensation will be paid.

It will take into account the age and type of weapon, and the market value. It is estimated it will cost between $100 million and $200 million.

This range is wide because we do not have an accurate picture of how many of these weapons are out there.

We recognise it is a substantial amount of money but we are committed to doing this.

We will find the money to do this because it’s about making New Zealanders safe.

We will remove these guns from our communities

The Government is taking action

Mr Speaker, the primary duty of Government is to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its citizens; and to allow them the ability to go about their lives free from harm and free from the fear of harm.

The select committee process will be used to ensure we have got the balance right between legitimate use of firearms, and tightening gun laws to improve the safety and security of all New Zealanders.

Just before I close I also want to pay tribute to the brave, compassionate and dedicated women and men of the New Zealand Police service.

Over the past few weeks they have shown why we have one of the best Police services in the world.

Our thoughts remain with our Muslim communities and the people of Christchurch.

We are doing this for them. We are doing this for our future generations.

It is our responsibility.


1 April: A day of delivery

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

We want businesses to innovate and grow. We want workers to get paid fairly for a fair day’s work. And we want older New Zealanders to be supported into their retirement.

So – we’re making all of that happen.

From 1 April, New Zealanders will see a number of key policies come into effect. Let’s take a closer look at just three…

We’re encouraging businesses to invest in research and development – because we want to reach our Government’s target of raising total R&D expenditure to 2 per cent of GDP by 2027. 

This is the largest ever investment in research and development (over $1 billion in Budget 2018).

We want to incentivise work that results in new knowledge, new or improved processes, services or goods. This is where the spill over benefits to New Zealand are most likely to happen.

The scheme aims to incentivise product or service development in all fields, where this involves trying to create something new and where the process involves resolving uncertainty about what science or technology can do.

This scheme will help to ensure that we have an economy fit for the 21st century, and that we have more high-paying jobs in New Zealand. 

Up to 209,200 New Zealanders will benefit from a pay boost this Monday 1 April, thanks to the Coalition Government’s decision to raise the minimum wage to $17.70. 

This will make a real difference to low-income workers. Our lowest paid workers will be receiving a boost to their incomes, as the minimum wage increases by $1.20 an hour. On a 40-hour work week, this means an extra $48 a week before tax. 

Results of the 2017/18 Stats NZ’s Household Economic Survey showed that a third of people said their current household income was either not enough or only just enough to meet their everyday needs.

“Lifting the incomes of Kiwi workers will contribute to improved living standards and reduce poverty. Our Government has committed to increasing the minimum wage to $20 by 2021,” says Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

The starting-out and training wage rates also increase this Monday to $14.16 per hour, in order to remain at 80 per cent of the adult minimum wage.

To provide businesses and workers with greater certainty, the Government has indicated minimum wage rates of $18.90 to come into effect on 1 April 2020 and $20 to come into effect on 1 April 2021. These indicative rates are subject to each year’s annual review, in accordance with the statutory process, which will take into account the economic conditions at the time.

Rates of New Zealand Superannuation and Veterans Pension will increase by 2.6 percent from 1 April 2019.

This increase reflects the Government’s commitment to maintain the net weekly amount paid to a superannuitant couple at no less than 66 percent of the net average weekly wage.

1 April will also see a number of other initiatives come into effect, all of which will deliver greater support for business, workers, and families. 

  • Saving businesses and customers $100 million over the next two years by dropping ACC levies on average from 72 cents to 67 cents per $100 of liable earnings.
  • Helping Kiwis to plan for their retirement by adding new KiwiSaver contribution rates of 6% and 10%, and allowing more workers access to KiwiSaver by allowing those aged over 65 to sign up.
  • Justice Under-Secretary Jan Logie’s Bill providing greater support for domestic violence victims comes into force, with the new right to 10 days’ domestic violence leave and flexible working conditions taking effect.

We want to grow the economy and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders. 1 April continues the delivery of our plan to build a modern New Zealand that is sustainable, productive, inclusive, and fair for everyone. 


New Zealand remembers the 50 victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

Today marks two weeks since the terrorist attack on two Christchurch mosques that took 50 lives, and changed many more forever. 

This week, we are looking back at the commemorations and discussions that have bought New Zealanders together.

Thousands participated in memorial services around the country.

If you need to speak to someone, or if you are feeling distressed, you can call or text 1737. There are extra staff available. That number is available to everyone.

Since the attack

The past two weeks have seen an outpouring of grief from the wider New Zealand community, as well as support and love for our Muslim community.

Vigils have been held up and down the country, promoting peace, love, and togetherness in the face of terror and hatred.

Nowhere has this been more visible than in the city where the attack took place, where flowers and messages of support and sadness cover the sidewalks.

Memorial Services

Our Prime Minister joined many other public officials, including Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel, at the official remembrance service, Ko Tātou, Tātou We Are One, in Hagley Park, Christchurch on Friday. You can read the Prime Minister’s full speech to the Christchurch National Memorial Service here.

Credit: Mark Tantrum / Christchurch City Council

The service saw key representatives from the Muslim community take the stage, including the Imam of the Linwood Mosque. 

International singer-songwriter Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens was among the artists who performed at the service. 

Credit: Mark Tantrum / Christchurch City Council

Our Government’s response

Last week, six days after the terrorist attack, the Prime Minister announced a ban on military style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles. We are banning every type of semi-automatic weapon the terrorist used.

There will be a Royal Commission of Inquiry into Christchurch which will deliver recommendations to Government on what could have or should have been done to prevent the terrorist attack.

We are taking on the technology and social media companies whose platforms were used to publicise and prepare for the attack.

Listening to New Zealanders over the last week, those who use guns for legitimate purposes, and those who have never even touched one, it is clear to the Government that the easy availability of these weapons must end.

When legislation is introduced, all New Zealanders will have a chance to provide formal feedback as part of the parliamentary process – we encourage you to do that. You can keep up to date on this legislation here.

If you need to speak to someone, or if you are feeling distressed, you can call or text 1737. There are extra staff available. That number is available to everyone.


PM Statement on Christchurch

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

Peace be upon you. And peace be upon all of us.  

Post by jacindaardern.

Mr Speaker the 15th of March will now forever be a day etched in our collective memories. On a quiet Friday afternoon a man stormed into a place of peaceful worship and took away the lives of 50 people. 

That quiet Friday afternoon has become our darkest of days. 

But for the families, it was more than that. It was the day that the simple act of prayer – of practising their Muslim faith and religion – led to the loss of their loved ones lives.

Those loved ones, were brothers, daughters, fathers and children.

They were New Zealanders. They are us. 

And because they are us, we, as a nation, we mourn them.

We feel a huge duty of care to them. And Mr Speaker, we have so much we feel the need to say and to do.

One of the roles I never anticipated having, and hoped never to have, is to voice the grief of a nation.

At this time, it has been second only to securing the care of those affected, and the safety of everyone.

And in this role, I wanted to speak directly to the families. We cannot know your grief, but we can walk with you at every stage. We can. And we will, surround you with aroha, manaakitanga and all that makes us, us. Our hearts are heavy but our spirit is strong.

Mr Speaker, 6 minutes after a 111 call was placed alerting the police to the shootings at Al-Noor mosque, police were on the scene.

The arrest itself was nothing short of an act of bravery. Two country police officers rammed the vehicle from which the offender was still shooting. They pulled open his car door, when there were explosives inside, and pulled him out.

I know we all wish to acknowledge that their acts put the safety of New Zealanders above their own, and we thank them.

But they were not the only ones who showed extraordinary courage.

Naeem Rashid, originally from Pakistan, died after rushing at the terrorist and trying to wrestle the gun from him. He lost his life trying to save those who were worshipping alongside him.

Abdul Aziz, originally from Afghanistan, confronted and faced down the armed terrorist after grabbing the nearest thing to hand – a simple eftpos machine. He risked his life and no doubt saved many with his selfless bravery.

There will be countless stories, some of which we may never know, but to each, we acknowledge you in this place, in this House.

For many of us the first sign of the scale of this terrorist attack was the images of ambulance staff transporting victims to Christchurch hospital.

To the first responders, the ambulance staff and the health professionals who have assisted – and who continue to assist those who have been injured.

Please accept the heartfelt thanks of us all. I saw first-hand your care and your professionalism in the face of extraordinary challenges. We are proud of your work, and incredibly grateful for it.

Mr Speaker, if you’ll allow, I’d like to talk about some of the immediate measures currently in place especially to ensure the safety of our Muslim community, and more broadly the safety of everyone.

As a nation, we do remain on high alert. While there isn’t a specific threat at present, we are maintaining vigilance.

Unfortunately, we have seen in countries that know the horrors of terrorism more than us, there is a pattern of increased tension and actions over the weeks that follow that means we do need to ensure that vigilance is maintained.

There is an additional and ongoing security presence in Christchurch, and as the police have indicated, there will continue to be a police presence at mosques around the country while their doors are open. When they are closed, police will be in the vicinity.

There is a huge focus on ensuring the needs of families are met. That has to be our priority. A community welfare centre has been set up near the hospital in Christchurch to make sure people know how to access support. 

Visas for family members overseas are being prioritised so that they can attend funerals. Funeral costs are covered, and we have moved quickly to ensure that this includes repatriation costs for any family members who would like to move their loved ones away from New Zealand.

We are working to provide mental health and social support. The 1737 number yesterday received roughly 600 texts or phonecalls. They are on average lasting around 40 minutes, and I encourage anyone in need to reach out and use these services. They are there for you.

Our language service has also provided support from more than 5000 contacts, ensuring whether you are ACC or MSD, you are able to pass on the support that is needed, in the language that is needed.  To all those working within this service, we say thank you.

Our security and intelligence services are receiving a range of additional information. As has been the case in the past, these are being taken extremely seriously, and they are being followed up.

I know though Mr Speaker, that there have rightly been questions around how this could have happened here. In a place that prides itself on being open, peaceful, diverse.

And there is anger that it has happened here.

There are many questions that need to be answered, and the assurance that I give you is that they will be.

Yesterday Cabinet agreed that an inquiry, one that looks into the events that led up to the attack on 15 March, will occur. We will examine what we did know, could have known, or should have known. We cannot allow this to happen again.

Part of ensuring the safety of New Zealanders must include a frank examination of our gun laws.

As I have already said Mr Speaker, our gun laws will change. Cabinet met yesterday and made in-principle decisions, 72 hours after the attack.

Before we meet again next Monday, these decisions will be announced.

Mr Speaker, there is one person at the centre of this act of terror against our Muslim community in New Zealand. 

A 28-year-old man – an Australian citizen – has been charged with one count of murder. Other charges will follow. He will face the full force of the law in New Zealand. The families of the fallen will have justice.

He sought many things from his act of terror, but one was notoriety. 

And that is why you will never hear me mention his name.

He is a terrorist. He is a criminal. He is an extremist.

But he will, when I speak, be nameless. 

And to others I implore you: speak the names of those who were lost, rather than name of the man who took them.

He may have sought notoriety, but we in New Zealand will give him nothing. Not even his name.

Mr Speaker, we will also look at the role social media played and what steps we can take, including on the international stage, and in unison with our partners. 

There is no question that ideas and language of division and hate have existed for decades, but their form of distribution, the tools of organisation, they are new.

We cannot simply sit back and accept that these platforms just exist and that what is said on them is not the responsibility of the place where they are published. They are the publisher. Not just the postman. There cannot be a case of all profit no responsibility. This of course doesn’t take away the responsibility we too must show as a nation, to confront racism, violence and extremism. I don’t have all of the answers now, but we must collectively find them.  And we must act.

Mr Speaker, we are deeply grateful for all messages of sympathy, support and solidarity that we are receiving from our friends all around the world.  And we are grateful to the global Muslim community who have stood with us, and we stand with them.

Mr Speaker, I acknowledge that we too also stand with Christchurch, in a devastating blow that this has been to their recovery. I acknowledge every member of this House that has stood alongside their Muslim community but especially those in Canterbury as we acknowledge this double grief

As I conclude I acknowledge there are many stories that will have struck all of us since the 15th of March.

One I wish to mention, is that of Hati Mohemmed Daoud Nabi.

He was the 71-year-old man who opened the door at the Al-Noor mosque and uttered the words ‘Hello brother, welcome’. His final words.

Of course he had no idea of the hate that sat behind the door, but his welcome tells us so much – that he was a member of a faith that welcomed all its members, that showed openness, and care.

I have said many times Mr Speaker, we are a nation of 200 ethnicities, 160 languages. We open our doors to others and say welcome. And the only thing that must change after the events of Friday, is that this same door must close on all of those who espouse hate and fear.

Yes the person who committed these acts was not from here. He was not raised here. He did not find his ideology here, but that is not to say that those very same views do not live here.

I know that as a nation, we wish to provide every comfort we can to our Muslim community in this darkest of times. And we are. The mountain of flowers around the country that lie at the doors of mosques, the spontaneous song outside the gates. These are ways of expressing an outpouring of love and empathy. But we wish to do more.
We wish for every member of our communities to also feel safe.

Safety means being free from the fear of violence.

But it also means being free from the fear of those sentiments of racism and hate, that create a place where violence can flourish.

And every single one of us has the power to change that.

Mr Speaker on Friday it will be a week since the attack.

Members of the Muslim community will gather for worship on that day.

Let us acknowledge their grief as they do.

Let’s support them as they gather again for worship.

We are one, they are us.

Tatau tatau

Al salam Alaikum

Weh Rahmat Allah

Weh Barakaatuh


Live chat on climate

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

On Wednesday 14 March, the Prime Minister joined Minister for Climate Change James Shaw and a number of representatives for the School Strike 4 Climate group, to talk about what we’re doing as a Government, and as a country, to help tackle climate change. This chat was held during lunchtime hours at Wellington College, and livestreamed to an audience of thousands across the country.

The Live Chat for Climate talk was our response to the nationwide movement School Strike for Climate, which took place on Friday 15th. This movement saw school students aged 8-18 from cities and towns across New Zealand boycotting school in a strike for urgent action on climate change. 

We take the views of our young people seriously. We want to acknowledge their concerns, and start a genuine and meaningful conversation between our political leaders and the future generation of New Zealand.

That’s why we let young people lead the dialogue during our Live Chat event. The talk was hosted by Jesse Richardson, a student from Wellington College, and led by questions posed by School Strike for Climate leaders Sophie Handford and Molly Doyle. The panel also took questions from the live audience, and from the livestream, which saw hundreds of questions submitted. 

Like these students, the Government is focused on taking action to address climate change.

We’re committed to provide lasting solutions to the long-term challenges facing New Zealand, including climate change.

The Government has an ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 and has already started taking action to get there:

  • We’ve stopped permitting of new offshore oil and gas exploration
  • We’re planting 1 billion trees
  • We’re setting up a $100 million green infrastructure fund to back clean energy projects

Climate change is a global problem that transcends our national borders and is why we are also working with international partners to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies.

The PM has said that climate change is her generation’s nuclear free moment and the passion students are showing is reminiscent of that movement, which is a proud part of our national identity.

We want New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child and this means delivering a healthy and sustainable place for our kids to live.

Want to know more? You can read about some of the things we’re doing for our environment here.


Week That Was: Action on climate and secondary tax

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

It’s been a big week for us! Some of the things we’ve been involved with include:

  • A livestreamed chat on climate action between the Prime Minister, Minister for Climate Change, and representatives of the School Strike 4 Climate Movement
  • An end to unnecessary secondary tax
  • A date announced for Pike River Mine drift re-entry
  • Support for farmers post-Tasman drought extended 
  • A boost to Whangarei’s tourism through the Provincial Growth Fund
  • and more…

At the top of our agenda for the week was addressing our young people’s call for action on climate change. We wanted to show that we are taking these concerns seriously, and that climate change is a top priority for our Government. 

That’s why, on Wednesday 13th this week, we held a round-table at Wellington College, attended by our Prime Minister, Minister for Climate Change James Shaw, and representatives of the School Strike 4 Climate Movement. The Live Chat for Climate was livestreamed to thousands of viewers around the country – and the world – who participated in the discussion by posing questions through a live chat, fed back to our panelists in real-time. 

The chat was a chance to acknowledge the urgency around climate change, and address all the things our Government is currently doing.

Like these students, the Government is focused on taking action to address climate change. 

We’re committed to provide lasting solutions to the long-term challenges facing New Zealand, including climate change.

The Government has an ambitious goal of being carbon neutral by 2050 and has already started taking action to get there:

  • We’ve stopped permitting of new offshore oil and gas exploration
  • We’re planting 1 billion trees
  • We’re setting up a $100 million green infrastructure fund to back clean energy projects

Want to know more? Read more here about our Live Chat for Climate, including a full video of the livestream. 

We know workers who are paying too much tax because of incorrect secondary tax codes. That’s why we passed a Bill this week eliminating unnecessary secondary tax for workers with more than one job. It was something we promised to do – and we are delivering on this promise. 

The changes mean Inland Revenue will more closely monitor the tax paid by wage and salary earners through the year. If it appears the worker is being over taxed, Inland Revenue will suggest a more suitable PAYE tax code tailored to that worker.

Until now the tax on the second job has often seemed too high. These changes ensure wage and salary earners are only paying the tax they should. Just under 600,000 secondary tax codes are used every year.

Inland Revenue will also make it easier for individuals to apply for tailored tax codes that suit their earning circumstances, and provide an online process to apply for the codes.

The legislation also enables automatic tax refunds for about 750,000 New Zealanders every year.

You can read more about the changes the legislation is making here.

We announced that, all things going to plan, our Pike Rive Re-entry Agency will be able to begin the re-entry and recovery operation by May 3rd this year.

We’re hopeful that work in the drift will enable the Agency and Police to thoroughly investigate what can be found there and find clues to what caused this dreadful tragedy.

“This is about looking for clues to what caused the explosion that killed 29 men on 19 November 2010. The recovery operation is led by the Agency and supported by Police, who will be on site managing forensic work from the start of the re-entry,” says Minister Responsible for Pike Rive Re-entry Andrew Little.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Communities Damien O’Connor announced this week that we are extending the drought classification of the Tasman drought to include Tasman’s neighbouring regions Marlborough and Buller. 

The initial funds have not been exhausted so there is still significant financial support available for those affected by drought in Nelson and Marlborough. As well as extending the drought classification, $30,000 has been allocated to West Coast Rural Support Trust for recovery support for the Buller region.

This will initiate some much needed support for these regions.

These funds will bolster recovery activities such as:

  • Local groups such as the Rural Support Trusts and industry organisations running information sessions, technical transfer activities, and other events to help support the rural communities.
  • One-to-one and group pastoral care and referrals from the Rural Support Trust.
  • Coordination of help, resources and information for recovery.

Other support available includes the Federated Farmers feedline. They have also put out extra requests to members to offer grazing in the area, given that water is a greater issue than feed.

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing over $2 million in two tourism initiatives which will further enhance Whangarei as a tourist destination and support the region’s economic growth, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis announced this week.

“The PGF will invest $1.3 million towards investigating the development of the Riverside Hotel and Entertainment Precinct. If the project goes ahead, it’s estimated that it will create upwards of 100 jobs and inject $7.75 million into the Whangarei economy each year.

“Funding of $750,000 will help build a full scale version of an operational rolling ball clock promoting Clapham’s National Clock Museum in Whangarei. A prototype built by local volunteers gained interest as a potential cultural and educational tourist attraction.

Finally, a group of our Ministers and MPs attended Pasifika celebrations on Friday – including Phil Twyford, Carmel Sepuloni, and Anahila Kanongataá-Suisuiki.


Membership: Australia and New Zealand Electronic Invoicing Board

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

The Governments of Australia and New Zealand have announced the membership of the Australia and New Zealand Electronic Invoicing Board (ANZEIB) today.

This is an important step towards implementing e-Invoicing across both countries to help businesses save time and money by allowing the direct exchange of invoices between suppliers’ and buyers’ financial systems.

The ANZEIB membership comprises:

  • Ramez Katf, Chief Information Officer at the Australian Taxation Office (Australian co-Chair)
  • Stewart McRobie, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Chief Financial Officer (New Zealand co-Chair)
  • Elizabeth Williamson, the Australian Treasury’s Division Head of the Consumer and Corporations Policy Division
  • Rina Bruinsma, the Australian Department of Finance’s First Assistant Secretary of the Public Sector Transformation Division
  • Paul Helm, the New Zealand Treasury Head of Government Finance Profession and Chief Government Accountant
  • Gary Baird, Chief Technology Officer, the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department
  • Deborah Shepherd, independent New Zealand industry representative
  • Rebecca Schot-Guppy, independent Australian industry representative

The extensive knowledge and industry experience of all ANZEIB members will help contribute to the continued success of e-Invoicing. The ANZEIB will meet for the first time today.

The successful collaboration between Australia and New Zealand to progress e-Invoicing as part of the Single Economic Market agenda was highlighted in the Productivity Commissions’ joint report ‘Growing the digital economy in Australia and New Zealand: Maximising opportunities for SMEs’.

Prime Ministers Scott Morrison and Jacinda Ardern announced the creation of the ANZEIB and the intention to adopt the Pan-European Public Procurement Online (PEPPOL) interoperability framework in 2019 in a joint statement in February.


Week That Was: Cracking down on scalpers and rustlers

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

Some of our best moments from this past week include:

  • Addressing ticket scalping
  • Cracking down on livestock rustling
  • Investing in forestry
  • International Women’s Day!

At the post-cabinet press conference at the start of the week, the Prime Minister was joined by Minister for Commerce and Consumer Affairs Kris Faafoi to announce the Government’s plans to stop ticket scalping. Ticket scalping is the practice of purchasing event tickets for the purposes of reselling them for a profit.

Post by NZLabourParty.

“We all know people who have bought tickets to the big concerts, sporting events and festivals who have not been able to attend because the tickets were fake or were duplicates” said the PM. 

“It’s not just big international events that are the issue – these practices also affect our local cultural sector…It’s fundamentally unfair that people are profiting while our arts and culture sector is short-changed and consumers are being scammed,” Jacinda Ardern said.

More information and how to make a submission is found here. Submissions close on 18 April.

Friday was International Women’s Day! For us, it was a time to celebrate all we have done for women since our year in Government, while looking to all we have yet to achieve in the future. We spoke to a number of our MP’s to see what our Government is doing for women in New Zealand that they’re most proud of.

Post by NZLabourParty.

Check out a short list of some of the things we’re most proud of here.

The Crimes Amendment Bill passed this week with new rules to crack down on livestock rustling. These rules support our farmers and rural communities by sending a clear message to rustlers who undermine people’s livelihoods and their right to be safe in their homes. 

Federated Farmers estimates the cost of theft of livestock to the farming community at over $120 million every year, and a survey indicates about a quarter of their members had stock stolen in the last 5 years,” said Minister of Justice Andrew Little.

We will not tolerate this practice – which is why we have finally classified livestock rustling as it should be – as two new offences in our criminal code.

Importantly, this means that Police and the Courts have the tools they need to put an end to the practice. 

The PM joined Forestry Minister Shane Jones in Christchurch this Thursday to present eight outstanding students with inaugural forestry scholarships at the University of Canterbury. Developing skills, capability, and leadership in New Zealand’s forestry industry is a major priority for our Coalition Government. These scholarships are the first step towards and exciting and rewarding career in the forestry industry for eight exceptional students. 

Lastly, to round off the week, our Prime Minister surprised 12-year-old Hawke’s Bay resident William Bush with two tickets to see his favourite band – Metallica. Bush launched a petition to bring Metallica to New Zealand on Change.org, receiving close to 7,000 signatures. 

In a letter the PM wrote to the young music enthusiast after hearing of his petition, she stated

“It’s great to hear about young New Zealanders who are passionate about music… I grew up listening to Metallica and I’m really impressed by all the effort you have put into getting them to play a show in New Zealand.”

Ms Ardern presented Bush with two tickets to the show ahead of their sale to the general public on March 18.


Celebrating women on International Women’s Day

Source: New Zealand Labour Party

Happy International Women’s Day! Check out a few things our Government has done to improve the lives of women in New Zealand. There’s still more to do – but today we recognise just how far we’ve come.

Post by NZLabourParty.
  • This Government introduced the Families Package including introducing Best Start payments: $60/week for all new-born babies for their first year.
  • We’ve extended Paid Parental Leave, which will be 26 weeks from July 2020.
  • We’ve significantly increased funding for family violence services – the first funding boost for frontline agencies in 10 years. This Government delivered a 30 per cent funding increase to enable front line agencies to expand.
  • We supported Jan Logie’s Victims Protection Bill which allows victims of domestic violence up to 10 days paid leave to deal with the impacts of domestic violence.
  • We’ve launched a court support pilot for sexual violence survivors and a sexual harm helpline.
  • We’re passing the Equal Pay Act to address historic inequities in pay for women.
  • We announced amendments to the Family and Whānau Violence Bill, designed to strengthen the legislative foundations of the family violence system.
  • and more…

Anything else you think should be added to the list? Head over to our Facebook page and let us know! 

Post by NZLabourParty.