Archive for July, 2012

Lobbyists with access cards to parliament

Speaker Lockwood Smith has released the names of 15 people, mainly lobbyists, who have access cards to Parliament. The list includes lawyers, PR executives, leading trade unionists, and Business NZ’s Phil O’Reilly. The full list is Nicholas Albrecht, Govt relations manager for Vector; Tim Clarke from Russell McVeagh; Peter Conway, CTU; Helen Kelly CTU; Daniel […]

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Mineral royalty regime under review

The Govt is separately reviewing royalty rates for some minerals, and the regulatory regime for Crown minerals. Energy Minister Phil Heatley says by developing a management regime which more effectively recognises and accommodates the varying risk and value profiles of different exploration.

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Maori Party won’t jeopardise its “greatest opportunity”

As Trans Tasman (July 12) indicated, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia had time to cool down, after she had been reported to take umbrage over John Key’s “disrespect” for the Waitangi Tribunal, before the two met to sort out differences on the Maori Council’s claim on freshwater resources.

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Politics: Nats draw fresh battle lines

At the weekend National’s leaders defined new battle lines for NZ politics: growth and jobs, or stagnation and less wealth? At the party’s annual conference in Auckland they launched a full-scale attack on the Labour-Greens posing as an alternative Govt, which calls for more jobs but opposes every development initiative.

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Play of the week: political flutters

It was a huge risk, holding the National Party conference at a casino. What’s more National Party conferences are typically lightning rods for the discontented, especially when the party is in power.

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Diplomacy: politicians filling top posts

Former Ministers have secured themselves top slots on the diplomatic circuit. Trans Tasman understands Mike Moore will be extended for three years as NZ’s ambassador in Washington DC. Jim McLay will spend a similar time in New York as ambassador to the UN while the curtains are being measured in London for Speaker Lockwood Smith’s […]

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Local body reform: lobby pushes back on legislation

Local Govt NZ is pushing back against the Govt’s Reform Bill shutting down councils’ ability to provide for social, economic, cultural and environmental well-being. Under the amending legislation councils would only be mandated to provide good quality infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions in a way which is most cost effective.

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Politics: inside the water debate

Here is Trans-Tasman’s take on the current politics of water. Both National and Labour assert no-one owns water. It’s a position backed by what is known as “common law,” but ignores the indigenous framework under which, before the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi, Maori owned the land and resources.

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Politics: Govt’s balancing act on the tightrope

John Key’s Govt has been walking a tightrope, testing the very delicate balancing skills the PM has brought to the job. First there was pressure on the Maori Party to walk away from the coalition over what opponents labelled Key’s “disrespect” for the Waitangi Tribunal.

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Play of the week: green eggs and sham

Blame Anne Tolley. The East Coast MP and Minister for Internal Affairs thought it would be a good idea to kick off the general debate this week by quoting Dr Seuss. She was greeted by a howl from the rest of the House, especially the Labour benches, who still see Tolley primarily as an Education […]

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Housing: affordability now a crucial issue for Govt

High on the Govt’s agenda is the issue of affordable housing, made more acute in Christchurch by the quakes, and in Auckland by the shortage of land for new housing. “Rents up 26% as supply drops,” “58% of renters cannot afford to buy a house,” “Real house prices double between 2001 and 2007” – these […]

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Resources: new teeth for Govt’s growth agenda

The recommendations of the Govt’s Technical Advisory Group on reforms to the RMA, which Environment Minister Amy Adams released last week, are regarded as a crucial element of the National-led coalition’s growth strategy.

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Politics: How cosy will Labour and the Greens remain?

Labour’s relationship with the Greens is one of the most intriguing elements in the current Parliament. The assumption on the Left has been they are close allies certain to form the next Govt. But when it comes to the point, how far will Labour go in accepting Greens’ fundamental credo the interests of the environment […]

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Politics: flare-up between Maori & National on water claim

The flare-up within the coalition over Maori rights to “own” water has the potential not only to damage the Maori Party’s relationship with National but to derail the Govt’s economic strategy. The NZ Herald called it “Bad time for PM to shoot from the lip.”

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Play of the week: mate’s rates

There was a whiff of schadenfreude this week when Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove got caught up in a donation scandal. Cosgrove, one of the more energetic Labour MPs, is also one of the more enthusiastic sledgers in Parliament.

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Foreign affairs: McCully plugs Asian connectivity

Foreign Minister Murray McCully heads to Cambodia next week to attend the East Asian Summit Foreign Ministers’ conference, part of the drive to build NZ’s connectivity with Asia. He reports the Noda Govt in Japan has succeeded in getting Parliamentary approval for a consumption tax as part of its reform programme, a measure talked about […]

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Do bureaucrats understand how markets work?

Steven Joyce has created, almost single-handedly, to drive what he calls the Govt’s comprehensive business agenda. The aim is to operate a Govt agency which will spearhead new initiatives, focus on lifting productivity, and support the growth of competitive businesses, which will lead to more jobs, higher wages and help close the gap with Aust’s […]

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Justice: Govt wants fewer victims of crimes

The Govt’s initiative to set 10 targets for the public sector to achieve in policies on welfare, crime, vulnerable children, skills and employment, and digital advances has been greeted tepidly in many quarters. The NZ Herald for example, thinks targets have more pitfalls than benefits.

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Politics: unusually warm welcome awaits PM in Aust

An unusually warm welcome from Aust business leaders awaits John Key in Sydney and Melbourne this week. NZ PMs of previous eras counted themselves lucky if they filled more than a telephone booth at public appearances in Aust. This time it may be more like a rock star arriving in their midst.

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Play of the week: tora! tora! tora!

We saw again this week, an exhibition of the TransTasman Play of the Week Rule of Recess in action. For those who don’t recall, the rule states when Parliament goes into recess, politics gets particularly silly. Why, exactly, isn’t clear.

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