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Politics

Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, has released a letter outlining Winston Peters’ duties while she is on maternity leave.
Deputy prime minister Mr Peters will act in Jacinda Ardern’s role during the six weeks she takes off after childbirth. She is due on 17 June.
Ms Ardern said the working arrangement was exactly the same as when she travelled overseas. The only difference is the length of time.
Mr Peters would manage the day-to-day business of government, such as answering questions in parliament and attending official engagements.
He would continue to consult Ms Ardern on major issues and matters of national security.
Mr Peters said he was “ready for it”.

New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, is currently in London meeting leaders from around the world.
Two days ago she sat down with the British, Australian and Canadian Prime Ministers to talk about Russia and the rumours around their interference with millions of computers.
Ms Ardern also had a face-to-face meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May at Downing Street. During that meeting the pair discussed trade and international tensions – including the Syria crisis.
To cap off a busy day she also met royals Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

As a new Government we’ve made a big deal out of our commitment to do our job differently – to be fairer and more inclusive in the way we spend public money, and how we make the big decisions that affect the people, and the landscape of New Zealand. To do that we need good quality information about what New Zealanders need.
Recently, millions of Kiwis did their bit to help us make better decisions about healthcare, schooling, housing, and the other core roles of government, by telling us about themselves in the census.
By the end of census day, almost three million Kiwis had completed their census forms. Tens of thousands more have been filled in each day since.
By filling in the census every five years, you’re helping to paint a rich picture of our ever-changing New Zealand population. In those five years communities have often undergone huge changes.
In the past five years, the Canterbury landscape has dramatically changed, house prices have skyrocketed, the population has aged, and entire new industries have emerged.
As a Government, we’re aware of the challenges facing New Zealand. But with the information from the census we can target our plans and our decisions more finely, to make the changes New Zealand needs.
Housing is a real priority for the government. For the first time, this year’s census asked about the dampness of Kiwis’ homes, and the census can also provide information on the growing problem of New Zealanders living in cars. We’ll use this information to help make sure every Kiwi has a warm, dry place to call home.
In education, census information will help the government deliver on its plan to modernise New Zealand’s schools.
We will build schools and kōhanga reo where they’re needed most, and ensure that out-dated and worn-out schools building are a thing of the past. We’ll make sure every child in every school can learn in a modern classroom.
Thank you again for supporting this year’s census. By taking part, you’ve helped make New Zealand a better place. I am excited about the challenges ahead and I know the government will use the census’ new information to work towards the Prime Minister’s goal of a better, fairer New Zealand for everyone.

Simon Bridges has been named as the new leader of the National Party. Paula Bennett will continue as deputy leader.
Simon Bridges is the MP for Tauranga and was first elected to Parliament in 2008.
He is the National party’s first Māori leader.
He is replacing Bill English, who resigned earlier this month.
Speaking after the announcement, Mr Bridges said he was humbled by his colleagues picking him to be the 12th leader of the National Party.
He tweeted “I’m honoured to be elected as @NZNationalParty Leader today – it’s an enormous privilege. My focus will be on presenting an ambitious and strong alternative Government heading into 2020.”

The entire education system, from pre-school until adult education, is to be completely overhauled, bringing in the biggest changes to the system in decades.
The way schools are governed – by a board of trustees making community-based decisions – could be scrapped.
So too is NCEA, early education, school property, learning support and how the school system responds to skills needed in the 21st century such as technology.
“We need a system – from the cradle to the grave – that is inclusive, that can adapt to the needs of the modern world,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said in a statement.
“So far there is very little information about what exactly the Government will be reviewing and the devil will be in the detail,” National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye said in a statement.
Main components of Chris Hipkins’ plan:

  • Creating a strategic plan and review of early childhood education
  • Review of Tomorrow’s Schools
  • Developing a future-focused Education Workforce Strategy
  • An action plan for learning support
  • A comprehensive reform of school property – says “too many schools are struggling to cope with outdated facilities”
  • Programme of change for the institute of technology and polytechnic subsector and vocational education
  • Review of NCEA
  • Focus on raising achievement for Māori
  • Focus on raising achievement for Pasifika
  • Decisions on Communities of Online Learning

Bill English has resigned as leader of the National Party.
Mr English accompanied by his wife Mary and family said now was the right time to step aside. He said he had informed his party on Tuesday morning.
He said the party would now go through its process of choosing a new leader which was likely to take a couple of weeks.
“My resignation will take effect on Tuesday 27 and I intend to deliver a valedictory speech on Thursday 1 March,” he said.
He said he believed this would give the National Party time to pick a new leader and the best possible opportunity in the next election.
Mr English said he was proud of his political career particularly his work in health, rebuilding the economy after the global financial crisis and helping to rebuild Christchurch.
Mr English entered parliament in 1990 as the MP for the Wallace (now Clutha-Southland) district.
He served as a health minister, treasurer and finance minister before being appointed the party leader in 2001. After National’s election defeat in 2002 he was replaced as party leader by Don Brash the following year.
Following National’s victory in 2008 he was appointed as finance and deputy Prime Minister, and took over the leadership from John Key when he stood down in December 2016.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is set to feature in Vogue magazine, following in the footsteps of former US First Lady Michelle Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
An interview has already been done, a spokesperson for Ms Ardern said, and a photoshoot featuring all Kiwi designers will take place this weekend.
Ms Ardern will appear in the American edition of what’s been described as “fashion’s bible”, but not on the cover.
The magazine has never featured a female politician on its cover, although Ms Obama and Hillary Clinton both appeared as First Lady.
Ms Ardern gained worldwide attention during her election campaign, which saw Labour climb in the polls to win 36.9 percent of the vote come September 23.
Now, it seems, the international interest in the 37-year-old continues.

Members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership have agreed a new framework to revive the proposed trade deal, following US withdrawal earlier this year.

Meeting on the sidelines the Apec summit in Vietnam, the remaining eleven nations released a joint statement saying they were committed to free and open trade.

They have agreed to change the name from Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to the  Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

What is the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

  • The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a free trade agreement designed to change trade and investment between 11 Pacific-Rim countries.
  • TPP would give New Zealand better access to globally significant markets. It would diversify New Zealand’s trade and investment relationships, and provide a platform to build on the NZ$28 billion of New Zealand goods and services exported to TPP countries in 2014.
  • The countries working towards an agreement are Canada, Australia, Chile, New Zealand, Brunei, Singapore, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.
  • However, analysts say the trade pact is less appealing to some nations without access to the huge US market.
  • The bid to revive the TPP, which would have covered 40% of the global economy, was led by trade ministers from Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

New Zealand’s 52nd Parliament was sworn in today at a special ceremony at the Beehive.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was among 120 MPs being sworn in at Parliament as opening formalities began today.
As part of what’s called the Commission Opening, Labour MP Trevor Mallard was elected as Speaker of the House.
Tomorrow the State Opening will take place, when Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy will read the speech from the throne outlining the government’s legislative programme.
After maiden speeches from MP’s new to Parliament, one of the first orders of business tomorrow will be the introduction of a bill extending paid parental leave.

Labour and New Zealand First have signed their coalition agreement, which contains significant policy gains for New Zealand First.
The policy wins for New Zealand First include keeping the age of superannuation at 65 and committing to re-entering Pike River Mine.
Mr Peters said he was happy with the deal New Zealand First had made.
Winston Peters will become Deputy Prime Minister once the new Government is sworn in on Thursday.
The coalition agreement was signed at Parliament this afternoon and has been released publicly.
Here’s some of what’s in the deal:

  • Pilot counsellors in all primary schools
  • Restore funding for gifted students
  • Offer free driver training to all secondary students
  • Restore funding for Computers in Homes
  • Restart the Te Kotahitanga teacher professional development initiative
  • Progressively increase the minimum wage to $20 an hour by 2020.
  • Free doctors’ visits for all under-14s.
  • Policies to stop non-resident foreigners from buying houses in New Zealand.
  • Superannuation eligibility to remain at 65.
  • Commit to re-entry to Pike River.
  • Investment in regional rail
  • Ensure work visas reflect genuine skill shortages and cut down on low quality international education courses
  • Introduce a Zero Carbon Act

Labour  signed a separate confidence and supply agreement with the Green party.
The Prime Minister-elect will announce the full line-up of ministers and their portfolios on Wednesday, and the new Government will be sworn in on Thursday.