If they are not hard at work in their Beehive offices, our Ministers will be busy with engagements here and there around the country – or engaged in very important business overseas.
The Point of Order monitor of Beehive overseas travel announcements in the past week shows this…
23 OCTOBER 2018
New Zealand signs hydrogen agreement with Japan
Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods announced NZ and Japan are working together to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels with the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation on hydrogen.
The cooperation agreement between NZ’s Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry was signed in Tokyo today by Woods and Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s Economy, Trade and Industry Minister.
The memorandum helps signal NZ’s interest in working in partnership with Japan to develop hydrogen technology as it moves towards a low-carbon economy. This is the first memorandum of its kind with Japan in the world.
Woods regards hydrogen as one of the potential tools that will help assist NZ reduce global emissions.
Woods hopes the agreement will spark interest among Japanese corporates to consider NZ as a partner in their development of alternative fuel sources.
24 OCTOBER 2018
Minister in Canberra to discuss competition, consumer issues and banking regulation
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi travelled to Canberra today and will travel to Melbourne tomorrow for meetings with Australian government Ministers and officials to discuss competition and consumer issues, banking regulation and tax issues relating to superannuation.
He was scheduled to meet with Clare O’Neil, Shadow Minister for Financial Services, and to discuss the Australian Royal Commission’s inquiry into misconduct in the banking, superannuation and financial services industry. The commission recently released its interim report.
NZ agencies are considering how its findings might relate to the NZ financial sector. The RBNZ and FMA are undertaking a review, which is due for report back soon.
Faafoi also will discuss Australia’s approach to open banking with Stuart Robert, Assistant Treasurer for the Australian Government. Australia is introducing a new right for consumers to access and use their data. This Consumer Data Right covers issues relating to open banking, and the Australian financial services sector will be the first sector to which this right will be applied.
With Small Business Minister Stuart Nash, Faafoi was to meet with Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnel, and Council of Small Business chief executive Peter Strong. He intended discussing the opportunities and challenges they see for small businesses from the implementation of open banking and would discuss Australia’s competition law.
In Melbourne, Faafoi would attend the Legislative and Governance Forum on Consumer Affairs, which consists of all Australian Commonwealth, State and Territory, and NZ Ministers responsible for fair trading and consumer protection laws. CAF’s role is to consider consumer affairs and fair trading matters of national significance and to develop consistent approaches to addressing these issues. CAF has contributed to achieving alignment between NZ and Australian consumer laws and in taking a joint approach to trans-Tasman consumer issues.
As Minister of Customs, Faafoi would visit Australia Post’s Melbourne Gateway Facility to understand how the company and Australian border agencies are responding to the challenge of increasing volumes of international e-commerce postal items, and what insights could be applied in the NZ context.
He would return to NZ late on Friday.
24 OCTOBER 2018
Joint Statements Released following ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting – Plus
Defence Minister Ron Mark announced he had attended a successful Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Defence Ministers’ Meeting – Plus (ADMM-Plus) in Singapore on 19 and 20 October.
Security and defence cooperation issues were discussed.
Mark also held formal bilateral meetings with several counterparts, including the Defence Ministers of China, Republic of Korea, Australia, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei and Singapore.
A key outcome of the discussions was the issuing of Joint Statements on preventing and countering the threat of terrorism and on practical confidence-building measures.
The Defence Ministers were united in their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms, and agreed to strengthen regional counter-terrorism cooperation. This will include cooperation through capacity-building initiatives and the sharing of information, intelligence, best practice and lessons learnt.
They gave in principle support for ASEANs adoption of the world’s first Multilateral Guidelines for Air Military Encounters. These guidelines will be an important step toward enhancing aviation safety, particularly in light of increased congestion in the air.
NZ has been an ASEAN dialogue partner for over 40 years and a contributor to the ADMM-Plus framework since its inception.
The ADMM-Plus comprises Defence Ministers from ASEAN and the eight ‘Plus’ countries – Australia, China, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Russia, NZ and the United Sates.
24 OCTOBER 2018
Minister visiting Australian counterparts
Small Business Minister Stuart Nash announced he was travelling to Canberra for a range of meetings with his Australian counterparts across three of his portfolios.
The first visit is with the Australian Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert in Canberra to discuss e-Invoicing. The aim of this visit is to discuss opportunities for trans-Tasman collaboration for businesses by using the Australian Business Number (ABN) and NZBN.
This follows the Prime Minister’s commitment in March with the former Prime Minister of Australia to advance work on common approaches to e-Invoicing as part of the trans-Tasman Single Economic Market Agenda.
While in Australia Minister Nash will be meeting with Australia’s Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Senator, Michaelia Cash, and Australia’s Minister responsible for Fisheries, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Richard Colbeck.
With Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Chris Faafoi, Nash will meet with Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnel, and Council of Small Business chief executive Peter Strong.
Nash also will attend the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management. This meeting includes discussions on tackling transnational, serious and organised crime.
25 OCTOBER 2018
Trans-Tasman e-Invoicing Arrangement signed
Small Business Minister Stuart Nash announced he had signed the formal trans-Tasman e-Invoicing Arrangement with Australian Assistant Treasurer Stuart Robert in Canberra.
The ministers also discussed the longer-term advantages for businesses using the Australian Business Number (ABN) and the NZ Business Number (NZBN).
Nash says e-Invoicing will help businesses in both countries save time and money by allowing the direct exchange of invoices between suppliers’ and buyers’ financial systems.
NZ and Australian businesses process around 1.3 billion invoices annually, and research indicates that the economic savings of e-Invoicing could exceed $30 billion in both countries over 10 years,” he says.
Formalising a collaborative approach will help businesses on both sides of the Tasman to facilitate easier transactions.
25 OCTOBER 2018
New Zealand ratifies CPTPP during trade minister’s trip to Ottawa and Washington
After NZ ratified the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans‑Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker handed a copy of the notification of ratification to NZ’s High Commissioner to Canada, Daniel Mellsop. NZ is the official depository for the 11 nation agreement.
Parker is in Ottawa during a six day trade trip to the United States and Canada for talks focussed on the future of the World Trade Organisation.
In recent days he held talks with the top US trade official, Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, his deputy Ambassador Jeffrey Gerrish and other trade experts in Washington DC.
At the White House he met the Director of the National Economic Council Larry Kudlow and had a private meeting with President Donald Trump’s deputy Chief of Staff, New Zealander Chris Liddell.
The CPTPP will come into effect 60 days after six countries ratify the deal.