Today is Tuesday – so where in the world will the Minister be?

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 PM and others in her ministerial team joined the political pilgrimage to the Ratana Pa last week – it draws MPs much like Mecca attracts the faithful of Islam – when the church celebrated its centenary.

The celebrations begin with a series of welcome pōwhiri – first for Ratana followers, then for iwi, for other churches, and (a measure of their place in the  Ratana pecking order, perhaps) finally for political parties.

NZ First MP Shane Jones was among the speakers but New Zealand First leader Winston Peters had a heavy agenda of business overseas as Foreign Minister.

The PM is headed overseas, too, for some international gatherings.  Her announcement included the plans of Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker, who will attend the APEC Ministers’ Meeting in Port Moresby on 15 November, and Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor, who will attend the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting in Singapore 12-13 November.

The Point of Order monitor of Beehive overseas travel announcements in the past week shows this…


Andrew Little represents NZ at regional counter-terrorism meeting in Indonesia

Justice Minister and Minister Responsible for the NZSIS and GCSB Andrew Little has represented New Zealand at the rescheduled second sub-regional meeting on counter terrorism, which has concluded in Jakarta, Indonesia. The previously scheduled meeting was interrupted by the 5 August Lombok earthquake.

Co-chaired by Indonesia and Australia, the sub-regional meeting built on the achievements of last year’s Manado conference. Discussion centred on how to counter terrorism and violent extremism in South East Asia.

A joint communique issued by meeting attendees stated their support for expanding regional counter-terrorism cooperation to reduce the threat of returning foreign terrorist fighters, address terrorist misuse of the internet and build resilient communities able to resist violent extremist ideology, including with the support of women and youth-led civil society organisations.

The joint statement is included in the press statement.


Foreign Minister to visit Europe, attend EAS and APEC

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Europe today to open two new New Zealand embassies, hold bilateral talks, and attend Armistice Day centenary commemorations.

In Sweden Peters will open New Zealand’s Embassy in Stockholm. He is also scheduled to meet with Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Margot Wallström, and will deliver a speech at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs.

In London he will meet with UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt to discuss relations with the UK as it redefines its global role post-Brexit. The two Foreign Ministers will mark the Armistice Day centenary with a half-time tribute during the All Blacks-England test match at Twickenham.

The Minister will also represent New Zealand at Armistice Day commemorations in France and attend the Paris Peace Forum, which is being convened by President Emmanuel Macron to discuss current global security challenges.

Peters will then travel to Dublin to open New Zealand’s first resident Embassy in Ireland. He will hold talks with the Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney.  While in Dublin he will also deliver a speech to the Institute of International and European Affairs.

On his return leg from Europe, the Foreign Minister will attend the East Asia Summit in Singapore and APEC meeting in Papua New Guinea.

Peters departs for Europe on 7 November and returns on 19 November.


Strengthening regional trade and security at East Asia Summit and APEC

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said strengthening and extending NZ’s trading relationships and discussing the critical security issues in our region will be priorities for her when she attends the annual East Asia Summit and APEC leaders meeting next week.

The Prime Minister will be in Singapore on 14-15 November for the East Asia Summit before travelling to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, to attend the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting 17-18 November. She will be joined by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

In Singapore the Prime Minister will discuss the key strategic and security issues in the Asia-Pacific region, including North Korea, maritime security and climate change.

While at APEC, the Prime Minister will also attend a meeting between APEC Economic Leaders and Pacific Island Leaders.

She will meet with regional counterparts in both Singapore and Port Moresby. In Singapore, she will also meet with young New Zealanders and Singaporeans as well as the business community.

Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker will attend the APEC Ministers’ Meeting in Port Moresby on 15 November. Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth Damien O’Connor will attend the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting in Singapore 12-13 November, which will be followed by a Leaders’ Summit attended by Prime Minister Ardern.

The Prime Minister will return to New Zealand on 19 November.

Conservation Minister to visit UK and Egypt

Conservation and Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage leaves today to attend events in the United Kingdom before travelling to Egypt for a key international biodiversity meeting.

During two days in England she will meet Dr Thérèse Coffey, MP and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

She will also give a speech on the Commonwealth Blue Charter and ocean acidification to the Royal Academy. For Armistice Day centenary commemorations she will attend a wreath-laying at the New Zealand War Memorial at Hyde Park Corner as well as the National Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey.

Sage will join other political leaders to discuss global biodiversity in Egypt on 14 and 15 November at the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) High Level Segment in Sharm-el-Sheikh.

While in Egypt, she will meet with Canada’s Parliamentary Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, Sean Fraser, to discuss waste management issues such as ensuring producers take responsibility for products across their life cycle.

Other meetings are scheduled with Cristiana Pașca Palmer, the Executive Director of the CBD, Kosi Latu, Director General of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme, and Eric Solheim, Director General of the UN Environment Programme, as well as her counterparts from Egypt, Samoa, China and the European Commission.  These discussions will focus on what more can be done to tackle challenges to global biodiversity.

Eugenie Sage will also visit Vancouver and meet George Heyman, British Columbia’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. While in the city she will be briefed about the Green Vancouver Initiative and in particular Vancouver’s Zero Waste 2040 Strategy. Vancouver has set a goal to become the greenest city in the world by 2020.

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