The PM announces a strategic partnership with Vietnam while Sepuloni connects the needy with social services

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Having severed her relations with a wayward member of her ministerial team, the PM turned to foreign affairs and trade and set about strengthening the country’s relations with Vietnam.

She met virtually with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss the importance of the New Zealand-Vietnam relationship and to formally announce its elevation to a Strategic Partnership.

Trade between New Zealand and Vietnam reached more than $2 billion in the year to March 2020, making it our 15th largest two-way trading partner. Vietnam is projected to be one of the fastest growing economies in Asia in the next few years.

Details of the Strategic Partnership are contained in the Joint Statement released by the Prime Ministers following today’s meeting, available here:

Strategic Partnership status indicates the strong growth in the New Zealand and Vietnam relationship and our converging interests. It will enable for improved access and cooperation on matters of mutual interest and benefit.

Improved relationships – or “connections”, in this case – is the aim of an initiative announced by Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni, but there is a jobs element to the announcement, too.

One hundred and twenty-five “Community Connector” positions are being established around the country to help people connect with the services they need to support recovery post COVID-19.

The Minister explained:

“Some New Zealanders have multiple needs – for example unemployment as well as other psycho-social needs such as health-related issues, housing issues, job-training and crisis support that have been compounded due to COVID-19.

“Community Connectors will assist people to get the information and access they need from multiple government agencies and service providers, and has a wide geographical reach, particularly in those areas not already serviced by Whānau Ora Commissioning agencies.

“The Community Connection Service will also work with diverse populations, such as Māori, Pacific and ethnic groups, seniors and people with disabilities or significant health conditions. Supporting people who may be rurally or socially isolated is also a major focus for the service.”

The positions will be based within existing NGOs which are already working to provide social services to vulnerable communities and, says the minister,

” … the model is a holistic, strengths-based initiative that builds on already successful navigator models in the social services sector.”

Here’s hoping the connectors use language that is easily understood by the people they are helping

The government investment in the Community Connectors Service is $41.25 million over two years and creates 125 new positions. It’s part of a Community Wellbeing package that supports the sustainability and effectiveness of social services delivered by non-government organisations to vulnerable New Zealanders.

Other ministers, meanwhile, were bringing us up to speed on the progress of legislation within their portfolios.

The Education and Training Bill, which modernises and strengthens the education system was expected to pass its third reading this week when Education Minister Chris Hipkins banged out a press statement on its contents.

The Bill brings all key legislation on early learning, schooling and tertiary education into a single statute and features measures for

  • supporting the right of all children to attend school fulltime
  • improving the quality and viability of early learning and home based education services
  • creating dispute resolution panels to help learners and whānau resolve serious disputes with their schools on issues such as enrolment and attendance, safety, learning support, racism, and bullying, where these cannot be resolved at school level
  • introducing a minimum code of conduct for Board members, and minimum appointment criteria for new principals

Maori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta was chuffed that the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Vesting Act 2020 was passed by the House yesterday.

When it comes into force on receiving the Royal Assent, it will vest Te Puia New Zealand Arts Māori and Crafts Institute the national tourism and cultural arts institution, in Rotorua iwi.

Te Puia New Zealand Arts Māori and Crafts Institute was first started in 1926 and operates as a tourism venture with specialised education schools dedicated to Māori arts and crafts.

Release

23 JULY 2020

125 Community Connectors across New Zealand to support recovery

125 Community Connector positions are being established within the community and throughout the country to focus on helping people connect with the services they need to support recovery post COVID-19, announced Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

Hon Carmel Sepuloni

Social Development

Release

23 JULY 2020

Lowest ever Public Service Gender Pay Gap

Women who work in the Public Service are becoming more fairly paid, thanks to the Gender Pay Gap Action Plan delivering on Government’s commitment to women.

Hon Julie Anne Genter

Women

Release

22 JULY 2020

Toi Māori legacy preserved for Aotearoa

The New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute Vesting Act 2020 was passed by the House today and the Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, says this has been a long time coming ..

Hon Nanaia Mahuta 

Māori Development

Release

22 JULY 2020

‘Biggest education changes in decades’ returns to Parliament

The Education and Training Bill, which modernises and strengthens the education system is expected to pass its third reading this week,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

Hon Chris Hipkins

Education

Release

22 JULY 2020

New Zealand and Viet Nam strengthen ties

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern met virtually with Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to discuss the importance of the New Zealand-Viet Nam relationship, and to formally announce its elevation to a Strategic Partnership.

Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister

Release

22 JULY 2020

Joint Statement on the strategic partnership between the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam and New Zealand

The two countries co-chaired a virtual summit via video-conference to formally elevate the bilateral relationship to Strategic Partnership.

 

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