Check out the order of matters discussed by Ardern and Albanese: deportations from Australia were “also” on the agenda

Buzz from the Beehive

New Zealand’s relationships with other countries have been a feature of an outpouring of press statements and speeches from the Beehive over the past 24 hours.

The PM checked in from overseas, the Minister of Trade is headed overseas,  the Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs addressed a bunch of diplomats from overseas, the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety brayed about a ruling from overseas, and (a second statement from him) the Minister of Trade brandished a report from overseas.

The most important of those was the press release after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese held their first bilateral meeting in Sydney.

The most contentious issue on the agenda – and the matter of most interest to news media in this country – was mentioned almost as an afterthought:

Jacinda Ardern also noted that the two had discussed the situation of the around 700,000 New Zealand citizens living in Australia, including Australia’s 501 deportations policy.

“I’ve asked Prime Minister Albanese to see what changes might be possible, in particular to take greater account of potential deportees’ links to New Zealand. In New Zealand for instance, we do not deport individuals who have lived here for 10 years or more,” Jacinda Ardern said.

But this followed a few paragraphs which (if the order of mention is a measure) were more important to the two prime ministers.

The pair discussed cooperation and engagement in the Pacific region, in particular the importance of working together to support Pacific partners facing a complex and growing array of challenges, including climate change and an increasingly contested strategic environment.

The talks also covered Australia and New Zealand’s common goals on the international stage including our support for the international rules-based order and its institutions, our responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the Christchurch Call to address terrorist and violent extremist content online.

Jacinda Ardern welcomed the new Australian Government’s emphasis on First Nations voices and Mr Albanese’s commitment to implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart. The Prime Ministers agreed to continue to ensure indigenous perspectives are at the centre of our policy making.

Ardern noted that the Australia-New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney in July presented a valuable opportunity for trans-Tasman business and government leaders to connect. The Prime Ministers confirmed they will also meet again in July.

One of Trade Minister Damien O’Connor’s statements announced he is off to Europe for the World Trade Organisation Twelfth Ministerial Conference (dubbed MC12 in the patois of the bureaucrats),   He will meet with ministerial counterparts from other countries to discuss bilateral and regional trade and economic issues, and progress New Zealand’s ongoing EU-NZ FTA negotiations, and will attend an informal Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity ministerial meeting in Paris ahead of the MC12.

O’Connor’s second statement was triggered by an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development report titled  the ‘Trade and Gender Review of New Zealand’  This sheds light on the outcomes of trade for New Zealand women in three economic roles—as workers, business leaders, and consumers—and examines trade policy settings that affect them.

“The main findings of the review show that over the past two decades the number of women in export employment in New Zealand has increased, and these women tend to be higher earners than women in non-exporting employment,” Damien O’Connor said.

 Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood would have relished welcoming the International Labour Organisation’s consideration of New Zealand’s Fair Pay Agreements system, following a complaint made to it by BusinessNZ.

The ILO’s Committee on the Application of Standards had not found FPAs to be inconsistent with international conventions, “setting the record straight once and for all,” he said.

 “The ILO has instead suggested the Government continue to consult social partners on the proposed legislation, and to report back on it as part of New Zealand’s regular reporting on ILO conventions. This is scheduled for 2024.  

Wood couldn’t leave things at that.

 “After the ILO conclusion it’s time for BusinessNZ to come back to the table and work with us to introduce a system that allows industries to set minimum pay and working conditions to stop a race to the bottom.”

 The Fair Pay Agreements Bill is currently before the Education and Workforce select committee.

Associate Foreign Affairs Minister Aupito William Sio got to deliver a speech  at
Waikato Innovation Park during the  Diplomatic Corps Study Tour.

We are left to wonder: what are they studying?

Other speeches were delivered by Health Minister Andrew Little, to the New Zealand General Practice Conference and Medical Exhibition, and Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti to the New Zealand Principals’ Federation Conference.

Tinetti mentioned the matter of truancy which – obviously – is troubling the Government and teachers.

She referred to the Government’s Attendance and Engagement Strategy, which she had announced yesterday:

Support for this strategy will come from the $88 million package in Budget 2022 designed to invest in keeping Kiwi kids in class and learning.

So, taxpayers are being called on to do their bit. What about parents?

Let’s see:

The Strategy sets clear expectations and targets for us all. That’s because all of us – parents, teachers, Ministers, government agencies, students, and communities – have an important role to play in lifting educational attendance and engagement.

And:

The Strategy sets a target to have 70 percent of kids attending regularly by 2024. It will remind parents and whānau that they are responsible for getting their children to attend and participate and support schools and kura to be places where our tamariki and ākonga feel they are safe and belong.

And:

The strategy will support local solutions by local schools and kura, working with regional Ministry of Education teams, and communities, to raise attendance and engagement. As part of it, we will also be requesting school and kura feedback on their regular notifications to parents and caregivers of unexplained absences, with a reminder to them that they have a legal obligation to ensure that their children are in learning.

 Parents who do not meet their legal obligations can be fined, of course (although Tinetti does not seem to be keen on a crackdown).  The Citizens’ Advice Bureau warns the parents of miscreants:

 If the truancy continues the school may involve Oranga Tamariki, who may arrange for a Family Group Conference.   

As a last resort, you could be prosecuted and face fines of between $30 and $300 for a first offence, and up to $3000 for a second or subsequent offences plus court costs.

And when was a parent last prosecuted?

Latest from the Beehive

11 JUNE 2022

OECD undertakes leading report on the outcomes of trade for New Zealand women

In a first in advancing the interests of women in trade, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and New Zealand have published a review on trade and gender in New Zeal

10 JUNE 2022

BusinessNZ complaint to ILO on Fair Pay Agreements fails

The Government has welcomed the outcome of the International Labour Organisation’s consideration of New Zealand’s Fair Pay Agreements (FPA) system, following a complaint made to it by BusinessNZ.

Speech

Speech – to Diplomatic Corps Study Tour – Waikato Innovation Park

 

Prime Ministers reaffirm close trans-Tasman relationship

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese today held their first successful bilateral meeting in Sydney this morning.

Trade Minister to attend WTO meetings

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor travels to Europe today for the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12).

Government takes bowel cancer programme nationwide

The Government’s lifesaving bowel-screening programme is now available across the whole country, Health Minister Andrew Little said today.

Speech

Speech to New Zealand General Practice Conference and Medical Exhibition

Thank you to the Medical Association again for inviting me to join your conference this year. As I think we all know, the past two years have been exceptionally challenging for everyone.

Speech

New Zealand Principals’ Federation Conference 2022

The past two and a half years have been challenging for all of us, and especially for you as our educators. You have done amazing work during the COVID pandemic to support our children’s learning, whether in class or at home.

Funding boost to empower women to farm for the future

Women will play a significant role in how New Zealanders farm for the future, and new Government funding will help them pave the way.

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