Dishing out awards to volunteers should have been a calming chore for Minister in charge of highly stressed health system

Buzz from the Beehive

We introduced our Buzz report yesterday by observing that while Health Minister Andrew Little was announcing the launch of a meth addiction service in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, two of his colleagues were dealing with global issues.

We introduce today’s Buzz with much the same sentence.  While Andrew Little was at an awards ceremony to celebrate winners of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards, two of his colleagues were dealing with global issues  – the PM announced plans to travel to Europe and Australia “for a range of trade, tourism and foreign policy events”; Trade Minister Damien O’Connor will travel to Europe, Canada and Australia “to advance New Zealand’s economic interests”.

The PM’s travel plans most notably include her attendance of a session of the NATO Summit along with leaders from Australia, Japan and the Republic of Korea.

The awards ceremony in Parliament’s Grand Hall would have provided Little with an hour or so of relief from a slew of challenges within his portfolio and a daily flow of adverse news media reports –

Little said at the awards ceremony:

“These awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health and disability sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders, going above-and-beyond for people in their communities,” Health Minister Andrew Little said in presenting the awards this afternoon.

“This year we’re recognising 15 teams and 16 individuals who are outstanding achievers across seven categories – healthcare service provider, community and non-governmental organisations, Māori health, Pacific health, youth volunteer, long service and, for the first time – COVID health volunteers.

“Whether it’s providing practical support and friendship or sharing life skills and experience, health volunteers make life better for New Zealanders in many ways.”

The Prime Minister’s press statement said she will leave on Sunday 26 to travel to Europe and Australia.

“The NATO meeting represents an opportunity to engage with a large number of leaders on a wide range of issues over and above security and defence,” Jacinda Ardern said.

In Brussels, where she will be accompanied by Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor, meetings will be held with European Union leaders with a focus on progressing the EU Free Trade Agreement and the opportunities it will bring for New Zealand businesses and exporters.

In London, a meeting with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will help cement the close links between the two countries, especially for business and exporters since the signing of the New Zealand-UK FTA earlier this year.

New Zealand business representatives will join the Prime Minister and Minister O’Connor for some events in Brussels and London.

She will travel to Australia (Melbourne and Sydney) between 4 and 8 July where she will be accompanied by a number of other ministers and a large business delegation.

In a separate press statement, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor said he and the PM will “progress” the NZ-EU FTA with European leaders n Belgium, following intensive remote work to date from New Zealand.

He will meet with the European Commission’s Executive Vice-President and Trade Commissioner, Valdis Dombrovskis, and the EU Commissioner for Agriculture, Janusz Wojciechowski.

In the UK, he will further promote bilateral trade, business and people-to-people links, following on from the signing of our historic NZ-UK FTA in February.

In Ottawa, he will meet Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development Mary Ng, to strengthen bilateral trade, especially through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). He will also visit Toronto to engage with Kiwi businesses, with a particular focus on the tech sector.

The final leg of Damien O’Connor’s trip will see him join the Prime Minister at the annual Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum in Sydney.

He is scheduled to depart on Friday 24 June for Europe.

Did someone say Andrew Little has offered to  carry his bags?

Latest from the Beehive

20 JUNE 2022

Health volunteers recognised at Parliament

Volunteers from all over the country are being recognised in this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards, just announced at an event in Parliament’s Grand Hall.

Trade Minister to travel to Europe, Canada and Australia to advance economic recovery

New Zealand’s trade agenda continues to build positive momentum as Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor travels to Europe, Canada and Australia to advance New Zealand’s economic interests.

Prime Minister to travel to Europe and Australia

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will leave this weekend to travel to Europe and Australia for a range of trade, tourism and foreign policy events.

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