Putin and his cronies are sent a stern message from Down Under – we haven’t finished piling on the pressure with sanctions

Buzz from the Beehive

We imagine Vladimir Putin will be seriously considering a withdrawal of his troops from Ukraine, once he has been apprised of  the speech delivered today by Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta.

The Minister was addressing the Financial Intelligence Unit conference on this country’s response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.

This unit sits within the Financial Crime Group framework and is mandated to assist with the detection and investigation of money laundering, terrorism financing and other offences.

It collects, analyses and disseminates financial information received under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009. These functions are undertaken on behalf of the Commissioner of Police.

Wrapping up her speech, Mahuta said:

“Please be assured that Aotearoa New Zealand remains committed to continuing our work through the Russia Sanctions Act, and with you, to put pressure on Putin and his cronies.

“We aren’t done yet.”

The speech was recorded on the Beehive website along with posts which tell us our hard-working Ministers have been –

This was the last of three statements to emerge today from the office of Finance Minister Grant Robertson.

He said the Government has asked the Productivity Commission to hold an inquiry into the resilience of the New Zealand economy to supply chain disruptions.

His press statement suggests there is an element of duplication with this work:

“The commission will work closely with other agencies that have existing work programmes underway in this area including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Ministry of Transport,” Grant Robertson said.

Drawing on the findings of the investigation the Commission will develop evidence-based recommendations which should:

  • Identify possible policy responses and interventions to support resilience, productivity and wellbeing
  • Identify a framework for targeting support for firm, sector, and community resilience in response to particular vulnerabilities to supply chain disruptions
  • Assess whether and how current policies address vulnerabilities and dependencies in global and domestic parts of export and import supply chains
  • Assess whether and how resilience objectives are integrated into existing policies and, if necessary, recommend the development of additional initiatives

More details about this inquiry, including Terms of Reference and key inquiry dates, are available at the Commission’s website.

Yep.  The second statement from Grant Robertson.

This time he said the resilient economy and the Government’s responsible financial management means New Zealand is well positioned to respond to a difficult and challenging global environment.

 The pretext for this exercise in self-congratulation was the releaee of figures for the three months to the end of September which showed the Operating Balance before Gains and Losses (OBEGAL) recorded a deficit of $2.6 billion, a little higher than forecast at Budget 2022 in May. Tax revenue was slightly below expectations, while expenses were slightly above forecast.

“The latest figures are broadly in line with forecasts. They show the resilience of the economy despite the global challenges New Zealand finds itself facing. More people are in paid work which helps to ease cost of living pressures, while the Government is there with them and supporting them with the recently announced childcare package along with the extended fuel tax cuts and half price public transport fares,” Grant Robertson said.

And if there’s trouble, it will come from overseas:

“We are however not immune to what happens overseas which will put pressure on the Government’s books.”

In his first statement of the day, Grant Robertson announced the reappointment of Adrian Orr as Reserve Bank Governor.

An earlier Point of Order report records the opposition of National and ACT to this decision.

Kieran McAnulty tells us he has met 54 rural and provincial councils in his new role as Minister of Emergency Management, Associate Minister of Local Government, and Associate Minister of Transport.

“I’ve gained a lot of insight through these visits, both on my portfolios and wider Government work. I’ve taken all the feedback I’ve received on board, and passed it onto Minister of Local Government Hon. Nanaia Mahuta and the Prime Minister.”

Will this halt the Three Waters bulldozer?

Probably not.

But McAnulty said the feedback from his visits

“… has been incredibly valuable and led to a number of announcements including the formation of the Local Government Reform Ministerial Group, $44 million to retrain and attract council staff, and most recently a $10 million programme to support rural water suppliers upgrade their infrastructure to meet minimum water standards.”

Justice Minister Kiri Allan announced the Government is strengthening its regime to combat the harmful effects of money laundering and financial terrorism and making it easier for small businesses and consumers to comply.

The changes are aimed at improving our regime, following a review of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Financing of Terrorism Act.

The review also forms part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry in response to the March 15 attacks.

The changes include:

  • relaxing the requirement on businesses to verify the address of most customers;
  • extending the timeframe for businesses to submit Prescribed Transactions Reports;
  • exempting registered charities from AML/CFT obligations when they are providing small loans.

Further changes will address areas of known risk or vulnerabilities, improving efficiencies and reducing compliance costs, and improving compliance with international money laundering standards.

Read the review online here.

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