Focus on safety and security – Mahuta tackles the Myanmar menace while Wood warns of the danger from more trains

Buzz from the Beehive

Safety and security were the common theme in the latest statements – just two – from The Beehive.

The first – headed Call for New Zealanders to get on-board with rail safety – tells us this is Rail Safety Week.

Transport Minister Michael Wood grabbed the opportunity to maintain there is a need for a renewed focus on rail safety because …

Wait for it

Because additional trains are operating across the network,

“… powered by the Government’s investment in rail.”

We trust this is an environmentally friendly power source.

The second announcement came from Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta, thankfully – but all too briefly – focussing on matters other than Three Waters and local government electoral rearrangements. Continue reading “Focus on safety and security – Mahuta tackles the Myanmar menace while Wood warns of the danger from more trains”

Recovering our relationships with China, ASEAN and Samoa while grappling with climate change and protecting the kauri

Buzz from the Beehive

New Zealand’s relationships with China, the ASEAN countries and Samoa were embraced by speeches and announcements that flowed from the Beehive after Disarmament Minister Phil Twyford had delivered his Statement to the 2022 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor addressed the China Business Summit, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departed for the Indo-Pacific region for a programme of talks on security and economic issues, and the PM announced the launch of a new climate change partnership with Samoa and confirmed support for the rebuild of the capital’s main market.

The PM’s announcements were accompanied by $15 million to support Samoa’s response to climate change and $12 million toward the rebuild of the Savalalo Market in Apia

Ministers with a domestic focus meanwhile were getting on with telling us about their legislative and regulatory agendas and other programmes.

A major item was the launch today of New Zealand’s first National Adaptation Plan, designed to ensure communities have the information and support they need to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

But our lives will also be affected – for better or worse – by:- Continue reading “Recovering our relationships with China, ASEAN and Samoa while grappling with climate change and protecting the kauri”

Buzz from the Beehive – PM broadcasts a bulletin about the breakdown of border barriers to boost tourist businesses

Good trade news has flowed from the office of Damien O’Connor in the form of a report showing how this country’s high-tech exports are faring in the United States.  But much better in terms of the immediate economic boost was news from the PM that the Government is bringing forward the date for opening the border to tourists in time for the Australian school holidays.

Accompanying this, Tourism Minister Stuart Nash announced a new tourism marketing campaign is being launched in Australia this week to build demand for travel here.

Nash’s statement gave no hint of the costs involved.  It did say:

  • Historically, 71 per cent of all international tourists who came to ski have been Australians, who generated more than $211 million in winter spending; and
  • The government will keep rolling out direct investment from its two tourism support packages worth $600 million in targeted spending. Further details are due shortly.

These announcements were timely.  The latest official statistics today show the seasonally adjusted current account deficit widened to $6.5 billion in the December 2021 quarter, from $4.7 billion in the September 2021 quarter.   Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – PM broadcasts a bulletin about the breakdown of border barriers to boost tourist businesses”

NZ is beefing up its defence commitment to UN work in South Korea (a reminder that the Korean War has not technically ended)

Three of the latest Beehive announcements pertain to this country’s relationships with countries in South-east and East Asia, giving pointers to our foreign affairs geopolitical priorities.

One statement signalled “a suite of meetings” between Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta and her ASEAN and East Asia Summit counterparts, starting with the 11th East Asia Summit (EAS) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting last night.

Mahuta said she would be urging action on Myanmar and she said tensions in the South China Sea continue to be a concern for New Zealand.

Another statement hailed the opening of the New Zealand High Commission in Colombo next week.

And then there was the announcement of an increase in New Zealand Defence Force commitment to the United Nations Command in the Republic of Korea and its Military Armistice Commission.

Moreover, the mandate for New Zealand’s longstanding deployment to the Republic of Korea has been extended to August 2023. The NZDF has contributed the United Nations Command and its Military Armistice Commission since 1998. Continue reading “NZ is beefing up its defence commitment to UN work in South Korea (a reminder that the Korean War has not technically ended)”

Tariff talks with US were on the agenda as Peters returns to the diplomatic circuit

Fresh from his  stint  as  acting  PM,  Winston Peters  was  back on the  diplomatic circuit  with a heavy  schedule  of   talks in  Singapore  last week.

Though North Korea was   top of the agenda, Peters made progress on key issues  for   New Zealand,  in   particular over his own  “Pacific re-set”  and on  the  sensitive issue  of  the US  imposing  tariffs on  NZ  steel and  aluminium.  He   had  an  intense  bilateral session   with US  Secretary of State  Mike  Pompeo which  included  the  tariff  issue.

He  subsequently  described the discussion  with  Pompeo  as  “excellent”  but  on the  tariff  issue   would  say only Pompeo is  “acutely aware”   and  “on the case”.

But the signal  (partly because  the  volumes  are  relatively  small) is that NZ   might get  the  exemption  which  Australia  has  already won. Continue reading “Tariff talks with US were on the agenda as Peters returns to the diplomatic circuit”