Peters puts the spotlight on Pacific and partnership in policy address to international affairs institute

Since taking office in this Govt, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has applied heft to NZ’s role in the Pacific. Now, 18 months on, he reflects on what has been achieved.

Speaking to the NZ Institute of International Affairs, he said NZ is moving away from the donor-recipient dynamics of the past, and building more mature relationships with Pacific Island countries.

The message that NZ is a partner, and not just a donor, has resonated in the region and enabled frank conversations about shared policy priorities and challenges.

The government has lifted its leadership diplomacy effort, with an increase in high-level engagement, both in terms of travel into the region, and hosting Pacific leaders and ministers here.

Agencies are focused on greater coherence on Pacific issues across all parts of the Government, recognising the close connection between foreign and domestic policy in our Pacific engagement. Continue reading “Peters puts the spotlight on Pacific and partnership in policy address to international affairs institute”

An important conference for NZ First as it braces for the prospect of a painful year ahead

Expect  the  old  campaigner Winston  Peters to be at  his belligerent  best as he   gears  up for another election.  He’s kept his party alive for 27 years  and  he  shows  no sign  of quitting.

The  omens  may be  bleak—polls  this week  showed  his party below  the  5% threshold– but  Peters  insists   NZ  First’s  own polling puts the party  “comfortably  in the  zone”  to do well.  He told   Radio NZ the  party   is getting  “enormous  support” in the provinces  and  he’ll use  the   conference  to  outline a winning  strategy.

As  for  those  political commentators  who say NZ  First  won’t make it back  into Parliament,  they are   “moronic”.

Yet  even  when  Peters  fires   up,  as  he  did  in  that interview,  the  odds   are stacking up against  NZ  First.    He  can brush off the polls, dismiss  leaks of  sensitive party documents  pointing to questionable  internal administrative issues,  and  assert   his  party  is  key to  the  coalition’s   success: yet  NZ First inevitably  will cop  some of the blame generated by adverse headlines  as in  the  NZ  Herald  on  Thursday – “Dire Shortfall in  State Housing”. Continue reading “An important conference for NZ First as it braces for the prospect of a painful year ahead”

Farm leader is worried by her sector’s mood – but maybe Peters is perked by the prospect of milking things politically

Farmers’ confidence  has sunk  to  its lowest level in  three years, according to the latest  Rabobank  survey.  Farmers’ outlook for the rural economy for the next year has dropped to a net minus 33%, from minus 2% three months ago.

“The drop of this magnitude is significant,” says Rabobank agricultural analyst Blake Holgate. “It follows three quarters where confidence was gradually increasing.

And it’s likely to fall further by the end of the year, as the next survey will ask farmers how they feel about new freshwater reforms.

Confidence  in the  dairy  sector  won’t be  boosted   by  Fonterra reporting  a  whopping  loss  of  $605M, on  top of the previous year’s  loss of  $190m.

Fonterra’s poor  performance  is  said to be one of the factors  driving down  confidence. Continue reading “Farm leader is worried by her sector’s mood – but maybe Peters is perked by the prospect of milking things politically”

PM’s triumph on the world stage takes the spotlight off shabby stuff at home (at least, for now)

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the meeting between the Prime Minister and the US President in New York this morning is a diplomatic coup.

“Securing a 25-minute long meeting with the US President during the UN Leaders Week is an achievement in its own right given the pressure on the President’s scheduleAll the more remarkable was the level of attendance on the American side. The President was accompanied by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the newly appointed National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien.What is clear is a very positive discussion was held on a range of international issues and areas of shared interest, including on advancing our bilateral trade interests.

“In the world of diplomacy, this level of engagement is gold. The President’s meeting also followed a meeting with the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the Prime Minister’s representation of NZ on climate change, and the Christchurch Call.The so called mega-Monday has been a very good day for delivery of NZ interests on the world stage”. Continue reading “PM’s triumph on the world stage takes the spotlight off shabby stuff at home (at least, for now)”

Air Rarotonga’s second Saab 340B opens possibilities in the north (but NZ help would be welcome)

Here’s a project for the New Zealand  government to support – before the Chinese arrive.

Air Rarotonga has just added a second Saab 340B to its fleet and is considering flights to the northern Cooks.  However, the basic crushed coral runways at Manihiki, Penrhyn and possibly Pukapuka need upgrading.

Surely  Foreign  Affairs  Minister  Winston Peters,  with his enthusiasm  for the  Pacific, will be eager to  back the project – wouldn’t he?

Air Rarotonga, in business since 1978, says the second Saab will add capacity initially to the Rarotonga-Aitutaki route with the potential for regional charter flights to Tahiti and Niue.  The new aircraft has been the catalyst for Air Rarotonga entering discussions with government about upgrading those runways. Continue reading “Air Rarotonga’s second Saab 340B opens possibilities in the north (but NZ help would be welcome)”

Warm welcome awaits Peters on his return from surgery, as Labour seeks to regroup

With the Labour Party in some disarray, Deputy PM Winston Peters may be surprised how warmly he is welcomed back in the Beehive when he returns.

Initially it was expected he would be absent for not much more than a week after he took leave on August 19 for surgery to what was said to be a recurrence of an “old rugby injury”. Continue reading “Warm welcome awaits Peters on his return from surgery, as Labour seeks to regroup”

Good for Northlanders – but how about the rest of taxpayers?

Hosannas for one of the latest handouts from the so-called Provincial Growth Fund – a $94.8m “investment” to bring up to operational standard a 54km section of the Northland rail line – were muted, not surprisingly.

NZ’s state-owned KiwiRail, which racked up a $235m loss in the 2018 year, and a $197m loss the year before that, looks as if it will be saddled with yet more loss-making services – but Deputy PM Winston Peters justifies the investment on the grounds the rail line to Whangarei would otherwise become “unsafe” and have to close within 5 years.

Continue reading “Good for Northlanders – but how about the rest of taxpayers?”