Putting New Zealanders First

New Zealand First is the third largest party in the New Zealand Parliament. The Party was formed in 1993 to represent those New Zealanders concerned about the social and economic direction of our country, and who were seeking pragmatic, common-sense representation in Parliament.

Following the 2017 General Election, the Party retained 9 seats in the House of Representatives and formed a Coalition Government with the New Zealand Labour Party. Party Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, became Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand and the Party secured three other Cabinet positions and an Undersecretary role.

At the core of New Zealand First's policies are our "Fifteen Fundamental Principles", which emphasise accountable and transparent government, common-sense social and economic policy, and the placing of the interests of New Zealand, and New Zealanders, at the forefront of Government decision-making.

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Latest News

The Government in Action - August 16th

PGF announcements for northern regions   This week saw a raft of announcements from the Provincial Growth Fund, with backing for initiatives in Rotorua, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, and Northland. They include: $15 million towards rebuilding Rotorua Museum, and completing the first stage of an international scale exhibition and conference centre. The museum, in the iconic Government Gardens Cultural Quarter, was closed in 2016 following a seismic assessment. $980,000 towards a cruise ship hub in Tauranga to support the Bay of Plenty’s goal of creating 4000 new jobs in tourism. The new hub is expected to drive a 35 per cent increase in cruise ship numbers, boosting the amount spent by visitors who are key contributors to the local economy. $400,000 investment in Te Waka Waikato Economic Development Agency, to ensure it has the access to resources and systems for developing viable initiatives for consideration by the Provincial Growth Fund. $700,000 contribution to the Historical Maritime Park Marine development project in Paeroa, which includes construction of a wharf, two floating pontoons, a vessel to transport passengers and cycles between landing sites, and a boardwalk connecting the floating pontoons. A $449,300 allocation from Te Ara Mahi, the PGF’s skills and employment initiative, towards Smart Waikato’s Secondary School Employer Partnership (SSEP) extension. The programme introduces Year 9 and 10 students to possible future employers, making it more attractive for them to stay, take up employment and possibly plan their whole lives locally. $88 million in a range of digital, work and life skills training for young unemployed people in Northland. Collectively these programmes will support over 800 rangatahi and will be funded through the He Poutama Rangatahi (HPR) programme. $3 million over three years in the Accelerating our Capability programme, a wide-ranging skills and employment programme, which supports Kaikohe locals who are not in education, employment or training (NEET). The programme will continue on for at least 10 years, as a result of co-contributions from other funders.     Mana in Mahi work training programme builds on its success   A year after the launch of Mana in Mahi – Strength in Work, the Government is extending the successful work training programme. The Wellbeing Budget signalled a $49.9 million boost for Mana in Mahi, extending the places available for participants from 150 up to 2000, on the way to the goal of 4000 places. The criteria for placement in Mana in Mahi has also been extended to now include young people not in employment or education (NEETs).  Under the scheme, employers receive a wage subsidy equivalent to the annual Jobseeker Support rate, and support for work-readiness or pre-employment costs if needed. Participants receive in-work support and incentives to encourage them to stay in work and enter industry training.  New Zealand First is pleased to see the scheme building on its success and expanding, and believes partnering with employers in key growth industries is key to building an economy that everyone can participate in. “Phase two will improve on what was developed in phase one, including part-time employees in the scheme, making the process for employers easier, and reducing the administrative procedures of being involved,” said Employment Spokesperson Clayton Mitchell.  “New Zealand First has consistently campaigned to provide wage subsidies for small businesses that take on apprentices, job seekers or provide work experience. We want to provide incentives to employers, so that as many young people as possible can start the pathway to a meaningful career.”     Productive land gets better protection   New Zealand’s most productive land is to get better protection under proposals announced by the Government this week. The draft National Policy Statement for Highly Productive Land (NPS-HPL) introduces a clear and consistent policy that councils must follow when making decisions on land use. Under the proposals, councils would be required to ensure there is enough highly productive land available for primary production now and in the future, and to protect it from inappropriate subdivision, use and development. “It is madness that highly fertile soils on the outskirts of New Zealand’s cities have been paved over to make way for housing,” said New Zealand First Primary Industries Spokesperson Mark Patterson. “These precious lands are food baskets on the doorstep of our main centres of population. Once the land is turned over to development, it is lost to food production forever. I am proud to be part of a Government taking action to protect our most productive land and the communities which it supports.”     Archives NZ to get modern new home   Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced plans for a new, fit-for-purpose facility for Archives New Zealand to replace its current home, which is at the end of its functional life. Funding in this year’s Budget of $25.48 million over two years will allow progress on a design which sees Archives NZ housed in a building which connects with the National Library, creating a national documentary heritage campus. “Together, Archives and the National Library are the stewards of our nation’s irreplaceable taonga, such as the Treaty of Waitangi and the Women’s Suffrage Petition. These collections are valued in excess of $1.7 billion and growing,” Mrs Martin said. “Our documentary heritage and taonga provides real value and insight to New Zealanders, increasing our sense of national and cultural identity. “We need to preserve this history for our future generations and this new funding and project is a major step to ensuring this happens.”      Employment Strategy seeks to meet both employer and employee needs   The Government’s Employment Strategy, which was released this week, aims to ensure all New Zealanders can achieve their potential by developing skills, finding secure employment and having fulfilling careers. “At the same time, a well-functioning labour market is vital for economic growth which in turn, allows us to tackle the long-term challenges we must address to lift the wellbeing of all New Zealanders,” said Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The Employment Strategy will be delivered through a series of six Action Plans. The first of these, the Youth Employment Action Plan, which seeks to create long-term employment opportunities for young people through programmes such as He Poutama Rangatahi and Mana in Mahi, was launched this week. Other Action Plans will cover the elderly, Maori, Pacific peoples, refugees and new migrants, and those with disabilities. The strategy seeks a cohesive approach which includes education and training, the social welfare system and active labour market strategies in order to get people into the right kind of jobs. Work is already under way on all these fronts, most notably the recently announced Reform of Vocational Education (ROVE), which will tackle the long-term challenges of skills shortages and the mismatch between training provided and the needs of employers.     NZ boosts support for climate action across the Pacific   New Zealand is bolstering its support for the Pacific region’s resilience and collective response to climate change. To help deliver on New Zealand’s $300 million global commitment to climate change-related development assistance, $150 million has now been dedicated to a practical package of support for the Pacific which includes: Providing infrastructure such as water tanks, along with better tools and training to manage droughts, floods and coastal inundation Further climate hazard mapping and risk planning Customised climate information that will support priority sectors such as agriculture, tourism, health and infrastructure More projects to get rid of invasive species that threaten food security. This will boost the resilience of key crops that are also vulnerable to increasingly unpredictable weather driven by climate change Improving access to international climate finance through technical assistance $5.6m to Tuvalu-specific climate resilience projects, including water storage facilities, along with renewable energy and drought modelling support. The Coalition Government acknowledges the very real risk that climate change presents to Pacific nations and will continue to support them to defend themselves against its effects. The Pacific Reset policy announced by Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters 18 months ago also prioritises our commitment in the region.  

Northland receives $3.8m investment in skills programme for unemployed youth

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced a $3.88 million investment from the Provincial Growth Fund into a range of digital, work and life skills training for unemployed youth in the Northland region. The three programmes funded are the NGEN Room of the He Puna Marama Trust worth $990,000; the Life Talk programme of the Kamo Driving School for $396,000; and the He Poutama Taitamariki employment and training programme for $2.5 million. Collectively, these programmes will support over 800 young people, and aims to support young people, aged 15-24, who are not currently in employment, education, or training to overcome barriers to get them into work. "Both NGEN Room and Life Talk have a digital technology focus. Northland has a number of young people with few or no qualifications, who are interested in the digital sector through gaming but lack basic coding skills or the motivation, confidence or networks required to pursue qualifications or employment in this area," Minister Jones said. "NGEN Room is a 12-month digital technology programme for 16-24 year old rangatahi and combines life skills, NCEA credits (level 1-3), and work experience. “Life Talk is a 12-week programme that builds digital skills within the context of broader life and work skills development, including driver licensing.” "Additionally, the successful Northland pilot programme, He Poutama Taitamariki (HPT) will receive funding of $2.5 million from HPR to continue its work to improve employment and training outcomes for young people most at risk of long-term unemployment and poor social outcomes for another year,” the Minister added.   http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/5/345485

Waikato gets $1.5m boost from Provincial Growth Fund

Nearly $1.5 million of funding from the Provincial Growth Fund has been announced for a range of projects in the Waikato region. Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones was in Hamilton to announce successful applicants of PGF money in the region, which comprised of $450,000 to Smart Waikato, $700,000 to the Paeroa Historical Maritime Park development in the Hauraki district, and $400,000 to Te Waka – the region’s development agency tasked to develop business cases. Smart Waikato runs secondary school employer partnership programmes in the region. Minister Jones said grants to Waikato from the PGF will help the region continue to move away from reliance on agriculture. He said farming in New Zealand was in transition and unless there was change in the way it was done, then the social licence will be taken away from farmers. "So Waikato has to go through a transition and its near Auckland with some legacy industries that have generated great wealth, ie; the farming sector, but also we have to accept that Kiwis want a cleaner environment and farming has to do some of the heavy lifting in that regard and the Provincial Growth Fund and our injections are really are a contribution to an economy in transition." Minister Jones said that in Waikato there can not be economic development unless it was blended with Māori aspiration and Māori development. "Or it will not be supported by this government”.   https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/396641/waikato-gets-1-point-5m-boost-from-pgf

“Shane Jones' harsh words for Fonterra seem justified”

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones unleashed a barrage of attacks on Fonterra’s management after the dairy industry co-operative warned of heavy financial losses this year, but veteran journalist Barry Soper wrote that those comments – while harsh – seem justified. “[Minister Jones] had another of his rants, saying dairy farmers are expected to transition from greenhouse gas emitters to climate changers without achieving business surpluses, let alone having enough to put bread on the table,” he wrote in his op-ed for the New Zealand Herald. “Those working in [Fonterra’s] executive suites in Auckland at the conglomerate that represents you here and overseas haven't got a worry in the world. It seems performance isn't part of the vocabulary for the company executives though: 24 of them are paid more than a million dollars a year, base salary mind you, with the boss, Kiwi Miles Hurrell earning, along with two others, more than three million bucks a year.” On Minister Jones’ comments that the Fonterra board “should not only be denying their former CEO Theo Spierings another cent, but that they should also be putting an immediate salary freeze on executive salaries”, the journalist said that “it’s hard to argue with that”. “Dutchman Theo Spierings headed the company through the past seven years, leaving almost a year ago, earning $8m in the previous year and more than that the year before (even though that year Fonterra took its first big $200m bath). Added up over his time at the company he took home $38m”. “Spierings' salary was backed up by what they call the "velocity leadership incentive payment schedule" which goes on in future years. So even though Spierings has left the company he's in line for another big payout next month,” says Mr. Soper. “So Fonterra's a cash cow for the suits but little more than Mycoplasma bovis for the gumboots down on the farm,” Mr. Soper concluded.   https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=12258272

Rotorua Museum gets $15 million grant from Provincial Growth Fund

Significant investment from the Provincial Growth Fund and other government funds will help reopen the Rotorua Museum, which was closed in 2016 following a seismic assessment made after the Kaikoura earthquake. A sum of $15 million in PGF grant funding was contributed to the multi-million dollar project that also includes funding from the local council, the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust, the Lottery’s significant projects fund and the Regional Culture and Heritage Fund. The funding will bring the building up to the required standard and complete the first stage of an international scale exhibition and conference centre. It will also provide better care for and access to the museum’s collection of taonga, and create an estimated 371 addition jobs in the region. Regional Development Minister Shane Jones graced the announcement of the fund in Rotorua, and said that the forced closure of the museum was a major blow to the tourism industry of the city. "The Provincial Growth Fund investment will help bring the museum back to life for visitors and locals alike. The redevelopment will attract more visitors to the region who will stay longer and spend more money at local businesses,“ he said. The PGF has committed $133m to Bay of Plenty up to the end of June 2019. This New Zealand First initiative is intended to boost regional economies by creating new jobs and opportunities in the regions.   https://www.nzherald.co.nz/index.cfm?objectid=12257990

Blame ‘enlarged corporate egos’ for Fonterra’s downfall, says Minister Jones

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones blamed both past and current management of Fonterra after the co-operative said it expected to make a record loss in 2019. The dairy giant warned farmers it was expecting to post an annual loss of between $590 million and $675 million following a series of asset writedowns worth up to $860 million. Fonterra also said they would not pay a dividend for the 2019 financial year, which is a huge financial blow for its farmer shareholders. Minister Jones said it was evident for several years that Fonterra was heading towards “a precarious financial position”. He blamed its poor financial performance on bad management from past executives and made a pointed attack against its former chief executive Dutch-born Theo Spierings. "The Dutchman has destroyed more dairy farming wealth than the GFC," Jones said. He said 'enlarged corporate egos" still existed within Fonterra's management and he had limited confidence the financial performance would significantly improve any time soon. The Minister posed the question whether the co-operative should continue existing in its current form. "Only they can answer that question,” he said. Minister Jones lamented that there was “something obscene” about farmers doing the hard yards and facing rising costs while Fonterra's corporates were working in a brand new building in Auckland and pulling huge salaries.   https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/114952590/fonterra-executives-enlarged-corporate-egos-to-blame-for-dairy-giants-downfall-shane-jones-says

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