/////////////////////////////////////////// ASB Polyfest celebrates 43 years of talent
The 2018 ASB Polyfest continues to highlight the raw talent of our young people, with this year marking 43 years of successful festivals, Pacific Peoples Minister Aupito William Sio says. “I had the privilege of introducing the Prime Minister and a number of my parliamentary colleagues on the stages we visited, and we were so impressed of how gifted and talented our young people are in their performances. The ASB Polyfest has grown in 43 years to become the largest Maori and Pacific students’ cultural festival in the world. More than 10,000 secondary school students attended, with 242 performing groups entered by 69 schools. “I see the festival as a symbol for New Zealand that we can celebrate the strength of our youth and their diversity of languages and cultures. That this diversity of languages & cultures is a strength we need to all fully embrace. “When our young people display their awesome talents at the ASB Polyfest they reflect for our enjoyment a richness of Maori & Pasifika languages and cultures, a historic heritage, a love for our people and their mana as something we should all value and protect for future generations. “I am so proud of our young people and I wish them every success beyond the festival and their performances. Winning at the ASB Polyfest is a fantastic achievement, but learning from your participation and using it as a stepping stone to succeed beyond high school with your goals for further education will enable you to achieve great things. “Congratulations to all the winning schools and students. Thank you also to all the schools and teachers who took part and supported your students. You are truly all excellent ambassadors for your schools and a credit to the success of the ASB Polyfest,” Aupito William Sio said.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Justice Minister to attend UN Human Rights Council
Justice Minister Andrew Little will deliver New Zealand’s statement to the 47th Session of the United Nations Human Rights council as he leaves for Geneva, Switzerland today. “Kiwis can be proud of our global reputation as a defender of human rights. We were the first country to allow women to vote, we consistently top international records for low levels of public sector corruption. And the historic Treaty of Waitangi settlement process is about confronting our past so we can walk forward together. “We can do better. The Labour-led government is resetting the human rights agenda by committing to tackling child poverty, making tertiary education accessible again through fees-free, confronting climate change and energy poverty, funding and supporting the family re-unification scheme for refugees, speaking up for the elimination of nuclear weapons, and fixing the national housing crisis that has robbed families of their right to shelter. “While in Europe I will present New Zealand’s report to the United Nation’s committee on International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and visit the successful Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission. The Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement commits to establishing a Criminal Cases Review Commission in New Zealand so manifest injustices like that suffered by Teina Pora are righted. “I will also meet justice-sector Ministerial counterparts in the Netherlands and visit a Dutch prison. In recent years the Netherlands has been so successful in reducing crime that they are closing prisons. In New Zealand the previous National government left a legacy of rising violent crime, an inhumane approach to sufferers of mental illnesses, and a prison crisis which we have plans to fix,” says Andrew Little.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Statement on nerve agent attack in UK
JOINT STATEMENT BY PRIME MINISTER JACINDA ARDERN AND MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS WINSTON PETERS. New Zealand supports the joint statement made by the leaders of the UK, US, Germany and France on the nerve agent attack in Salisbury. Outrage at the brazen and callous use of chemical weapons in a UK town is fully justified. This attack left three people seriously injured, including a police officer who assisted at the scene, and potentially threatened many more. This incident is a serious affront to accepted global rules and norms. The use of chemical weapons in any circumstances is totally repugnant, and New Zealand is deeply disturbed at any use of chemical substances banned by the Chemical Weapons Convention. New Zealand fully supports the sovereign right of the UK to take the action it considers appropriate in response to this violation of international law on its territory. We stand in solidarity with the UK alongside its other partners. Despite the further details that have emerged since the NZ government statement earlier this week, and despite the international outcry, the Russian reaction has been cynical, sarcastic and inadequate. There is no plausible alternative explanation hitherto, that this came from anywhere other than Russia, and no doubt whatsoever that Russia has serious questions to answer.
/////////////////////////////////////////// Education links with Singapore strengthened
Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Singapore’s Education Minister (Schools) Ng Chee Meng signed an Education Cooperation Arrangement in Singapore today. New Zealand and Singapore have a long-standing education relationship. It dates right back to the Colombo Plan introduced in the 1950s which saw many Singaporeans study in New Zealand. Today, there is a healthy exchange of New Zealanders and Singaporeans studying and teaching at each other’s institutions. “This Arrangement solidifies our modern education relationship, and will pave the way for closer collaboration between our education ministries on shared policy priorities and interests,” Chris Hipkins says. “We look forward to working with Singaporean counterparts to promote greater exchanges of students and teachers, relationships between our schools and institutions, and to exchange ideas for best practice in areas such as digital learning. Mr Hipkins says that education continues to be an important avenue to increase people-to-people connections between the two countries – a prime objective of the Enhanced Partnership currently under negotiation between Singapore and New Zealand. Mr Hipkins’ programme in Singapore includes meetings with his two Ministerial counterparts, Schools Minister Ng Chee Meng and Higher Education Minister Ong Ye Kung, as well as Singapore’s National Institute of Education and SkillsFuture Singapore Agency.
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