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By Newsroom America Feeds at 13 Apr 01:52


/////////////////////////////////////////// First meeting for airbag recall group

Posted: 12 Apr 2018 04:58 PM PDT

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi met with the Takata airbag oversight group at its first meeting in Wellington last night. Mr Faafoi thanked members for their willingness to work together in order to make quick progress and remove dangerous airbags from New Zealand vehicles. “I asked the group to provide me with robust feedback on how this process is going and advice on how we can get more airbags replaced more quickly. “We know New Zealanders have taken this compulsory recall seriously, with around 250,000 users visiting the website since last week and around 1.5 million page views of the site but we need to keep momentum up and ensure drivers and passengers are protected from the risk of unsafe airbags by having as many as possible replaced, as quickly as possible.” A compulsory recall was issued last week for 50,000 vehicles that have Takata Alpha-type airbags and new measures were put in place for the recall of a further 257,000 vehicles with Takata airbags also requiring repair. Measures were introduced to halt vehicles with affected airbags being brought into New Zealand, and vehicles with affected airbags cannot now be sold in trade. Members of the oversight group include representatives from MBIE, NZTA, NZ Customs Service, the Motor Industry Association (MIA), Vehicle Importers Association (VIA), the AA and Consumer New Zealand. “This group will meet monthly until the compulsory recall is concluded at the end of 2019 and will report on progress of the recall of both Alpha and non-Alpha type airbags,” Mr Faafoi says. “I will be attending where possible and I am ready to hear from the group if at any time they don’t think we are making the progress we need. “Announcing the recall I noted there are other measures we can take including flagging vehicles at warrant of fitness if they have airbags that still require replacement. If I am not completely convinced progress is adequate and that everything possible is being done to ensure replacement of these airbags – which have been a known risk since 2013 – I will not hesitate to act further.” The compulsory recall is focussed on Alpha-type airbags because they present the highest safety risks to drivers and passengers.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Progressive and inclusive Trade for All Agenda launched

Posted: 12 Apr 2018 04:04 PM PDT

The Government will ask New Zealanders what is essential to them in future trade talks. Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said the move builds on the Coalition Government’s approach to negotiating the recently-signed Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. “We want to provide the opportunity for New Zealanders to express their views as we develop our Trade for All agenda,” says Mr Parker. “Our objective is for trade to benefit everyone.” Cabinet has agreed on some key principles for our trade policy agenda, including opposition to Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses. “New Zealand is a trading nation – and we always will be. Trade is a critical part of our economy, with some 620,000 New Zealand jobs depending on exports,” Mr Parker says. “In the current global environment, with a rise in protectionism and fears of trade wars, fair international trade rules are more important than ever, for ensuring that our trading partners treat us fairly. “At the same time, we know that many people have concerns about how trade deals are negotiated – and what they mean in practice. “We share some concerns about the excesses of global capital but it is important not to blame trade for other matters, whether it be the impact of technological disruption or tax avoidance by multi-nationals. “Some of those can’t be addressed through trade, but require other Government policy responses,” Mr Parker says. “We want to hear Kiwis’ views on how trade policy can contribute to sustainable, progressive and inclusive economic development for the benefit of all of us.” Feedback is already being sought on how progressive trade issues can be advanced in the Pacific Alliance negotiations with Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru. New Zealand, Chile and Canada in March agreed to work through trade policies to boost sustainable development by addressing climate change, gender equality, indigenous rights and minimum work standards. Consultations on the progressive Trade for All agenda will start in the coming months. The Cabinet paper is available on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website at:

/////////////////////////////////////////// $3.4m to extend Hauraki Rail Trail

Posted: 12 Apr 2018 03:49 PM PDT

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis today announced up to $3.4 million in funding to help improve and extend Waikato’s Hauraki Rail Trail. This is the second major investment to be made through the Ngā Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail Enhancement and Extension Fund and will see the trail extended from Miranda to Kaiaua at one end and from Te Aroha to Matamata at the other. “This investment will bring the current 120 kilometres of trail up to about 168 kilometres, providing a more attractive multi-day ride that will encourage riders to stay longer in the region,” Mr Davis says. “This longer trail, at an easy grade and finished to a world-class standard, is what the Hauraki Rail Trail Charitable Trust had always envisaged, and it’s great to be able to help them reach their goal. “The enhanced trail, which offers access to accommodation, food and beverage and a range of natural attractions, provides an excellent opportunity for business growth and job creation in the northern Waikato. “There’s potential to develop a bigger international market for the trail. When it’s complete, each section of the trail will show off a different facet of the region – from the rich Māori and goldmining histories to the beauty of the Kaimai Ranges and the Coromandel Peninsula. “Funding also covers a smaller project to install bike racks in Te Aroha created by local artist Adrian Worsley, whose quirky sculptures are made entirely from recycled materials and will be a unique feature of the trail.” The central government contribution is being matched with funding from the Hauraki District Council, the Matamata-Piako District Council and the Te Aroha Business Association. Extensions to the trail are expected to take up to two years to complete. In February the Government announced $2.4m towards extending and upgrading the Tasman cycle trail. For more information on Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail visit:

/////////////////////////////////////////// PM to meet Queen Elizabeth and Prince Charles

Posted: 12 Apr 2018 03:20 PM PDT

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern today confirmed she will meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth in a private audience at Buckingham Palace while visiting London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting next week. “I am grateful that Her Majesty is taking the time to meet with me in what is an incredibly busy week for her as Head of the Commonwealth,” said Jacinda Ardern. “This will be my first meeting with Her Majesty so I’m very much looking forward to sharing this government’s vision for New Zealand and our priorities.” The audience with Her Majesty is an “on appointment” audience, which is offered to new Prime Ministers from those countries where the Queen is head of state. The Prime Minister will meet Her Majesty at Buckingham Palace on Thursday 19 April. “I’ll also be meeting The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall the previous day at Clarence House. Their Royal Highnesses have had two very successful visits to New Zealand over the last few years, so this is a good chance to update them on issues of interest. “I’m also looking forward to a very special Youth Town Hall where I will be meeting students from three London schools and hearing about the key social issues which concern them like gender equality.” The Youth Town Hall is being hosted at City Hall on Wednesday 18 April by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who has also invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada. The Prime Minister departs for Europe on Friday 13 April and spends a day with New Zealand athletes competing in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. In Europe she will meet the President of France Emmanuel Macron in Paris, German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Market studies Bill first reading signals powers to be in effect by end of 2018

Posted: 12 Apr 2018 01:26 PM PDT

Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Hon Kris Faafoi told Parliament that he intends for market studies powers to be in place by the end of the year. At the first reading of the Commerce Amendment Bill last night, Mr Faafoi said he was committed to quickly delivering a more competitive, confident and productive business environment to deliver positive outcomes for all New Zealanders. “Consumers should be at the heart of competition and consumer policy. This is why advancing the Commerce Amendment Bill to ensure that the selected markets are delivering better outcomes for all New Zealanders is a priority. “We are concerned as a Government that some markets appear to not be working as well as they should be for consumers. A Commerce Commission market study, where the Commission has the power to compel organisations and businesses to provide information, will identify the causes of poor performance in these markets. “As a Government we can then make an informed decision as to whether intervention is desirable, and if so, what form that intervention may take.” Mr Faafoi confirmed that the Bill would allow a market study to be initiated by the Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister or self-initiated by the Commerce Commission “to ensure there’s no politics in ensuring the best interests of the consumer are served”. “Market studies will ensure New Zealand consumers get fair and appropriate treatment by delivering competitive markets and supporting honest business.” The Commerce Amendment Bill reflects the outcomes of a targeted review of the Commerce Act and a review of the effectiveness of the economic regulation regime for major airports. In addition to the provision of a market studies power, the Bill introduced today repeals the little used cease and desist regime, introduces an enforceable undertakings regime, and makes amendments to improve the effectiveness of the regulatory regime for airports under Part 4 of the Commerce Act. The Bill now moves to the Transport and Infrastructure Committee, and will be reported back to Parliament by 10 September. More information is on MBIE’s website here.

/////////////////////////////////////////// Ensuring a strong polytechnic sector for New Zealands regions

Posted: 11 Apr 2018 03:15 PM PDT

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has outlined a programme of work to reform the polytechnic sector to make sure these institutions are sustainable and effective in delivering for our regions. “A strong, modern and dynamic polytechnic sector is crucial to achieving a world-class skills system across all New Zealand’s regions. "The 16 polytechnics around the country are crucial to vocational training – they account for about 20 percent of total government spending in tertiary teaching and learning. But over the past decade domestic student numbers have dropped by a third. “I have asked the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), over the next six months, to work on the ‘Institutes of Technology and Polytechnic (ITP) Roadmap 2020’ project. “TEC will work with polytechnics, and the broader community, to explore and test different options for change. As part of this process, we’re looking at what has been done in other countries and what that might look like in New Zealand. “I have considered whether increased funding, which was reduced in real terms over the last nine years, would solve the issues in the sector. But while a funding system specifically designed to meet the cost challenges of the sector could help make it less vulnerable to fluctuating demand, it will not be enough on its own. “I believe there’s value in exploring how the network of polytechnics can operate more as a system so that we can use the resources of the network as a whole to achieve high quality provision across the country. It’s about making sure the sector is agile and able to respond to the changing patterns of demand and the changing needs of learners. “This process is about securing a strong regional presence for polytechnics. We want to make sure they can deliver what New Zealand learners and employers need. “I will report back to Cabinet in December 2018 with possible options for change and whether these options require policy or legislative changes. The Ministry of Education is also conducting a wider review of vocational education and training (VET). This review will take place alongside the polytechnic sector reform, and will clarify what the skills system should be producing, who should pay, and how the funding and regulatory systems can best support meeting our skill needs across the system as a whole. The Cabinet paper and more details about the ITP Roadmap 2020 programme of work can be found here.

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