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SPEECH - Andrew Little confirms Pike River Mine Drift re-entry plan to proceed

Next Monday is the 8th anniversary of the dreadful tragedy at Pike River Coal Mine. Two men escaped with their lives. 29 others never came home.

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Andrew Little confirms Pike River Mine Drift re-entry plan to proceed

The Pike River Mine Drift will be re-entered, Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little announced today.

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Significant step in Pike River drift re-entry

Minister Responsible for Pike River Re-entry Andrew Little has received the report on re-entering the Pike River drift following nine months of intensive work by Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa Pike River Recovery Agency.

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Ngāpuhi mandate proposal to vote

Ngāpuhi rangatira and Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little have unanimously agreed to move towards negotiations by taking the vote to the people after meeting at Parliament tonight

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Criminal Case Review Commission Bill passes first reading

Justice Minister Andrew Little’s Bill establishing a Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) passed its First Reading in Parliament today. 

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Trans-Tasman e-Invoicing Arrangement signed

Today in Canberra Small Business Minister Hon Stuart Nash signed the formal trans-Tasman e-Invoicing Arrangement with Australian Assistant Treasurer, Hon Stuart Robert.

As well as signing the Arrangement they also discussed the longer term advantages for businesses using the Australian Business Number (ABN) and the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN).

Mr Nash says e-Invoicing will help businesses in both countries save time and money by allowing the direct exchange of invoices between suppliers’ and buyers’ financial systems.

“Australian research has found current invoicing practices can incur loss of productivity and efficiency. Our aim is for e-Invoicing to help resolve these same issues in New Zealand and help build a modern economy that is fit for the 21st century.

“New Zealand and Australian businesses process around 1.3 billion invoices annually, and research indicates that the economic savings of e-Invoicing could exceed $30 billion in both countries over 10 years,” he says.

Formalising a collaborative approach will help businesses on both sides of the Tasman to facilitate easier transactions.

“This visit and the meetings I’ve had today are a testament to an ongoing and positive relationship with our Australian colleagues, which in turn will benefit businesses in both countries.

“This Government is committed to growing the economy and working with businesses to encourage productivity. This agreement is another step we have taken to support small businesses in New Zealand over the last year,” says Mr Nash.

Government initiatives for small business since October 2017 includes:

  • issuing new directions to government agencies on implementation and operation of the NZBN;
  • initiating legislative changes to improve and increase accessibility of data on the NZBN Register;
  • renewing the small business payroll subsidy;
  • launching the NZ Business Performance Panel;
  • establishing the Small Business Council; and
  • launching the online tools Choose Business Structure and Workplace Policy Builder.
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Minister visiting Australian counterparts

This week Minister for Small Business, Hon Stuart Nash, is travelling to Canberra for a range of meetings with his Australian counterparts across three of his portfolios.

The first visit is with the Australian Assistant Treasurer, the Honourable Stuart Robert in Canberra to discuss e-Invoicing. The aim of this visit is to discuss opportunities for trans-Tasman collaboration for businesses by using the Australian Business Number (ABN) and NZBN.

“The government is committed to an economy that is growing and working for all of us by encouraging innovation and productivity,” says Mr Nash.

“Our nations are geographically close with significant shared business interests so it is important we take a collaborative approach to help businesses on both sides of the Tasman to facilitate easier trade transactions.

This follows the Prime Minister’s commitment in March with the former Prime Minister of Australia to advance work on common approaches to e-Invoicing as part of the trans-Tasman Single Economic Market Agenda.

While in Australia Minister Nash will also be meeting with Australia’s Minister for Small and Family Business, Skills and Vocational Education Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash and Australia’s Minister responsible for Fisheries Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator the Hon Richard Colbeck.

With Hon Kris Faafoi, Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, Mr Nash will meet with Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnel, and Council of Small Business chief executive Peter Strong. 

In addition Mr Nash will also be attending the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management. This meeting includes discussions on tackling transnational, serious and organised crime.

“Tackling organised crime, which is a major driver for social and family harm in our communities, is a key focus for this coalition government and this is a great opportunity to strengthen our ties in this space.

“I am looking forward to taking our country’s interests to my Australian counterparts.”

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e-Invoicing to boost productivity

Small Business Minister Stuart Nash is encouraging the Australian and New Zealand public to provide feedback on a joint electronic invoicing (e-Invoicing) initiative that will save businesses time and money.

“Research indicates that the economic benefits of e-Invoicing could exceed $30 billion over ten years, thanks to the significant productivity gains it offers,” says Mr Nash.

“E-Invoicing gets rid of the manual handling of bills so the process becomes faster and more accurate and therefore the chances of problems and delays occurring are reduced. It’s like internet banking where my bank system accepts payments from your bank system.

“To emphasise the scale, New Zealand and Australian businesses process around 1.3 billion invoices annually, and e-Invoicing aims to help them save time and money by allowing the direct exchange of invoices between suppliers’ and buyers’ financial systems.

“This Government is committed to growing the economy and working with businesses to encourage productivity. We want to create a seamless trans-Tasman business environment and e-Invoicing is part of that.

“We’re looking for people to give us feedback on the framework that will be used for the day to day operation of e-Invoicing in Australia and New Zealand,” says Mr Nash.

The framework will be based on international standards that allow information to be shared more efficiently.

This consultation is the latest step in the New Zealand and Australian Governments’ commitment to progress e-Invoicing as part of the Single Economic Market agenda.

“We encourage anyone from Australia and New Zealand who is interested in the initiative to give feedback on the consultation through the MBIE website,” says Mr Nash.

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Clearer picture of community drug use

A picture of New Zealand’s drug use is set to become clearer with the expansion of wastewater testing across New Zealand, says Police Minister Stuart Nash.

“The Commissioner of Police today announced that wastewater testing at 38 sites in each of the 12 Policing districts will be rolled out this month,” says Mr Nash.

“Wastewater testing provides an accurate measure of illegal drug consumption that is cost effective, timely and non-intrusive.

“Expanding the programme will allow agencies to accurately assess the levels of drug consumption in our major centres and provincial communities to build a better picture of the harm these substances are causing.

“Some of our provincial areas are the most vulnerable to the scourge of methamphetamine, and are being preyed upon by organised criminals who supply it.

“I am pleased that the use of illicit substances will be analysed in these areas so Police and other agencies will be able to make informed decisions on education, prevention and enforcement initiatives.

“Methamphetamine causes a huge amount of social harm and those who supply it in our communities are responsible.

Over the past 18 months, 1.5kg of methamphetamine was estimated to have been consumed on average each week across the 647,000 people sampled at the three test locations. This translates into an estimated $2 million per week in social harm.

“The expanded testing will also give agencies an early warning system for emerging drug risks.

“Fentanyl, for example, was added to the testing programme in May, and while the misuse of this drug remains low, agencies will be now be able to closely monitor any fluctuations or increase in its use,” says Mr Nash.

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Criminal justice conversation continues

Justice Minister Andrew Little continues the conversation about how to fix the broken criminal justice system by announcing the advisory group visits to the regions.

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