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Trans-Tasman partnership behind cocaine bust

Police Minister Stuart Nash says the seizure of 190 kilograms of cocaine in Auckland demonstrates the strength of partnership between Australian and New Zealand law enforcement agencies in preventing the harm drugs cause in our communities.

“Targeting transnational organised crime is a priority for the Government,” Mr Nash says.

“The Government’s unprecedented investment in Police in Budget 2018 supports the deployment of 500 extra Police officers to disrupt, deter and dismantle organised criminal networks and reduce harm in our communities. The Budget also funded 127 extra Customs staff.

“Drugs like cocaine cause harm and fuel organised crime networks. I would like to congratulate Australian Federal Police, New Zealand Police and New Zealand Customs staff for their great work in preventing these drugs reaching their destination.

“This operation highlights the key role New Zealand plays internationally in disrupting transnational criminal networks.

“It also showcases the fantastic work Customs and Police staff are doing every day to protect and keep our communities safe.”

Minister of Customs Kris Faafoi said he was pleased to see the focus on consignments transhipping through New Zealand had been effective.

“Additional funding this Government provided in 2018 is aimed at disrupting drugs earlier in the supply chain to prevent harm to the community - this seizure has stopped what would have been a very significant amount of harm.

“This is a good example of what we can achieve when police, border and overseas agencies work together.”

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Extra Police constables deployed

Seventy-nine new Police constables will be deployed across New Zealand following the graduation of a new wing of recruits.

Police Minister Stuart Nash has congratulated the recruits of Wing 320 at the formal graduation parade at the Royal New Zealand Police College. He has also thanked the wing patron, Olympian Rob Waddell, for the support, mentoring and advice he offered during the 16-week training.

“This is the thirteenth recruit wing to graduate since the government took office. A new recruit wing graduates every month. We have deployed 941 new constables across the country. The extra Police in our neighbourhoods mean we can increase the focus on crime prevention and building safer communities.

“The Coalition Agreement with New Zealand First has a commitment to strive towards 1800 extra Police over three years. In addition there will be 485 extra support staff. We need to train an average of 1000 Police every year over this period to take account of attrition of current Police. The attrition rate is running at around five per cent and is one of the lowest in the wider state sector.

“Today’s new constables will be deployed across all Police districts, with the largest cohort of 27 recruits posted to the three Police districts in greater Auckland.

“Female constables make up 26 percent of the wing. More than 12 percent of recruits identify as Maori, more than seven percent as Pasifika, and six per cent as Asian. The youngest recruit is 18 and the oldest is 46. At least twelve new constables were born outside New Zealand and share seven foreign languages between them.

“Many of the new officers bring a strong tradition of volunteer service in their communities. It includes volunteer firefighters, search and rescue and civil defence experts, surf lifesavers, counsellors with Lifeline, the Salvation Army, Oranga Tamaraki and others who have worked to protect wildlife in conservation areas. 

“I am proud of the depth of diversity, talent, and commitment to community service which our new constables already demonstrate. These new officers will help us to meet our goals of reducing victimisation and bringing down offending and imprisonment rates.

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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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