Kia ora and welcome back to our weekly wrap of all things Beehive and beyond.
This week we saw:
- The Arms Amendment Bill pass its first reading;
- The Prime Minister visit China for bilateral talks;
- The Te Hono Volume to Value forum in Hamilton;
- And more...
The Government continued to carry forward the spirit of unity and community that New Zealand has shown since the March 15 terror attack, moving quickly to get military style weapons out of our communities.
The Arms (Prohibited Firearms, Magazines, and Parts) Amendment Bill passed its First Reading, and the views of hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders were heard at Select Committee.
The principle of this legislation is very straightforward. There is overwhelming consensus on the principle of the legislation, which is to permanently ban military style assault weapons and rifles. The Government is moving quickly to remove these unwanted weapons.
The groups at the Select Committee spoke on behalf of tens of thousands of farmers, hunters, recreational users, gun dealers, gun clubs, as well as representatives of the city of Christchurch, the Islamic community and legal and medical experts.
On Monday, the Prime Minister was in Beijing, China to meet with President Xi and Premier Li. Jacinda Ardern said that the terror attack in Christchurch highlighted why our global relationships matter so much. The trip was a success, with leaders discussing how to further strengthen the trade relationship between our countries.
A raft of key policies also came into effect on 1 April, including a tax incentive for NZ businesses investing in Research & Development, an increase to the minimum wage, and an increase to the Superannuation and Veteran's Pension – read more here.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister joined primary sector leaders, as well as fellow MPs Nanaia Mahuta, Damien O’Connor and Jamie Strange, at the Te Hono Volume to Value Forum in Hamilton. It was a great opportunity to talk about growing the value of our primary exports, and how the Government can help drive sustainable growth in the farming sector.
In her speech, Jacinda Ardern talked about how New Zealand can be an example to the world, in producing high quality, ethical products, and of the value of kaitiakitanga – stewardship of the environment.
And on Friday the Prime Minister announced the selection of the Erebus Memorial Design. The design Te Paerangi Ataata - Sky Song, by Wellington firm Studio Pacific Architecture, artist Jason O’Hara and musician Warren Maxwell, has been selected. This project reflects the enormity of a tragedy that disrupted our sense of identity and security. It is a way for New Zealanders to honour the loss of 257 lives in the 1979 air accident in Antarctica.
This week the Government also focused on the response to the recent West Coast flooding. Many agencies and volunteers are engaged in the clean-up of the Fox River bed. The river has been successfully diverted from the landfill to make sure rubbish keeps clear of our rivers.