Kia ora team, and welcome back to a brand new year! We're already nearing the end of January, and from international trips to movements back here on home soil, things are already busy. Whether you're back at work or still out enjoying the sunshine, tune in for all the latest in this year's first instalment of our weekly wrap!
Every summer, we read headline after headline about fatal car accidents and crashes on our roads. But it doesn't have to be this way – nor should it. Everyone should be able to use our roads and get home safely. That's why we announced an extension of our Safety Boost programme to prevent deaths and serious injuries on rural New Zealand roads.
The NZ Transport Agency will be investing $20 million to upgrade 670 kilometres of rural State highways across Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu-Wanganui and the West Coast this year. With this investment, we're installing safety upgrades such as rumble strips, roadside safety barriers in high-risk locations, shoulder widening, and improved signage. Safety improvements like these stop simple mistakes turning into tragedies.
This past week has seen the Prime Minister set off overseas to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. On the way, she stopped off in London to discuss free trade with Prime Minister Theresa May (and to get a quick caffeine fix at Allpress – set up in London by Kiwi Agnes Potter!)
A meeting of two Prime Ministers outside the iconic No. 10 Downing St.
At Davos, the focus was firmly on our Wellbeing Budget - the first of its kind in the world! It's been a great opportunity to champion how we're doing things differently, managing the economy responsibly while also putting people at its centre.
Jacinda Ardern promotes our Wellbeing Budget during a panel at the World Economic Forum. Photo by Boris Baldinger © World Economic Forum.
While we'll keep balancing the books, running a healthy surplus and spending within our means, we're going beyond just GDP. That means we'll also measure how well we reduce child poverty, raise living standards, and look after our environment.
It's not just better practice – it's the right thing to do. We're proud to take the lead, and show the people what a compassionate Government looks like.
The Prime Minister's visit to Davos also included a number of other meetings and talks, including talking trade and the Pacific Alliance with the Vice President of Peru, inequality with the CEO of Oxfam, mental health and climate change with Prince William, and joining Sir David Attenborough on a panel about climate issues. It's been a wonderful chance to promote what we're doing down in the Pacific to help look after our planet and turn the tide on climate change.
Jacinda Ardern talks to Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, at Davos.
It's off to Brussels to talk EU free trade agreement, before our PM will head home. It's been great to see New Zealand promoted in such a positive and progressive way on the world stage – and to see our PM welcomed with open arms by the international community.
Back home, this week saw one of the main events in our Labour calendar – the annual celebration at Rātana. Labour’s special relationship with the Rātana movement was sealed in 1936 when Tahupotiki Wiremu Rātana met Labour’s first Prime Minister Michael Joseph Savage at Parliament in 1936. Every year our MPs gather here to celebrate the legacy of T.W. Rātana and his teachings.
Nanaia Mahuta was one of the Labour MP's who travelled to Rātana for the celebrations.
With the PM away at Davos, we were represented by our Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, alongside a strong contingent of Labour MPs including Kelvin Davis, Jenny Salesa and Kris Faafoi. You can read the Deputy Prime Minister's full speech here.
That's all for this week – check back in next week for more events, announcements, and goings-on around the Beehive and beyond!