Today in Politics - Tuesday, March 4
Free trade deal urged with Europe
High Commissioner to the UK and former Speaker Sir Lockwood Smith is calling for a free trade agreement between New Zealand and the European Union. Speaking to the National Farmers Union annual conference, he said New Zealand was one of just six World Trade Organisation countries without such an agreement. "Because of our experience with Asia and our integration into their economies, New Zealand offers Europe a unique opportunity as a partner."
Kiwis being shut out of Aussie allowance
Australia has moved to bar New Zealand expats from receiving an allowance - the first time those who moved there before 2001 have been discriminated against. Canberra removed welfare and other entitlements from Kiwis who have crossed the ditch since 2001 but "grandparented" them for those who arrived before that. The job commitment bonus, paid to those who move off a benefit into long-term employment, breaks that pattern.
ECan review due by December
A review of the future governance arrangements of Environment Canterbury is under way. Commissioners were appointed to ECan in 2010 after a critical external review of its performance. That was last year extended until 2016 "to protect the gains the commissioners have made", according to the Government. The review, to be completed by December, will be done by the Department of Internal Affairs and the Ministry for the Environment.
Cunliffe trust will hide his donors
Labour leader David Cunliffe is defending setting up a trust to hide the identity of donors to his leadership campaign. Prime Minister John Key yesterday accused Mr Cunliffe of being "tricky" and questioned what the Labour leader had to hide. Under the rules of the Labour leadership primary, the three contenders were allowed to accept donations confidentially, but still required to make a declaration to the Register of Pecuniary Interests.