Today in politics: Saturday, November 9

Joyce off to spread the joy in China 

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce leaves for China today on a trade and education mission. He will visit Shanghai, Hangzhou, Beijing and Shenzhen.

The trip will include high-profile events aimed at "enhancing the New Zealand brand", with plans to raise awareness of our food, drink, technology, education and investment options. Since a free-trade deal with China in 2008, two-way trade has risen 75 per cent. Kiwi exports to China have tripled.

Bill covering insolvency practitioners advances

A bill that would require insolvency practitioners to be registered and meet minimum requirements has passed its second reading.

Commerce Minister Craig Foss says the Insolvency Practitioners Bill will improve the integrity of New Zealand's financial system and investor confidence. It would also give the Registrar of Companies greater powers of enforcement, including the ability to deregister those who did not meet requirements.

Labour leader promises a less taxing time

Labour says it will simplify tax for small businesses. Speaking to a business audience, Labour leader David Cunliffe said small businesses were spending too much time and money complying with a tax system that was not designed for them.

Labour's approach would build on an industry proposal of "no more than one hour, one return and one payment each month for income tax and GST compliance", Mr Cunliffe said.

An evening to remember in 1984

Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae hosted the press gallery last night and reminded members of another dinner for journalists at Government House three decades earlier.

"Sir David Beattie had an unexpected visitor in the form of the prime minister, Sir Robert Muldoon. The prime minister was seeking a dissolution of Parliament."

Sir David and Sir Robert may be long gone, but last night's guests included journalists around in 1984 as well. 

Fairfax Media