The Finance Minister has unveiled an unexpectedly large surplus and while that's good news economically, it brings with it other political pressures. Alongside the five and half billon dollars surplus the results for the 2018 19 financial year showed positive indicators for wage growth and employment.
New Zealand First this week floated the notion of a "Kiwi Values" contract which immigrants would be required to sign up to on arriving in the country. The proposal was raised at the party's annual conference and then backed by its leader Winston Peters, but has won very little support within Parliament. RNZ political reporter Craig McCulloch has more.
Amid the flurry of stories about leaks, document dumps and the PM in New York, the government made the last push to pass the contentious Electoral Integrity Amendment Bill - better known as the waka jumping bill.
With a major visit to the United Nations on the horizon, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has spent the past week clearing the decks before her departure. She's sacked a Minister and publicly squashed several coalition disputes, but the Opposition says she's just papering over the cracks. RNZ political reporter Craig McCulloch has compiled this report.
While differences between Labour and New Zealand First on policies like the refugee quota and three strikes have been aired publicly, there may more trouble on the horizon over industrial relations law.
The New Zealand First leader blindsided the Prime Minister this week when he scuppered Labour's plans to lift the refugee quota to 1500. Winston Peters had just landed in Nauru for the Pacific Islands forum, when he was asked about New Zealand's offer to take 150 refugees from Nauru and Manus Islands. He said that offer remained on the table - but in terms of permanently lifting New Zealand's refugee quota, it had to look after its own people first.
The controversy over the leak of National leader Simon Bridges' travel expenses took on a life of its own as the week drew to an end, with the Speaker pulling the pin on the QC inquiry he originally ordered.
The furore around "free speech on campuses" reached New Zealand this week after Massey University cancelled a speaking engagement by former National leader Don Brash. The move drew widespread condemnation from across the political spectrum and sparked debate over the limits of public expression. The firestorm culminated in a showdown between protesters and a jeering audience at a separate event at Auckland University later in the week. RNZ's political reporter Craig McCulloch has a look back...
In one of his final actions as acting Prime Minister, Winston Peters, ordered top ministers to put their heads together to find a way to deal with the recent spike in deaths from synthetic cannabis. Provisional figures from the coroner show between 40 - 45 people died in the year since last June - in the previous five years there were two confirmed deaths. Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell, talks to the experts about the drug and what can be done about the problem.
This time last year Bill English was Prime Minister, Andrew Little was Labour leader with Jacinda Ardern as his deputy. Metiria Turei and James Shaw led the Greens. Three other parties supported the National government. Fast forward to July 2018 and the National MP Simon Bridges is the Leader of the Opposition, nine months into this parliamentary term.
The Government has flagged big plans for New Zealand's mental health and addiction workforce. But is it doing anything to ensure there are the right people - and enough of them - to fill the gaps in it?
The Government is being accused of dragging its feet over its pledge to convert its massive vehicle fleet to electric. Following the election, the coalition parties committed to rolling over the 25-thousand public vehicles, where possible, to emissions-free by 2025. But documents, released under the Official Information Act, show government organisations have been reluctant to make the change. Here's our political reporter Craig McCulloch.
Business confidence has slumped, and the finger of blame is being pointed at the Government. National's finance spokesperson Amy Adams accused the Finance Minister of being anti-business, and running the economy into the ground. Mr Robertson rejects that.
July the first marks the beginning of the new financial year - and with it comes a raft of changes heralded by the new Government. Its flagship families policy will deliver a boost for low and middle-income earners. New parents will get another four weeks leave and a baby allowance. And superannuitants and most beneficiaries are in line for a winter payment. The Government will be hoping all that distracts from the Auckland fuel tax which kicks in on the same day.
New Zealand is now in formal negotiations with the European Union to nail down a Free Trade Agreement, with negotiators to meet in Brussels in about three weeks time. The EU is New Zealand's third largest trading partner, with two-way trade worth more than 20-billion dollars. What's in it for New Zealand, and what are the challenges that could get in the way of the deal getting over the line?
The apologies have been coming in thick and fast over the last week after the Prime Minister's chief scientific advisor delivered a king hit to the country's meth testing industry. It's now clear hundreds of Housing New Zealand's tenants have been needlessly kicked out of their homes and blacklisted, while in the private sector landlords coughed up many millions of dollars to decontaminate their homes, because it was wrongly assumed that meth residue posed a risk to people's health. An...