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Focus On Politics

RNZ New Zealand

A weekly analysis of significant political issues.

A weekly analysis of significant political issues.
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Wellington, United States


A weekly analysis of significant political issues.






04 474 1999


Focus on Politics for 18 May 2018

The Finance Minister, Grant Robertson, delivered the coalition Government's first budget this week, spreading the spending widely, but also keeping three-billion dollars in the kitty. Our Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell takes a look at the budget's winners and losers.


Focus on Politics for 11 May 2018

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has promised her Government will bring down the rates of child poverty, and wants to address one of the key drivers of that - family violence. New Zealand's domestic violence rate is staggering high - with the police attending an incident every five minutes in 2016. The Government this week announced a big funding boost for the providers of family violence services around the country - but is it enough? Here's our Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell.


Focus on Politics for 4 May 2018

While the Finance Minister Grant Robertson puts the final touches on his first Budget, the blame game has already begun. The government's been dampening down expectations as it comes under scrutiny about what it's going to deliver, compared with what it promised voters. Part of the strategy is to lay some of the blame at the feet of its predecessor - National.


Focus on Politics for 27 April 2018

Budget day is looming and political parties are starting to position themselves. Coalition government ministers are claiming big funding holes in several portfolios - one of those is education. Our political editor, Jane Patterson, spoke to the Education Minister Chris Hipkins about the challenges he's facing in his portfolio.


Focus on Politics for 20 April 2018

The Green Party finally has a new female co-leader after several months, but Marama Davidson has her work cut out for her. Since the election there has been fierce debate within the party's membership about decisions made under leader James Shaw and accusations of a departure from the Green Party kaupapa. The party is teetering dangerously close to the five percent threshold in political polls, the most tenuous its survival has looked in more than a decade. Here's our Deputy Political...


Focus on Politics for 13 April 2018

From the moment she became leader, Jacinda Ardern, has made it clear that tackling climate change is one of her primary focuses. So it should have been no surprise this week that she announced her Government would not be granting any new offshore oil and gas exploration permits. But as our Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell, reports some in the oil industry claim they were caught unawares.


Focus on Politics for 23 March 2018

The blow up between New Zealand First Cabinet minister Shane Jones and Air New Zealand led to extraordinary exchanges between politicians and business leaders this week. Mr Jones' call for a cull of the board, starting at the top, earned him a Prime Ministerial rebuke. At a broader level it's also highlighted potential tensions between Labour and its governing partners. Here's our political editor, Jane Patterson.


Focus on Politics for 16 March 2018

The world has been watching as the UK and Russia face off over the poisoning of a former Russian double agent. The leaders of France, Germany, the United States and the United Kingdom have issued a joint statement condemning the act. Meanwhile, the US has imposed sanctions against Russian individuals and countries accused of meddling in the US Presidential campaign. Closer to home there are a number of other foreign matters the government has on its radar. Our political editor Jane...


Focus on Politics for 9 March 2018

Jacinda Ardern has spent the week island-hopping in the Pacific - a whirlwind trip, meeting four nations' leaders and dishing out millions in aid. It was Ms Ardern's first trip to the region as Prime Minister - starting in Samoa and finishing in the Cook Islands. Here's our political reporter Craig McCulloch.


Focus on Politics for 2 March 2018

The National Party has a new leader - Simon Bridges. He's 41, married with three young children and while brought up in West Auckland, is currently the MP for Tauranga. Mr Bridges was a senior minister under John Key and Bill English, and now has the challenge of readying the party to adapt to opposition, and take on Jacinda Ardern and Labour in 2020. Here's our political editor, Jane Patterson.


Focus on Politics for 23 February 2018

The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Gita ripped through central New Zealand this week, cutting off communities, closing roads and wreaking havoc for the upper south island. It's not the first bad storm of 2018, and will not be the last as the effects of climate change are felt in more ways than one. Our Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell, looks at the resilience of New Zealand's infrastructure and what is being done to adapt to the changing climate.


Focus on Politics for 16 February 2018

For the second time in less than 18 months, the National Party is in the throes of a leadership contest. The party's leader, Bill English, announced on Tuesday that he would resign at the end of this month, not just as leader, but from Parliament altogether. And now the race is on to see who can get the support for the top job. Here's our Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell.


Focus on Politics for 9 February 2018

This year's commemorations at Waitangi have been widely heralded as a huge success - there were record crowds enjoying the music, food and korero. Politicians are formally welcomed to Waitangi on February the 5th, the day before Waitangi Day and in a break with recent tradition, this year the powhiri was moved away from Te Tii Marae and was held at the marae on the treaty grounds. Our Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell, was at Waitangi.


Focus on Politics for Friday 2 February 2018

Two pieces of legislation on medicinal cannabis have been before Parliament this week, raising questions about who should be allowed to grow and access the drug. A Government bill, which lays the groundwork for a regulated medicinal cannabis industry, passed its first reading. However, another bill which allows people to grow their own, failed. Here's our political reporter Mei Heron


Focus On Politics for 26 January 2018

The Government is wasting no time as the political year begins, rolling out announcements as its self-imposed 100-day deadline looms. The week also included the annual pilgrimage to Ratana Pa - the first time for Jacinda Ardern in her role as Prime Minister and Labour Party leader.


Focus on Politics for 22 December 2017

It's been a whirlwind year for the Labour party leader and now Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern.


Focus on Politics for 15 December 2017

The National Party is finding its feet in opposition after nine years in Government. After winning 44 percent of the party vote at September's election, seven percentage points more than Labour - National did not win the support of New Zealand First so lost the reins of power. Our Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell, spoke to National's leader Bill English about the events of recent months.


Focus on Politics for 8 December 2017

While different parties have flagged work schemes for the young unemployed in the past, talk about a 'work for the dole' programme from the New Zealand First minister Shane Jones has put the cat among the political pigeons. Labour moved quickly to assure New Zealanders no-one would be forced to work for the benefit rate, but they would get the minimum wage. Shane Jones' pronouncement also sparked a debate about the position of various government parties on welfare sanctions. Here's our...


Focus on Politics for 1 December 2017

The Government came under fire this week for refusing to release documents put together during the coalition talks. The 33-pages of notes are locked in a safe in the New Zealand First offices, and the Prime Minister says she hasn't looked at them since before she moved into the Beehive. The coalition government is pledging to be more open and transparent than previous administrations - but will it really be any different? Here's our Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell.


Focus on Politics for 24 November 2017

Tax was front and centre during the election campaign, particularly as it was the main focus of National's attack-ads on Labour. At the heart of this was Labour's policy to put together a Working Group to review the tax system. The Government this week unveiled the terms of reference for the review, but National says they are so narrow the outcome is obvious. Here's our Deputy Political Editor, Chris Bramwell.


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