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March 19, 2018 | by  | in Politics |
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Political Round-Up

Bridges 2020: National Announces New Lineup

National Party leader Simon Bridges has released new party rankings after a reshuffle. Bridges said that this caucus has the talent and expertise to hold the current Government to account for its first hundred days in office.

“It is a stronger mix of former ministers and senior MPs alongside emerging ones who have proven to me that they can listen to New Zealanders and develop policies for the 2020s.”

MPs who ran for the National leadership alongside Bridges have received promotions. Former Justice Minister Amy Adams has been appointed spokesperson for Finance, rising to number three on the list. Bridges said he is confident that Adams has the ability to generate plans for housing without the need for tax increases.

“The National Party will fight these changes and Amy is the best person to lead that effort.”

Women are well represented in National’s new line-up, with eight out of the 20 spokesperson positions being held by women. Comparatively, just six of Ardern’s Ministers are women, and Labour has often in the past severely criticised National for a lack of gender diversity. Bridges has pushed back against these criticisms in this reshuffle, with over a third of his shadow cabinet being women.

“The team I have announced today reflects the strength and talents of the women in our caucus.”


Ardern Promises Additional Support for Pacific Islands

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern engaged in diplomatic talks with several Pacific Island nations between 4 and 9 of March. She was accompanied by her partner Clarke Gayford and many diplomatic dignitaries from New Zealand.

The objective of the New Zealand Mission was to engage in talks about the damage done by Cyclone Gita, and the role that New Zealand has in Pacific Island economies. Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Winston Peters, said that this delegation was a way of upholding and recognising the responsibilities that New Zealand has to its citizens in the Islands. He also voiced fears that foreign investment in the region has the possibility to hinder diplomatic relations with the small island nations.

Ardern revealed that diplomatic talks between Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands, and Niue progressed well, and that they will receive significant boosts in aid and social development expenditure.

Samoa will receive 9.5 million dollars for the rebuild after Cyclone Gita. In Tonga, the Mission discussed the nation’s debt to the Chinese Government.


Ngāti Rangi Settle Century Old Claims

After almost 150 years, Central North Island iwi Ngāti Rangi have signed a settlement with the Crown, resolving neglected Treaty of Waitangi claims during a ceremony at Raketepauma Marae, in the Ruapehu District.

In the redress, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Andrew Little delivered a Crown apology to Ngāti Rangi. He officially recognised the Whangaehu River and stated that 17 million dollars will be paid to Ngāti Rangi to rectify the lack of opportunities for economic and commercial development for the iwi.

“Through this settlement the Crown aims to rebuild its relationship with Ngāti Rangi, and reinforce that it is based on mutual respect and honour.”

According to the Deed of Settlement of Historical Claims, the Crown had exercised a great deal of disrespect towards Ngāti Rangi since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. Hundreds of hectares of land did not pass through the Native Land Court, and the Crown has never sought to identify the customary owners of the land or pay them compensation. Ngāti Rangi were excluded from having their say on the matter until the late 1980s.

Today, Ngati Rangi own 13,500 acres, a fifth of the original land they owned back in 1900.

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