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April 30, 2018 | by  | in Politics |
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Post Cabinet Round Up

Fresh back from her European trip, the PM announced significant “culture changes” to WINZ are incoming, spoke about trade talks with the EU and responded to accusations of spying by DOC. I got too nervous to ask her about Syria.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that an overhaul of the Welfare System was “imminent”. “I have seen too many stories as an MP in my local area which demonstrate that decisions have been made that haven’t taken into account the human side of some of the cases at play.” Scrapping sanctions, when welfare recipients are financially penalized for non-compliance to certain welfare obligations, were one of the major changes on the cards.  The changes are likely to be part of the details in the budget to be rolled out in two weeks time.

Ardern was cautiously optimistic about a free trade agreement developing with the European Union as well as an individual agreement with the UK post-Brexit. She came out of talks with French President Emmanuel Macron “positive about our position”. Macron was particularly receptive to environmental protections, mentioning his desire to “embed environmental regulations within a potential trade agreement”. The aim of the trip to Europe was to secure a mandate for formal free trade negotiations with the EU next month.

The PM also responded to complaints regarding the Department of Conservation’s use of the controversial security firm Thompson and Clark to monitor monitor anti-1080 activists. There is currently an ongoing enquiry by the State Services Commission into the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment using the firm to spy on several activist groups. She clarified that the firm was only being used to “monitor threats on social media”, saying there was a distinction between this and monitoring individuals.

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