PM's Press Conference 12/2/18: State Services, State Schools, States of War
At Monday's post-cabinet press conference Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was joined by State Services Minister Chris Hipkins to announce more State Services Commission oversight of CEO pay for crown entities. The move follows entities such as the New Zealand Superannuation Fund increasing CEO pay beyond recommendations.
The State Sector and Crown Entities Reform Bill will also require a code of conduct for crown entity boards and expand the State Services Commission's powers of inquiry.
Prime Minister Ardern also discussed reports NZ's role in Iraq had expanded beyond the training of Iraqi troops without the public being informed. She said she had received a quick briefing and the defence force felt they had not changed their mandate. She did not have enough information to comment definitively on some of the activities reported. No decision has been made on the renewal of the mission in November and the government is 'interested' is Australia's thinking in upcoming talks with Kevin Rudd.
An investigation in the 'Hit and Run' allegations regarding NZDF activities in Afghanistan is with the Attorney General.
Ardern and Hipkins (in his capacity as Education Minister) answered questions on plans for charter schools. They said they were working to allow the schools to continue to operate as special character schools (having to teach the curriculum, with registered teaching and normal levels of funding). Labour MPs who supported the schools we described as 'supportive' of this approach.
Other topics included a report into housing and hopes of expanding the government's state house building programme, decisions on permits of offshore oil drilling, NZ's response to the cyclone currently hitting Pacific islands, Ardern's recent meeting with Julie Bishop, and the upcoming unveiling of a caricature puppet of Ardern at the Backbencher pub.