PM's Post-Cabinet Press Conference 12/3/18: Steel Diplomacy
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern opened her press conference with a summary of the government's Pacific mission, from which she had recently returned. She also indicated plans for the week including bilateral discussion with Viet Nam’s Prime Minister Nguyn Xuân Phúc (who is visiting New Zealand this week), the announcement of the terms of reference for an inquiry into Tomorrow's Schools, and the announcement of new Provincial Growth Fund projects.
Ardern was joined by Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker to discuss New Zealand's effort to get an exemption to steel and aluminium tariffs planned for the United States. They argued New Zealand's small trade in the metals, overall trade deficit to the US, and status as an ally meant were not the kind of nation that had been indicated as a target for the tariffs. Official were working on a 'range of different avenues' to present their case but under questioning Mr Parker implied they had not tried using any professional golfers. There was also discussion of New Zealander Chris Lidell's, believed to be a front-runner to be Donald Trump's new economic advisor.
Other topics discussed in questions included state-owned insurer Southern Response's use of private investigators in Canterbury earthquake claims, Foreign Minister Winston Peters' opinions about what there's enough evidence to accuse Russia of, work towards a trade agreement with the EU and our attitude to their favoured dispute resolution process, New Zealanders going to Syria to fight IS, work towards an investigation into the 'Hit and Run' allegations ("closer"), allegations of sexual misconduct at a Labour Party 'Summer School' camp, the EPA's approach to airports still holding illegal foams for fire controls, the decorousness of ministers arguing with the opposition on Twitter, Jenny Salesa's travel expenses, the use of 'value capture' as a fundraising method for local government, police pursuits, women's reproductive health in foreign aid, and the possibility of New Zealand involvement in the 'Quad' group to counter Chinese influence in the Pacific.
Please note video is in two parts and finishes before the end of the press conference