Notes from the Prime Minister’s Weekly Press conference
Cabinet met this morning to accommodate the visit of Indonesian President Joko Widodo
In her bilateral with the President, Jacinda Ardern said she would be emphasising the important of the relationship with Indonesia, but NZ wanted to expand trade. The PM said she would be raising NZ’s human rights concerns.
The PM ran through the week’s event including the visit of Obama. The PM would hold a private meeting with the former President and she hoped to get some insights from him.
On US steel and aluminium tariffs, Ardern said she had written to President Trump on the issue to put the case for NZ’s exemption.
Cabinet discussed the “Year and a Day” provisions in the Crime Act and decided to remove it. The provision was outdated, and it was one of the issues raised by families of victims in the CTV building as a barrier to prosecution.
The provision in law did not allow justice to be done. The previous Govt had sought advice on it, but the new Government was now treating it as priority.
Questions included the operation of Plunket and nurses in general.
Ardern said the Government valued nurses but the pay negotiations were a matter for the nurses representatives and their employers. The prospect of nurse strike action was raised, but Arden said he would not be inserting herself into the negotiations and did want to be seen to be interfering.
Oil and Gas
The Government was actively considering the management of the oil and gas Block Offer process, and if and where they might take place for the following year. It was part of the normal decision-making process. Ardern said a decision would be made in the next few weeks or months.
Ardern said she had taken time out to receive a petition on banning new oil and gas exploration because it was important to do so.
Decisions on oil and gas exploration would take into account environmental and economic impacts, as well as the Government’s contractual obligations and the place of gas as a “transitional” fuel.
Ardern said she was not surprised Obama would not be holding a press conference in NZ as he had moved on to different roles. She was looking forward to meeting a man who had been inspirational to many and who would have many insights. Ardern said she would be happy to share what happened at her meeting to assuage the disappointed media.
Official Information Act
Ardern said there were a few teething issues with the move to open government, but the Government was looking to the more proactive release of material.
Ardern said very early on NZ had expressed its concern about the Salisbury incident. She said the UK PM Theresa May had thanked NZ for its support. She defended the time line of events leading to NZ ruling out restarting trade talks with Russia.