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News and Updates from Bill English

28 July 2014
Data Futures Forum delivers final report

The Data Futures Forum has delivered a range of thought-provoking recommendations on the use of data in New Zealand, Finance Minister Bill English and Statistics Minister Nicky Wagner say.

The forum, an advisory group comprising public and private sector experts, delivered its third and final report to the Government today.

“It shows New Zealand has the opportunity to be a world leader in the sharing of data held by government, with high ethical and privacy standards,” Mr English says.

The Data Futures Forum was established in February to consider how to unlock opportunities through greater data sharing. The initiative is part of the Government’s wider programme to deliver better results from public spending.

“We are already seeing the benefits that more intelligent use of data can deliver – for example the actuarial valuation of the welfare system is supporting early interventions that avoid bigger costs later.”

Statistics Minister Nicky Wagner says the Data Futures Forum has come up with a number of interesting ideas.

“With the opportunity around the greater use of data goes responsibility. We’re aware of the genuine concerns about the way data is shared and managed. This report has made concrete recommendations that will be of interest to New Zealanders and I encourage them to read it,” Ms Wagner says.

“We thank the Forum members, under the leadership of John Whitehead, for their efforts. The Government will fully consider the report before responding.”

The report is available here: https://www.nzdatafutures.org.nz/.

22 July 2014
Local regulations go under microscope

The Government says it is accepting nearly all of the recommendations the Productivity Commission has made on ways to improve local regulations.

“The quality of local regulation impacts significantly on New Zealand’s economic and social wellbeing.  It affects all aspects of our lives from resource and building consents through to food safety and liquor licensing,” says Regulatory Reform Minister, Bill English.

Mr English says the Government is determined to ensure the local regulatory system is functioning as efficiently and effectively as possible.

“That’s why we asked the commission to provide advice on how we can improve how functions are allocated at a local level and ensure there is adequate resourcing and clear directions on the local and national management of regulations. 

“I’m pleased to announce that we are accepting all but two of the Commission’s recommendations to improve the local regulatory system. 

“The Department of Internal Affairs will work with other government agencies whose policies and legislation impact on local government to improve consultation and minimise any unintended negative impacts.

“Treasury will work with key agencies to consider how the regulatory planning process can be used to provide better information about future regulatory proposals affecting local government,” Mr English says.

Local Government Minister Paula Bennett is also establishing a new Rules Reduction Taskforce that will identify and address bureaucratic and nonsensical rules.

She says the Government has already made some changes to improve the way regulation works at the local level.

“The Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012 requires councils to coordinate with other monitoring and enforcement agencies.  Changes proposed by the freshwater and resource management reforms will improve the delivery of local regulation in those areas,” says Mrs Bennett.

The Government response to the Commission’s ‘Towards Better Local Government’ can be found at: http://www.dia.govt.nz/diawebsite.nsf/wpg_URL/Resource-material-Our-Policy-Advice-Areas-Local-Government-Policy?OpenDocument

21 July 2014
Good progress on Better Public Service targets

Long-term welfare dependency is reducing and more young people are achieving higher qualifications under the Government’s Better Public Services initiative, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman say.

The Government today published the July update of BPS targets, which confirms more good progress in tackling some of the most challenging issues facing New Zealanders, however making headway in other areas is slower, Mr English says.

“The Government is committed to making progress on the really difficult issues that affect our communities and families, and particularly the most vulnerable,” he says.

“Taxpayers spend billions of dollars a year on public services to help their fellow New Zealanders and this Government is determined to ensure they get what they pay for. Our focus on reducing welfare dependency, increasing achievement in schools and reducing crime require government agencies to find better solutions and to work with others to implement them. 

“We are prepared to spend money on effective programmes which change lives, because what works for the community also works for the Government’s books.”

Read full article

18 July 2014
Australian Treasurer Hockey to visit NZ next week

Australian Treasurer Joe Hockey will visit New Zealand between 21 and 23 July – his first visit to this country since becoming Treasurer last year, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“I’m looking forward to hosting Mr Hockey for our annual bilateral meeting,” Mr English says. “We’ve enjoyed a strong and positive personal relationship going back a number of years and I’m looking forward to catching up with him once again.

“New Zealand’s economic, trade and investment ties with Australia are closer than with any other country. We share a number of common opportunities and challenges, which I’m keen to discuss with Mr Hockey.

“The visit will follow New Zealand’s attendance at the Leadership Group of the Business 20 in Sydney this week - a forum that brought together business leaders from across the G20.

“The New Zealand Government appreciates Australia – through its G20 presidency – providing the opportunity for New Zealand to attend a number of G20-related meetings this year,” Mr English says.

During his New Zealand visit, Mr Hockey will visit Christchurch to learn about progress with the city’s rebuild.

In Wellington, he will meet Prime Minister John Key and other ministers, along with a number of business leaders.

Mr Hockey and Mr English will address a Trans-Tasman Business Circle lunch in Wellington on 23 July, before Mr Hockey returns to Australia.

15 July 2014
English attends B20 business forum in Sydney

Finance Minister Bill English will attend the B20 forum in Sydney this week, where around 300 business leaders from around the world will finalise private sector policy recommendations for the G20 leaders’ summit later this year.

Australia, as host of the G20 this year, has invited New Zealand to attend as a guest alongside the G20 members.

“New Zealand strongly supports Australia’s approach to the G20 presidency, including its focus on promoting strong economic growth and employment, and making the global economy more resilient to deal with future shocks,” Mr English says.

“Such significant opportunities do not come along often. We appreciate Australia providing this opportunity for New Zealand – both at a political and business level – to showcase our country at an important international forum.”

New Zealand’s delegation to the B20 will include more than a dozen business leaders.

The forum, which runs from tomorrow until Friday, will include a keynote address from Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. It will also include sessions focused on driving growth and jobs and on maximising global investment.