This is it - the HMNZS Otago about to set sail to Tokelau. It will take us roughly 24 hours to get there. We have a day on each atoll before heading back. Little known fact - Tokelau is a territory of New Zealand, and the people of Tokelau are citizens of New Zealand. It’s been 15 years since a Kiwi PM visited, so I made a commitment a while ago that I would go and hear for myself whether the people were still happy with our relationship and the work we need to keep doing together. Spoke last night with Ministers who have been at Ihumātao, and will keep working to support talks and to help find a solution. That will continue. Otherwise, I’ll be back online properly in a few days.
If you’re going to watch a Netball World Cup final at 4am, you should do it with a bit of company I reckon. PS this is not a post FaceApp photo...it’s just really early #GoTheSilverFerns!
A belated post Australia post! Brilliant two days including meetings with PM Scott Morrison, the Governor and Premier of Victoria, a speech at Melbourne Town Hall and some really excellent NZ Trade and Enterprise events. May have ended up staying a couple of hours longer than we expected (had a wee plane issue) but all worth it!
Spent the day around Miranda, Thames and Paeroa talking bird life, water ways, the use of seaweed in agriculture and finally, mental health and well being in rural communities. Just got home to discover a gift from one of my visits - a hand painted homage to Paddles the cat!
That was undeniably an incredible game. I think as a nation we all aged a year in that super over. Congratulations to England. And to the Black Caps, I feel nothing but pride. What a team.
Here we go! #backtheblackcaps
Opening of Avonside Girls, Shirley Boys and Ferndale School Satellite this morning. It included some of the traditional ‘opening’ activities like tree plantings, and some less traditional items (like a giant mosaic of my face!) Thanks to the students who took me on a tour with @chrishipkinsmp and @williams.poto I loved it.
Today I took part in something that is a rare privilege - the swearing in of a new Minister with the Governor General. Huge congratulations to Poto Williams who joins our team of Ministers, and to Kris Faafoi who moves into Cabinet. I’m proud of the people who represent NZ everyday in this Government.
Spent the day today talking about the health of the Waipa and Waikato river (amongst other things) with Waikato Tainui, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Ruakawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Te Arawa River Trust and finally with Ngāti Hauā (my old stomping ground, which meant a chance to catch up with old friends.) Te Ao Marama Maaka and I used to serve together on the Morrinsville College Board of Trustees. Twenty years might have passed since then, but both of us refuse to believe it!
Planting trees with @treesthatcount this morning in Wellington, including the ones kiwis gifted to the royal household to mark the arrival of baby Archie. I can’t think of a better gift than 10 native trees for future generations to climb in!
Such a treat to spend the day in Mt Albert. Thanks Westmere, Grey Lynn and Owairaka Primary, Ferndale Kindergarten and Marist College for such lovely visits.
I may be smiling but about an hour earlier I was not enjoying the first birthday cake making experience (like just about every parent I know!) I recommend cakes that you can legitimately cover in coconut - it hides almost everything. Happy Birthday wee Neve!
Doing what so many parents have done before me. Waited till baby was in bed before trying to magic up a passable cake for the big first birthday. Wish me luck. PS To the many, many people who have wished our family well, sent knitted goods and passed on a piece of wisdom about parenthood over the past year - thank you. It truly takes a village (and someone in said village may get a call if I don’t sort this cake!)
We are lucky enough to have 1.2 million volunteers in New Zealand who give their time to all of us. This week is volunteer week and a chance to say thank you (my small version of that was spreading a little cupcake love to the wonderful people who bake weekly for groups like neonatal units ,Women’s refuge and those who are without homes.) Not sure I can claim it to be my baking when I cooked it, but it came from a box mix. But it’s the thought that counts, right?
Another big day at the Fieldays talking everything from mental health, innovations like turning plastic waste into farming products and farm management plans. Great to have some of our MPs dodge the fog to get there too!
Apparently the Royal NZ Navy Band found the giant green novelty scissors almost as amusing as I did. A real honour to open the 51st Agricultural Fieldays though!
Despite appearances, this is not an auction but rather the KPMG Agri- business breakfast at the Fieldays this morning. I’m in the Waikato (and my old hometown) for the next three days. Prepare yourself for a lot of nostalgic posts! #fieldays2019
The weather held for a brief moment this morning while we announced the first stage of the roll out of cameras on commercial fishing vessels. We’re starting with the area we know Maui dolphins are present to try and ensure compliance and better protect them (we’re also putting out a new threat management plan for Maui and Hector’s dolphins this month, so watch this space!)
Been a while since I presented a good old power point - but this has been the third time in a week. Yesterday it was in West Auckland and today in Marlborough for the Chamber of Commerce and all on the well being budget - how we came up with it, what it means for New Zealand, and why it’s an investment that will save money (and lives) in the long term. Thanks for having me!
Big day in Auckland visiting mental health services and talking about the budget, then home to put Neve to bed (and get pooed on in the process) and now back at parliament for more post budget debate. If anyone suffers insomnia, we’ll be live till midnight tonight!
Someone asked me last night what I was most proud of from the budget we just announced - I’d say it was that we took on the hard stuff like mental health and we did something big that will make a difference. It was definitely a budget for the people.
Big day! I’ll pop back online a little later on to share some of the announcements from today’s budget (or if you can spare the time, tune into parliament TV at 2pm and hear it all first hand!)
Meet Lucy. Lucy is one of the organisers of the School Strike for Climate that’s happening around the country today. Caught up with her yesterday along with some of the other students involved to talk climate change, and especially the Zero Carbon Bill. There’s a lot more work to do, but right now building as much support as we can for our goal of limiting warming to no more that 1.5 degrees is really important, and that’s exactly what our bill does. Meanwhile...thanks for the plant! Promise to plant it at premier house, next to the beehives!
Today the Pike River families finally witnessed the breaching of the 30m seal and the re-entry into the Pike River mine drift. When I saw these pictures from the site this afternoon I could only imagine how the families would have felt, having waited all these years. The work now continues to learn as much as we can about what happened at Pike, and to do that safely.
Amongst a few other options, Neve has settled on this pretty worn and misshapen bear....the same one I had as a baby. The benefits of having a Nana who hoards!
We said one of the things we wanted to do this budget was break the cycle of family violence in New Zealand. Today we started with the biggest single investment to address family and sexual violence made in a budget, ever. It will mean we finally start trying to prevent harm, make sure victims have the support they need, and better coordinate the work we do as a government. Jan Logie has done a huge amount of work on this one (thanks Jan!) supported by all the team. Now we start.
Behind the scenes of the Auckland Writers Festival. Feeling a bit of a fraud, but apparently one chapter in the 2017 election summary ‘Stardust and Substance’ means I get to be here. Lots of appreciation to all of the ACTUAL writers who are here!
Couldn’t quite get away with a pink t-shirt today (just landed in Singapore for meetings with the President and Prime Minister) so the old pink jacket of solidarity will hopefully do instead! No matter where you are (or if you’re in a pink t-shirt or not) we all have a role to play in ending bullying....and spreading just a little bit more kindness. #pinkshirtdaynz
Getting ready to leave France and trying to think of how to summarise the last few days. Ultimately, the ‘Christchurch Call’ to action was all about trying to prevent violent extremism and terrorism online, and ensure what happened in New Zealand to our muslim community never happens again. Along with France, we brought countries and tech companies together for the first time and had them commit to doing things differently. This is a first step, but a really important one. (Pictures cover meetings with civil society, tech companies, the summit itself, and bilateral meetings with the King of Jordan, and the Prime Ministers of Canada and the UK)
For Mother’s Day we all got together for a pre Budget announcement! We’re extending Housing First by an extra 1000 places. Housing First doesn’t just house people, it breaks the cycle of chronic homelessness by providing support with whatever other needs someone may have like mental health or drug and alcohol issues. With the extra investment we’re putting in this budget, Housing First will have now have a total of 2700 places across Auckland, Rotorua, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Northland, Nelson, Tauranga and Hawke’s Bay. This is exactly the kind of thing a well being budget is all about. Happy Mother’s Day again! And thanks for having us Vision West.
Just when you thought you couldn’t be any more grateful for your mum than you already are, you have your own child and your appreciation for your mum keeps growing with every day that passes. Happy Mother’s Day to all the mums, mums of mums, mums being mums by themselves, and all those who play mum for those who need one. I feel incredibly grateful to those who help me be a mother, but I’m especially grateful for my own.
Deeply saddened to hear that Sir Hekenukumai Busby has passed away. Sir Hek was a master of waka building and celestial navigation. It was my honour to be at the investiture for Sir Hek at Waitangi earlier this year. I will never forget the passion and love on display for him. He gave so much to the next generation and in turn, they honoured him. I wish you well on your final journey Sir Hek. May the waters be calm and the stars guide the way to your final resting place.
Feels fitting that the day after announcing our new Zero Carbon Bill we’re here, in Taranaki, at the Just Transitions Summit planning the pathway to our low emissions future. We just announced that a National New Energy Development Centre will be created here to lead the development of new clean energy technologies. We have a long way to go, but we’re starting.
Today we introduced the Zero Carbon Bill into parliament. It’s been a long time in the making, but we’ve worked really hard to build as much consensus as we can around the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. We know climate change is happening, we can see it. This bill is the start of our journey as a country to do everything we can to limit warming to no more than 1.5 degrees. Thanks to all those who got us here, especially @jamesshawmp
Humbled to visit Pike River Mine today for the first time, alongside the families of the 29 men who lost their lives there. The reentry of the mine has been something they fought so hard for. We don’t yet know what we’ll learn from entering the drift, but no matter what, the legacy of Pike must be the responsibility we have to keep people safe at work.
A privilege to work with these women, especially when we come together to announce that we’re funding driver licensing for young people on youth benefits or who are in state care. It will make it that much easier for them to get to work or training, prevent accidents and ensure they’re not penalised for driving illegally. Thanks @csepuloni and @julieannegenter for your work on this one.
It’s hard to write something that does 95 year old John Sato justice, so I’ll use the words he shared after recently taking four buses to get to a rally and show support for the Muslim Community. This is what he had to say "I stayed awake quite a lot of the night. I didn't sleep too well ever since. I thought it was so sad. You can feel the suffering of other people..... I think it's such a tragedy, and yet it has the other side. It has brought people together, no matter what their race or anything. People suddenly realised we're all one. We care for each other." Thank you John. Your actions warmed the hearts of so many during a time of such sadness.
I remember when I was first elected a discussion started around the Erebus disaster and why, almost 40 years on, there was still no national memorial in New Zealand that families could visit. Today we finally announced the design for a memorial, one which was chosen by a panel that importantly included representatives of the families, and which will be completed next year. It’s been a long time coming but it’s been a privilege to be a small part of it.
I’ve struggled for words these last two weeks and so I haven’t placed any here. So for now, I will just leave this picture. It captures so much - both the grief and the love. Ko tātou tātou, and to all of our Muslim community, As-Salaam-Alaikum
Join me on my FB page for a live chat on climate change with students from Wellington (and hopefully around NZ!)
Perhaps it’s the many years of going to the A&P show at home, but I truly appreciate a good giant vegetable competition. Winner this year came in at 200kg and the very kind grower donated his proceeds to Westpac Helicopter. You can see the winning pumpkin alongside a whole bunch of other activities at the Kumeu Show!
Happy International Women’s Day from the UN Women and Zonta breakfast at Parliament this morning!
I don’t get to do it often, but presenting scholarships like the ones Te Uru Rakau have created to encourage careers in forestry, is a real treat. Thanks also to the Canterbury Chamber of Commerce for the chance to speak at your lunch, and also Wigram Primary School for meeting with me to talk about Mana Ake - the mental health programme that we launched a year ago in primary schools across Canterbury. Amazing to see how many children (600) have been able to get extra support in such a short space of time.
There are lots of long term challenges we need to face as a government and country, and one is definitely mental health. That’s why today we announced $79 million for the construction of new specialist mental health facilities in Canterbury. These include services for mothers and babies, as well as child, adolescent and family inpatient services and adults with high and complex needs. A huge thanks to the wonderful staff working in mental health, especially those who helped with the designs pictured here. We know there’s more to do but this announcement joins a few others we’ve already made, like • In February 2018 the Mana Ake programme was launched, putting mental health support in primary and intermediate schools in Christchurch and Kaikoura • In 2018 the nurses in schools programme was extended to cover all decile 4 secondary schools because of the evidence showing it made a difference to youth mental health • Also in Budget 2018, DHB funding for mental health and addiction services was boosted by $200 million over four years • In June 2018 we announced funding for the construction of new drug and alcohol detoxification facilities in Auckland • In December we made it cheaper for about 600,000 people to visit their doctor – which is often where people turn first when they are looking for mental health support • Earlier this month the Piki pilot programme was launched in Porirua. Piki gives 18-25 year olds with mild to moderate mental health needs access to free mental health support. It will be extended to Wellington, the Hutt Valley and Wairarapa by the end of the year. We know there’s more to do though, so keep an eye out for budget 2019 where we have made mental health a priority
A very kind gift for Neve from St Mary’s College and one which passed a very critical check (the presence of NZ despite being dangerously close to a seam) Thanks for the invitation to speak, St Mary’s!
Spent the afternoon meeting some of the Oranga Tamariki team and then finished here, with Lifewise, talking about the work they do to support young people once they leave care. There are some wonderful examples out there (like the supported housing Lifewise offer to give real life flatting experiences) we just need more of it! And a big thank you to Minister Tracey Martin for the work she is doing on this, and who was off doing an interview when we got our sneaky group photo!
Reading briefings for the week ahead, but also catching a glimpse of the most magnificent performances. #tematatinikiteao
When you’re a twin, at least you always have company for the photos your family force you into. Happy birthday Dad and Uncle Ian- confusing me with your likeness since 1980.
Took this at the end of our day yesterday with Australian PM, Scott Morrison - complete with our former and current High Commissioner to Australia, the one and only Dame Annette King. Thanks for a really productive day of talks @scottmorrisonmp
Thinking of everyone in Christchurch today as we mark 8 years since the earthquake that took so much from so many. I often hear people talk about their lives literally being in two parts now - life before and life after the quakes. We have many responsibilities as governments when it comes to disasters and rebuilds, but one is that we must always keep an eye on the past while we try to build hope for the future.