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Chris Hipkins to meet with Anthony Albanese in Canberra

It’s Tuesday, February 7 and welcome to a special edition of The Spinoff’s live updates. Stewart Sowman-Lund will be on the ground in Canberra today as PM Chris Hipkins meets with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese.

What you need to know

  • Chris Hipkins will meet Australian PM Anthony Albanese today in Canberra.
  • It’s the first face-to-face meeting between the two trans-Tasman leaders – and Hipkins’ first meeting with a world leader.
  • We’ll have live coverage where wi-fi permits and a full report first thing tomorrow morning.

Chris Hipkins to meet with Anthony Albanese in Canberra

It’s Tuesday, February 7 and welcome to a special edition of The Spinoff’s live updates. Stewart Sowman-Lund will be on the ground in Canberra today as PM Chris Hipkins meets with his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese.

What you need to know

  • Chris Hipkins will meet Australian PM Anthony Albanese today in Canberra.
  • It’s the first face-to-face meeting between the two trans-Tasman leaders – and Hipkins’ first meeting with a world leader.
  • We’ll have live coverage where wi-fi permits and a full report first thing tomorrow morning.
Feb 7 2023

Cyclone due to hit North Island set to form a day earlier

An Auckland road closed after severe flooding (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

A potential cyclone that could bring more severe wet weather to the upper North Island is now forecast to form a day earlier, Stuff reports.

Due to ideal cyclone-formation conditions over the Coral Sea, a low south of the Solomon Islands has a high chance of turning into a cyclone on Wednesday, a day earlier than originally forecast.

MetService’s Jake Law said the cyclone, still yet to be named by Australian meteorologists, may not necessarily arrive in New Zealand any sooner.

“It’s still a case of waiting to see how it develops over the next few days.”

The cyclone is currently forecast to reach New Zealand on Monday.

Watch live: PMs Hipkins and Albanese hold joint press conference

New Zealand prime minister Chris Hipkins and his Australian counterpart Anthony Albanese are holding a joint press conference in Canberra. Watch live here.


NZ pledges $1.5m humanitarian aid in earthquake-stricken Turkey and Syria

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 22: Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta talks to media during a press conference at Parliament on April 22, 2021 in Wellington, New Zealand. Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Marise Payne is on a two-day visit to New Zealand for formal foreign policy discussions with New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs Nanaia Mahuta.  It is the first face-to-face Foreign Ministers’ consulations since the COVID-19 pandemic began.  (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

The New Zealand government is providing $1.5 million in humanitarian support to those affected by destructive earthquakes in Turkey and Syria last night, foreign minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced. The contribution of $1m to Turkey and $500,000 to Syria will be made via the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, following consecutive quakes, measuring 7.8 and 7.5 magnitude, centred in south-eastern near the border with Syria. A confirmed death toll of more than 3,400 people is expected to rise rapidly.

“Aotearoa New Zealand is deeply saddened by the loss of life and devastation caused by these earthquakes. Our thoughts are with the families and loved ones affected,” Mahuta said in a statement. “Our humanitarian contribution will support teams from the Turkish Red Crescent and Syrian Arab Red Crescent to deliver essential relief items such as food supplies, tents and blankets, and provide lifesaving medical assistance and psychological support … By contributing directly to the IFRC appeals, emergency responders on the ground can benefit from additional assistance immediately.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade there is so far no information suggesting New Zealanders are among those directly affected by the quakes.


David Seymour’s plague on both your Chrisses

David Seymour doesn’t miss opportunities to compare New Zealand with the so-called “third world”

In a state-of-the-nation-style lunchtime speech in Auckland today, the leader of the Act Party has taken aim at both major party leaders. “Throughout this speech,” David Seymour told supporters at the Maritime Museum, “I will do my best to differentiate between the Chrisses, but it may not be easy.”

Seymour argued that the new prime minister, Chris Hipkins, was substantially a continuation of the approach under Jacinda Ardern, but his main pitch was to those who might be attracted to Christopher Luxon’s National Party. Without Act, he said, that offering was also “more of the same”. He homed in on Luxon’s new emphasis on “getting things done”, as laid out in his January caucus retreat speech. “Every time I hear Chris Luxon say that the Labour ‘doesn’t get things done’, it terrifies me. Could he seriously want them to do more? … We don’t need a government that gets things done, we need a government that does a lot less so that you can get things done,” said Seymour to applause.

David Seymour delivers his ‘Road to Real Change’ speech.

Seymour reiterated messages on co-governance (or “co-government” in his framing), on law and order and free speech. On climate change, he extended his criticisms from Chrisses to a James, in rejecting the Green co-leader’s commentary on climate action and the recent flooding calamity in Auckland. “Taxing Kiwi cows for their farts and burps will not make one iota of difference to flooding in Auckland,” said Seymour. “Clearing drains regularly, that would help more. And it is insulting and infantile to pretend otherwise, as 800 words of wasted column inches in the Herald by James Shaw tried to tell us the other day.”

Earlier today, Seymour took umbrage at Labour minister Willie Jackson's use of language in an interview on the future of co-governance. “Chris Hipkins should swiftly and categorically condemn Labour frontbencher Willie Jackson’s violent rhetoric about the prospects of Māori under an Act-National government”, said Seymour in a statement. “Newsroom reports freshly promoted Jackson as saying Māori will get ‘thrown under the bus, crushed and killed’ under a National-ACT government. That kind of talk is violent, divisive, unnecessary, and offensive."


‘Good to see you… g’day’: Hipkins and Albanese meet for the first time

Chris Hipkins and Anthony Albanese meet for the first time (Photo: Samuel Rillstone /  supplied)

In Canberra

Chris Hipkins has met with Australia’s Anthony Albanese in Canberra, exchanging a few brief words to gathered reporters before heading inside for a closed doors meeting.

Hipkins was driven into the courtyard of Parliament House, where he was greeted by Albanese in person. “Welcome prime minister,” said Albanese. A beaming Hipkins replied: “Good to see you… g’day”. Hipkins then signed a parliamentary visitor’s book.

Chris Hipkins and Anthony Albanese meet for the first time (Photo: Samuel Rillstone / supplied)

The Australian prime minister was the first world leader to have made contact with Hipkins following his sudden ascension into the top job. Albanese reiterated his congratulations to Hipkins and said it was great that they had already spoken over the phone.

Following the meeting, which is set down for under an hour, the pair will front a brief joint press conference for both New Zealand and Australian media.

Waiting for Albo

Chris Hipkins is formally welcomed to Australia (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

In Canberra

New Zealand’s media pack has arrived at Australia’s parliament ahead of this afternoon’s visit from prime minister Chris Hipkins.

The PM will be met by his counterpart Anthony Albanese in the courtyard of parliament house, before heading inside for a closed doors meeting. Following the 45 minute meeting, the two will front a press conference for both local and New Zealand media. Hipkins will then speak separately in what’s expected to be a far broader stand-up.

For now, though, travelling media have been confined to a select committee room as we wait for the press conference call-up. After this morning’s 3am wake-up, I can confirm the seats in this room are unhelpfully comfortable.

Earlier this morning, Hipkins was formally welcomed to Australia by an Aboriginal smoking ceremony on the grounds of the NZ High Commission. The ceremony, conducted by Ngunnawal elder Wally Bell, involved Hipkins and other invited delegates walking through the smoke from burning eucalyptus. Hipkins was first to cleanse himself with the smoke, followed by high commissioner Annette King.

Chris Hipkins is formally welcomed to Australia (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

“When we welcome people to country we also provide a protection to you for when you’re in the country,” explained Bell. “We’re going to look after you in a physical sense and in a spiritual sense.”

In response, Hipkins said it was his first visit to Canberra and he was honoured to have been formally welcomed to Australia.

We’re expecting to hear from Hipkins and Albanese at about 2.40pm New Zealand time.

$22 million funding injection approved by Cabinet to arts, culture and heritage sector

Creative New Zealand is our most prominent arts agency, and it’s going… digital? Here’s what is happening. (Image Design: Tina Tiller)

Two new funding initiatives, totalling $22 million, have been approved by Cabinet today to help ensure the cultural sector has the “certainty and support to thrive”, announced Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

$10 million of Covid-19 recovery funding will support established arts, cultural and diversity festivals, while $12 million will help meet increased funding demand being experienced by Creative New Zealand, which made headlines several times last year due to increased demand for funding despite lacking resource.

“Cabinet has approved these two initiatives to help alleviate some of the uncertainty and stress that the cultural sector has acutely experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic and cost-of-living spike. ”says Leauanae Laulu Mac Leauanae, the chief executive of Manatū Taonga Tumu Whakarae. “The extra support for creatives will be administered by Creative New Zealand with the aim of alleviating some of the pressures on over-subscribed funding rounds Creative New Zealand has been facing. Funding will be rapidly delivered to the sector starting later this month.”

This funding also enables Creative New Zealand to support established festivals, which continue to suffer cancellations and postponements due to Covid-19.

These new initiatives make up the final additions to the funding that has come from the $495m Arts and Culture Covid Recovery Programme, established to support the recovery of the arts, culture and heritage sectors.

Hipkins reunites with an old friend ahead of Canberra business meeting

Chris Hipkins greets Annette King in Canberra (Photo: Auspic/Supplied)

In Canberra

Chris Hipkins has touched down in Australia’s capital – his first overseas visit since becoming prime minister just three weeks ago.

After disembarking from the Airforce Boeing, Hipkins was greeted by his former caucus colleague and current high commissioner to Australia, Dame Annette King. The pair hugged on the tarmac, while Hipkins shook hands with other gathered delegates.

Chris Hipkins greets Annette King in Canberra (Photo: Auspic/Supplied)

First up on Hipkins whirlwind visit to Canberra is a business roundtable event at New Zealand’s High Commission with members of the Trans-Tasman Business Circle. It includes business chiefs from the likes of Bunnings, Fonterra and Fulton Hogan. King will also be in attendance, along with Australia’s high commissioner to New Zealand.

Hipkins will first be formally welcomed to Australia by Ngunnawal elder Wally Bell during a ceremony outside the High Commission.

However, in an unfortunate reminder of recent times back in New Zealand, Hipkins’ arrival at the High Commission will be disrupted slightly by a small group of anti-vaccine protesters. A handful have gathered outside, blasting a siren over loudspeakers, shouting catchphrases into megaphones and holding placards that read: “Dictators for the new world not welcome”.

Anti-vaxxers protest outside the NZ High Commission in Canberra (Photo: Stewart Sowman-Lund)

The Bulletin: New police minister wants to speed up reduction of number of dairies that can sell cigarettes

New police minister Stuart Nash has met with new health minister Ayesha Verrall to talk about the issue with the aim of preventing ram raids. Nash wants to speed up the scheduled reduction of dairies that can sell cigarettes. Nash made the comments at a police graduation ceremony in Porirua last week.

Dairy and Business Owners’ Group Incorporated spokesman Sandeep Aggarwal said Nash’s plans to hasten this process would mean a loss of confidence in the third police minister in less than eight months. “This is not a retail reduction plan but decimation,” he said.

Nash said last week it was his understanding that many people committing ram raids did so to get tobacco products and that many retailers had opted to stop selling tobacco already. “Ngā Tai Ora Public Health Unit in Northland did a survey looking at 25 retailers who made the choice to end the sale of tobacco, and 88% of those businesses experienced either a neutral or positive financial impact,” he said.

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PM Hipkins heads abroad for first meeting with a world leader

PM Chris Hipkins in Waitangi over the weekend (Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Prime minister Chris Hipkins is heading to Australia today for his first face-to-face meeting with an international leader.

He’ll be meeting with Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese during his single-day visit to Canberra. The Spinoff live updates will be on the ground in Australia as the meeting takes place and will have coverage for you throughout the day.

While it’s the first official meeting between the trans-Tasman leaders, the pair have already been in touch. Hipkins revealed that Albanese was the first international leader to make contact after he was confirmed to be replacing Jacinda Ardern in the top job just three weeks ago.

Part of the meeting today will be symbolic, with Hipkins needing to reinforce the close ties between Australia and New Zealand – particularly considering the friendly relationship Ardern and Albanese had.

However, there will also be politics on the agenda. Just last week it was revealed that Australia’s controversial 501 policy had been watered down slightly, allowing some New Zealand-born individuals convicted across the ditch to stay in Australia rather than be deported by default. It’s not entirely the win that our government has been seeking, but it’s certainly a step towards it.

“I’m sure it will be an ongoing topic of conversation,” Hipkins told media at a press conference last week.

The prime minister also signalled he would be discussing the ongoing economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. “I look forward to discussing our many shared security priorities within the bilateral relationship, and for our engagement in the Pacific and wider Indo-Pacific regions,” said Hipkins.

The Spinoff will be in Canberra from about 10am this morning and we’ll have updates for you after we’ve landed.

PM Chris Hipkins in Waitangi over the weekend (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)