The job of Donald Trump’s New Zealand representative would seem a nightmare to some, but Scott Brown says he’s “the luckiest guy in the world”. Brown marks his first year as Washington’s man in Wellington this week, and spoke to Sam Sachdeva about the highs and lows of the job so far.

Birth, death and taxes were among the topics of discussion on the first day of EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström’s New Zealand visit. Sam Sachdeva was at Parliament for the launch of trade deal negotiations, and reports on the pains negotiators may face in their labours.

Here's a few longer reads on matters economic, political and social from around the world's media.


The Social Investment Agency is the embodiment of one of the previous Government’s key policy planks, so what does it do under a Labour government? The acting Chief Executive Dorothy Adams tells Thomas Coughlan.

Trade negotiations between New Zealand and the European Union have officially been launched, with both sides hoping the deal sets an example for the rest of the world.

Fletcher Tabuteau was once mistaken for Winston Peters’ security detail - now, he’s filling in for him on the world stage. Tabuteau spoke to Sam Sachdeva about racking up the miles as an undersecretary, working in the shadow of Peters and Shane Jones, and his aspirations for higher office.

Fonterra Cooperative Group wants more information from its Chinese partner Beingmate Baby & Child Food amid reports the infant formula firm didn't make sure product sourced from another supplier met its licensing conditions.


The New Zealand dollar is hovering around 69 US cents as trade war jitters continue to ramp up but attention could shift to the domestic arena tomorrow if the first quarter gross domestic product data surprises. The kiwi traded at 69.01 US cents as at 5pm in Wellington versus 68.96 US cents as at 8am in Wellington and 68.83 cents late yesterday. The trade-weighted index fell to 73.33 from 73.49.

New Zealand consumer confidence declined broadly in the June quarter as the pace of the country’s economic growth cooled along with the housing market, while fuel prices rose, according to the latest Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence survey.

Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports. China promised to retaliate. Trump said he would add another $200 billion if China did. The Kiwi dollar fell below 69 USc. David Parker agreed to exempt Singaporeans from the foreign buyers ban to allow the CPTPP to go ahead. Kris Faafoi announced plans to toughen rules on beneficial ownership and director identification. A major inquiry into a firm of private investigators used by Government agencies was launched.

Nelson-based aquaculture firm New Zealand King Salmon Investments believes fish-farming in Cook Strait, using newly emerging submersible technology being developed in Norway, is the route to realising its ambitions for expansion. Pattrick Smellie from Business Desk reports.

The government's directive to the Overseas Investment Office to raise the bar in overseas applications to buy sensitive New Zealand land has scared away tens of millions of dollars in investments in rural property and will hurt farm values, real estate firms say. Jonathan Underhill from BusinessDesk reports

Updated

An official inquiry into Government use of private investigators has been expanded to include the entire state sector, after revelations of more ties between agencies and the firm.

The Government has carved Singapore out of its foreign buyers ban, in a move that will ease strained relations between the two countries. Sam Sachdeva reports.


In what sounds like the plotline of a Hollywood movie, a man accused of importing cocaine escaped custody after a string of blunders by the Customs service. Shane Cowlishaw reports.

A nurses strike looms within a fortnight unless the Government can either stonewall unions in final negotiations or relax its fiscal pursestrings a bit. The Government has relented slightly on its foreign buyers ban, allowing foreigners to hold on to new apartments and hotel units they provide the capital to build. But rest home operators and wine companies missed out on the exemptions they hoped for.

Developers of multi-storey apartment blocks and hotels will be able to invite in foreign buyers again under changes to the Government's foreign buying ban law. Conveyancers also dodged a bullet and telcos got an exemption, but retirement village operators failed to win the exemption they hoped for. Nikki Mandow looks at the winners and losers in the select committee's changes to the Overseas Investment Amendment bill.

Nurses and teachers are pushing the Labour Government for massive pay increases, but the Government is rejecting their claims on the grounds of being fiscally responsible -- for now. Thomas Coughlan reports.

Police have released emails showing the steady stream of media enquiries they received about false allegations involving Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford - and the pressure they felt under to respond.

Who would have been an Australian sports fan over the weekend. Their rugby team was beaten by Ireland. Their football team was beaten by France. Their cricket team was beaten by England. As Donald Trump might say: so sad...


Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters doubled down on last week's New Zealand First party attacks on the performance and leadership of Fonterra, saying the country's largest business was costing the economy more than $2 billion from food safety and animal welfare scares.

Foreign buyers will still be able to buy homes in New Zealand, if recommendations by the Finance and Expenditure select committee are adopted.

Donald Trump launched US$50 billion of new tariffs against technology imports from China. Beijing retaliated immediately with tariffs on US$50 billion worth of US beef and poultry imports. Simon Bridges announced he wanted a bi-partisan approach on climate change, but did not commit to a carbon neutral target and said he would not accept "extreme" policies that increased household costs unnecessarily or damaged the economy.

After years of discussions, the European Union is officially launching trade deal negotiations with New Zealand. EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom is headed to New Zealand this week, and spoke to Sam Sachdeva ahead of her visit about what the EU will get out of the deal - as well as the shaky state of international trade.

The Government has announced a levy for international tourists, but has also snuck in a proposal that would increase costs for New Zealand citizens as well. Shane Cowlishaw reports.