The news that mattered today
The first broken promise - Health Minister David Clark told Corin Dann on TVNZ's Q+A on Sunday the Government would be "phasing" in its election promise of reducing GP fees by $10 a visit. Asked by Guyon Espiner on RNZ's Morning Report if Labour had broken a promise to reduce the frees from July 1, Clark said: "“We’re working through and phasing our priorities…. we’re prioritising the things we’ve promised."
'We'll scrap it' - National leader Simon Bridges promised to scrap the regional fuel levy that Auckland Council will formally decide on introducing later today. Transport Minister Phil Twyford said scrapping the levy would mean projects such as Penlink and Mill Road would have to be cancelled.
New chairs - Clark announced the appointment of three new chairs for the Auckland DHBs after the resignation of Lester Levy from the three boards last year. Pat Snedden will chair the Auckland DHB from June 1, Judy McGregor will chair the Waitemata DHB from June 10 and Vui Mark Gosche will chair Counties-Manukau DHB from May 3.
Really? - North Korea's supreme leader Kim Yong Un is reported to have promised South Korean President Moon Jae-in at their weekend meeting that North Korea would give up its nuclear weapons if America promised not to invade his country. The agreed to end the North Korean war and talked about denuclearisation of the peninsular. Scepticism abounds given this has been promised and not delivered before, but the meeting's results has set the agenda for Kim's summit in coming weeks with Donald Trump. (New York Times).
2. Becoming a stronger 'Fifth Eye'
One of the regular complaints of the Australians in particular is that New Zealand doesn't pull its weight on defence spending.
New Zealand is right in the middle of a cybersecurity review, just three years after the last one. Cyber attacks by state-linked Russian, Chinese and North Korea are now much more of an issue, as is the growing use of cryptography by all and sundry.
Newsroom's technology columnist Richard MacManus has taken a closer look at the review and finds New Zealand needs to up its game to keep up with its Five Eyes partners.
3. Ways to improve democracy
The Electoral Commission released recommendations in its post-election report on how to improve our democracy, including changes to electoral advertising, MMP, the use of electoral roll data and allowing voters to enrol on election day.
Victoria University’s Dr Bryce Edwards argues in his column for Newsroom Pro our politicians are likely to ignore many of them, which is a pity.
4. The problems with the Family Court
With the Government planning to review the Family Court, research has been released by the Ministry of Justice showing the previous reforms have largely been a failure, Shane Cowlishaw reported first for Newsroom Pro.
Family Court staff are mired in so much work they are staying late to handle urgent cases, while experienced lawyers are fleeing the practice area leaving parents struggling with mediocre advice.
The insights are contained in four pieces of Ministry of Justice research recently released on its website evaluating the 2014 court reforms, which required parties to go to dispute resolution before court and restricted the use of lawyers in the initial stages.
5. Briefly in the global political economy...
How not to do it - The CEO of Britain's TSB Bank (no relation to New Zealand's TSB) said the bank was on its knees after the launch of a new IT system failed. Over 1.9 million customers were affected, including those not able to access accounts, or finding unexpected amounts credited or debited from their accounts. The bank was forced to put up interest rates to staunch an outflow of disgruntled customers. (The Guardian)
Another scalp - AMP's chair Catherine Brenner resigned this morning in Sydney as the damage from Australia's Royal Commission ripples out through the banking and funds management sectors. (SMH)
6. Coming up...
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is scheduled to hold her weekly post-cabinet meeting around 4 pm today.
Parliament resumes at 2pm on Tuesday after a two week break. It will sit for the next four weeks including the Budget on May 17
New Zealand Jobs and wages data for the March quarter is due to be published on Wednesday at 10.45 am.
The US Federal Reserve's Open Market Committee is not expected to announce an interest rate increase at the conclusion of its two-day meeting on Thursday morning New Zealand time, though it might flag a steeper pace of rate hikes ahead.
7. One fun thing...
This appealed as a tweet for the ages.
"That's about right."
8. Today's political links
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