1. The news that mattered this morning

The Labour Government softened its policy on student work visas. Agents for international colleges report faking English language tests for students from China. The Government launched a plan with industry leaders to reduce plastics waste. ASB's parent agreed to pay a A$700 million fine for breaching laws to stop money laundering.

Softer tweaks

Immigration Minister Iain Lees Galloway announced early on Saturday changes to work rights for international students that were softer than proposed by Labour before the election.

He announced the removal of the requirement for post-study work visas to be sponsored by a particular employer, which would remove some of the risks of migrant exploitation, but also make it easier for graduates to get a job. He also announced a one year post-study work visa for below degree level courses and a three-year post-study work visa for degree level 7 or above qualifications.

Students studying at sub-degree level courses will also be eligible for post-study work rights as long as their studies last two years.

Labour had promised to remove the ability to work for international students in low-level courses, except where the work is approved as part of their study, and remove the ability to get a work visa without a job for those who have completed study below university level.

The changes announced over the weekend mean sub-degree level students can still work during their courses, and can work after their courses if they study for two years. Both are significant softenings of the policy.

Pyramid scheme?

Meanwhile, RNZ's Jessie Chiang reported this morning from two unnamed agents in the international education sector that often students from China did not have the English level needed to enter tertiary institutes so education agents arranged for staff or someone else to take internal English tests for them.

Big penalty

Commonwealth Bank of Australia, which owns ASB here, agreed yesterday to pay a A$700 million fine for breaches of anti-money laundering laws in Australia ( Austrac )

Plastic waste

Associate environment minister Eugenie Sage announced this morning, which is World Environment Day, that a range of companies had committed to using 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging in their New Zealand operations by 2025 or earlier. See my report on Newsroom on how ecostore has started using plastic made from sugar cane to make its plastic bottles. The sugar cane acts as a carbon sink for cardon dioxide.

Off a touch

Statistics New Zealand reported on Friday New Zealand's Terms of Trade fell 1.9 percent in the March quarter from a record all-time high in the December quarter. The Terms of Trade measure the power of our export receipts to buy imports. A 6.7 percent fall in dairy prices helped push export prices down 2.2 percent, while import prices fell 0.3 percent. The record high terms of trade have bolstered economic growth over the last year, along with record high migration and strong jobs growth (albeit without much wage growth).

Criminal charges

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission lodged criminal cartel charges late on Friday against ANZ Banking Group , Deutsche Bank and Citigroup over the the trading of shares after ANZ raised A$3 billion in fresh equity capital through a share placement. ( Reuters )

Gate change

Air New Zealand announced on Friday afternoon it had agreed a domestic code-sharing deal with Qantas to replace its expiring code-sharing deal with Virgin Australia. Qantas and New Zealand would code-share on 30 routes in New Zealand and 85 in Australia, but not on trans-Tasman flights. Qantas will continue to codeshare with Jetstar on flights between Australia and New Zealand. Tickets can be bought from the end of July for travel from October 28.

Strong jobs

US non-farm payrolls rose a higher-than-expected 223,000 in May, helping to push unemployment down to an 18 year low of 3.8 percent. Annual wage growth rose to 2.7 percent in May from 2.6 percent in April, cementing in expectations the US Federal Reserve will hike its official cash rate next week. But the wage inflation was not so strong that the Federal Reserve is expected to speed up its expected pace of two more rate hikes this year. ( Reuters )