Claire Trevett is the New Zealand Herald’s deputy political editor.

Prime Minister Bill English sets out business-as-usual agenda for the year ahead

The Government will continue to look for opportunities in the year ahead to build closer economic ties with the US and have discussions with the UK about a post-Brexit trading. Picture / Doug Sherring
The Government will continue to look for opportunities in the year ahead to build closer economic ties with the US and have discussions with the UK about a post-Brexit trading. Picture / Doug Sherring

Prime Minister Bill English has set out a business-as-usual agenda for the year ahead as Parliament returns from the summer break.

English's first Prime Minister's Statement to Parliament is a roundup of the measures the Government intends to pursue before the September election, a vast range from an overhaul of tax rules to stop multinationals avoiding taxes to the Advanced Survey and Title Services Project.

The agenda is little changed from that of last year - apart from the impact on trade from Brexit and the election of US President Donald Trump in the United States.

The TPP has dropped down the list of priorities - but not off it completely. It notes that New Zealand will continue to push the line on free trade.

"The Government will continue to show leadership and make the case for open markets, and closer trade and economic ties ... The Government will work with Trans Pacific Partnership countries to explore options for advancing closer trade ties in the Asia-Pacific, including through the TPP.

The Government will continue to look for opportunities to build closer economic ties with the United States and discussions with the United Kingdom about a post-Brexit trading relationship will also be progressed."

Despite the difficulties in getting Ngapuhi to the settlement table, the Statement shows National is sticking to the goal of getting all "willing and able" iwi settlements through by the end of 2017.

However, there was no mention of the Kermadecs Marine Sanctuary, which has been on ice since the proposal was challenged by Te Ohu Kaimoana - the Maori Fisheries Commission.

The statement also shows there has been no major rethink on immigration under English - it states while the Government will continue to review the settings, it proposes to attract more foreign investment and introduce a new visa for young technology entrepreneurs.

While measures such as English's announcement for more police, an expansion of charter schools, and double bunking all get measures, there is no mention of climate change or the Paris Agreement.

- NZ Herald

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