Finance Minister Bill English jumped the gun at the annual finance lunch at the Stamford Plaza in Auckland on February 25.

He delivered his speech to guests including Massey University staff, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Employers and Manufacturers Association members and others, discussing the state of the economy.

During the Q&A , while extolling about how well the economy was doing, English triumphantly stated "our minimum wage is now above $15", drawing several blank and confused looks from the audience.

Despite mutterings about whether the minister was so far removed from everyday New Zealanders that he was unaware that the minimum wage was still just $14.75, it seems English was just a week early.


Last Monday, workplace relations Minister Michael Woodhouse announced the minimum wage would be lifted 3.4 per cent from $14.75 to $15.25 an hour - effective from April 1.

Flagging the flag debate

It is nearly a year since the flag debate officially kicked off, and Prime Minister John Key has refrained from using one of his many public forum speeches to promote a new flag.

Whether or not the public agrees with a change, Key's push at events from the Olympic Gala Dinner to the American Chamber of Commerce Awards - and even charity events such as the Getting Glamorous for Gynae ball for which he received a lot of flak - has become a bit repetitive.

At the International Business Forum breakfast at the Heritage tearooms on Friday, Key was surprisingly quiet on the flag - though he has been frequently seen sporting the new design pinned to his suit.

Perhaps the Prime Minister feels he has got his message across but as New Zealanders put pen to paper to have their say in the referendum, there is not much more that can be done. Voting finishes at the end of the month.

Swisse making its mark

BMW Derby Day at Ellerslie at Swisse Glasshouse. L to R. Margaux Davison, Naomi Puketapu-Wait and Claire Hahn. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
BMW Derby Day at Ellerslie at Swisse Glasshouse. L to R. Margaux Davison, Naomi Puketapu-Wait and Claire Hahn. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

Thousands of racegoers flocked to Ellerslie on Saturday for one of the biggest racing events of the season - BMW Derby Day for Auckland Cup Week.

The day proved extremely popular with areas including the Mumm Racing Village selling out as the crowd enjoyed entertainment from The Levites and DJ Karn Hall.

Guests in the newest addition to the grounds, the Swisse Glass House, were treated to a day of entertainment and fine dining with the area lavishly decorated and with a special menu designed by chefs Ben Bayly and George Colombaris. Swisse ambassador All Black Kieran Read also made an appearance, with entertainment from Kiwi band Avalanche City.

The BMW NZ Derby race was a neck and neck finish won by Rangipo with What's The Story second.

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