Ardern reaffirms ban on foreign buyers as Winston declares 'NZ is no longer for sale'

Incoming Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has vowed to stop foreign buyers purchasing existing houses in New Zealand, as she unveiled details of Labour's coalition agreement with New Zealand First.

After signing the deal in front of media, Ms Ardern was flanked by NZ First leader Winston Peters as she spoke.

"Today represents a huge step change in the future of the New Zealand government. Today we have established the beginnings of a strong, proactive government. The majority of New Zealanders voted for change," Ms Ardern said.

"We will stop foreign buyers from buying in our existing housing market," she said.

The pair appears to have an easy rapport in the early moments of their coalition. Source: 1 NEWS

“We have agreed on banning the purchase of existing homes by foreign buyers. Also have plans around farmland and other critical infrastructure.

“Our goal and commitment is to ban foreign buyers from the existing housing market," Ms Ardern said, saying these are non-resident buyers.

Mr Peters said a message has been sent that New Zealand is "no longer for sale".

“The reality is there is going to be a change and a clear signal sent internationally that New Zealand is no longer for sale in the way it has been. We’re happy with that," he said.

PM-elect Jacinda Ardern says the two parties are committed to growing the economy and creating a fairer NZ. Source: 1 NEWS

Ms Ardern said the new Government will focus on the neglected regions and raise the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour in April 2018, up from $15.75. 

“In our first 100 days our first change that will be legislated will be $16.50 starting in April 2018.

“New Zealanders deserve to have a wage that they can live on, that they can survive on that they can have a quality of life with," she said.

"We have prioritised regional economic development and job creation for New Zealanders. "You'll see a reduction in inequalities."

The Labour and NZ First leaders are set to lead the country for the next three years. Source: 1 NEWS

The agreement encompasses investment in regional rail and “huge” investment in forestry, Ms Ardern said.

She said she's "absolutely comfortable with where we landed" over policy agreements.

An additional $8 billion has been put aside for health funding, and additional investment in policing will see a total of $100 million for 1800 police officers. 

“We want to go through the process of precisely costing every policy.” 

Reserve Bank review

Ms Ardern said the new government will review the Reserve Bank Act to change the objectives of the act.

"We’re committed to a review more broadly," she said, including having the RBNZ governor consult more broadly with the board and changing the membership of the board.

"We’re open to a review."

Another policy is to introduce a Zero Carbon Act and create an Independent Climate Commission.

Mr Peters said the government will “seriously examine” how defence spending is being allocated.

Ms Ardern revealed her phone call from US President Donald Trump yesterday morning lasted five minutes.

"The relationship with the US is incredibly important and it will not change," she said.

Ms Ardern revealed her phone call from US President Donald Trump yesterday morning lasted five minutes.

"The relationship with the US is incredibly important and it will not change," she said.

She would not go into details about the TPP agreement but said she wanted to increase exports for New Zealand.

Another funding allocation will be $16 million to cover free doctor visits for Gold Card holders.

The parties signed their coalition agreement in parliament today. Source: 1 NEWS

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Wellington petrol prices are some of the highest in NZ - why is it so high?

Motorists living in Wellington and parts of the South Island remain frustrated at having to pay more for petrol than anyone else.

The director of Rankin Treasury, Derek Rankin, said the government could help by dropping charges on petrol. Source: rnz.co.nz

In Wanaka it costs almost $2.64 to fill up. Wellingtonians are paying $2.49 a litre for petrol at the main stations in town.

That's more than in Auckland, which, even with its new regional fuel tax, is sitting around $2.46 in the central city - and Hunterville - where you can fill your tank for just $2.30.

On Adelaide road in the suburb of Newtown, two main players sit right opposite each other - BP, and Caltex.

Both are charging very close to $2.49 a litre - and motorists are not impressed.

Two Australian tourists in particular said in Whanganui the petrol was 19 cents cheaper per litre. They reckoned prices here were "a joke".

At a Challenge station in Johnsonville the price is four cents a litre cheaper, which is enough to convince locals to avoid the bigger players just a few minutes drive away.

Lloyd Hassed, the owner of the Johnsonville Challenge, said the reason his prices were cheaper was simple.

"It's over to their head office I guess, a lot of those sites are run by oil companies, and we're not."

He says there used to be Challenge stations in Wellington.

"What Challenge sites there were around have disappeared, because Caltex bought them, and sold a few of the sites off."

In Timaru two women have started a Facebook event, calling for people to boycott petrol stations on 26 October and October 27, as a protest about the inflated prices.

So far 18,000 people had indicated they were interested.

The Government said taxes were not the reason prices were so high - and was planning to push through legislation to allow the Commerce Commission to carry out market studies and require companies to hand over information.

Fuel companies need to explain why there's a 40 cent variation in fuel prices across the country, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said.

"Just this morning the fuel station nearest my home is charging less a litre than the fuel station near the airport in Wellington. Ten cents less, and that's with the regional fuel tax in Auckland.

"There are variation in prices that cannot be explained solely by transport costs," she said. 

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New Colmar Brunton research finds business confidence is politically biased

Business confidence is politically biased - that's the finding from Colmar Brunton research.

It shows business confidence and the economic trendline of National and Act supporters match up and comes as the Labour-led Government is struggling in the area.

Finance Minster Grant Robertson says he accepts the news, stating he deals “with real data”.

“Clearly, there is a historical alignment between business pessimism and the presence of a Government with Labour at its core.”

The ANZ business confidence trend line for the past three years and the economic outlook trend among National and ACT supporters are remarkably similar – it took a dramatic drop when Labour gained power following last year’s election.

Ganesh Nana, an economist for Business and Economic Research Limited, says it's not just a problem for this Labour government - Helen Clark struggled too.

“In the Helen Clark era, the 2000 – 2008, we had a significant number, we had a about 80-odd months of negative business confidence despite GDP growth and budget surpluses and other reasonably positive economic indicators.”

In contrast, former prime minister John Key did much better with business confidence when he came into power, but current leader Simon Bridges says that's because National policies serve business better.

“It's no secret business owners know that National is better for them and there are lots of reasons not to like what Labour is doing,” he said.

Business NZ boss Kirk Hope says Labour’s policies is what’s hurting their relations.

“Businesses have seen some of the policies that they don't really agree with [such as] employment law changes and they don't like the way the oil and gas ban was done,” he said.

“Those create real fear and that leads to a confidence decline.”

So while business confidence is a point of pride for finance ministers, Mr Robertson says it’s not hurting his own sureness.

“I'm not lying awake at night worrying about the state of those business confidence numbers.

“I just want to make sure we take a realistic view of the New Zealand economy.“

Colmar Brunton analysis shows business confidence is influenced by which party is in power. Source: 1 NEWS


Sir Peter Jackson 'amazed' by quality of restored WWI footage that's become his new documentary

Kiwi director Sir Peter Jackson has been busy bringing rare original World War One footage to life.

Sir Peter is putting the final touches on his new documentary They Shall Not Grow Old which turns ordinary real-life soldiers into stars of a film marking the centenary of Armistice Day.

TVNZ1's Seven Sharp sent 1 NEWS Europe Correspondent Joy Reid to meet him ahead of the film's premiere in London and get a sneak peek at what's in store.

Featuring real soldiers, their real emotion and real shellfire, the film is WWI as you've never seen it before.

"The result is just, to me, I was amazed. It was so much better than what I thought. When I originally thought, 'I wonder how well we can restore film,' I didn't think we could restore it that well," Sir Peter said.

Sir Peter, who has long had a fascination with the Great War, together with his Wellington-based digital whizkids, have spent the past few years transforming grainy, jerky 100-year-old black and white vision into high-quality colour.

"Just imagine Charlie Chaplain sped up film. You've got to deal with scratches, you've got to deal with grain, you've got to deal with the fact that after 100 years the film has shrunk. Some of it's black and dark, some of it's really over exposed, it's all over the show. So you just  want to make it look like normal film," Sir Peter said. 

"People have colourised black and white film before but I don't think they've ever spent the time that we did and the detail that we put into it to get it as good as you can.

"The other part of it is the audio where we had access to over 600 hours of original recordings of veterans.

"We wanted them to be the only voices that are really heard. We wanted the veterans to tell their own story. It really just told us that it's got to be colour because these guys are seeing the war in colour, they're not seeing it black and white.

He introduced not just a world of colour to the footage but also sound. Forensic lip readers deciphered the soldiers' banter and actors revoiced it.

And the live firing sounds were specially recreated by the New Zealand Army.

"What did surprise me listening to all the veterans' tapes was was how little self pity they had for themselves," Sir Peter said.

The Kiwi director is making ordinary real-life soldiers the stars in They Shall Not Grow Old. Source: Seven Sharp