Today I announced our new Cabinet and Ministry. This is a team that combines fresh talent and proven experience to deliver a brighter future for all New Zealanders.
Prime Minister John Key today announced the appointments of Chris Hodson QC as the chair of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security’s Advisory Panel and Angela Foulkes ONZM as a member of the Panel.
The appointments were made by the Governor General and each is for a term of two years.
“These are the first appointments to the Advisory Panel, which was newly created with amendments to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996 in September last year,” says Mr Key.
The Advisory Panel comprises the Inspector-General and two other members, one of whom must chair the Panel. The Panel’s role is to provide advice to the Inspector-General on request or on its own initiative. It may make a report to the Prime Minister on any matter relating to intelligence and security that it considers should be drawn to the Prime Minister’s attention.Read full article
Prime Minister John Key has expressed his deepest sympathies to those affected by this morning’s events in Canada.
“The reasons behind the fatal shooting in Ottawa this morning are not yet known, but it is clearly a senseless act of violence,” says John Key.
“I wish to extend New Zealand’s sincere condolences to the people of Canada who will be shaken by this violent act.”
“I will personally extend those thoughts and wishes to Prime Minister Harper.
“New Zealand and Canada have a long standing warm and close relationship and today we stand beside them in solidarity.”Tweet
Delivered by His Excellency Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand, on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament, Tuesday 21 October 2014
Honourable Members of the House of Representatives.
E nga Mema Honore o te Whare Paremata o Aotearoa, tenei aku mihi mahana ki a koutou, tena koutou katoa.
Following the General Election, a National-led Government has been formed with a majority in the House on confidence and supply.
Confidence and supply agreements have been signed between the National Party and, respectively, the ACT Party and the United Future Party. A Relationship Accord and confidence and supply agreement has been signed with the Maori Party. These agreements will enable the Government to operate in an effective, stable and inclusive manner.
Honourable Members, the Government has a comprehensive policy agenda and a substantial legislative programme that it will put before the House in the forthcoming session.
The Government is focused on returning to surplus and its long-term fiscal objective remains to reduce net core Crown debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020. Around $1 billion of the operating allowance in each Budget will be used to increase spending, with the remainder set aside for tax reductions and further debt repayment, depending on economic and fiscal conditions at the time.
ACC levies will be reduced in 2015, and more reductions are expected from 2016, as the three levy accounts are now fully funded.
The Government’s plan to build a more productive and competitive economy, supporting more jobs and higher incomes, is set out in the Business Growth Agenda. This contains around 350 individual initiatives. These initiatives will be progressed, and more will be added, in this term of Parliament.
The Government will continue to pursue high-quality trade agreements, including negotiations with Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, while ensuring that New Zealand’s best interests are always served. More investment will be made in New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, to expand the number of businesses it works with and increase its international footprint.
The Government will continue to provide the environment and incentives to increase business-led research and development, with a goal of raising this to 1 per cent of GDP by 2018. More funding will be provided for the R&D grant programme. The Government will also establish a Food Safety Science and Research Centre, as well as four additional Centres of Research Excellence, with one of the Centres focused on Maori research.
The Government will progress legislation to increase flexibility and fairness in the labour market, extend flexible working arrangements and improve collective bargaining. The enforcement of New Zealand’s minimum employment standards will be strengthened, and paid parental leave extended from 14 weeks to 18 weeks by 2016. Legislation to improve health and safety at work will be progressed.
The Government will complete the implementation of the Financial Markets Conduct Act, and will progress legislation to strengthen competition laws, and improve the accounting and audit industries.
The overhaul of Inland Revenue’s business systems and information technology will continue, which among other things will make tax compliance faster and easier for businesses.Read full article
Prime Minister John Key has welcomed New Zealand securing a place on the United Nations Security Council for the 2015-16 term.
“New Zealand’s success in gaining a place on the Security Council is a victory for the small states that make up over half the United Nations membership,” Mr Key says.
“We have worked very hard on the bid for close to a decade because we believe that New Zealand can make a positive difference to world affairs and provide a unique and independent voice at the world’s top table.
“It has been more than 20 years since New Zealand was last on the Council and we are ready to contribute again.
“It was a tough campaign against Spain and Turkey, two much bigger countries and close friends.
“I would also like to acknowledge all the hard work which has gone into our campaign from across the New Zealand Government and in particular from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
“Our win proves small countries have a role to play at the UN and we are determined to represent the perspective of small states at the Security Council table.
“At the moment the Council faces a number of challenging issues. New Zealand is looking forward to serving on the Council and making a positive contribution throughout our two-year term,” Mr Key says.Tweet
Cabinet today approved the Terms of Reference for a review of
settings in relation to foreign terrorist fighters, says Prime Minister
“Foreign fighters taking part in, or returning from any sort of conflict zone are a concern for many countries,” says Mr Key.
“Our intelligence agencies are aware of the risk and are focused on addressing it.
“We know that a small number of New Zealanders have travelled overseas to engage in the fighting. We’re also aware of people within New Zealand who have a desire to travel and fight for the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
“Although the number of New Zealanders in these situations is modest compared with the actual numbers of our partners, they are significant relative to New Zealand’s size.
“And they do represent a change in the New Zealand context.Read full article