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News and Updates About John Key

News release

02 March 2015
MPs’ remuneration to be changed

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency.

Mr Key says the decision was made after the Remuneration Authority’s latest determination which saw the total remuneration received by MPs increased by about 3.5 per cent.

“That increase was neither necessary nor justified at a time when inflation is at 0.8 per cent,” says Mr Key.

“While the decision was made independently of MPs, they should not be receiving increases which are disproportionate to the wider public sector.”

Mr Key says the Remuneration Authority referred specifically to the criteria contained in the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 as the reason for the increases, therefore a law change was necessary.

The change will take away the Authority’s discretion when setting MP pay. The sole criteria will now be the average public sector pay increase for the previous year.

Mr Key says the decision to remove the Authority’s discretion was not taken lightly, given that it changed a practice going back several decades.

“However, it is clear that changing the criteria upon which that rate is set is the only way to ensure the Authority will start handing down more modest pay increases.”

The new legislation will be backdated to 1 July 2014, meaning the pay increase outlined in the latest determination will not be awarded.

Based on the most recent data, total remuneration will instead increase by something in the range of 1 - 2 per cent, reflecting average wage growth in the public sector.

Ministers anticipate more detailed advice from officials on the measure to be used, which will be set out in the legislation, likely to be introduced in the next sitting session.

News release

28 February 2015
Joint Statement by Prime Ministers Hon Tony Abbott and Rt Hon John Key

Prime Minister the Hon Tony Abbott MP and Prime Minister the Rt Hon John Key met in Auckland on 28 February 2015 for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting.

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship.

Prime Minister Key also acknowledged the visits of Foreign Minister Julie Bishop, Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb, Health and Sports Minister Sussan Ley and Parliamentary Secretary Paul Fletcher, as well as a senior Australian trade delegation. This diverse range of Australian Government and business representation underlines the depth and breadth of links between the two nations.

This year marks 100 years since the first official visit by an Australian Prime Minister to New Zealand. On 23 December 1914 Prime Minister Andrew Fisher left Australia on the liner Makura to Auckland, New Zealand. He stayed in New Zealand for almost two months. Prime Minister Fisher met with the New Zealand Prime Minister, William F. Massey, to discuss trade and wartime cooperation between the two countries, including the arrangement that would later become known as ANZAC.

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News release

28 February 2015
PMs Key and Abbott meet in Auckland

Prime Minister John Key met with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Auckland today for their annual Leaders’ Talks. 

“Prime Minister Abbott and I had an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues and to reflect on the areas where we might be able to do more,” says Mr Key.

“Australia remains New Zealand’s closest bilateral partner. We enjoy close ties in all areas of our relationship, including in the trade, economic, defence, people-to-people and sporting areas.

“This year is a significant one for both countries with the co-hosting of the Cricket World Cup, and the Centenary of the First World War and the formation of the ANZACs.
“Our cooperation and sense of shared purpose is even stronger today than it was one hundred years ago and is considerably more diverse.”

Mr Abbott and Mr Key acknowledged an arrangement between the two countries for the recovery of student loans to assist New Zealand to recoup unpaid student loans in Australia.

They also acknowledged the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding which will allow for Criminal History Information Sharing for Employment vetting purposes.

Mr Key welcomed Prime Minister Abbott’s agreement to progress an arrangement covering deportations.  The Prime Ministers agreed that the relevant agencies from the two countries would develop a Memorandum of Understanding to share more information about Trans-Tasman deportations, so that appropriate due diligence and risk management procedures can be put in place.

“It is in both countries best interest to manage deportations in such a way that minimises the risk posed to both countries and ensures appropriate steps are taken to flag any high-risk individuals,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key and Mr Abbott also discussed the progress of the trans-Tasman Single Economic Market agenda and their joint engagement in regional and global trade initiatives.

“One hundred years on from the Gallipoli landings, my meeting with Prime Minister Abbott has once more underlined that the relationship between New Zealand and Australia is as strong as ever, and our commitment to ensuring that it continues to flourish.”

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News release

26 February 2015
PM disappointed with Remuneration Authority decision

Prime Minister John Key has expressed his disappointment at the Remuneration Authority’s decision to increase MP remuneration.

“I wrote to the Authority expressing my view that there should be no increase,” says Mr Key.

“My view was that, given New Zealand is set to enjoy a low inflation environment for some time into the future, an increase in remuneration was neither appropriate nor necessary.”

Mr Key says he saw no justification for the increase given inflation of 0.8 per cent in the year to December and with average wages growing at around 2.5 per cent.

Mr Key also rejects the assertion that ministerial wages should reflect those paid in the private sector for equivalent roles, saying MPs were already well-paid and not in politics for financial reward.

“The Authority needs to justify to New Zealanders why MPs need a pay increase of this size,” says Mr Key.

“If it believes that the criteria set out in the legislation leads them to these kinds of annual increases then they should advise the government and we will consult with other parties and may change the law.”

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News release

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25 February 2015
PM saddened at passing of Dame Thea Muldoon

Prime Minister John Key today expressed his sadness at the passing of Dame Thea Muldoon.

Mr Key says he met Dame Thea on a number of occasions.

“She made a significant contribution to her community and the country – something she was recognised for when she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire and awarded the Queen’s Service Order for Community Service.

“She was also a huge supporter of her husband, the late former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, and as Prime Minister today I recognise how important that is,” says Mr Key.

“I thank her for her contribution to New Zealand. My thoughts are with her family and friends.”