31 March 2009
PM to attend East Asia Summit and visit China
Prime Minister John Key will attend the East Asia Summit in Thailand from 11-12 April and will then visit the People’s Republic of China.
He will join leaders from the 10 ASEAN countries, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, India, and Australia at the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Pattaya, Thailand, to discuss the global economic crisis.
“The summit is also an opportunity to build on the ASEAN, Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement signed last month, and support work towards a region-wide free trade deal.”
Between 14 and 18 April, the Prime Minister will visit China to meet with Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. Both meetings will take place in Beijing, before Mr Key travels to Shanghai and then to Boao.
“China is New Zealand’s third largest trading partner, and the visit is an opportunity to reinforce our shared economic interests,” says Mr Key.
“It is also a chance to build on the New Zealand-China FTA, particularly in the areas of tourism, aviation, dairy and agriculture, and education.”
Mr Key will open the New Zealand Central Concept Centre in Shanghai. The centre is to foster business contacts and develop New Zealand business in China. He will also attend China’s Boao Forum, and speak at Peking University on Asia’s role in recovering from the global economic crisis.
He will be joined in China by Ethnic Affairs and Women’s Affairs Minister Pansy Wong and a small group of New Zealand business leaders.Tweet
27 March 2009
Queen approves title changes; Governor-General knighted
Prime Minister John Key announced today that the Queen has finished the formalities needed to reinstate titles in the New Zealand honours system.
Mr Key also announced that the Queen has approved the redesignation of the Governor-General from a Principal Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit to a Knight Grand Companion of the Order, effective immediately.
That means the Governor-General’s new title and style will be His Excellency The Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO.
“It is fitting that the Governor-General, as Chancellor of the New Zealand Order of Merit, has a titular honour.
“I am also pleased that the Queen has given her formal approval to the changes I announced on 8 March.”
The Queen formally reinstated the titles by signing the new Amending Royal Warrant, dated 23 March 2009. (see fact sheet).
The formalities relating to the reinstatement of titles into the New Zealand Honours System have been completed by Her Majesty The Queen signing the new Amending Royal Warrant, dated 23 March 2009. This new Warrant provides for:
- the reinstatement of titles at the two highest levels of The New Zealand Order of Merit; namely:
- Knight and Dame Grand Companion (GNZM); and
- Knight and Dame Companion (KNZM/DNZM).
- the opportunity for Principal and Distinguished Companions of the Order to elect to be redesignated within the Order as Knights or Dames.
- the opportunity for those Principal and Distinguished Companions of the Order who already enjoy a title in another Order of Chivalry, or as a Knight Bachelor, to be redesignated within The New Zealand Order of Merit Order as a Knight or Dame.
- an opportunity for the small number of widows of deceased former Principal and Distinguished Companions of the Order to elect to use the courtesy title of “Lady” for the remainder of their lives.
- those who elect not to accept a title to remain Principal or Distinguished Companions of the Order, and to retain their existing privileges and styles.
The Governor-General holds the office of Chancellor of the New Zealand Order of Merit. Under the provisions of the new Warrant, he retains this office. As the principal office holder of the Order, and with the reinstatement of titular honours, it is fitting that the Governor-General should also hold a titular honour.
The Queen has redesignated the Governor-General from a Principal Companion of The New Zealand Order of Merit (PCNZM) to a Knight Grand Companion of the Order (GNZM), effective immediately.
The Governor-General’s new title and style are: His Excellency The Honourable Sir Anand Satyanand, GNZM, QSO. As the wife of a knight, the Governor-General’s wife, Mrs Susan Satyanand, is entitled to use the courtesy title of “Lady”. Her new style is: Her Excellency Lady Satyanand.Tweet
27 March 2009
PM thanks Auckland Royal Commissioners
Prime Minister John Key has thanked the three members of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance for delivering their report to the Government.
Local Government Minister Rodney Hide publicly released the report and its recommendations in Auckland today.
"For New Zealand to grow and prosper, it's critically important we get the governance structure of our largest metropolitan area right. There are significant issues outlined in the 800-page Royal Commission report and the Government is taking some time to examine the detail before releasing its formal response.
"As promised, the Government has moved quickly to release this report because of strong public interest in Auckland, and around New Zealand. Inevitably, the Royal Commission report will foster a degree of community debate, which the Government welcomes.
"We are working on this as a matter of priority because preparations need to be underway within weeks if the Auckland region is to be operating under a new governance structure in time for local body elections in 2010.
"On Monday, Cabinet will get its first chance to broadly discuss the Royal Commission report, when it will also receive an update from Mr Hide on official advice, feedback, ongoing work streams, and timing."Read full article
27 March 2009
Govt congratulates Helen Clark on top UN role
Prime Minister John Key today congratulated Helen Clark on being named the preferred candidate to run the United Nations Development Programme.
"I am delighted that the UN has announced she is the preferred candidate for the job," says Mr Key.
"The Government fully endorsed her application for this position, which will make her the number 3 in the UN.
"This will be the highest diplomatic position held by a New Zealander, and I think we can all take pride in her significant achievement.
"Helen Clark is a highly regarded New Zealander who has credibility on the world stage. Her leadership experience will help ensure she can mobilise resources and represent the UNDP effectively.
"We look forward to the UN General Assembly endorsing the Secretary General's recommendation and finalising the appointment."
The UNDP is the largest UN development agency, with an annual budget of about US$5 billion.
New Zealand works with the UNDP on skills development and government capacity-building programmes in the Pacific, Asia and Latin America, and is also an active member of UNDP's executive board.Tweet
26 March 2009
Key Notes No.45
Watch my latest video journal on YouTube - click the image, or here.
LOOKING ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
Every day that I am on the road, I talk to people who are concerned about the economy and what the future holds.
New Zealand is battling a global downturn on a scale we haven’t seen for over a generation. But I’m confident we will come through it more strongly than many countries, and that these tough times can be a springboard for better times ahead.
Why? For five reasons – the health of our banking system, our monetary and fiscal policies, our export base, our position in the world, and our capacity to adapt.
JOBS AND GROWTH PLAN – 1 APRIL CHANGES
We’re working hard to protect New Zealanders from the sharpest edges of the recession and prepare for future growth. On 1 April, several important parts of our Jobs and Growth Plan come into effect:
Cutting personal taxes – The 1 April tax cuts deliver on our election promise and will provide a billion-dollar boost to households. They will lift the after-tax income of a worker on the average wage by around $18 a week. They include a new independent earner tax credit of $10 a week for people earning between $24,000 and $44,000 and who are not receiving state support. The tax cuts are part of National’s plans for rewarding effort and providing better incentives for New Zealanders to get ahead.
Helping small businesses – Most of the initiatives from the new Government’s Small Business Relief Package will come into effect, making it simpler and less expensive for small and medium businesses to manage their cash flows and pay taxes. The relief package is worth around $480 million for businesses over four years.
Boosting incomes for the most vulnerable – The new Government is lifting NZ Super, veteran’s pensions, student allowances, and benefit payments to match inflation. We are also lifting the minimum wage from $12.00 an hour to $12.50. These increases will help people on low incomes tackle rising living costs.
Encouraging saving – We are making changes to Kiwisaver to make it more enduring and affordable for savers to join, and for employers and the government to support. Changes include reducing the minimum employee contribution from 4% to 2% of their gross pay.
Restoring ACC to financial health – The government is reluctantly increasing ACC levies for earners and employers. This will help cover some of the massive hole in ACC’s accounts and, along with our efforts to improve management and get costs under control, ensure the scheme’s ongoing viability.
Last week I announced that the Government will give Tourism New Zealand an extra $2.5 million to immediately boost New Zealand tourism promotion in Australia . As the global recession bites, our friends across the Tasman will be keen to holiday closer to home, and the more Aussie tourists we can attract to New Zealand, the more jobs we can protect and create in our tourism industry.
DEVELOPING A CULTURE OF GIVING
One of the great joys of being Prime Minister is that I get to meet people in our communities who make a real difference in people’s lives.
New Zealanders are incredibly generous, but there is always more we can do to help those worse off than ourselves. That’s why I want to develop a culture of giving and generosity in New Zealand.
To find out how we can all play our part in this, read or watch my speech to Philanthropy New Zealand’s Annual Conference.
TURNING AROUND TROUBLED LIVES
Last Friday I visited the teenagers and staff at Kingslea School, a youth justice facility near Christchuch, which caters for around 40 of our worst offenders aged between 14 and 17.
The stories these teenagers tell about their young lives are sometimes harrowing, but also hopeful. These kids have done some pretty bad things to end up at the school, but I don’t think it’s too late for any of them to turn their lives around. The staff and teachers are doing a great job helping them to learn vocational skills and get them back on track, but there is more that can be done.
That’s why we’re developing our Fresh Start programme for the worst young offenders. Fresh Start includes military-style activity camps with an intense year-long course of support and mentoring. This aims to give the most troubled teenagers the help they need to tackle their problems and become more responsible adults.
SUNDAY WITH THE PRIME MINISTER