29 April 2013
PM marks death of Parekura Horomia
Prime Minister John Key has offered his condolences to the whanau of Labour MP Parekura Horomia who died today.
Parekura Horomia was the Member for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, a former Labour Minister of Māori Affairs and a member of the Labour caucus since 1999.
“Parekura has been a stalwart of the East Coast community for decades. He has championed their causes and supported those in need.
“I know my colleague, Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson, praised his advocacy for ensuring that, as the rate of Treaty settlements increased, the Crown’s commitments were actively honoured.
“The Government had enormous respect for the tireless work Parekura did for Māori, first as Minister, and then as a member of the Māori Affairs Select Committee during a period of increasing workload and important issues.
“I am thinking of his whānau at this very sad time. It is difficult to grieve privately when your father, grandfather, brother or uncle was a very public figure. “The Horomia family will take comfort in the achievements of a life well lived and know that he made a difference in the lives of many.”
Parekura Horomia was aged 62 and was a widower with three sons.Tweet
28 April 2013
Govt stands by Chch as rebuild cost estimate rises
The National-led Government is standing behind Christchurch as the estimated cost of the rebuild is revised upwards, says Prime Minister John Key.
Mr Key spoke today to the National Party Mainland Region conference in Hanmer Springs, and released new figures showing the extent of the challenge in rebuilding the earthquake-damaged city.
“This is the largest and most complex, single economic project in New Zealand’s history. The scale of the rebuild is unprecedented,” says Mr Key.
“That always meant that it would be difficult to get an exact handle on the total estimated cost straight away.
“Treasury has revised upwards its estimate of the total capital cost of the rebuild from $30 billion – the number in last December’s half-year fiscal update – to $40 billion. This will be contained in next month’s Budget.
“This estimate includes capital costs incurred by entities, such as commercial entities, as well as the Crown.
“The Budget will also show that the estimated net fiscal cost of the earthquakes to the Crown will rise from around $13 billion at the half-year fiscal update last December, to around $15 billion.
“Despite this, the Budget will still show the Government is on track to a surplus in 2014/15.
“The estimate increases are due in many cases to more precise information becoming available about what the actual costs are across a range of areas, from housing and social investment to infrastructure and commercial development.
“These estimates will continue to be updated from time to time, but they do not change the Government’s commitment to Christchurch and Canterbury.
“We will do what it takes to rebuild our second largest city, and that commitment will be unwavering.”
Mr Key noted that considerable progress was being made on the rebuild.
He noted that while the rebuild will be largely built by private sector capital, the Government will put money into delivering core public facilities and services.
“We want to focus taxpayers’ money in social assets rather than putting that money into competition with private sector players.
“All this demonstrates our commitment to the people of Christchurch, and Canterbury,” says Mr Key.Tweet
27 April 2013
Prime Minister praises Tim Groser’s WTO campaign
Prime Minister John Key says he has now received confirmation from Geneva that New Zealand’s Trade Minister has not reached the final round of consultations to select a new Director General for the World Trade Organisation.
“This is obviously disappointing, not only for Tim Groser and the Government, but for all those WTO members and people in the wider trade community who were hoping to see him secure this role. We were grateful for the expressions of support from around the world.
“I know that Mr Groser appreciated that support and looks forward to continuing to work for the conclusion of the WTO’s Doha development negotiating round and towards making the international trading system work more effectively for all members. These were shared priorities and they remain so, regardless of the outcome of this race.
“In putting Mr Groser forward for this role, and in the enthusiasm with which he has pursued his nomination, New Zealand has underlined its strong commitment to the WTO and the multilateral trading system,” says Mr Key.
“The candidate eventually selected to lead the WTO will face a challenge in ensuring that the organisation remains fully effective and credible. I want to assure whoever is selected that they will have New Zealand’s full support in this endeavour.”
Mr Key says that New Zealand’s trade negotiations agenda for the coming year remains full and exciting.
“A number of negotiations likely to reach crucial stages, in addition to the WTO Ministerial meeting in Bali in December and I am reassured that New Zealand will continue to enjoy the benefit of Mr Groser’s experience and skills as Trade Minister to progress these initiatives.”Tweet
26 April 2013
Entries open for PM’s Business Scholarships
Prime Minister John Key says executives looking to expand their international expertise should apply for this year’s Prime Minister’s Business Scholarships, which are now open for applications.
The scholarships are designed to build business capability and develop skills, particularly in management and international business leadership.
“We need to develop better skills to get the best out of our workforce, which in turn will help to grow the economy,” says Mr Key.
“Getting access to the best knowledge from the world’s best schools can only benefit our senior executives and the companies they return to.”
Last year’s scholarships enabled 14 successful recipients to enrol for this year’s intakes at prestigious international institutions such as Harvard, INSEAD and London Business School.
“We are already seeing tangible benefits as the recipients return to their firms,” says Mr Key.
“This will only increase as each new tranche complete their courses and return home to help their firms expand their international business transactions.”
Applications for the scholarships close on 27 May 2013. For more information visit: www.med.govt.nz/scholarships.
24 April 2013
Video Key Notes on growing tourism
I rated my recent trip to China as a ten out of ten and that's what we hope visitors to New Zealand do too, including tourists.
Whether they come for a wild adventure, or to escape the northern winter by enjoying our summer, or to see where Hobbits live when they're at home, we hope that when our visitors depart they leave as ambassadors for the New Zealand Experience.
Every host wants their visitors to have a good time. But there's more riding on tourism than that.
Make no mistake: it's a very important industry for New Zealand.
With about two million visitors coming here a year, tourism directly contributes more than six billion dollars to the New Zealand economy.
It directly supports about one hundred and twenty thousand full-time equivalent jobs including in hospitality and transport.
More tourists will mean more jobs. That is a good reason for us to want to grow the industry in a sustainable way.
Having a beautiful country, and a reputation for great food and wine are perfect starting point for attracting tourists. But that doesn't mean there aren't challenges.
Other countries also want international visitors, and the wealthier they are, the more choices those tourists have. Attracting them here is a competitive business, even with some of the beautiful lodges and scenery we have on offer.
On top of that challenge, we're a long way away from where most people live and, right now, our dollar's pretty high.
But there's real potential for growth in tourism which is why I've announced that this year's Budget will have an extra $158 million of spending in tourism over the next four years.
Some of that will go to marketing New Zealand to high-value tourists.
When they get here, we want them to sample a range of experiences. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films show what can be achieved by combining stunning scenery and creative talent. Showcasing our country, and our creativity are a natural fit.
I've hosted many overseas leaders here who are impressed by the beauty of our country. But we want visitors to take something away on top of their photos of a rugged mountain range, or a beautiful lake.
We want them to have felt the warmth and personality of New Zealanders. After all, the landscape is only one part of what makes this a great country to live in and visit. Dedicated people work in the tourism industry day and night but there's a role for all of us in sharing the Kiwi spirit when we get the opportunity.
We can help visitors to feel at home in our home so that when they're asked to rate their time in New Zealand, they say, "ten out of ten".