News release

03 July 2015
Further boost for New Zealand Cycle Trail

The Government is investing nearly $400,000 in six new projects to enhance and maintain the quality of the New Zealand Cycle Trail, Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key announced today. 

“This is the second round of funding available through the Maintaining the Quality of Great Rides Fund and brings the total investment under the fund so far to $1.36 million,” says Mr Key.

“Priority has been given to proposals that aim to improve the safety and quality of the Great Rides – the premier rides on the New Zealand Cycle Trail. Three of the successful applications are for repairs to sections of trail that have incurred storm damage.

“The Cycle Trail is a significant tourism asset and it is vital that individual trails are maintained to the highest possible standard so that riders continue to have a safe and enjoyable experience.”

Mr Key says the number of people using the trail is continuing to increase.

“The latest data shows around 125,000 people used the New Zealand Cycle Trail in the month of January, compared to 97,000 in January 2014. 

“The trails which saw the biggest increase in users over the month of January were the Hawkes Bay Trails up from 19,500 to approximately 26,000, the Waikato River Trail up from 3,300 to approximately 4,400 and Tasman’s Great Taste Trail up from 8,600 to approximately 9,600.”

The Government has set aside $8 million over four years to help maintain and enhance the quality of the New Zealand Cycle Trail. Nearly $1 million was invested in thirteen projects in December.

The six projects to receive funding in this funding round are:

  • Tourism Waitaki (Canterbury)  $66,575
  • Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust (West Coast) $165,910
  • Central Trails Trust  (Otago) $10,744
  • Tasman District Council (Nelson/Tasman) $67,500
  • Queenstown Trails Trust (Otago) $58,774
  • Motu Trails Charitable Trust (East Coast) $25,134

The next funding round will be in August.

More information is available at

News release

30 June 2015
Delivering benefits to families - July 1 changes

A number of government policies that come into effect tomorrow will deliver real benefits to families, Prime Minister John Key says.

From tomorrow all children under 13 will have access to free GP visits and prescriptions.  

It is estimated that over 400,000 children will benefit from the scheme, taking the total number of children who are benefitting from free GP visits and prescriptions to over 750,000.

“We’re committed to giving kids the best start in life and that means ensuring they are able to go to the doctor any time of the day or night without their parents worrying about the cost,” says Mr Key.

“Doctor’s visits and prescriptions are already free for children under the age of six and thanks to our careful management of the government’s books we have been able to extend this policy to all children under 13.”

Other changes that come into effect tomorrow include:

  • The average ACC motor vehicle levy, including the annual licence levy and petrol levy, will fall from around $330 to $195 per year.
  • Paid parental leave payments will increase with the maximum weekly rate for eligible employees and self-employed parents going from $504.10 to $516.85 gross.
  • More assistance for solo parents who are studying
  • Additional checks for people working with young New Zealanders
  • More funding will also be made available to hospices to help them expand their community palliative services to better support terminally ill people at home and in aged-care facilities.

“These changes show how a growing and vibrant economy is delivering New Zealanders more money in their back pockets.”

News release

18 June 2015
PM welcomes more regional flights

Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key has welcomed the announcement by Jetstar that the airline will expand its domestic network to regional New Zealand.

Jetstar announced today that from December it will fly to at least four regional locations, with Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Nelson and Invercargill among the destinations under consideration.

“Today’s commitment is more good news for New Zealand and for the regions,” says Mr Key.

“This will create jobs, mean cheaper fares and more choice for New Zealanders and our international visitors, and will provide a welcome boost to regional economies.”

Mr Key says the regions are making an important contribution to New Zealand’s economy.

“They’re doing this through a diverse range of industries such as tourism, niche-manufacturing, winemaking, forestry, agriculture and horticulture.

“And the Government is supporting them through important programmes such as ultra-fast broadband, rural broadband and our regional roading programme.

“Extra air links will help connect regional New Zealand with the world and the main centres, making it easier to do business and for Kiwis and tourists to get around the country.”

Last year a record 2.95 million tourists visited New Zealand, spending $7.45 billion - 13 per cent more than the year before - and the Government remains committed to growing those numbers and ensuring the benefits are spread around the country.

Mr Key says New Zealand’s strong economy is giving businesses such as Jetstar the confidence to invest here.

“This is another example of how a growing and vibrant economy is delivering more benefits for Kiwis.”

News release

05 June 2015
Prime Minister expresses condolences

Prime Minister John Key has this morning expressed his deepest sympathies for the family, friends and supporters of Lecretia Seales who lost her battle with cancer.

“Cancer is a terrible disease for those who suffer it and it’s particularly hard on those who witness their loved ones eventually succumb to it,” says Mr Key

“My heart goes out to Lecretia’s family and friends.”

News release

21 May 2015
Supporting children in hardship focus of Budget

The National-led Government’s seventh Budget continues to support New Zealanders while responsibly managing the growing economy and the Government’s finances, Prime Minister John Key says.

In particular, it will deliver a $790 million package to help children living in some of New Zealand’s poorest families.

The package includes a balanced mix of greater work expectations for sole parents and more financial support for parents on a benefit. Benefit rates for families with children will increase by $25 a week after tax, from 1 April next year. This is the first increase outside inflation adjustments since 1972.

“After the last election, I said children in hardship were a Government priority and by building a strong economy we can provide more support for them,” Mr Key says. “Increasing the weekly payment for beneficiary families and lifting Working for Families payments to low-income households will make a real difference by allowing parents to better provide for their children.

“Two-thirds of children in more severe material hardship have a parent on a benefit, with nine out of 10 of those being sole parents, so it’s important to focus attention on this group of families.”

Lower-income working families that are not on a benefit also get an increase in their Working for Families payments and there is more childcare support to help low-income parents in work.

“Billions of dollars are already invested every year in supporting low-income families and we’re also addressing the long-term drivers of material hardship like poor educational achievement,” Mr Key says.

“But there is still a group of children who, through no fault of their own, are in families where there is considerable hardship. We are firmly focused on helping these children out of the cycle of hardship.”