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17 October 2014
New Zealand wins Security Council seat

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.

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13 October 2014
Review of foreign fighters security settings to begin

Cabinet today approved the Terms of Reference for a review of settings in relation to foreign terrorist fighters, says Prime Minister John Key.

“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.

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07 October 2014
National’s new whips announced

Prime Minister John Key has announced the election of National’s new whips following the National Party Caucus this morning.

Mr Key says the new senior whip will be MP for Hamilton West, Tim Macindoe. He was formerly junior whip and replaces Louise Upston, who is now a Minister outside Cabinet.

The junior whip will be MP for Botany, Jami-Lee Ross, who steps up from third whip.

The third whip will be List MP Jo Hayes.

“Tim Macindoe, Jami-Lee Ross and Jo Hayes will be a great whips team and I congratulate them on their appointments,” Mr Key says.

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06 October 2014
National Security and Intelligence role created

Prime Minister John Key today announced the creation of a new role of Minister for National Security and Intelligence as part of wider changes to the way the security and intelligence area is governed.

“The security and intelligence sector has been undergoing significant change at agency and operational level,” Mr Key says.

“It makes sense for us to also take a fresh look at how the governance of the sector is structured.

“The Ministerial changes I am announcing today will make our structure very similar to that seen in Australia and Great Britain, and further strengthen the governance of what is an absolutely crucial sector for New Zealand.

“As Prime Minister I will take on the new role of Minister for National Security and Intelligence. In this role I will be responsible for leading the national security system – including policy settings and the legislative framework,” Mr Key says.

The roles of Minister Responsible for the GCSB and Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service will be filled by Christopher Finlayson, who is also Attorney-General in the new Cabinet.

“The arrangements mean I will lead the national security sector and set the overall framework it operates within,” Mr Key says.

“I will continue to have regular briefings from the sector’s Chief Executives about the security environment and developments both domestically and internationally.

“The Responsible Minister will operate within the framework I set and exercise ministerial oversight of the NZSIS and GCSB, including approval of warrants.

“Officials have examined models used overseas and what we are adopting is very similar to what is seen with our closest partners.

“Amy Adams will be appointed as Acting Attorney-General to exercise statutory functions where there is a specific role for the Attorney-General under New Zealand’s security and intelligence legislation.

“For example, Ms Adams will have responsibility for appointing reviewers to conduct the periodic review of the intelligence agencies, the legislation governing them and their oversight legislation,” Mr Key says.

The Ministerial changes are part of an ongoing programme of change within the sector, including the strengthened oversight of the agencies and the restructuring of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s intelligence coordination role.

“In addition to this it is my intention to create a new National Security Committee of Cabinet, which I will chair as Prime Minister, and with oversight of the intelligence and security sector,” Mr Key says.

The committee is likely to be made up of the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, the Minister responsible for the intelligence agencies, the Foreign Affairs and Defence Ministers and Amy Adams. Other Ministers would be invited to attend as appropriate.

“Our national security system is well-placed to deal with events and threats in the ever-changing environment we see,” Mr Key says.

“The changes I’m announcing today will further strengthen our structure and ensure we have a clear and practical set-up into the future.”

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06 October 2014
New National-led Administration announced

Prime Minister John Key today announced the National-led Government’s new Ministry as it prepares to begin its third term in office.

“There is a lot of work ahead to continue implementing our plans to build a stronger economy, reduce debt and create more jobs,” Mr Key says.

“The new Ministry builds on the experience of the past two terms in office, and combines experience with some fresh talent.

“A number of Ministers have had significant portfolio changes, reflecting the need to give Ministers new challenges as well as providing a fresh set of eyes in some portfolio areas.”

Mr Key says a number of Ministers have been promoted either to the front bench, or further up the front bench, to reflect their strong performance in recent years and their promise for the future.

“Paula Bennett has been promoted to number five in the rankings, and picks up State Services, Social Housing and Associate Finance in addition to retaining her Local Government portfolio.

“Dr Jonathan Coleman becomes Minister of Health, and also picks up the Sport and Recreation portfolio, which will link nicely together.

“Amy Adams and Simon Bridges are promoted to the front bench, both with significant new responsibilities. Ms Adams becomes Justice Minister and Mr Bridges Transport Minister.

“Christopher Finlayson remains Treaty Negotiations Minister and Attorney-General, while picking up significant new responsibilities in the intelligence area. He becomes Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service and Minister Responsible for the GCSB, working closely with me in my new role as Minister for National Security and Intelligence.

“In this role I will continue to be responsible for leading the national security system, including policy settings and the legislative framework. Mr Finlayson will operate within the framework I set and exercise ministerial oversight of the NZSIS and GCSB, including approval of warrants.

“Officials have examined models used overseas and what we are adopting is very similar to what is seen with our closest partners.

“Housing continues to be a key area of focus for the Government, and a Ministerial team of Bill English, Paula Bennett and Nick Smith has been assembled to lead that work. Mr English will have direct responsibility for Housing New Zealand; Ms Bennett will focus on social housing, while Dr Smith will work on housing affordability and construction issues. The Social Housing portfolio will have responsibility for the government’s social housing functions, and for its relationship with the social housing sector.

Other changes include:

  • Gerry Brownlee becomes Minister of Defence, while retaining the role of Leader of the House and his Canterbury Earthquake Recovery and EQC portfolios.
  • Anne Tolley becomes Minister for Social Development.
  • Dr Nick Smith becomes Minister for the Environment.
  • Nikki Kaye becomes Minister for ACC.
  • Michael Woodhouse becomes Minister of Police. He also becomes Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety – a new portfolio title to reflect the modern focus of what had previously been the Labour portfolio.
  • Jo Goodhew becomes Minister for Food Safety.

Mr Key says, in announcing his new line up, three new Ministers will be appointed. Maggie Barry is to go straight into Cabinet as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Minister of Conservation and Minister for Senior Citizens. Louise Upston and Paul Goldsmith will be Ministers outside Cabinet holding a variety of portfolios.

“Two ministers previously outside Cabinet have been promoted to Cabinet. Todd McClay will be Minister of Revenue and Minister for State Owned Enterprises, while Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga will be Minister of Corrections, Minister for Ethnic Communities and Minister for Pacific Peoples.

“Craig Foss remains a Minister, but will now serve outside Cabinet as Minister for Small Business, Minister of Statistics and Minister of Veteran’s Affairs.

“Chester Borrows will not be appointed to the new Ministry. He will, however, be National’s nominee for Deputy Speaker, and I want to thank Chester for his service as a Minister,” Mr Key says.

A number of Ministers continue largely in their current portfolio responsibilities. These include Steven Joyce in Economic Development, Hekia Parata in Education, Murray McCully in Foreign Affairs, Nathan Guy in Primary Industries, Tim Groser in Trade and Climate Change, and Nicky Wagner in Customs.

“The support party Ministerial and Under Secretary roles have already been announced, but I want to acknowledge again their contribution to the formation of a strong, stable National-led Government.”

Mr Key says the National Caucus will meet tomorrow (Tuesday 7 October) to elect its three whips for the coming parliamentary term.

The new Ministry will be sworn in at Government House in Wellington at 11am on Wednesday morning.

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