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04 July 2014
Japanese Prime Minister to visit

The Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe will make an official visit to New Zealand next week, Prime Minister John Key announced today.

“Prime Minister Abe has been spearheading a revival of Japan’s economy and diplomacy,” Mr Key said.  

“His visit is an opportunity to mark New Zealand’s long-standing links with Japan through Government, business and personal ties.”

The two Prime Ministers will hold talks on Monday in Auckland and meet with business representatives from both countries. 

Mr Abe will then fly to Christchurch to pay respects to 28 Japanese citizens who lost their lives in the Canterbury earthquake.

“I have met Mr Abe a number of times overseas since he came to office in 2012, and I very much look forward to welcoming him to New Zealand,” said Mr Key.

Mr Abe previously visited New Zealand in 1985 (accompanying his father, Foreign Minister Shintaro Abe and Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone) and in 1997 as a member of the Japanese Diet (Parliament).

Mr Abe’s grandfather, Nobusuke Kishi, was the first Japanese Prime Minister to visit New Zealand in 1957.

The most recent visit of a Japanese Prime Minister was Junichiro Koizumi in 2002.

Mr Abe will be accompanied by his wife Mrs Akie Abe.

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02 July 2014
Deputy Inspector-General Intelligence named

Prime Minister John Key has announced the appointment of Ben Keith as Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security.

The appointment was made by the Governor General and is for a term of three years.  Ben Keith starts in his new role today, 2 July 2014. 

“This is the first appointment to this position, which was newly created with amendments to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996 in September last year,” says Mr Key.

Mr Keith comes to the position from Crown Law, where he has most recently been Crown Counsel for constitutional, human rights and international law.  He had served in other Crown Counsel, Associate Crown Counsel and Assistant Crown Counsel roles in Crown Law since 2000 and before that had been an associate in a private law firm.

The appointment of Mr Keith was made after consultation with Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, as is required by statute.

“I am confident that Mr Keith will work with recently appointed Inspector-General Cheryl Gwyn to strengthen further this important office, providing independent oversight of New Zealand’s intelligence community at a time when it is subject to significant change and increased public scrutiny,” says Mr Key.

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02 July 2014
Prime Minister addresses family violence

The Prime Minister has this morning announced a suite of cross-Government initiatives aimed at addressing family violence.

“Quite simply, the rate of family violence in New Zealand is unacceptable,” says Mr Key.

While crime is at a 35-year low, violent crime is decreasing at a much slower rate.

“Almost 50 per cent of all homicides in New Zealand are a result of family violence. That is, on average, 14 women, seven men, and eight children killed by a member of their family every year.”

Mr Key says together with the Government’s focus on vulnerable children, this work will help New Zealand families live without violence and fear.

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27 June 2014
Trade target with China surpassed early

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed today’s release of statistics that show two-way trade with China has exceeded $20 billion on an annual basis for the first time.  

“In 2010, two-way trade was worth $10 billion; and our exports to China were $4 billion. At that time, the then-Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and I agreed on the ambitious target of doubling two-way trade to $20 billion by 2015,” says Mr Key.

Statistics out today show that New Zealand is now exporting more than $11 billion worth of products to China, and two-way trade has already surpassed the goal of $20 billion. 

Mr Key says; “The growth is showing no signs of slowing and that is why in my visit to Beijing in March, President Xi Jinping and I set an ambitious new goal for trade. We are now aiming to reach two-way trade of $30 billion by 2020.”

New Zealand’s economic relationship with China has deepened markedly in recent years.

“We have seen rapidly escalating demand from China as people have become wealthier, and naturally turn to higher quality products.   As a high quality food producer, New Zealand is well placed to help meet that demand.

“This Government is committed to ensuring we have the right resources in place to support this growth and recognise the ever-increasing importance of the China market.

“That is why we have recently increased our personnel working on the China relationship, both in China and back in New Zealand.

“The New Zealand government and Kiwi exporters are committed to continuing to improve our relationship with China, because it creates jobs and increases incomes.

“Reaching the $20 billion target ahead of schedule shows that our investment in this market is paying dividends.”

For more details on trade statistics, see the Statistics New Zealand website.

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26 June 2014
Prendergast reappointed as Tourism NZ Chair

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key today announced that Kerry Prendergast has been reappointed Chair of the New Zealand Tourism Board for a one-year term.

The Board, trading as Tourism New Zealand (TNZ), markets New Zealand as a tourism destination.

“I would like to thank Kerry for her work on the board since she was first appointed in 2011, and look forward to her continued excellent contribution to the work of TNZ,” Mr Key says.

“Due to her current term expiring within the pre-election period, this reappointment is for a one-year term starting on 15 August. This will provide continuity and stability to the board.”

Ms Prendergast is the former Mayor of Wellington, holds an MBA specialising in Marketing and Strategy, and has extensive experience in promoting Wellington as a tourist destination.

She is currently the Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Executive Chair of the NZ International Festival of the Arts and the Wellington Jazz Music Festival Trust.