01 December 2013
New Zealand to join 2014 ‘G20’ meetings
Prime Minister John Key has today announced that Australia has invited New Zealand to participate in the 2014 G20 meetings during Australia’s year as Chair.
“Prime Minister Tony Abbott phoned me on Thursday to invite New Zealand to the G20 meetings next year and I warmly welcomed his invitation to take part,” says Mr Key.
“It is a testament to the Australia-New Zealand relationship, and a strong indicator of how the new Tony Abbott Government in Australia views New Zealand.”
“New Zealand is not a formal member of the G20 because of our size, but has always been supportive of it. It is very significant that New Zealand has access to the G20 meetings at the invitation of Australia,” says Mr Key.
“While the global economy is improving, growth remains a concern - and unemployment is too high in a number of economies. It is important the G20 countries continue to promote policies directed at securing global growth and stability.”
This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to contribute to a full year’s deliberations. The G20 revolves around a number of meetings of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, and culminating in a Leaders meeting towards the end of the year.
“As a small trading nation, New Zealand has a significant stake in the global economy and we will provide valuable input. We will bring some ‘small economy’ perspectives to these discussions which may be somewhat different from the issues facing major economies,” says Mr Key.
The host of the annual G20 meeting has an ability to invite some additional countries it thinks will add value during its year as Chair.
The G20 is a grouping of the world’s largest economies accounting for around 90 per cent of global GDP and 80% of international trade. It is a key vehicle for tackling the world’s economic challenges. It is responsible for continuing to help guide the global economy as it emerges from the financial crisis.
“New Zealand will support Australia in its efforts to make its year as Chair a success and we are looking forward to working with Australia and other G20 members,” says Mr Key.
Note: The G20 grouping includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, European Union.Tweet
25 November 2013
Over $3m in criminal proceeds to fund anti-P initiatives
Prime Minister John Key has today announced that over $3 million recovered under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act will be used to fund law enforcement initiatives to break the methamphetamine supply chain and expand alcohol and drug treatment programmes.
“When I launched the Methamphetamine Action Plan in 2009, we made a commitment that money taken from those who profit from drugs would be used to target the drug trade and help those affected by it to get treatment,” says Mr Key.
“We are sending a clear message we are serious about tackling drugs, particularly methamphetamine, and the harm they cause our communities.”
Since the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act came into force in December 2009, the Police have obtained forfeiture orders for assets worth $30.5 million, over half of which are related to methamphetamine offences.
While a good portion of this money goes towards procedural factors, like repaying people and organisations left out of pocket by criminals, legal and administration costs, $7 million has been set aside for anti-P initiatives and that will continue to grow.
Law enforcement and health agencies are able to bid for funding. The successful bids in this initial round are:
- $1 million to increase residential accommodation for participants in alcohol and drug treatment programmes. (Health)
- $714,000 for the Drug and Alcohol Court pilot to cover prosecution and defence counsel costs. (Justice)
- $600,000 to aid with the recovery of legal costs incurred under the Act allowing Police to focus on recovering more criminal proceeds. (Police)
- $335,000 to enhance frontline screening at the border. (Customs)
- $320,000 to help assess the purity of methamphetamine. (Customs)
- $200,000 for a Police training programme to teach drug dogs to detect cash as well as drugs. (Police)
- $68,000 for the development of media guidelines for reporting on the use of volatile substances. (Health)
The next funding round will be held next year.
The latest Indicators and Progress Report for the Government’s Methamphetamine Action Plan, also released today, shows the number of people using P has continued to decrease but the issue of demand and supply remains a complex one.
“When the Government launched the Methamphetamine Action Plan in 2009, New Zealand had one of the highest rates of P users in the world with 2.2 per cent of the adult population using the drug,’’ says Mr Key.
“We are now down to just under 0.9 per cent, which is great, but there are still over 25,000 P users in New Zealand, which is far too many.”
Mr Key says the latest report shows the price of methamphetamine remains high indicating efforts to reduce supply are having an effect.
Since 2010, the price of a point of methamphetamine has risen from $107 to $109 and the price of a gram from $723 to $757.
However, the drug’s purity levels remain high and the price of precursors (chemicals used to create P) has continued to fall.
“Customs has made more methamphetamine and precursors seizures to date in 2013 than the total seizures in 2012, which is a credit to our law enforcement agencies,’’ says Mr Key.
“By cracking down on precursors, breaking supply chains, providing better routes into treatment, supporting families and communities and strengthening leadership and accountability we are tackling P from all directions.
“I am confident together these measures will help reduce the amount of P on our streets, save lives and make our communities safer,” says Mr Key.
The report is available at: http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/dpmc/publications/methamphetamineTweet
20 November 2013
Prime Minister Key meets Thai Prime Minister
Prime Minister John Key met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra late last night New Zealand time for talks focused on promoting trade and economic links between Thailand and New Zealand.
“My visit to Thailand follows Prime Minister Yingluck’s to New Zealand earlier this year. These high level meetings are extremely valuable, and we are committed to finding further opportunities to grow the relationship,” Mr Key says.
Thailand is New Zealand’s 10th largest
trading partner and the two countries cooperate on a range of issues
including education, science and innovation, and regional security.
“There is huge potential for New Zealand and Thailand to expand our economic cooperation and we have a strong foundation for this through our Closer Economic Partnership,” says Mr Key.
“During our meeting last night we agreed to take a fresh look at this agreement. Our trade with Thailand has doubled since our CEP was signed in 2005. We want to ensure it continues to deliver for the private sector and provides the best possible platform for future growth.
“A number of New Zealand businesses have interests in Thailand. I was able to update Prime Minister Yingluck on the business initiatives signed during my visit.
“As our two countries are world leaders in global tourism we agreed to look at how we can learn from each other’s experience in this sector and how we can increase the frequency of direct flights, and the number of visitors between both countries.
“I was pleased to join with Prime Minister Yingluck, following our bilateral meeting, to witness the signing of an arrangement on tourism cooperation, as well as two education signings between individual New Zealand universities and Thai education authorities.
“We also cooperate across the range of regional forums, including the EAS and APEC, and we look forward to continuing to work closely with Thailand through the United Nations system as well,” Mr Key says.
Mr Key is currently in Thailand leading a delegation made up of representatives from 22 New Zealand companies.Tweet
18 November 2013
PM welcomes closer business links with Thailand
Prime Minister John Key today welcomed a number of new business signings between New Zealand and Thai companies that will enhance the commercial links between the two countries.
“There is huge scope
for collaboration between companies in New Zealand and Thailand, and the
signings I have witnessed today show the range of areas in which
cooperation is possible,” Mr Key says.
“Last year New Zealand‘s exports to Thailand totalled more than NZ$626 million, with food and beverage products accounting for 73 per cent, or NZ$458 million, of that total.
“The Australia-New Zealand-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement has opened up exciting new opportunities for both countries. But, ultimately it is up to businesses in both countries to take advantage of those opportunities, and it’s encouraging to see that happening.
“Today’s signings include the opening of new offices in Thailand, significant software and information systems delivery, food and beverage agreements and construction projects.
“Thailand was New Zealand’s 10th largest trading partner last year, and, further opportunities exist in the trade of commodities and value-added products and services,” Mr Key says.
Prime Minister Key is currently in Thailand leading a delegation made up of representatives from 22 New Zealand companies. The five announcements, made during a business luncheon in Bangkok included:
- Global logistics company
Mainfreight, a New Zealand domiciled and NZX-listed company, has
announced plans to open their first Thailand office for their Air &
Ocean global network.
- New Zealand global security leader Gallagher has announced plans to expand their operations in Thailand to support growing needs of the ASEAN countries.
- Orion Health announced they will significantly expand their specialist software development centre in Thailand to support further development of their Hospital Information System in collaboration with their flagship partner in Bangkok, Bumrungrad International.
- New Zealand multinational engineering and professional services consultancy Beca announced they will provide full engineering design services for Greenspot’s new soymilk production facility near Bangkok.
- New Zealand company Taura announced the launch of a snack product for the Thai market – Wel-B Fruit Bites – which has been produced by Thai company Joe-Ry Family using Taura’s URC® Mixed Berry fruit flakes. The new snacks will be launched in 7-Eleven convenience stores across Thailand.
13 November 2013
Philippines visit postponed - further support offered
Prime Minister John Key announced today that New Zealand is sending an RNZAF Hercules to contribute to relief efforts in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan.
The Prime Minister also announced the postponement of his visit to the Philippines.
“A visit next week would place undue pressure on the Philippines Government at a critical time of the relief and recovery phase.
“New Zealand knows from recent experience in Christchurch how demanding responding to a large-scale disaster is and we don’t wish to distract from these efforts.
“An RNZAF C-130 Hercules carrying emergency supplies will depart New Zealand tomorrow for the Philippines. The aircraft will remain in the area for at least 4 – 5 days to provide transport support to relief efforts as required,” says Mr Key.
“New Zealand will also launch a $2.3 million initiative with the Philippines Red Cross to bolster disaster relief supplies for future events.
“The Philippines, like New Zealand, is extremely vulnerable to natural disaster. Pre-positioning supplies at various locations around the country will mean that relief items can get to affected communities without delay,” says Mr Key.
“This initiative is in addition to the $2.15 million already announced as New Zealand’s response to Typhoon Haiyan. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely, and will work with the Philippines Government to meet any further requests for assistance,” says Mr Key.
The C-130 will depart for the Philippines in the next couple of days.
The Prime Minister departs tomorrow for the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka and an official visit to Thailand.Tweet