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27 March 2015
PM to attend the Cricket World Cup Final

Prime Minister John Key will attend the final of the Cricket World Cup in Melbourne this weekend.

“I am delighted to be attending the final between New Zealand and Australia,” says Mr Key. 

“Our two countries have a special rivalry. Over the years we have been treated to some truly exceptional sporting clashes and I expect this one will be no different. I wish Brendon McCullum and the Black Caps all the very best.”

Mr Key says New Zealand has been proud to co-host the tournament alongside Australia. The event has seen 49 matches played over 44 days, across 14 venues in New Zealand and Australia.

“It has been a great opportunity to showcase New Zealand to the world, with television audiences expected to exceed 1 billion people and international visitor numbers forecast to top 30,000.

“I would like to congratulate all the teams for what has been a tremendous tournament. I would also like to thank the many fans who have turned out in force to support their teams and all those who have worked to make the tournament such a success,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key will leave on Saturday and return home on Monday.

Sports Minister Jonathan Coleman will also attend the final.

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23 March 2015
NZ signs Free Trade Agreement with Korea

Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea opens a new chapter in the two countries’ relationship.

Mr Key and President Park Geun-hye of Korea witnessed the signing of the Agreement by Trade Ministers Tim Groser and Yoon Sang-jick in Seoul today.

“The Agreement shows the strength of the relationship between New Zealand and Korea. It symbolises our countries’ commitment to economic openness and market integration in the Asia-Pacific region,” says Mr Key.

“Korea is one of New Zealand’s biggest and most important trading partners. This Agreement makes it easier for Koreans and Kiwis to do business with each other, and the removal of tariffs will benefit consumers in both countries.

“At the moment, New Zealand exports into Korea attract NZ$229 million a year in duties.  Tariff reductions in the first year of the FTA alone will save an estimated NZ$65 million.”

The Agreement now needs to be ratified by the New Zealand Parliament.

“We are keen for the Agreement to come into force this year,” says Mr Key.

“With a population of over 50 million and as the 13th largest economy in the world, Korea is an attractive market for New Zealand exporters.”

Notes for editors:

  • Korea is New Zealand’s sixth largest export destination for goods and services and our eighth largest import source, with total two-way goods trade of NZ$4 billion.
  • Negotiations on the Agreement started in June in 2009 and concluded in November 2014.
  • The Agreement was initialled on 22 December 2014. Initialling marked the end of the text’s legal verification process.
  • More information, including the full text of the Agreement, is available at korea.fta.govt.nz
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23 March 2015
PM extends condolences at passing of Lee Kuan Yew

Prime Minister John Key has expressed his sincere condolences to the people of Singapore following the death of the nation’s first Prime Minster, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.

“Mr Lee made an extraordinary contribution to Singapore, both as it found its way to independence in 1965 and in the 50 years since then,” said Mr Key.

“A man of rare qualities, Mr Lee’s courage, determination, commitment, character and ability made him a formidable leader who held the respect of Singaporeans and the international community alike.”

Known as one of Singapore’s founding fathers, Mr Lee guided the development of a country which has become a world leader. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Association of South East Asian Nations, ASEAN, which has offered cohesion and stability in a diverse region. 

“Mr Lee provided a unifying presence in his country since its creation as a state in 1965.  His loss will be deeply felt by his family and the people of Singapore.”

“I had the honour of meeting Mr Lee in 2007 during his last official visit to New Zealand. He was well known for his insights and foresight but what struck me most was his unwavering determination to see Singapore succeed.” 

“A powerful advocate for the region and supportive of New Zealand’s role in South East Asia and the wider world, Mr Lee was a close and long-time friend of New Zealand,” said Mr Key.

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20 March 2015
PM acknowledges passing of Malcolm Fraser

Prime Minister John Key has today acknowledged the passing of former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

“Mr Fraser served Australia with distinction over his many years in office and made a significant contribution to the strengthening of the Australia-New Zealand relationship,” says Mr Key.

“The bonds between our two countries that exist today were forged by past Prime Ministers whose commitment and vision for our two nations, and for the prosperity, security and advancement of our region, rested in part on working more closely together. 

“I would like to acknowledge Mr Fraser’s contribution to this important legacy and reaffirm my commitment to building on that for the betterment of both countries.

“My thoughts are with Mr Fraser’s family and the people of Australia.”

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19 March 2015
NZ and Viet Nam agree ambitious trade target

New Zealand and Viet Nam have agreed an ambitious target of doubling two-way goods and service trade to around $2.2 billion by 2020, Prime Minister John Key has announced.

The target was confirmed in today’s bi-lateral meeting between Mr Key and Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, as well as senior ministers from both countries.

Also signed was a cooperation arrangement on food safety and an air services agreement which will provide greater choices for New Zealanders flying to Viet Nam.

Mr Key says the agreements demonstrate the growing relationship between two close regional partners.

“Viet Nam has been New Zealand’s fastest-growing trading partner in South East Asia over the past five years,” says Mr Key.

“Since 2009 two-way goods and services trade has more than doubled - increasing by 120 per cent.”

Mr Key says that growth gave the leaders confidence the new target could be met.

The Prime Ministers also discussed plans to expand links in the education and agriculture sectors as well as work more closely together on defence issues, including UN peacekeeping.

“Viet Nam is an increasingly important regional partner for New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

“As we celebrate 40 years of diplomatic ties this year our relationship is in great health, as demonstrated by the visit of the largest delegation Viet Nam has brought to New Zealand.

“I look forward to working with Prime Minister Dung to build on that.”