21 October 2011
Key Notes - The Rena
In this issues of Key Notes, I talk about the Rena, the All Blacks, KiwiSaver, efforts to boost trade with India, Christchurch - and a few upcoming events in my diary, including a visit next week from British Prime Minister David Cameron.
On Tuesday I went to Tauranga again to get a further update on the container ship Rena, which is stranded on the Astrolabe reef. I also met the local chamber of commerce.
The salvage team is working to pump as much oil off the ship as possible so that it doesn't spill into the sea. But the weather is very variable and, even in calm conditions, this is a very difficult task.
At this stage, we don't know how long the recovery might take. The ship remains stranded and it's very much a waiting game. This is as frustrating for the salvage team as it is for everyone else.
The Government is putting every available resource into the clean up and recovery efforts, and this will continue.
I'd like to thank everyone who has volunteered so far. I've met people who are going out of their way to clean up beaches, protect wildlife, and help in any way they can. We'll continue to need the help of volunteers, so if you are able, please sign up at www.boprc.govt.nz/oilspillvolunteers/.
For further information please visit Maritime New Zealand's website at www.maritimenz.govt.nz. It includes an extensive timeline of the Government's response since the ship was first stranded.
GO THE MIGHTY ALL BLACKS
I'll be joining thousands of others at Eden Park on Sunday night for the Rugby World Cup final between the All Blacks and France. It'll be a tough game, but I'm backing Richie and the boys all the way to play the best rugby of their lives and bring home the Webb Ellis Cup.
BUILDING SAVINGS & INVESTMENT
On Tuesday Finance Minister Bill English announced that the Government intends to do a one-off KiwiSaver auto-enrolment exercise in 2014/15. This is subject to the government's books returning to surplus by then.
All workers who are not already in the KiwiSaver scheme would be automatically enrolled, with the ability to opt out.
This is another step in National's plan to build genuine national savings. We are working hard to return to surplus, repay debt, and build long-term economic growth.
Yesterday in Auckland I launched the New Zealand Inc India Strategy. It's a plan that outlines how New Zealand can make the most of the opportunities India provides.
India is emerging as an economic superpower, and stronger ties between our two countries will benefit us hugely.
This will be the first of many NZ Inc country and regional strategies. In addition to India, strategies are being developed on China, the United States, Australia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and the European Union.
By trading more with the rest of the world, we will build a stronger economy, create jobs, boost incomes, and raise living standards for Kiwi families.
Last week data was released showing that Canterbury's economy is making steady progress.This shows just how resilient the people of Canterbury have been despite the challenges of the past year.
Manufacturing and exports have grown consistently since the February earthquake, while job advertisements have increased sharply in recent months. Other indicators are stable, showing that many businesses are managing well, although some industries such as tourism and retail continue to struggle.
The Government is spending $5.5 billion over six years to rebuild Christchurch. For more information on the steps the Government is taking, visit www.cera.govt.nz.
FROM MY DIARY
On Wednesday in Christchurch I opened the Raeward Fresh store in Harewood, spoke at a lunch for young businesspeople, and opened the High Street Medical Centre. I then attended the funeral of Christopher Doig before flying to Auckland for Style Pasifika, which was a great show. Yesterday in Auckland I opened Sir Peter Leitch's sports museum in Manurewa. Today I'm in South Canterbury for a number of events. Then I'm returning to Auckland for the weekend for a number of meetings on Saturday and the big game on Sunday.
I hope you all have a safe and happy long weekend, and enjoy the chance to spend some time with family and friends.