31 January 2009
Statement on Paula Bennett
The letters were written before Ms Bennett became a Cabinet Minister and relate to Viliami Halaholo.
"I am disappointed I was not made aware of these letters a week earlier when I asked Ms Bennett about issues relating to this man," Mr Key says.
"However, I accept that no deliberate attempt was made to mislead me.
"I continue to hold the view that none of Ms Bennett's actions breach her responsibilities as a Minister.
"She continues to enjoy my confidence and I look forward to her making a good contribution as a Minister in my Cabinet.
"I encourage all of my Ministers to be upfront and open with me at all times," says Mr Key.
23 January 2009
Key Notes No.42
I hope you've had a great start to the year. I really enjoyed watching President Obama's inauguration on Wednesday morning. It was an amazing moment for the world and history in the making.
New Zealand's relationship with the United States is very strong. We're looking forward to working closely with President Obama's new administration and hopefully concluding a Free Trade Agreement with the US, which is important for New Zealand and our economy.
FACING OUR ECONOMIC CHALLENGES
Things are obviously difficult on the economic front and internationally we are seeing some of the most trying conditions in a generation. But I don't think people are unrealistic. No government can stand on the beach and push back the tide of a global recession, but we can make sure that New Zealand businesses and enterprises are in as strong a position as possible. We have a number of initiatives underway to help achieve that. These include:
- Our programme of ongoing tax cuts and a big increase in infrastructure investment that will help to provide an economic stimulus that is the 5th largest in the developed world.
- On 4 February I will give a major economic speech that focuses on the challenges we face, and details some concrete initiatives to take the pressure off small and medium-sized businesses.
- Later that month we will announce a raft of smaller infrastructure projects that are ready to go.
- On 27 February I will hold a Prime Ministerial job summit chaired by Mark Weldon, the Chief Executive of the Stock Exchange. We will get businesses, unions, and community leaders together to look at how we can protect and grow jobs.
These are just the first in a rolling maul of initiatives that we will announce over coming months to help New Zealanders and their families combat the global recession.
RESTRAINING MP SALARIES
Yesterday I wrote to the independent Remuneration Authority to express the new Government's view that it should not increase MPs' salaries in the coming year.
In these times, as ordinary New Zealanders tighten their belts, it is only right that MPs and ministers play their part. While the Remuneration Authority is an independent body I would hope that it recognises the economic climate calls for the cautious use of taxpayer money. The Government must lead by example.
HEROES RETURNING HOME
On Tuesday I was, sadly, unable to attend the ceremony to honour the five New Zealanders who died in the Air New Zealand crash off the coast of Perpignon.
Each one of them was a highly valued and trusted expert in their field. All of them - Captain Brian Horrell, engineers Michael Gyles and Noel Marsh, and airworthiness inspector Jeremy Cook who was with the Civil Aviation Authority - were at the top of their game. As was engineer Murray White, whose body has sadly still not been found.
These men personified the finest of New Zealand values - the brave, "can-do" down-to-earth excellence that has built Air New Zealand into our flagship company. In France to put one of our planes through its paces so it could be certified safe for the rest of us, they died in the service of their country.
I'm looking forward to visiting Ratana near Wanganui today with Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples, several other ministers, and a number of National MPs. We're attending the annual celebrations marking the birth of Tahupotiki Wiremu Ratana.
It will be a real show of strength and commitment from the new Government. We are working hard to achieve a better future for Maori and we've demonstrated that in the way we're working with the Maori Party. On the marae I'll be talking about the issues that Maori face, and the commitments that the new Government is making to all New Zealanders.
I first visited Ratana two years ago, and had a great time playing volleyball with several teenagers before going on to the marae. This year, with my serving arm a little under-strength, I'll stay on the sidelines.
KEEPING IN TOUCH
A big thanks to those of you who commented on my previous newsletter, and who are posting thoughts on my website and Facebook pages http://www.facebook.com/pages/John-Key/12635800428. Your comments and ideas are very helpful and your kind words about my broken arm are very much appreciated.
Please keep up the good work.
Hon John Key
22 January 2009
Key urges restraint on MP salary rises
Prime Minister John Key has urged the independent Remuneration Authority not to increase MPs' salaries in the coming year as New Zealand faces tougher economic times.
Mr Key has today written to the authority to express the Government's view that it should exercise restraint when next considering salaries within its jurisdiction.
The National Party will also file a submission with the authority recommending a zero pay increase for Parliamentary salaries at the appropriate time.
"The New Zealand economy is facing what looks to be a difficult time ahead," Mr Key says.
"It is only right that in these changing economic times, as ordinary New Zealanders tighten their belts, MPs and ministers also play their part.
"While the Remuneration Authority is an independent body I would hope that it recognises the current economic climate calls for a cautious use of taxpayer money.
"The National-led Government is committed to getting New Zealand through challenging economic times and onto a path towards better economic growth.
"This Government is implementing its economic plan and more initiatives will be coming in the next month.
"I think it is wholly appropriate that the Government leads by example," Mr Key says.
- Letter to Remuneration Authority (doc, 27 Kb)