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25 November 2014
Government Inquiry report released

Prime Minister John Key has today released the findings of the Government Inquiry into allegations regarding Judith Collins and a former Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley.

“I would like to thank former High Court Judge, Hon Lester Chisholm, for his work on this inquiry,” says Mr Key.

“I received the report yesterday and wanted to get it out at the earliest opportunity.

“I am pleased the report shows no evidence that Ms Collins acted inappropriately.  I will be recommending to the Governor-General that she be granted use of the title "The Honourable" for life."

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25 November 2014
PM welcomes Inspector-General’s report

Prime Minister John Key today welcomed the report of Cheryl Gwyn, Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, into issues around the release of information by the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).

“This is the first inquiry by the Inspector-General under the new oversight regime that my Government passed into law last year,” Mr Key says.

“I said at the time oversight was being significantly strengthened and today’s thorough report is a clear demonstration of that.

“This inquiry process began after a series of political claims that I had personally been involved in directing the NZSIS to release information, or that I had given clearance for this to occur.

“These claims are proven to be entirely incorrect by the Inspector-General’s inquiry.

“Instead, the inquiry finds that the NZSIS disclosed ‘incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information’ to my office and to me.

“Further, the Inspector-General notes that the decision to release information and the timing of when to do so ‘were all made by NZSIS’, and that she ‘did not find any indication of collusion by or direction to NZSIS’.

“I have received an unreserved apology from the NZSIS for providing incomplete, inaccurate and misleading information to my office.

“I’m aware that current NZSIS Director Rebecca Kitteridge has also apologised to Phil Goff, which is appropriate.

“The inquiry finds that a staff member in my office provided information to a blogger but it also notes that disclosure did not breach any obligations of confidentiality.

“These events happened more than three years ago and a lot has changed since then, including the systems in place at the NZSIS.

“There are lessons to be learned from these events and the NZSIS has accepted all of the recommendations the Inspector-General has made.

“Warren Tucker has accepted he fell short of expectations in this instance but he remains a person who contributed a lot during his long public service career,” Mr Key says.

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23 November 2014
Draft foreign fighters legislation released



Prime Minister John Key today released the final draft of legislation which addresses the rising threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters.



The final draft of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill contains proposals previously announced by Mr Key in a major national security speech earlier this month.



“Following a narrow and tightly focused review of our settings in relation to foreign terrorist fighters, Cabinet has signed off on proposals that will strengthen our ability to deal with the evolving threat we are seeing,” Mr Key says.



“As I said earlier this month, New Zealand’s risk and threat profile is changing and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has been successful in recruiting New Zealanders to its cause.



“I have been as open as I can be with New Zealanders about that threat, without overstating it.



“This draft legislation contains measures that can add to the safety and security of New Zealand in the short-term.



“A more comprehensive review of legislative settings will occur in a broader intelligence review that is required under law to begin by the middle of next year.



“I am working to seek broad political support for this legislation and my office is conducting those talks in good faith with a number of parties.



“We have also shared the draft legislation with a number of interested parties outside Parliament in order to give them additional time to consider it.



“It is my intention that the legislation will be introduced on Tuesday and be passed before the House rises for Christmas, so that we are in a stronger position to deal with the threats our agencies are seeing.



“There are safeguards built into the legislation and it will go before a select committee for a short period of consideration.



“The legislation is also subject to a sunset clause which reflects how long the full process of the more comprehensive review is expected to take,” Mr Key says.



The main proposals contained in the legislation and which have been previously flagged by the Prime Minister are:

  • Extending the period the Minister of Internal Affairs can cancel a passport to up to three years from the existing law’s 12 months
  • Giving the Minister of Internal Affairs the power to temporarily suspend passports for up to 10 working days in urgent cases
  • Allowing the NZ Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS) to carry out video surveillance on private properties for the purpose of observing activities of security concern, modelled on the Police’s powers in the Search and Surveillance Act
  • Allowing the NZSIS to conduct emergency surveillance for up to 48 hours prior to the issue of a warrant, with the approval of its Director and subject to the oversight of the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security.
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21 November 2014
Key to chair International Democrat Union

Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key was today elected Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU) at its latest meeting in Seoul, Korea.

Mr Key was represented at the meeting by Hon Hekia Parata who was able to accept the role on his behalf, and thank the retiring Chairman, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard who had held the role for 12 years.

"The National Party was a founding member of the IDU back in 1983 and the organisation has grown to comprise over 50 centre-right political parties from right around the world,” said Mr Key.

"Many of the member parties face the same political and policy challenges, and the IDU has real potential to become an even better forum for the exchange of views on political and other matters.

“Taking on this role provides another forum for New Zealand to play a constructive role in international affairs.”

Mr Key said that he had been encouraged to take up the role by John Howard and British Prime Minister David Cameron, and he was pleased to receive unanimous support at the meeting in Seoul.

As Chairman of the IDU, Mr Key will chair bi-annual meetings of the Executive Committee, which will be scheduled to coincide with existing travel commitments to Europe, Asia and the Americas. Mr Key will also be assisted in this role by the newly appointed Deputy Chairman, Tony Clement MP who is a member of Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s Cabinet.

More information on the IDU can be found on its website www.idu.org

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20 November 2014
PM meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping

Prime Minister John Key held successful talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wellington today.

“This is President Xi’s third official visit to New Zealand, but his first as President, so it’s a very significant occasion.  I’m delighted that the First Lady, Madame Peng, has also joined him on this trip,” says Mr Key.

“Our relationship with China has never been in better shape. China is now New Zealand’s largest trading partner and we have strong links in a number of areas including business, tourism and education.

“Today we have agreed to characterise the relationship between our nations as a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, recognising the significance of the bilateral relationship to both countries.”

Ten new agreements and arrangements between New Zealand and China have been signed, including an amendment to the Free Trade Agreement that will enable a television co-production arrangement.

“These agreements, in a range of areas, are a further reflection of the growing depth of New Zealand and China’s strong relationship,” says Mr Key.

“The Television Co-production Agreement will allow programmes co-produced by New Zealand and Chinese companies to be officially broadcast on Chinese TV, where potential viewing audiences are huge.

“China has become our fastest-growing, and second-largest, source of visitors and to recognise that today we have announced a new initiative to extend the China Working Holiday Scheme, which will enable Chinese Working Holiday makers to work for the same employer for up to six months.”

Other initiatives signed today include:

  • an arrangement on the mutual recognition of academic qualifications in higher education
  • a Food Supervisory and Traceability Cooperation Programme between the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and the China Food and Drug Administration
  • an arrangement between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the China National Tourism Administration to work together to improve the tourist experience in both countries
  • a new partnership between New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce.
  • an arrangement between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Antarctic Cooperation
  • an arrangement between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Climate Change Cooperation.

“I am delighted to host President Xi and Madame Peng in New Zealand and I hope they enjoy the rest of their time here.”

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