08 December 2013
PM to lead small delegation to South Africa
Prime Minister John Key will lead a small group of New Zealanders to pay respects to Nelson Mandela at his official memorial service in South Africa.
“Nelson Mandela was a global icon for freedom who united South Africans following apartheid,” says Mr Key.
“Madiba’s achievements demonstrate what can be attained through forgiveness and reconciliation. His vision for South Africa was one of freedom and equality. It remains an inspiration to the world.”
Mr Key will be accompanied by the Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon Dr Pita Sharples; Leader of the Opposition, Hon David Cunliffe, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Rt Hon Jim Bolger; and former Foreign Minister and Secretary‑General of the Commonwealth, the Rt Hon Sir Don McKinnon.
“This distinguished delegation reflects the mana of Mr Mandela, and the highest regard in which New Zealand held him,” says Mr Key.
“New Zealand has a close friendship with South Africa, built on the solid foundation of Commonwealth, sporting and personal ties. New Zealanders felt an emotional connection with Nelson Mandela and our sympathies are with the people of South Africa at this difficult time.’’
An official memorial service will be held at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Tuesday December 10. From December 11 to 13, Mr Mandela's body will lie in state at South Africa's seat of government, Pretoria's Union Buildings, before a private burial in Qunu on December 15.
The New Zealand delegation will leave tomorrow and return later this week.Tweet
06 December 2013
PM expresses sorrow at Mandela’s death
Prime Minister John Key today expressed his sadness at the death of former South African President Nelson Mandela.
“Nelson Mandela was an inspirational leader, and a remarkable man,” says Mr Key.
“On behalf of the New Zealand people and the Government, I would like to express my sincere condolences to both his family and all South Africans.
“For years he symbolised South Africa’s hope for a future free from apartheid.
“Mr Mandela was a force for change, not only in South Africa, but around the world.
“In his time as President he helped South Africa come to terms with its past, and, through reconciliation, built the foundations for a stronger nation.”
A delegation headed by the Prime Minister will represent New Zealand at the funeral.Tweet
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