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30 October 2014
Parliamentary Private Secretaries reappointed

Prime Minister John Key today announced that Jacqui Dean and Melissa Lee will be continuing in their roles as Parliamentary Private Secretaries.

Jacqui Dean is Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Minister of Tourism and the Minister of Local Government.

Melissa Lee is Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Minister for Ethnic Communities.

Both Jacqui Dean and Melissa Lee are also chairs of select committees Justice and Electoral, and Commerce, respectively.

“Jacqui and Melissa have done a great job supporting Ministers in their Parliamentary Private Secretary roles and I am pleased they are continuing in them,” says Mr Key.

A Minister cannot delegate any statutory roles or function to a PPS however it is expected that the PPS represent their Minister at public events and deliver speeches on occasions when the Minister is not available.

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30 October 2014
PM to attend WW1 commemorations in Australia

Prime Minister John Key will join Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Albany, Western Australia this weekend to mark the 100th anniversary of ANZAC troops departing for World War One.

“New Zealand and Australia share a unique and close heritage.  We have stood together in times of war and helped each other in times of disaster,” says Mr Key.

“It will be an honour to stand alongside the Australian Prime Minister to acknowledge the importance of our enduring partnership as ANZACs and to remember the many New Zealanders and Australians who served their nations bravely.”  

The commemorative events are taking place in Albany, near Perth where the convoy of New Zealand and Australian ships departed for Egypt.

“Our partnership today, 100 years on from the Albany departure, is deeper and richer than ever,” says Mr Key.

The Albany commemorations will feature a large New Zealand Defence Force contingent including HMNZS Te Kaha, and approximately 40 personnel.

Mr Key will be accompanied by Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Veterans’ Affairs Minister Craig Foss. 

“The strength of the New Zealand delegation demonstrates the importance we place on the ANZAC relationship and our wish to support Australia in its centenary programme,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key will be in Australia from October 31 to November 2.

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29 October 2014
First steps taken towards flag referendum

Cabinet has agreed on the details of the flag referendum process and every political party represented in Parliament has been invited to take part, say Prime Minister John Key and Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.

“Our flag is the most important symbol of our national identity and I believe that this is the right time for New Zealanders to consider changing the design to one that better reflects our status as a modern, independent nation,” Mr Key says.

“However, as I have also said, retaining the current flag is a possible outcome of this process and the consideration of options will be done carefully, respectfully and with no presumption in favour of change.”

Cabinet has agreed that Deputy Prime Minister Bill English will be the minister responsible for the flag consideration process.

Letters were last week sent to each of the political party leaders in Parliament inviting them to nominate an MP to join a cross-party group of MPs which will have two key tasks, Mr English says.

“The first will be nominating suitable candidates for a Flag Consideration Panel, which will be a group of respected New Zealanders who will seek submissions from the public on new flag designs and suggestions.

“The second task will be to review the draft legislation which will enable the proposed two binding referendums on the flag to go ahead. The first referendum, which will be held late next year, will invite the public to choose a preferred design from a range put forward by the Flag Consideration Panel, and the second referendum, to be held in 2016, will be a run-off between the preferred design and the current flag.

“We are today releasing the Cabinet paper which outlines the details and timeframe that Cabinet has agreed on,” Mr English says.

“This includes the principles that will guide the consideration process, the projected timeline and costs. The total cost spread across two financial years is estimated at $25.7 million, with most of that going on the referendums themselves and on the public engagement process which is required to ensure that the public is well-informed and has the opportunity to participate.”

The leaders of political parties have been asked to make their nominations by Monday, November 10. As sole MPs, ACT Leader David Seymour and United Future Leader Peter Dunne have agreed to join the cross-party group to represent their respective parties.

The Cabinet paper is available here: http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/dpmc/publications/nzflag-process

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28 October 2014
Tourism fund opens for third round

Prime Minister and Tourism Minister John Key today announced applications are open for the third round of funding in the Tourism Growth Partnership.

The $32 million contestable Government fund aims to boost innovation and productivity in the tourism sector. For each project approved for investment, the Government provides up to 50 per cent of the required funding.

“The Government has committed $6.28 million to Tourism Growth Partnership projects so far. This is matched by $25.4 million of co-funding from the industry, which shows the tourism industry, like the Government, is committed to ensuring New Zealand remains a great visitor destination,” says Mr Key.

“Associated industries that have the potential to lift productivity, for example the retail, hospitality and IT sectors, are also encouraged to apply where their focus is on international visitors. Innovation and productivity are not just confined to big projects and businesses, which is why there is also special criteria for projects under $100,000.

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23 October 2014
IGIS Advisory Panel members appointed

Prime Minister John Key today announced the appointments of Chris Hodson QC as the chair of the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security’s Advisory Panel and Angela Foulkes ONZM as a member of the Panel.

The appointments were made by the Governor General and each is for a term of two years.

“These are the first appointments to the Advisory Panel, which was newly created with amendments to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996 in September last year,” says Mr Key.   

The Advisory Panel comprises the Inspector-General and two other members, one of whom must chair the Panel.  The Panel’s role is to provide advice to the Inspector-General on request or on its own initiative.  It may make a report to the Prime Minister on any matter relating to intelligence and security that it considers should be drawn to the Prime Minister’s attention.

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