17 March 2015
PM to attend Gallipoli Anzac Day commemorations
Prime Minister John Key is to lead a New Zealand delegation at the centenary commemorations of the ANZAC landings in Gallipoli, Turkey.
“On 25 April 2015, we mark 100 years since the first New Zealand troops came ashore at Gallipoli,” says Mr Key.
Gallipoli was the first major combat role for New Zealand forces in the First World War and was where 2721 New Zealanders were killed, representing a quarter of the total New Zealand forces sent to the peninsula.
“At these commemorations we’ll be honouring their sacrifice and remembering all New Zealand veterans of conflict.
“The significance of this event is of course felt strongly by New Zealanders, with 2,000 Kiwis expected to travel to Gallipoli through the ballot system,” says Mr Key.
Mr Key will attend a number of commemorative services on the Gallipoli Peninsula on 24 and 25 April, including the Dawn Service, the New Zealand Service at Chunuk Bair and the Australian Service at Lone Pine.
Prime Minister Key and Australian Prime Minister Abbott will jointly attend the Anzac Day services on 25 April.
“We are delighted the Prince of Wales and Prince Harry, will also be attending Gallipoli services in Turkey on the 24th and 25th of April.”
The Prime Minister’s official delegation includes Veterans’ Affairs Minister Craig Foss, Opposition Leader Andrew Little, Chief of Defence Force Lt Gen Tim Keating and other senior Defence personnel and RSA President Barry Clarke.
Also in the official party will be 25 youth ambassadors, highly decorated New Zealand veteran Brigadier Neville Reilly and historian Dr Chris Pugsley.
“Gallipoli is hugely significant for New Zealand, Australia and Turkey. It’s where the Anzac relationship was cemented and it also a very important chapter in Turkey’s history.
“The Anzac spirit lives on in the way that New Zealand works collaboratively and respectfully with Australia, together with our Turkish hosts to hold the Anzac Day commemorations in Gallipoli every year.
“Turkey commits significant resources to ensuring these important commemorations are undertaken safely and respectfully, and we are grateful for their hospitality.”
Throughout the week there will be a number of significant events culminating in Anzac day services around New Zealand.Tweet
17 March 2015
Prince Harry to visit New Zealand
Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the news of a planned official visit to New Zealand by Prince Harry, the grandson and fourth-in-line to Queen Elizabeth II.
“I am thrilled New Zealand will have the opportunity to welcome the Prince, who today confirmed he will visit New Zealand in May, after a four-week secondment with the Australian Defence Force,” says Mr Key.
“This is Prince Harry’s first visit to New Zealand and we are very keen to show him as much of the country as possible.”
The Prince’s visit follows a very successful tour by his father, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2012 and the latest visit by his brother, Prince William in 2014. Prince William was accompanied by the Duchess of Cambridge and their son, Prince George on their first trip to New Zealand.
The visit is still in the planning stage and further details regarding dates and regions to be visited will be released closer to his arrival.Tweet
16 March 2015
PM welcomes visit of Viet Nam Prime Minister
Prime Minister John Key has announced a two-day visit to New Zealand by Viet Nam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
Prime Minister Dung and a delegation of more than 100 senior ministers and business leaders will arrive in Auckland on Thursday for events including a bi-lateral meeting with Mr Key and senior ministers as well as meetings with New Zealand business leaders.
“Prime Minister Dung’s visit is an important opportunity to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Viet Nam which we celebrate in 2015,” says Mr Key.
“The relationship between our two countries is growing increasingly important and the visit by one of the largest-ever delegations from Viet Nam to New Zealand is evidence of that.
“Viet Nam is New Zealand’s fastest-growing export market in South East Asia and export volumes continue to grow at pace. During the visit we will celebrate the growing relationship between our countries and discuss how to build on that in areas such as education, agriculture and UN peacekeeping cooperation.”
Prime Minister Dung will arrive in Auckland on Thursday 19 March with his wife, Madame Tran Thanh Kiem, ahead of his bi-lateral meeting with Mr Key and New Zealand ministers.
He will also be guest of honour at a breakfast with New Zealand business leaders and will attend an event at the Auckland University of Technology showcasing the important education ties between our two countries.Tweet
16 March 2015
PM to visit Korea and Japan
Prime Minister John Key will visit Korea next week to mark the signing of the New Zealand-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Prime Minister Key and President Park Geun-hye of Korea will witness the signing of the agreement on March 23 by Trade Ministers in Seoul.
“The signing of the FTA represents a historic milestone in New Zealand’s relationship with Korea,” says Mr Key.
“The FTA will help New Zealand businesses maintain their competitive position in the Korean market. Tariffs will be progressively eliminated on 98 percent of New Zealand’s current exports which will create an estimated duty saving of $65 million in the first year alone.”
Korea is New Zealand’s sixth largest export destination for goods and services and eighth largest import source of goods and services, with total two-way trade in goods of $4 billion in 2014.
A delegation of 37 businesspeople will accompany the Prime Minister and Trade Minister Tim Groser to Korea.
After Korea, Mr Key will travel to Japan for talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Mr Groser will also head to Japan for TPP talks.
“New Zealand has strong links with Japan and I am looking forward to seeing Prime Minister Abe again and discussing a wide range of issues including TPP negotiations, New Zealand’s contribution to the international coalition against ISIL and initiatives our two countries are working on together in food, education, sport and defence.”
Mr Key will be away from March 22-26.Tweet
02 March 2015
MPs’ remuneration to be changed
Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency.
Mr Key says the decision was made after the Remuneration Authority’s latest determination which saw the total remuneration received by MPs increased by about 3.5 per cent.
“That increase was neither necessary nor justified at a time when inflation is at 0.8 per cent,” says Mr Key.
“While the decision was made independently of MPs, they should not be receiving increases which are disproportionate to the wider public sector.”
Mr Key says the Remuneration Authority referred specifically to the criteria contained in the Remuneration Authority Act 1977 as the reason for the increases, therefore a law change was necessary.
The change will take away the Authority’s discretion when setting MP pay. The sole criteria will now be the average public sector pay increase for the previous year.
Mr Key says the decision to remove the Authority’s discretion was not taken lightly, given that it changed a practice going back several decades.
“However, it is clear that changing the criteria upon which that rate is set is the only way to ensure the Authority will start handing down more modest pay increases.”
The new legislation will be backdated to 1 July 2014, meaning the pay increase outlined in the latest determination will not be awarded.
Based on the most recent data, total remuneration will instead increase by something in the range of 1 - 2 per cent, reflecting average wage growth in the public sector.
Ministers anticipate more detailed advice from officials on the measure to be used, which will be set out in the legislation, likely to be introduced in the next sitting session.Tweet