05 December 2014
Boost for New Zealand Cycle Trail
Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key today announced the Government is investing nearly $1 million in thirteen projects to help maintain the quality of the New Zealand Cycle Trail.
Mr Key says $970,000 will go towards maintaining and enhancing cycle trails from Northland to Southland to ensure they continue to generate economic benefit to regional communities.
“The New Zealand Cycle Trail attracts high-value visitors and helps New Zealand stay on the international map as a top tourist destination.
“A recent report showed the trails are going from strength to strength. Last summer the New Zealand Cycle Trail experienced a 56 per cent average growth rate, with an estimated 97,000 trail users for the month of January 2014 alone.”
The Government is investing $8 million over four years to maintain the quality of the New Zealand Cycle Trail network.
“This contestable funding will assist with maintaining the quality of the trails should they experience significant weather damage or need major changes,” says Mr Key.
The thirteen projects to receive funding in this first funding round are:
- Motu Trails Charitable Trust (Bay of Plenty) $15,000
- Queenstown Trails Trust (Otago) $38,400
- Queenstown Trails Trust (Otago) $175,200
- Waikato River Trails Charitable Trust (Waikato) $47,500
- Nelson City Council (Nelson) $21,000
- Rotorua District Council (Bay of Plenty) $14,800
- Wanganui District Council (Manawatu/Wanganui) $130,000
- Tasman District Council (Tasman) $212,500
- Destination Wairarapa (Wellington) $12,000
- Destination Wairarapa (Wellington) $35,000
- Far North District Council (Northland) $76,000
- Otago Central Rail Trust (Otago) $12,500
- Otago Central Rail Trust (Otago) $ 177,500
The next funding round will be in February 2015.
More information is available at: http://www.med.govt.nz/
02 December 2014
PM welcomes report back of security Bill
Prime Minister John Key today welcomed the report back of the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill, which has been strengthened by the select committee process.
“I’d like to thank all of the members of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee for their hard work on the Bill,” Mr Key says.
“The Bill has been significantly improved because of their efforts and because of the efforts of submitters.
“A number of changes have been agreed, particularly in areas where submissions had raised concerns.
“As I said at the start of this process, I am seeking wide-ranging political support for the Bill and we have been working with other political parties in good faith.
“The agreed changes to the Bill reflect feedback from our support parties ACT and United Future, as well as positive negotiations with the Labour Party.
“The Bill responds to the rapidly evolving issue of foreign terrorist fighters, with measures that can add to the safety and security of New Zealand in the short-term.
“A larger review of the intelligence agencies, their legislation and their oversight is required by law to begin by the middle of next year.
The proposals contained in the current Bill will be subject to a sunset clause.
The changes include:
- The 48 hour emergency surveillance proposal will be reduced to 24 hours, and be restricted to activity that relates to the foreign fighters issue only
- The new visual surveillance power will be restricted to activity that relates to the foreign fighters issue only
- The sunset clause has been pulled back by a year to April 1, 2017
- Additional oversight safeguards and more regular reporting will be required with regard to some of the new powers, particularly the 24 hour emergency surveillance power.
The Bill will come back to the House for debate next Tuesday.Tweet
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."
- Inquiry report 24 November 2014 (pdf 720.15 KB)
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.Tweet
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
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.