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02 September 2014
PM announces further details of inquiry

Prime Minister John Key today announced further details on the inquiry into matters concerning former Minister Judith Collins.

“As I indicated yesterday, I intend to appoint a Government Inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2013 to investigate allegations that Ms Collins undermined the then Director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley, during her time as Minister of Police with responsibility for the Serious Fraud Office,” Mr Key says.

“This inquiry will be carried out by a retired judge or a QC, who will have full powers under the Inquiries Act to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations, and will report to the Prime Minister.”

Mr Key says he expects the inquiry will take some weeks to complete its work, and is likely to report back after the upcoming election. 

“The matters to be investigated in relation to Ms Collins are serious, and I believe it is important the inquiry have sufficient time to conduct a thorough review of those matters before reporting back,” he says.

“The Inquiries Act envisages the terms of reference will be discussed with the person appointed to the inquiry before they are finalised.  I expect to be able to announce further details on the appointment, the terms of reference and the reporting timeframe in the coming days.”

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30 August 2014
Judith Collins resigns as a Minister

Prime Minister John Key today announced that Hon Judith Collins has resigned from Cabinet.

Mr Key says the resignation of Ms Collins followed the receipt of new information that raises allegations about Ms Collins’ conduct as a Minister.

“The relationship between a Minister and their Chief Executive is vital, and goes right to the heart of a trusted, effective government.

“This new information suggests Ms Collins may have been engaged in discussions with a blogger in 2011 aimed at undermining the then Director of the Serious Fraud Office. Ms Collins was the Minister responsible for the SFO at the time.

Mr Key released an email which had been recently been provided to his office.

“I have spoken with Ms Collins about the matters in the email, and she strongly denies any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour on her part.

“Ms Collins accepts these are serious allegations and that resigning as a Minister is the honourable step to take in these circumstances.

Mr Key says Ms Collins resignation takes effect immediately, and Hon Christopher Finlayson will be Acting Minister of Justice, Hon Craig Foss will be Acting Minister for ACC, and Hon Hekia Parata will be Acting Minister for Ethnic Affairs.

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27 August 2014
PM will continue as Tourism Minister if National re-elected

The Tourism Portfolio will remain with the Prime Minister if National is re-elected.

National’s Tourism Spokesman, Prime Minister John Key, said today he would continue to be a passionate advocate for New Zealand and the tourism industry, which provides so many benefits to the country.

“Having the portfolio as one of the Prime Minister’s portfolios ensures that tourism is at the heart of the Government’s economic thinking. I will continue to advocate for the New Zealand tourism industry when I’m overseas on official visits.”

Tourism is a significant part of New Zealand’s economy, and is a major employer.

“National recognises this, which is why since 2008 the Government has invested an unprecedented $600 million in tourism and tourism promotion.

“Our investment is getting results. Some 2.8 million people visited New Zealand during the last year. Total visitor spend is up to almost $7 billion a year and tourism directly employs 5.7 per cent of the New Zealand workforce and indirectly employs another 3.1 per cent.”

If re-elected National will:

  • Continue to support overseas promotion and marketing work in both emerging and established markets.
  • Provide support for national and regional efforts to attract large international business conferences and conventions.
  • Build closer relationships with Chinese tourism authorities.
  • Continue to ensure our adventure activities meet world-class safety standards.

“We will also complete the remaining few kilometres of the New Zealand Cycle Trail network, and support upcoming international events such as the Cricket World Cup and the 2015 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

“Our tourism industry is in good heart and Tourism New Zealand is widely regarded as world-leading in its promotional and marketing work,’’ says Mr Key.

“National will continue to support Tourism New Zealand to further increase the number of overseas tourists to New Zealand, particularly high-value visitors.”

National’s Tourism Policy is available at: http://ntnl.org.nz/1laJs5W

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27 August 2014
Free trade will lift Kiwi incomes: National

National today released a set of policies that reinforces the Party’s commitment to openness with the world as the path to lift New Zealanders’ incomes, in contrast with opposition parties that want to isolate us from the rest of the world.

“New Zealand’s economic prosperity relies on selling our goods and services to the rest of the world,” says National Party Leader John Key.  “The fewer barriers there are for our exporters, the better off New Zealanders will be.”

“That is why as Prime Minister I have been working hard on behalf of New Zealanders to crack open more doors to free trade, alongside Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Tim Groser.

“This includes pushing for a high-quality free trade agreement under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which includes economic giants like the United States and Japan.

“The choice for voters in this area, like so many others, is stark.

“The Greens want to end free trade and Labour, riven by caucus division, is very confused about what it wants after previously being in favour of free trade.  The Dotcom party, of course, is totally opposed to free trade.

“There can be no doubt that this combination in government would damage the cause of New Zealand’s exporters and damage New Zealand’s economic prosperity.

“Raising barriers to the rest of the world and halting the momentum of trade agreements with key markets like the US, Japan and Korea, would be disastrous,” says Mr Key.

“Our policy to encourage free trade is one of the most important ways we can become more prosperous.

“Trade agreements allow New Zealand companies to access big international markets as if they were part of New Zealand’s domestic market.  For a small country they are hugely important.”

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24 August 2014
National to help 90,000 first home buyers

A new National Government will help tens of thousands more first home buyers and young families into a house of their own, and encourage the supply of more affordable new housing, through KiwiSaver changes announced today by National Party Leader and Prime Minister John Key.

The changes announced by Mr Key at the National Party’s Campaign Launch are projected to help about 90,000 lower and middle income first home buyers over the next five years – 40,000 more than would be helped under current policies.

“The policy will help tens of thousands more first home buyers achieve their dream of home ownership,” says Mr Key. “It will get young families started building what for most will be their biggest asset.”

“National backs young Kiwis who are disciplined, save up and want to put a deposit down on a house.  National values home ownership.  That’s because it provides stability for families, strength for communities and security in retirement.

“First home buyers have always found it hard, and often that first step is quite a stretch.  That is why I believe the changes will be welcomed by potential first home buyers,” says Mr Key.

There are three major changes.

The first is replacing the current KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy with a KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant. This is a similar scheme, but has higher house price limits, and doubles the support for people who are buying or building a brand new home.

The second is allowing people to withdraw more money from their KiwiSaver account to use as a deposit on their first home. First home buyers will now be allowed to withdraw the Government’s annual contribution to their account – the member tax credit of up to $521 a year – as well as their own, and their employer’s, contributions.

Finally, more people will be able to get Welcome Home Loans, which means they require only a 10 per cent deposit to get a government-guaranteed loan. This will be achieved by making the Welcome Home Loan house price limits the same as those for the new KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant.

“Our changes will give a lot more people the confidence that if they join KiwiSaver and keep saving, they can put together a deposit on their first house,” says Mr Key.

The new policy will cost $218 million over the next five years.

The changes will take effect from 1 April next year.