03 December 2014
Opening address to the 2014 New Zealand Post-Election Conference
Thank you Stephen for your introduction, and your work in running this important event.
Mr Speaker, can I acknowledge you and thank you not only for opening proceedings today, but also for your tolerance and patience in refereeing Question Time each sitting day.
I also want to acknowledge other MPs from across the House, and all of you who have chosen to take time out from your busy lives to reflect on September’s general election.
There have been nine previous books arising from the post-election conferences, with a 10th to follow from today’s proceedings.
This can only be a good thing.
The immediacy of the modern news cycle, together with social media, creates a focus on instant reporting and judgement, but it is also important to reflect in a more considered way on important events like elections.
Academic scrutiny of elections, politicians and political parties is an important function of democracy and also something that strengthens it.
As Prime Minister, I am privileged to represent New Zealand at international meetings around the world.
On these occasions, I often see first-hand the steps that emerging democracies take.
And they are not always steps forward.Read full article
05 November 2014
Speech to NZ Institute of International Affairs
Members of the diplomatic community.
Distinguished guests, members of the Institute, ladies and gentlemen.
As Prime Minister I have overarching responsibility for New Zealand’s national security.
That covers a wide range of threats and risks, from earthquakes to espionage, and cyber-attacks to conflicts between states.
It’s about protecting our way of life and the values that shape our society.
The Government takes its national security obligations very seriously.
We have an obligation to ensure New Zealanders are safe at home or abroad.
We have an obligation to maintain the integrity of our democratic system, our institutions, and the systems and processes of government.
We have an obligation to secure our sea, air and electronic lines of transport and communication into and out of New Zealand. We decide who comes here and on what conditions, and we decide who can make use of our resources.
We have an obligation to support stability in our region – in the Pacific, the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean.
And we have an obligation to support stability and the rule of law internationally.Read full article
01 November 2014
John Key - Speech at the Albany Convoy Commemorations
Albany Convoy Commemorations
Albany, Western Australia
Your Excellency the Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove,
Prime Minister Tony Abbott,
Members of the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces,
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,
I am honoured to be with you today to commemorate a momentous event for our two countries.
From this place 100 years ago, ten ships carrying approximately 8,500 New Zealand troops of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, joined 20,000 troops of the Australian Imperial Force.
Together, they sailed off to fight in a war on the other side of the world.
Major Fred Waite, author of The New Zealanders at Gallipoli, described the scene vividly, saying that as the New Zealanders’ vessels met the Australian fleet,
“The cheering and counter-cheering, the Maori war cries and answering coo-ees would have moved a stoic.
Young Australia was welcoming Young New Zealand in no uncertain manner in the first meeting of those brothers-in-arms soon to be known by a glorious name as yet undreamed of.”
They would, of course, become the ANZACs, and the very first part of their legend was written here in Albany.
Our troops set off with a keen thirst for adventure, driven by a fierce sense of loyalty to their countries’ and their mates, and a steadfast belief in the values and freedoms they sought to defend.
Their enthusiasm for adventure would be matched by the courage of their actions in torrid battlefields far from home.
In a matter of months the Gallipoli offensive would tragically claim the lives of more than 11,000 New Zealand and Australian troops. Another 24,000 would be wounded.
And worse battles were to follow in what would come to be known simply as “The Great War”.
21 October 2014
Speech from the Throne
Delivered by His Excellency Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand, on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament, Tuesday 21 October 2014
Honourable Members of the House of Representatives.
E nga Mema Honore o te Whare Paremata o Aotearoa, tenei aku mihi mahana ki a koutou, tena koutou katoa.
Following the General Election, a National-led Government has been formed with a majority in the House on confidence and supply.
Confidence and supply agreements have been signed between the National Party and, respectively, the ACT Party and the United Future Party. A Relationship Accord and confidence and supply agreement has been signed with the Maori Party. These agreements will enable the Government to operate in an effective, stable and inclusive manner.
Honourable Members, the Government has a comprehensive policy agenda and a substantial legislative programme that it will put before the House in the forthcoming session.
The Government is focused on returning to surplus and its long-term fiscal objective remains to reduce net core Crown debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020. Around $1 billion of the operating allowance in each Budget will be used to increase spending, with the remainder set aside for tax reductions and further debt repayment, depending on economic and fiscal conditions at the time.
ACC levies will be reduced in 2015, and more reductions are expected from 2016, as the three levy accounts are now fully funded.
The Government’s plan to build a more productive and competitive economy, supporting more jobs and higher incomes, is set out in the Business Growth Agenda. This contains around 350 individual initiatives. These initiatives will be progressed, and more will be added, in this term of Parliament.
The Government will continue to pursue high-quality trade agreements, including negotiations with Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, while ensuring that New Zealand’s best interests are always served. More investment will be made in New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, to expand the number of businesses it works with and increase its international footprint.
The Government will continue to provide the environment and incentives to increase business-led research and development, with a goal of raising this to 1 per cent of GDP by 2018. More funding will be provided for the R&D grant programme. The Government will also establish a Food Safety Science and Research Centre, as well as four additional Centres of Research Excellence, with one of the Centres focused on Maori research.
The Government will progress legislation to increase flexibility and fairness in the labour market, extend flexible working arrangements and improve collective bargaining. The enforcement of New Zealand’s minimum employment standards will be strengthened, and paid parental leave extended from 14 weeks to 18 weeks by 2016. Legislation to improve health and safety at work will be progressed.
The Government will complete the implementation of the Financial Markets Conduct Act, and will progress legislation to strengthen competition laws, and improve the accounting and audit industries.
The overhaul of Inland Revenue’s business systems and information technology will continue, which among other things will make tax compliance faster and easier for businesses.Read full article
02 September 2014
Speech to the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
Thank you to everybody for coming to this event today.
And I would like to thank the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event.
Two days from now, it will be four years to the day since the first Canterbury earthquake.
That earthquake, on the 4th of September 2010, was very damaging, but as we all know, worse was to come on the 22nd of February 2011.
Since day one, the National Government I lead has stood beside the people of Canterbury, as we moved from the initial response to the emergency and into the recovery and rebuild.
I want to acknowledge that the recovery has been difficult for a great many people.
Some are still in difficult circumstances.
But I want to assure you that I remain as committed now as I was then to ensuring everything possible Is done – and continues to be done – to aid the recovery and rebuild.
It’s appropriate that we take stock now of where we are, just shy of four years from the first earthquake.
We have moved firmly from demolition to construction in the central city.Read full article