23 May 2013
Meth plan continues to show results
Prime Minister John Key today released the latest Indicators and Progress Report for the Government’s Tackling Methamphetamine Action Plan, and says while the picture of methamphetamine (P) supply in New Zealand remains a complex one, the efforts of law enforcement agencies are continuing to produce positive signs.
“When the Government began this plan in 2009, New Zealand had one of the highest prevalence rates of P use in the world, with 2.1 per cent of the population using the drug. The latest data shows this rate has more than halved to 0.9 per cent.
“While this is positive, the reality is there are still around 25,000 longer-term, heavy users of the drug, who are locked in a cycle of dependence, causing misery and angst for them, their families and loved ones,” says Mr Key.
“Support for P users through both the justice and health systems is available. Waiting times for community alcohol and drug services have steadily been improving, and are markedly better than in 2009.
“The Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment Court Pilot began at the end of last year in the Auckland and Waitakere District Courts, and the Department of Corrections has increased the number of treatment places available to prisoners with drug and alcohol problems to over 1,000.”
Mr Key says a process for allocating money forfeited to the Crown under the Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Act and earmarked to fund drug and alcohol rehabilitation initiatives will be in place later this year.
“It is expected around $8 million will initially be available for these initiatives, as well as for targeted law enforcement tools for Customs and Police.”
Mr Key says there are other encouraging signs, including the rise in the price of a point of P, and suggestions the purity of P is declining.
“Since this plan was established, the price of P has remained relatively high, which indicates officials’ efforts to squeeze the P trade is having an effect. However, this report also shows the price for larger quantities of P is decreasing. While this emerging trend isn’t borne out by latest Police and Customs intelligence, it’s an indicator that needs to be closely watched in the coming months.
“It’s vital law enforcement agencies continue to be vigilant in this area and continue to apply pressure to those manufacturing and trading in this illegal drug,” says Mr Key.
The report is available at:
16 May 2013
Government builds momentum in Budget 2013
Budget 2013 builds on the momentum created by the previous four Budgets across the Government’s wide-ranging programme, Prime Minister John Key says.
“Every Budget since 2009 has been presented against the backdrop of extremely challenging economic conditions.
“In particular, the global financial crisis, the Christchurch earthquakes and ongoing uncertainty around the world have affected most New Zealand households and businesses.
“While those challenges remain, improvements across a range of indicators and improving confidence among New Zealanders mean Budget 2013 has been prepared with a fresh sense of optimism,” Mr Key says.
“Growth is better than in most other developed countries, we are on track to surplus in 2014/15, and we are investing in programmes that will support jobs and deliver better public services.”
A feature of the Budget is a $100 million-a-year internationally-focused growth package, providing extra research and development assistance to businesses, additional funding for tourism, and more resources for marketing New Zealand to international students.
“This important initiative acknowledges New Zealand’s need to pay its way in the world through increased trade and investment if we are to create jobs and opportunities for hard-working Kiwis here in New Zealand,” Mr Key says.
“As I announced last month, within this package $158 million over four years will provide a significant boost for overseas tourism marketing, particularly in emerging and high-value markets, and $40 million over four years will be used to encourage and foster international education.
“In addition, science and innovation funding will be increased by $50 million a year. This takes the Government’s annual investment in research and development for 2013/14 to a record $1.36 billion.”
Mr Key says many other developed countries are still struggling with too much debt, little or no growth, or a combination of both.
“My Government does not want that for New Zealand.
“Budget 2013 sets out the next steps in our long-term programme, which we started after we were first elected in 2008, to ensure that we have a brighter future in this country.
“Momentum is building towards a stronger, more stable, economy that can again weather global storms and deliver opportunities, higher incomes, and more jobs for New Zealanders,” Mr Key says.Tweet
Prime Minister John Key today released a final draft of legislation to clarify the functions of the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB), and to strengthen the oversight regime governing New Zealand’s intelligence community.
The final draft of the omnibus Bill – the Government Communications Security Bureau and Related Legislation Amendment Bill – encompasses amendments to the Government Communications Security Bureau Act 2003, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Act 1996 and the Intelligence and Security Committee Act 1996.
The draft Bill follows a compliance review, which focused on the GCSB, as well as a wider review of other related intelligence legislation.
“The compliance review of the GCSB, conducted by Rebecca Kitteridge, showed there were difficulties in the legal interpretation of the GCSB Act,” says Mr Key.
“Ms Kitteridge’s review found the GCSB Act 2003 is not, and probably never was, fit for purpose.
“It is essential that an agency which is exercising intrusive powers has a clear legal framework to operate within.
“It’s also essential the oversight regime governing such an agency is strong enough to mean the public can have confidence the agency is acting within the law.
“The responsible thing to do is to clarify legislation so it is clear what the GCSB can and cannot do; then it can get on with the important job of protecting the security of New Zealanders,” says Mr Key.
“The draft Bill I am releasing today will, if enacted, help the GCSB to get on with the job of helping New Zealand public and private sector entities deal with the growing threat of cyber-attack.
“The GCSB will require an authorisation from the Responsible Minister and the Commissioner of Security Warrants when its cyber security and information assurance functions are being performed in relation to the communications of New Zealanders.
“The operating environment for New Zealand’s intelligence agencies has changed enormously over the past decade. In large part, this is due to the rapid evolution of technology in areas like cyber security and the threat of cyber-attacks.
“It’s vital that legislation in this area is fit for purpose and keeps pace with changes in the operating environment, while also safeguarding the rights of law-abiding New Zealanders,” says Mr Key.
The draft Bill also makes it clear the GCSB can provide support to certain named agencies – the New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).
The GCSB will only be able to provide that support when those agencies are acting within their own lawful duties.
“This means the GCSB will be able to provide support under the right conditions and oversight, including in relation to New Zealanders,” says Mr Key.
In addition to the GCSB Act amendments, Mr Key says the draft Bill also significantly strengthens the oversight regime for New Zealand’s intelligence agencies to ensure it is strong enough to inspire public confidence.
“The Bill modernises legislation governing the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security to make the office more proactive, and at the same time the Government intends to increase the resourcing of the Inspector- General’s office.
“Changes to the Intelligence and Security Committee Act would also give that committee greater oversight and accountability of the intelligence community,” Mr Key says.
Under the draft legislation, the GCSB Act will retain its three main functions of information assurance and cyber security; foreign intelligence; and cooperation and assistance to other agencies.
However, these functions will be clarified and updated so that:
assurance and cyber security will include cooperation, advice and help
to both public and private sector organisations;
· Foreign intelligence will remain broadly as is; and
· Cooperation and assistance to other agencies means the GCSB will be able to assist the NZ Defence Force, Police and NZSIS, but only when those entities are performing their lawful duties.
“These changes will ensure the GCSB is on a sound footing to keep doing the job the Government expects it to do in the interests of New Zealanders,” says Mr Key.
It is the Government’s intention to introduce and debate the final Bill later this week, subject to the House schedule. After passing its First Reading the Bill will go to the Intelligence and Security Committee for submissions.
wstGovernment Communications Security Bureau and Rela_3.pdf (pdf 655.13 KB)Tweet