31 March 2015
April 1 changes to help families get ahead
Prime Minister John Key says Paid Parental Leave, the parental tax credit, the minimum wage and Superannuation will increase, while average ACC levies will fall, and more people will be helped in to home ownership from tomorrow.
“The National-led Government has focused on ensuring gains from our growing economy flow through to families and these measures demonstrate that.”
A range of Government policies come into force from April 1 including:
- The Government’s new HomeStart scheme to help around 90,000 Kiwis into their first home over the next five years.
- Paid Parental Leave to increase by two weeks to 16 weeks – and by another two weeks from 1 April next year.
- The parental tax credit to rise from $150 a week to $220 a week, and the entitlement increases from eight weeks to 10 weeks.
- Average ACC levies paid by employers and self-employed people will fall to 90 cents per $100 of liable earnings, down from 95 cents.
- New Zealand Superannuation to increase by another 2.07 per cent – meaning it has increased by 31 per cent since April 2008. This is double inflation in that time.
- The adult minimum wage to rise from 14.25 an hour to $14.75 an hour – a 3.5 per cent increase.
“These measures build on the policies we’ve implemented over the past seven years to help New Zealanders get ahead,” Mr Key says.
“Looking ahead, there are more policies designed to help families which take effect from 1 July. These include children under 13 having access to free GP visits and free prescriptions, and the average ACC levy for a private motor vehicle falling by around $135 a year.”
“The Government’s careful economic management is also helping New Zealand families in other ways. In 2014 we saw 80,000 new jobs created, and the average wage grew at 2.5 per cent compared with inflation of 0.8 per cent. The average wage is expected to increase by $6,500 to over $62,000 by the second half of 2018.”
“The Government’s responsible economic management is helping New Zealand families to get ahead.”
28 March 2015
PM: Northland by-election result disappointing
Prime Minister John Key says he’s disappointed National
has lost the Northland by-election but congratulates Winston Peters on
winning the seat.
“Mark Osborne is an outstanding candidate and he would’ve been a strong advocate for Northland in the National-led Government.
“By-elections are always tough and it was a unique set of circumstances that occurred in Northland that led to this result.
“However, Mr Peters ran a good campaign and I congratulate him on his win,” Mr Key says.
“The Northland region has been struggling for decades and although we have been making progress, Northlanders have clearly told us they are not satisfied with the rate of progress and we understand that.
“I would like to assure Northlanders we’re going to continue to work hard to deliver more progress. We plan to work hard to win the seat back in the general election in two and a half years,” Mr Key says.
27 March 2015
PM to attend the Cricket World Cup Final
Prime Minister John Key will attend the final of the Cricket World Cup in Melbourne this weekend.
“I am delighted to be attending the final between New Zealand and Australia,” says Mr Key.
“Our two countries have a special rivalry. Over the years we have been treated to some truly exceptional sporting clashes and I expect this one will be no different. I wish Brendon McCullum and the Black Caps all the very best.”
Mr Key says New Zealand has been proud to co-host the tournament alongside Australia. The event has seen 49 matches played over 44 days, across 14 venues in New Zealand and Australia.
“It has been a great opportunity to showcase New Zealand to the world, with television audiences expected to exceed 1 billion people and international visitor numbers forecast to top 30,000.
“I would like to congratulate all the teams for what has been a tremendous tournament. I would also like to thank the many fans who have turned out in force to support their teams and all those who have worked to make the tournament such a success,” says Mr Key.
Mr Key will leave on Saturday and return home on Monday.
Sports Minister Jonathan Coleman will also attend the final.Tweet
23 March 2015
NZ signs Free Trade Agreement with Korea
Prime Minister John Key says New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Korea opens a new chapter in the two countries’ relationship.
Mr Key and President Park Geun-hye of Korea witnessed the signing of the Agreement by Trade Ministers Tim Groser and Yoon Sang-jick in Seoul today.
“The Agreement shows the strength of the relationship between New Zealand and Korea. It symbolises our countries’ commitment to economic openness and market integration in the Asia-Pacific region,” says Mr Key.
“Korea is one of New Zealand’s biggest and most important trading partners. This Agreement makes it easier for Koreans and Kiwis to do business with each other, and the removal of tariffs will benefit consumers in both countries.
“At the moment, New Zealand exports into Korea attract NZ$229 million a year in duties. Tariff reductions in the first year of the FTA alone will save an estimated NZ$65 million.”
The Agreement now needs to be ratified by the New Zealand Parliament.
“We are keen for the Agreement to come into force this year,” says Mr Key.
“With a population of over 50 million and as the 13th largest economy in the world, Korea is an attractive market for New Zealand exporters.”
Notes for editors:
- Korea is New Zealand’s sixth largest export destination for goods and services and our eighth largest import source, with total two-way goods trade of NZ$4 billion.
- Negotiations on the Agreement started in June in 2009 and concluded in November 2014.
- The Agreement was initialled on 22 December 2014. Initialling marked the end of the text’s legal verification process.
- More information, including the full text of the Agreement, is available at korea.fta.govt.nz
23 March 2015
PM extends condolences at passing of Lee Kuan Yew
Prime Minister John Key has expressed his sincere condolences to the people of Singapore following the death of the nation’s first Prime Minster, Mr Lee Kuan Yew.
“Mr Lee made an extraordinary contribution to Singapore, both as it found its way to independence in 1965 and in the 50 years since then,” said Mr Key.
“A man of rare qualities, Mr Lee’s courage, determination, commitment, character and ability made him a formidable leader who held the respect of Singaporeans and the international community alike.”
Known as one of Singapore’s founding fathers, Mr Lee guided the development of a country which has become a world leader. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the Association of South East Asian Nations, ASEAN, which has offered cohesion and stability in a diverse region.
“Mr Lee provided a unifying presence in his country since its creation as a state in 1965. His loss will be deeply felt by his family and the people of Singapore.”
“I had the honour of meeting Mr Lee in 2007 during his last official visit to New Zealand. He was well known for his insights and foresight but what struck me most was his unwavering determination to see Singapore succeed.”
“A powerful advocate for the region and supportive of New Zealand’s role in South East Asia and the wider world, Mr Lee was a close and long-time friend of New Zealand,” said Mr Key.Tweet