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31 August 2015
PM to attend 46th Pacific Islands Forum

Prime Minister John Key will lead a delegation to Papua New Guinea to attend the annual Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ meeting being held in Port Moresby.

“The Pacific Islands Forum Leaders’ meeting is an opportunity for the region to come together and discuss the issues we jointly face,” says Mr Key.

“As a Pacific nation, New Zealand is committed to working with our closest neighbours to build a more secure and prosperous region.

“This year’s theme is ‘Strengthening Connections To Enhance Pacific Regionalism’.

Leaders will discuss a range of issues, including climate change and fisheries, as well as wider development and political issues.

“My attendance at the forum will also provide an opportunity to meet with a number of Pacific regional leaders.”

The Prime Minister will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister, Murray McCully, and a small business delegation.

Mr Key will depart on Tuesday 8 September, returning on Friday 11 September.

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28 August 2015
PM announces further funding for Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail

Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key today announced a further $935,000 will be invested to help complete the Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail.

“Once finished, the 310km trail will be a major tourism asset for the Waitaki and Mackenzie Districts, helping attract both local and international visitors to the area,” Mr Key says.

“There is strong support from local tourism operators, and a growing number of international tourists are already using the trail, with an estimated 25 per cent more users in January 2015, compared with the same period last year.  

The Alps 2 Ocean cycle trail is one of 23 Great Rides that make up Nga Haerenga – the New Zealand Cycle Trail. 

“The Great Rides have proven to be a significant driver of local and international tourism which is helping New Zealand stay on the international map as a top tourist destination,” Mr Key says. 

“The trails are also boosting economic growth in the regions with reports from individual trails indicating that more than 1,200 jobs have been created.

“Figures also indicate at least 60 new businesses have been established as a result of the Great Rides being built, and over 40 businesses have expanded their operations to cope with the new demand from cyclists.

“The funding announced today will help build on that success, creating more opportunities for the region and New Zealand as a whole,” Mr Key says.   

This additional funding, made available through the National Cycleway Fund announced in Budget 2015, will bring the total Government contribution to the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail to $3,705,000, and to almost $55 million to construct the trails nationally. 

The local community has raised $955,000 of co-funding to contribute to the completion costs.  

The 41 km section to be completed will connect Sailors Cutting on the shores of Lake Benmore with Duntroon, meaning users will no longer have to cycle on State Highway 83.

www.alps2ocean.com/trail-map

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21 August 2015
Record 3 million visitors to New Zealand

Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key is delighted with today’s figures showing a record three million visitors came to New Zealand in the past year.

“This is a huge milestone for an industry that continues to excel and is a testament to that hard work and the fantastic New Zealand experience offered to those who visit our shores,” Mr Key says.

Mr Key says that in the year ending July 2015, those 3,002,982 visitors, 7 per cent more than last year, also spent a total of $8.7 billion - up 28 per cent on the previous 12 months.

“So today we have more people coming to New Zealand than ever, spending more and staying for longer, helping boost our economy and creating more jobs and opportunities for New Zealanders.”

Mr Key says New Zealand is benefiting hugely as a result.

Tourism was directly responsible for 94,100 jobs within the industry and supported a further 72,700 in the year to March 2014.

“Tourism is great for the regions as well. In that same year, nearly half of the $7.16 billion spent by international visitors was spent outside the major cities,” Mr Key says.

“Already, tourism is our second-largest export earner and the industry continues to go from strength to strength.

“I have every confidence that with the lower New Zealand dollar, the hard work of our tourism operators, New Zealand’s reputation as a world-class tourism destination and the unparalleled experience our visitors enjoy, the best times for the industry remain ahead.

“This Government has already invested an unprecedented $600m in tourism and tourism promotion as part of our plan build a diversified and robust economy.

“We will continue to work alongside the industry to build on this success.”

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19 August 2015
PM acknowledges passing of George Gair

Prime Minister John Key has today acknowledged the passing of former National Party MP and Deputy Leader George Gair.

Mr Gair was a long-standing National MP and Senior Cabinet Minister who held the North Shore electorate from 1966 to 1990.  He also served as Deputy Leader of the National Party.

From 1991 to 1994 he represented New Zealand as High Commissioner in London, before returning to New Zealand where he served one term as Mayor of North Shore. 

Mr Gair was a Companion of the Queen's Service Order for his dedication to public services and was a Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George.

"I am saddened to learn of George Gair’s passing,” Mr Key says. 

“George made a significant contribution to the National Party, to Parliament and to the community.  He was well-known for his competent and well-mannered approach and was highly regarded by his colleagues.”

“My thoughts are with his wife, Fay, and his family at this time.” 

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14 August 2015
Cook Islands Prime Minister to visit New Zealand

Cook Islands Prime Minister Henry Puna will visit New Zealand as part of the celebrations marking 50 years of the special relationship between our two countries, Prime Minister John Key says.

Prime Minister Puna arrives tonight ahead of a series of community and official engagements, including a meeting with Mr Key.

“It was my pleasure to attend the celebrations marking 50 years of Cook Islands self-government in free association with New Zealand in Rarotonga last week,” Mr Key says.

“The anniversary is a significant occasion for both our countries and I am pleased to confirm that New Zealand will return that hospitality, and mark the anniversary with a celebration of our own.

“I look forward to hosting an official lunch for Prime Minister Puna to mark the occasion.”

The Prime Ministers will meet at Government House in Auckland and attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum on Thursday.

Mr Puna will also attend a number of other engagements in Wellington and Auckland including a Cook Islands community celebration of the anniversary and a breakfast with members of the New Zealand-Pacific Parliamentary Friendship group.