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21 November 2014
Key to chair International Democrat Union

Prime Minister and National Party Leader John Key was today elected Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU) at its latest meeting in Seoul, Korea.

Mr Key was represented at the meeting by Hon Hekia Parata who was able to accept the role on his behalf, and thank the retiring Chairman, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard who had held the role for 12 years.

"The National Party was a founding member of the IDU back in 1983 and the organisation has grown to comprise over 50 centre-right political parties from right around the world,” said Mr Key.

"Many of the member parties face the same political and policy challenges, and the IDU has real potential to become an even better forum for the exchange of views on political and other matters.

“Taking on this role provides another forum for New Zealand to play a constructive role in international affairs.”

Mr Key said that he had been encouraged to take up the role by John Howard and British Prime Minister David Cameron, and he was pleased to receive unanimous support at the meeting in Seoul.

As Chairman of the IDU, Mr Key will chair bi-annual meetings of the Executive Committee, which will be scheduled to coincide with existing travel commitments to Europe, Asia and the Americas. Mr Key will also be assisted in this role by the newly appointed Deputy Chairman, Tony Clement MP who is a member of Canadian Prime Minister Harper’s Cabinet.

More information on the IDU can be found on its website www.idu.org

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20 November 2014
PM meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping

Prime Minister John Key held successful talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wellington today.

“This is President Xi’s third official visit to New Zealand, but his first as President, so it’s a very significant occasion.  I’m delighted that the First Lady, Madame Peng, has also joined him on this trip,” says Mr Key.

“Our relationship with China has never been in better shape. China is now New Zealand’s largest trading partner and we have strong links in a number of areas including business, tourism and education.

“Today we have agreed to characterise the relationship between our nations as a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, recognising the significance of the bilateral relationship to both countries.”

Ten new agreements and arrangements between New Zealand and China have been signed, including an amendment to the Free Trade Agreement that will enable a television co-production arrangement.

“These agreements, in a range of areas, are a further reflection of the growing depth of New Zealand and China’s strong relationship,” says Mr Key.

“The Television Co-production Agreement will allow programmes co-produced by New Zealand and Chinese companies to be officially broadcast on Chinese TV, where potential viewing audiences are huge.

“China has become our fastest-growing, and second-largest, source of visitors and to recognise that today we have announced a new initiative to extend the China Working Holiday Scheme, which will enable Chinese Working Holiday makers to work for the same employer for up to six months.”

Other initiatives signed today include:

  • an arrangement on the mutual recognition of academic qualifications in higher education
  • a Food Supervisory and Traceability Cooperation Programme between the New Zealand Ministry for Primary Industries and the China Food and Drug Administration
  • an arrangement between the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the China National Tourism Administration to work together to improve the tourist experience in both countries
  • a new partnership between New Zealand Trade and Enterprise and the China Chamber of Commerce of Foodstuffs and Native Produce.
  • an arrangement between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Antarctic Cooperation
  • an arrangement between the Government of New Zealand and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on Climate Change Cooperation.

“I am delighted to host President Xi and Madame Peng in New Zealand and I hope they enjoy the rest of their time here.”

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15 November 2014
NZ and Korea complete Free Trade Agreement

Prime Minister John Key today announced that New Zealand and the Republic of Korea have completed Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

“Korea is New Zealand’s sixth largest export destination for goods and services and eighth largest import source of goods and services, with total two-way trade of $4 billion in the year ending June 2014,” says Mr Key.

“The FTA will put New Zealand exporters back on a level playing field with competitors from Korea’s other FTA partners, such as the United States, Chile and the European Union.

“At the moment our exporters to Korea pay $229 million a year in duties.  Under the FTA, New Zealand exporters will save an estimated $65 million in duties in the first year alone. 

“In July 2013 when President Park and I met at the Korea-New Zealand Summit, we committed to concluding the FTA.  It is very pleasing that this has now been achieved.

“New Zealand and Korea have a long history of working together, dating back to the Korean War.  The FTA will enhance our already strong relationship and will set the scene for an even closer relationship in the future,” says Mr Key.  

Now that the negotiations have been concluded, the FTA will next go through a legal verification and translation process, before it can be signed.

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14 November 2014
Joint Press Statement by Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key and Federal Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel

In our meeting today in Auckland we reaffirmed the close and long-standing relations between our two countries, building on the 60 years of diplomatic relations which we celebrated just last year.

Our partnership is defined by shared fundamental values, vibrant political, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation, as well as very strong people-to-people links. 

We took stock of the excellent state of play of our bilateral relationship and the value we accord to our close cooperation in a range of international fora. 

  • We noted the many areas of common interest between Germany and New Zealand and agreed there was scope for intensified high level engagement between our governments.  We tasked officials to look into possibilities on how to strengthen dialogue and make recommendations.
  • We agreed to support efforts to increase mutual trade and investments, through revitalising the basis for our economic relationship.  In this context we welcomed the commitment in the EU New Zealand Joint Declaration of March 2014 to reflect on options to progress the trade and economic relationship including the parameters for the possible opening of negotiations to further liberalise trade and investment between the EU and New Zealand.
  • We welcomed the strong engagement between New Zealand and Germany in science and innovation.  We encouraged initiatives which will make best use of the high innovative competence of our countries, such as the successful InterCoast project between the University of Bremen and the University of Waikato, the developing collaboration in medical robotics between the Universities of Auckland and Stuttgart and the German Fraunhofer Institute, and our broad cooperation in Antarctic research and in agricultural technology.
  • We agreed that meeting the challenge of climate change requires a global solution that encourages maximum ambition from all countries.  To that end we will seek a strong and comprehensive legally binding climate change agreement in Paris 2015, under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
  • Climate change threatens to undermine efforts towards economic growth and sustainable development.  We seek an ambitious Post-2015 Agenda, and will build on our joint efforts in the field of development cooperation in the South Pacific with a strong focus on green technologies and renewable energies.
  • 100 years after the commencement of the First World War which took a heavy toll on both our people, we reaffirmed our joint commitment to peace and stability. We will continue to cooperate closely on matters of international peace and security, human rights, non-proliferation and counterterrorism, including activities within the United Nations system and regional fora.
  • We agreed that broad international cooperation is necessary in order to counter ISIL and further stabilise Iraq and the region.  We called on the international community to tackle the threat posed by terrorism and violent extremism in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
  • We agreed on the importance of lending our full support to the UN Special Envoy to restart a political process in Syria, which is the only way to resolve this conflict and prevent further violence. We reiterated our strong concern about the plight of the millions of Syrian refugees and the tremendous burden neighbouring countries continue to bear in hosting them.
  • We resolved to continue our close cooperation through NATO to further support Afghanistan to become a more secure, stable, and sovereign country.
  • We called on Russia and the pro-Russian separatists to fully respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and to commit themselves to fully implement the Minsk Agreements reached in September 2014 in order to stop all violence and to reach a sustainable political solution.
  • We underlined the importance of maritime security for trade and commerce and agreed on the importance of promoting the resolution of maritime disputes in accordance with international law.
  • The fight against Ebola is a new and complex challenge for the international community. Our common goal is to stop Ebola spreading further and treat patients. We want to isolate Ebola, not the affected countries.
  • We noted that the forthcoming G20 meeting in Brisbane was an important opportunity to harmonize international efforts to stabilize the global economic and financial system and we commended the Australian G-20 Presidency for its work to make this Summit a success.
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14 November 2014
Prime Minister to attend G20 Leaders’ Summit

Prime Minister John Key is attending the G20 Leaders’ Summit as an invited guest and will travel to Brisbane tomorrow.

“It’s an honour to have been invited as a guest of Australia and I’m proud New Zealand will be represented alongside the G20 nations,” says Mr Key

Finance Minister Bill English has also been invited to participate and will attend the B20 summit involving Finance Ministers from the G20 nations.

“This year’s G20 will cover a range of global economic issues, notably strengthening growth and job creation and building global economic resilience. These themes fit New Zealand’s own economic priorities.”

The G20 economies make up 85 percent of global economic activity and 75 percent of global trade. Fourteen of New Zealand’s top 20 bilateral trading partners are at the G20 meeting.

“New Zealand’s economic prospects are closely intertwined with those of G20 member countries,” says Mr Key.

New Zealand is not a formal member of the G20 grouping because of its size but has been involved in a full year of engagements culminating in the forthcoming final meeting as an invited guest of Australia.

“I intend to use my participation in the Leaders’ Summit to get a sense of global leaders’ economic concerns and how they are responding to these challenges,” says Mr Key.

The Summit also provides an opportunity to promote New Zealand’s economic policy credentials and raise our profile as a good place to do trade and do business.

“As well as attending all the main leaders’ events, I look forward to engaging bilaterally with counterparts from the G20 and supporting Prime Minister Abbott in delivering a successful G20 presidency,” says Mr Key.

The Prime Minister departs for Brisbane on Saturday 15 November and returns 16 November.

Note: The G20 grouping includes Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, European Union.