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20 April 2015
Dedication of Australian Memorial in Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

It is a pleasure and it is also fitting to be here with my Australian counterpart today for the dedication of this magnificent memorial.

This park was opened only two days ago, though its origins date back to 1919 when the government agreed to build a National War Memorial here in Wellington.

It was to be visible from any part of the city, from ships entering the harbour, and from Parliament, so that future governments would remember the sacrifice that had been made in the First World War. 

Since the Carillon opened in 1932, this memorial space has been added to several times and the latest addition is this fine Australian Memorial that we are dedicating today.

We always hoped that our closest friend would be the first country to have its own memorial in our park, and I am delighted that this has now happened.

Five days from now we will stand beside our Australian friends again, but this time at Gallipoli for the 100th commemoration of the first landing by the Anzacs on that ill-fated shore. There will be other significant services around the world, and right here, as well as in Canberra.

The name Gallipoli has become synonymous with acts of great courage, immense hardship and terrible sacrifice on both sides of the campaign.

For New Zealanders and Australians in particular, it is also the symbolic beginning of what we now think of as the Anzac spirit.

I was privileged to be in Albany last November to commemorate the first coming together of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and the Australian Imperial Force – the origins of the Anzacs a hundred years before.

In fact, the bond between our two countries goes back to the early decades of European settlement and we have had close links ever since.

The Anzac spirit has been defined in many ways – mateship, courage, integrity. But what it means in practice is that we can knuckle down and work together anywhere from a solid foundation of mutual trust.

We have a proud history of co-operation in the world’s conflict zones the names of these places are listed on the memorial pillars. They include South Africa, Gallipoli, Northern France, Greece, Crete, North Africa, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and, more recently, Timor Leste, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan.

We also collaborate to bring humanitarian relief to disaster zones around our region and beyond. As we speak, we have teams working very closely together in Vanuatu for the Cyclone Pam recovery effort.

And when we are in need ourselves, we are there for each other too.

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18 April 2015
Official opening of Pukeahu National War Memorial Park

Thank you all for being here to witness the official opening of this park as a place of commemoration and remembrance for the whole nation.

This opening comes as we are focussed on the 100th commemorations of the First World War.

That war had a deep and abiding impact on New Zealand and New Zealanders.  In our small nation, almost every family was affected by it.

It is hard to describe the scale of mourning in the decade that followed the end of the war. People wanted to ensure that the sacrifice of their family members and fellow citizens would never be forgotten.

This desire to remember led to more than 500 local war memorials being erected in communities around the country.

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16 April 2015
Prime Minister to lead trade mission to Gulf States

Prime Minister John Key will lead an 18-member New Zealand business delegation to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait from 26 April to 1 May.

This will be the first visit by a New Zealand Prime Minister to Saudi Arabia.

“The visit is an opportunity to strengthen and grow trade and business links between the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

It will also provide the opportunity to progress the conclusion of the NZ-GCC free trade agreement.

“A key priority for me will be talking to key figures in the region about the importance of progressing New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with the GCC,” says Mr Key.

The GCC is New Zealand’s fifth largest export destination with goods exports worth $1.9 billion in the year to December 2014.  Exports of goods have grown by an average 10 percent per year over the last decade.

“New Zealand has a lot to offer the Gulf region and a number of our businesses already have a strong presence in this market. My visit is aimed at opening doors and helping to further promote New Zealand companies,” says Mr Key.

“It has always been my intention to travel to the Gulf as it is an important region and I’m pleased to be leading a strong business delegation on this visit,” says Mr Key.

A range of meetings are scheduled with senior government leaders across the region. 

“These meetings provide an opportunity to discuss our economic relationship and also, given our seat on the UN Security Council, it’s timely to discuss the complex security issues facing the Middle East.”

We have reinforced our commitment to this region in recent years with the opening of our embassy in Abu Dhabi, and the expansion of offices in Dubai and Riyadh.  

The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have also recently opened embassies in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister will be accompanied by New Zealand Trade Minister Tim Groser.

News release

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16 April 2015
PM welcomes direct flights to Houston

Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism John Key has welcomed Air New Zealand’s announcement that it will begin operating direct flights between Houston and New Zealand.

The new service will provide for a more direct route for the millions of US citizens living in the south and east of the country, and for New Zealanders heading in the opposite direction.

“We already get thousands of visitors a year from states such as Texas, Florida and New York and this new service should allow us to boost those numbers further,” says Mr Key.

“Providing greater links with these states, with relatively affluent populations, also aligns with New Zealand’s desire to attract more high-spending visitors to further boost our economy.”

The US is already New Zealand’s third-largest visitor market behind Australia and China, with 226,608 arrivals in the year to February – a 10 per cent increase on the previous year.

Spending by US arrivals has also grown 32 per cent over the same period, to $771 million.

“This Government remains committed to promoting New Zealand as a world-class tourist destination and we will continue working with partners such as Air New Zealand to ensure the industry continues to grow.”

The new service will begin in December.

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14 April 2015
Pre-Budget speech to Business New Zealand function

Good afternoon.

It’s great to be with you today. I’d like to thank Business New Zealand for hosting this event.

Like all New Zealanders, we have a shared interest in building a strong economy that provides opportunities for Kiwi families and businesses to get ahead here in their own country.

We don’t always agree on everything – and that’s to be expected.

But I do appreciate Business New Zealand’s pragmatic and positive attitude in engaging on important issues affecting businesses, their staff and their families.

I also want to acknowledge the many Wellington business people here today.

It’s good to see the Wellington economy is in good heart and that the business community here is feeling upbeat.

The latest ANZ Regional Trends Survey shows Wellingtonians are confident. And business optimism in the capital is above the national average.

This is translating into more jobs in and around the city at a time when the region is broadening its economic base away from its longstanding reliance on central government.

Many Wellington companies are competing successfully on national and international stages in sectors as diverse as innovation, technology, tourism, film production and niche manufacturing.

I welcome that. A vibrant Wellington business and economic scene is important for New Zealand.

The Government is backing businesses right around New Zealand by ensuring we have competitive policy settings to encourage investment, new jobs and growth.

That’s why I want to focus on the economy today.

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