National-led Government - 2008-2011 Archived

High-growth councils have until 31 March to submit final proposals for a share of the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, Infrastructure Minister Steven Joyce and Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith say.

“Council constraints in financing the necessary infrastructure - the water supply, storm water, waste water and roading - can slow down the opening up of new housing areas, which is why the Government announced the Housing Infrastructure Fund last year,” Dr Smith says.

Nick Smith Steven Joyce Infrastructure Building and Construction

A significant Government investment in Immigration New Zealand’s IT system is a further step in increasing immigration’s contribution to the economy, says Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Dr Coleman today announced the Government is contributing $75 million towards a new IT system.

‘’This IT initiative is a major step up in INZ’s ability to provide timely, responsive and secure immigration services,’’ says Dr Coleman.

Jonathan Coleman Immigration

Trade Minister Tim Groser will travel to Geneva this week to attend the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) 8th Ministerial Conference.

The 15-17 December conference will consider how to best maintain a robust, rules-based multilateral trading system, further work on trade and development, and how to advance the stalled Doha Round.

“Obviously this has been a difficult year for the Doha negotiations. The Conference is an opportunity to inject fresh thinking on how to make progress in 2012,” Mr Groser says.

Tim Groser Trade

Climate Change Ministers Nick Smith and Tim Groser have warmly welcomed the outcome of the UN Climate Change negotiations which concluded successfully in Durban today.

They paid tribute to the leadership provided by the host, South Africa, which paved the way for a truly comprehensive international agreement.

“This agreement meets all the realistic expectations the New Zealand delegation had when it arrived in South Africa two weeks ago,” Mr Groser said.

The agreement:

Nick Smith Tim Groser Environment International Climate Change Negotiations

Broadcasting Minister Jonathan Coleman says he is shocked by the sudden death of Radio New Zealand journalist Phillip Cottrell over the weekend.

Dr Coleman today offered his condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr Cottrell, who died yesterday in Wellington.

‘’Phillip was clearly a well liked person held in high professional regard,’’ says Dr Coleman.

Jonathan Coleman Broadcasting

Prime Minister John Key today announced the incoming National-led Government’s new Ministry.

“National’s line-up is a very strong one, with a mixture of fresh talent and experience,” says Mr Key. “There has been a revamp of some portfolios, and some first-term Ministers have been rewarded for their performance.

“The new National-led Government is ready to hit the ground running. There is a lot of work to do as we look to continue implementing our plans to build a stronger economy, reduce debt, and create more jobs.

John Key Prime Minister

The official opening of the new Kopu Bridge today will come as a huge relief to both holiday motorists and those who rely on the route more regularly, says Transport Minister Steven Joyce.

"Work on the $47 million bridge replacement project was brought forward by three years as part of the government's $500 million Jobs and Growth plan.

"The project has created about 50 local jobs that would not have otherwise been there, as well as work for local companies involved in supplying materials and providing supporting services.

Steven Joyce Transport

Food Safety Minister Kate Wilkinson today represented New Zealand at the Forum on Food Regulation in Melbourne to consider the Forum’s response to the Independent Review of Food Labelling Law and Policy.

“I welcome the Forum’s response, which follows considerable work over the past year to consider how the report’s recommendations should be addressed,” Ms Wilkinson says.

Kate Wilkinson Food Safety

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman represented New Zealand at the fourth Bali Democracy Forum this week.

The two-day Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali, was an opportunity for countries to share their experiences and best practices on democracy with a view to encouraging wider cooperation on strengthening democratic institutions in Asia and the Pacific.

Established by Indonesia in 2008, The Bali Democracy Forum brings together Heads of State and Foreign Ministers from countries across Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific.

Jonathan Coleman Immigration

Internal Affairs Minister Nathan Guy has welcomed $6,675,734 in new funding for 40 projects around the country through the Lottery Communities Facilities Fund Committee.

“This funding will be a real boost for many local communities. These projects will help build and improve new facilities for everyone to benefit from.”

Some of the major highlights include:

Nathan Guy Internal Affairs

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will arrive on Sunday for a six-day visit to New Zealand and Antarctica, Prime Minister John Key announced today.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg is visiting Antarctica as a guest of the US Antarctic Programme for the centenary celebrations of the first expedition to reach the South Pole, which was led by Norwegian Roald Amundsen.

“I am pleased to welcome Jens Stoltenberg to New Zealand. Though geographically distant, Norway and New Zealand are similar-sized countries with much in common,” says Mr Key.

John Key Prime Minister

The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hekia Parata, congratulates the Institute of Directors on the launch of its inaugural Mentoring for Diversity programme, aimed at increasing the number of women on NZX-listed and large company boards.

“I applaud the Institute of Directors (IoD) for establishing this programme,'' says Ms Parata.

"In a number of cases women often have the skills but are just not sure how to get into governance roles. This programme will really help them.”

Hekia Parata Women's Affairs

Madam President, Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.

I would like to acknowledge and thank our gracious hosts South Africa and assure the Parties present that New Zealand is, as always, committed to playing a constructive role in these negotiations.

Having accepted a responsibility target under the Kyoto Protocol CP1 we are on track to meet our commitments and no matter what the outcome here in Durban New Zealand's mitigation efforts will continue post-2012.

Tim Groser International Climate Change Negotiations

A glowing report on the work of Te Wananga Takiura o nga Kura Kaupapa Maori o Aotearoa Inc reflects credit on that institution, on Tawhirimatea and Kaa Williams and their staff and students, and also on the tenacity and passion of the leaders of the whole kaupapa Maori education movement, says Associate Minister of Education Dr Pita Sharples.

Pita Sharples Education

Prime Minister John Key today expressed his disappointment at the British Government’s announcement overnight of an increase in passenger duty for air travellers to New Zealand.

The British Government has announced that the UK Air Passenger Duty (APD) will increase next April from 85 pounds sterling to 92 pounds sterling per passenger coming to New Zealand.

“The APD places a significant burden on New Zealand businesses, on families who travel, and on our tourism industry,” said Mr Key.

John Key Prime Minister Tourism

New Zealand warmly welcomes Indonesia’s ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT), Disarmament Minister Georgina te Heuheu said today.

“New Zealand is a longstanding supporter of the CTBT, and we congratulate Indonesia for its leadership on this important global issue.”

First opened for signature in 1996, the CTBT will put into place a binding and verifiable ban on all nuclear test explosions worldwide once it enters into force.

Georgina te Heuheu Disarmament and Arms Control

Gallantry awards being presented today highlight the courage and professionalism of New Zealand forces serving in Afghanistan, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said today.

“The three New Zealand soldiers have shown the highest level of bravery in the face of danger,” said Dr Mapp.

The three men were in a vehicle patrol attacked by insurgents in Afghanistan in August 2010. Lieutenant Tim O’Donnell was killed in the attack.

Wayne Mapp Defence

Two new NH90 helicopters will arrive at Ohakea at 9.30am, after being airlifted from France on board an Antonov AN 124 transport aircraft, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said today.

“These helicopters will provide a quantum leap in capability for the RNZAF,” said Dr Mapp. “The NH90s will give the NZDF better capability to conduct military, counter-terrorism, disaster relief, search and rescue, and other operations.

“The NH90s have over three times the power of the current Iroquois and can carry more than twice the payload further and faster.

Wayne Mapp Defence

Australian Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet, and New Zealand Minister for International Climate Change Negotiations, Tim Groser, have welcomed progress on plans to link Australia’s and New Zealand’s emissions trading schemes.

The Ministers agreed that strengthening international carbon markets - including through linking the two emissions trading schemes - would unlock further efficiencies, and contribute to reducing pollution cost-effectively around the globe.

Tim Groser International Climate Change Negotiations Trade

Ongoing spending discipline and higher than expected corporate tax revenue have helped keep the Government's finances on track at a time of heightened global uncertainty, Finance Minister Bill English says.

Government spending, tax revenue and net debt were all slightly lower than expected in the Crown accounts for the four months to 31 October issued today, contributing to a operating deficit before gains and losses of $3.36 billion. The variances - due to timing issues - are expected to reduce in coming months.

Bill English Finance

I am delighted to be in the company of the three wise women of the South – our kuia from Oraka Aparima, Jane Davis; Elizabeth Cunningham, the interim Chair of this inaugural wanaka, and representative of Manawhenua ki Waitaha; and Lisa Tumahai – the funding portfolio holder for Maori – deputy chair of Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu and Canterbury DHB.

When we are talking about Maori leadership within Te Waipounamu, these three wahine represent between them, the range of responsibilities and relationships that are so critical to the health and wellbeing of our whanau.

Tariana Turia Health

Associate Commerce Minister Craig Foss today congratulated International Accreditation New Zealand (IANZ) on winning a Business Achievement Award from the New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation.

“I am pleased that this Crown entity has been recognised as a top performer.  It stands out – not just in its field, but right across the public and private sectors.  The state sector should be aiming for top marks for its work, and this shows just what can be achieved,” said Mr Foss.

Craig Foss Commerce

An independent audit into the financial management of the Constitutional and Electoral Reform programme in Tonga has found no evidence of fraud, Foreign Minister Murray McCully announced today.

Last month it was alleged that NZ$330,000 provided by New Zealand and Australia to the Tongan Government to support their historic transition to a more democratic system of government had been misused.

Murray McCully Foreign Affairs

State Services Minister Tony Ryall says New Zealanders will be proud their public sector continues to lead the world in integrity.

Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2011 was released today and New Zealand is again ranked in first place.

“New Zealand’s consistent reputation for integrity in the public sector has been reinforced by this ranking. The lack of corruption makes us a desirable place to do business internationally and meets New Zealander’s expectations of fairness.

Tony Ryall State Services