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PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference - 20 May 2013

PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference - 20 May 2013

Budget 2013 | Holdup on Meat Exports to China | Family Carers

Scoop Audio+Video

By Hamish Cardwell

Prime Minister John Key said the National Government's 5th budget aimed at continuing to build a  competitive economy and helping families while maintaining fiscal discipline. It included $900 million in new spending.

Given the global financial crisis, the Christchurch earthquake, and inherited debt there had been a remarkable turnaround for the country from when National were elected to where the country was now, he said.

New Zealand meat products being blocked for distribution in China was for “technical” reasons. The Chinese had been provided with information which they were working through, with the issue hopefully being resolved this week, he said.

*******

QUESTIONS

The PM said part of the reason for the delay was because the organization in New Zealand that issued export certificates had changed its name. There had also been procedural changes on the Chinese side with a more “robust” approach to counterfeit meat.

“In the end we will need to go away and have a look at what went wrong and why it took a little longer.”

New Zealand exports to 160 countries and from time to time these issues present themselves, he said.

The Ministry of Primary industries had advised the Chinese of the name change, but clearly there had been a problem and now the main issue was to work through it, he said.

The PM was asked if he could confirm Meat Industry Association figures that there had been hundreds of tonnes of meat worth tens of millions of dollars held up for weeks.

The PM replied he could not confirm how much meat was being held or how long it had been blocked.

The PM didn’t think that the Chinese action was protectionist, or that it would affect New Zealand’s export relationship with China.

The PM was asked if parts of the Public Health and Disability Amendment Bill which passed through parliament under urgency over the weekend were constitutional. The bill set rules around paying people to provide care for family members with disabilities.

The PM said he believed the bill was legal and constitutionally correct. It was a challenging to know where to draw the line between family and state responsibility. Parents had a duty to look after their children but there was not an expectation that parents should continue to care for their disabled child once they reached adulthood. In those situations it was appropriate for the crown to pay for the parents for caregiving.

The PM was asked if he had any qualms about pushing the matter through parliament under urgency as it extinguished peoples legal right to take court action.

He said that would always be a matter of debate but that the government had drawn a line in fairest place they could. Other parties could campaign on a platform of changing that law.

The PM was asked why a proposed departure tax of $35 on departing travellers was dropped.

He said he was initially attracted to the idea as it would provide more money to promote new Zealand, but a “less disruptive” way of financing that marketing had been found.

The PM was asked how he felt about MP's bringing babies into the house.

He said it as up to the speaker to decided what was appropriate in the house, and the party whips to decide which members were allowed leave to care for their children. The house sitting schedule had become increasingly family friendly.

*******

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ENDS

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