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PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference - October 21, 2013

PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference - October 21, 2013

Scoop Audio+Video+Photos

By Anne Russell


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The Prime Minister held a press conference today with Steven Joyce to discuss apprenticeship reboot subsidies, and the government's interim investment of $5m in Team NZ.

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The government is providing $28m in subsidies for employers to take on apprentices, particularly to support the rebuild in Christchurch and the housing boom in Auckland. So far 8000 new apprentices have signed up since the scheme was introduced 8 months ago; a 62% increase. The first 10,000 sign-ups will receive $1,000 towards their tools and other related expenses. Hopefully 14,000 new apprentices will start training over the next 5 years.

Team New Zealand is being granted less money than the $6.5m initially asked for, but will find the balance elsewhere through sponsors. This will go towards costs like preparation for the campaign, and developing their technological design. It is a speculative investment, since it is possible that Team NZ will not put a challenge together. If it reaches the next stage, the government will invest up to $40m.

Members of the press wanted to know why the government was prioritising spending in this fashion while industries are going under in Rotorua and Shannon. Joyce answered that the investment in Team New Zealand will lead to commercial exposure in the US, particularly in California.

A journalist enquired as to why milled timber is being imported from Chile into Christchurch for the rebuild, while local mills are going under. Key said that the Rotorua mill isn't shutting down, and that New Zealand is doing well with regard to exports and timber. Key believes the shutdowns in Rotorua and Shannon are specific to those businesses, not indicative of a wider trend.

Key also discussed carbon emissions, migration's effect on the housing market, potential foreign aid to fight bush fires in New South Wales, Kiwisaver, MP pay rises, and Len Brown's affair.

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ENDS

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