Post Cabinet Press Conference: Australia and AucklandRobert Kelly
The Prime Minister began today’s press conference by saying that Christchurch and its people were in his thoughts. He said that while the quakes on the 14th on February were clearly unsettling, “residents can take comfort” in how well Christchurch is being rebuilt.
Key answered many questions about his upcoming talks with Australian Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull. He stated that while the New Zealand offer to take 150 refugees from Australian camps within the 750 quota still stood, Australia had not yet said yes to that. Key said that he considered it the “sensible and compassionate thing to do” but that the ball was in Australia’s court. He said it was likely discussions would take place with Turnbull about the progress in Camp Taji in Iraq. Key said it is not his intention to send the New Zealand SAS into Iraq.
On Auckland Housing the Prime Minister was reluctant to discuss specifics of the debate around intensification. He stressed that the Unitary Plan was the Auckland Council’s rather than the National Party’s. Key dodged a question about whether he was disappointed in the opinions of some Auckland councilors. He said that he expected National MPS in Auckland to “listen to their constituents”.
Key outlined the progress of the Ultra Fast Broadband implementation and the Rural Broadband Initiative saying that the country is 60% of the way through the current upgrade.
Key spoke briefly about the confrontations at the 2016 Big Gay Out in Auckland and said that a “militant” minority had been an exception in a very positive day. The Prime Minister also said that “the TPP is not a gay and lesbian issue”.