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Post Cabinet Press Conference: Leap Day

Today a noticeably less polished than usual John Key fielded questions about Sri Lanka, the security agencies review, and the updates of the minimum and living wages.

Today the review of New Zealand’s security and intelligence agencies, led by Sir Michael Cullen and Dame Patsy Reddy, was given to the Government. The Prime Minister said it was “highly likely” that legislative changes would result from the review process, but stressed he would want bipartisan support for these. Key said that there was a general understanding the current legislation is not fit for purpose. It was unlikely that any legislation resulting from the review would be published this year. The Cullen and Reddy report is not itself classified, but select committee meetings on the review will not be open to the public or media.

A 50 cent rise in the minimum wage was announced today. Key said the National Government has increased the minimum wage in a “gradual and sustainable” way since 2008. On the gap between the minimum and living wages Key responded “I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the living wage”. He said that it was the role of the Government to improve wages without putting unsustainable pressure on businesses. When pushed Key said he knew that “people on the minimum wage are doing it pretty tough” and that many minimum wage earners received other financial help from the state.

Key responded with vigour to questions on the unitary plan defeat in Auckland. He said Auckland councillors needed to realise that “Auckland is going to grow as a city and has to accommodate more people”. Key was asked what his take on mayoral candidate John Palino was and smiled, saying that he had a view but he really shouldn’t share it. He made similar comments when asked about his position on Donald Trump potentially becoming President of the United States.

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