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John Key interviewed on TV ONE’s Breakfast 14/3/11

Monday 14th March, 2011

TRANSCRIPT: Prime Minister, John Key interviewed on TV ONE’s Breakfast at 7:20am this morning.

The full length video interview can also be seen on tvnz.co.nz at, http://tvnz.co.nz/Breakfast

JOHN KEY interviewed by PETRA BAGUST

Petra: All eyes are on the rescue and recovery efforts in north east Japan and to tell us how New Zealand will respond and still handle the situation at home here in Christchurch, we're joined by Prime Minister John Key, good morning.

John: Good morning Petra.

Petra: We've sent a USAR team already, is there anything else New Zealand can do to help?

John: Well I think that’s what we'll assess over the coming days and essentially weeks to see where we can be of more assistance. We spent a lot of time very late on Friday night and early on Saturday morning working out what we should do in terms of the response for the Search and Rescue Team, because the Japanese – and I think it's quite a feather in the cap of our Fire Service now Urban Search and Rescue people that they came to us, America and Australia first. Just making sure that firstly our people weren’t too burnt out, I mean they'd been working their guts out to be frank for the last two or three weeks, that it wasn't leaving us exposed if there was another after shock in Christchurch, all of those sorts of practical issues. But in the end we made the situation that we've got a lot of expertise, Japan are good friends of ours, they came to our assistance when we needed it, and we sent them in, and over time there may be people around the DVI process and others that we may send up to help Japan, but we'll assess that in due course.

Petra: And if that USAR team proves very useful could we think about rotating and sending a second team in?

John: We could do, we have three teams, so we have the capability I guess to refresh them if you like. Generally what happens is they're able to go there and do that immediate work while they're still looking for people that might be trapped or whatever. Our people are more heavily trained in earthquakes than tsunamis, but they can obviously do both, so we'll just assess that on a sort of case by case basis, but my guess is they’ll be up there for at least you know somewhere between sort of two and three weeks is my guess.

Petra: It feels like the earth is really being shaken. We've had floods in Queensland, we've had the Christchurch earthquake now the Japan earthquake, the insurance industry world wide will be under huge stress right now. Do you think it's gonna create any problems with payouts in New Zealand?

John: There's no question that it's putting quite a lot of stress on the system, so if you think about the way insurance works, we all pay our premiums and the actuaries go away in those companies and work out what's the probability of us paying out, they know they're gonna pay out some, but they don’t expect to pay out you know kind of all of their premiums in their reserves. And if you take a look at Christchurch. Christchurch up until this point – the Christchurch earthquake as the largest single insurance event in 2011 and one of the largest insurance predicted payouts in the world, and people say well how can that be the case, but of course countries like Haiti and Chile and things they haven’t been insured to the degree that we have. So it'll certainly put stress on the system, but you know of course it's a very large system with great capacity to pay.

Petra: And speaking of rebuilding and paying, will this quake in Japan affect New Zealand's ability to access the funds that have been promised from overseas to help with our rebuild?

John: Not in terms of the insurance payout, so our reinsurance, if you think about EQC, they go and buy reinsurance from big insurance companies like the Swissries of the world, and so we lay off our risk if you like, so we're not holding it all ourselves. They’ve got huge resources and they're very very large companies. So no it won’t affect them. I guess that one they're very aware it may make small differences, Mark Weldon joined us for about four to six weeks to help us raise money for our fund, look at the margins that will have some difference, because we'll need to be sensitive to the fact that Japan now has also suffered a very large quake, but if anyone can do it Mark Weldon can do it, so we'll be working hard to try and raise money for the people of Canterbury.

Petra: So proceed with abandon and with caution at the same time?

John: Yeah, I mean look there's a lot of New Zealanders who have connections around the world that have got resources, you know they're wealthy, a lot of companies wanting to help. It's a very very sort of good cause, I mean we're trying to do different things here, obviously raise money for those who might be in hardship, and also the rebuilding of buildings but it's just little things you don’t think about, like the rugby club rooms that the money's been raised from a sausage sizzle and you know it's used as a cub den and a scout den and for Girl Guides at night, and all of those sorts of things that have been bowled over as a result of the earthquake in Christchurch, they're probably not insured, don’t necessarily have the money to rebuild it. So if we want to put a city back together again we need to put communities back together, and that means raising money for those sorts of things. So that’s one of the things we're very focused on.

Petra: And speaking of fund raising, great effort in Wellington $500,000 raised from the Basin and your turn at the pitch, how did you feel just before you went out?

John: A bit nervous, not being a cricketer a bit nervous, but you’ve gotta say he was fairly gracious and didn’t go too hard on me, if he had it would have been all over.

Petra: And how did it feel once you got out there? Were you pleased with your efforts?

John: I quite enjoyed it and yes. Connected sort of three times or so, and that was actually quite good, look it's easy to miss as I found when I was practising on Friday whatever it was.

Petra: Yeah we've got a shot of you – sending it to the boundary.

John: Yeah it's certainly a step up from my modelling.

Petra: I'd have to say the repeated highlights that we're playing are your best shots not your worst, so it's definitely worked for you this time. Prime Minister John Key thank you for joining us. Just one final thing, I'm thinking how is New Zealand monitoring the nuclear situation in Japan. We're a nation as children we grew up my generation, with this very real nuclear threat, our children know nothing about this, and yet here we are facing possible meltdown in a nuclear reactor in Japan. What kind of monitoring has New Zealand got on that situation?

John: Yeah look obviously we have our own people G&S can monitor those things here, but in terms of what's actually happening in Japan which is you know trying to stop this thing getting out of control, the advice we have is you know the Japanese have a lot of expertise, they’ve got the very best expertise from America working alongside them, and it's obviously a situation where everybody is very conscious of the risks that are involved, but they're doing their best to get on top of the situation. From our Urban Search and Rescue perspective one of the things we've been very cautious of is to make sure that our people are safe, so while they're on the ground there working, we've also gotta be conscious of the fact that we don’t want them to be overexposed.

Petra: John Key, Prime Minister, thank you for joining us this morning.


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