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13/02/17 PM’s Press Conference: Housing, Housing, Housing

13/02/17 PM’s Press Conference: Housing, Housing, Housing

Prime Minister Bill English began today’s press conference with a recap of announcements that were made recently: $300mn for ultrafast broadband, $500bn for police, the extension of the earthquake relief fund, the completion of the expressway up the Kapiti Coast, DOC’s efforts on the stranded whales at Farewell Spit, and the upcoming meeting with Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull.

Questions from the gallery focused on housing, asking about the Auckland Unitary Plan, the potential skills and resource shortage and whether NZ would seek help from overseas. A brief mention was made about the shortages in Wellington and Tauranga, which Mr English responded saying he has confidence in the local councils’ ability to meet demand.

A quick flip to address some international and other local issues. On the Former Zimbabwe secret police officer who is in NZ seeking asylum, Mr English insisted that “we have to follow the law.” Also some comments on North Korea’s missile launch, NZ’s future relationship with Israel, and on the health system and elective surgery. The PM expects to discuss the refugee issue with Mr Turnbull and stated that New Zealand’s offer to take 150 refugees still stands.

The press conference ended with discussion on the abuse of children in state care. Mr English believes that an enquiry would be a distraction and that victims are still able to come forward and speak out. Also a brief mention was made to the Green Party’s “Victims' Protection Bill.”

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