PM Post Cabinet Press Conference: Red Peak, Refugees
Much of Prime Minister John Key's post-cabinet press conference was concerned with the inclusion of the “Red Peak” design in the flag referendum. Key was unwilling to voice his own opinion on that design but stressed that the process needed to remain independent. He added that he was concerned that taking a fifth flag option to Parliament would allow other parties to “play politics”. He said that if Labour were prepared to change their position on the flag referendum he would consider making changes to the law.
The Prime Minister declined to comment on Australian Minister Peter Dutton joking with Tony Abbot about climate change, saying the significance of climate change was not lost on anyone who was present in Papua New Guinea last week. Later Key was questioned about his and Tony Abbott’s approach on climate change limits at the Pacific Island Forum. He stressed that he wanted to maintain a position that he could take to Paris.
Key disputed questions regarding how much of the cost cited for extra refugees for New Zealand was actual money for refugee services and whether there would be any extra funding. He stressed that the “issue isn’t one of money” and downplayed the impact of offers from churches and the Dunedin and Wellington City Councils to provide extra support.
On the Silver Fern Farms issue the Prime Minister stated “the government won’t be giving them money” and said that in terms of overseas investment these issues had to be looked at on a case by case basis.
Key said that while Australia has the right to deport New Zealand convicts the lowering of the threshold for deportation is of concern. Key said that he had had a “number of discussion with Australia” and that clarity of information was the priority in this situation.
The recent rise in cyberattacks reported by the GCSB and the risks for the private and public sectors were briefly discussed, as well as the future state of the Government books, allegations of nepotism at EQC, and the TPP trade agreement.
Helen Clark has yet to decide if she will run for the position of United Nations Secretary General but if she does the Prime Minister said she would have one hundred percent support from the New Zealand government.
When asked whether the transcripts of the post-cabinet press conferences were official information and why his office had frustrated attempts to prove this, Key responded that he wasn’t the best person to judge the former. Key said he was not aware of any actions taken by his office.
At the beginning of in the press conference Key reported on his experience at the Pacific Islands Forum in Papua New Guinea and emphasised New Zealand’s commitment to the region.
He congratulated Lydia Ko on becoming the youngest winner of a women’s major tournament after her victory this week in France.
The agenda for the Government for this week in parliament was summarised and is focused on the first readings of the Māori Purposes Bill and the Child Protection (Child Sex Offender Register) Bill with a members’ day on Wednesday.