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Key Notes - Message From The Prime Minister


Key Notes - Message From The Prime Minister


06 November 2009


BOOSTING TOURISM

It was fantastic to visit Kaikoura yesterday for the first time as Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism.

I was in town with local MP Colin King and Associate Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson to launch Whalewatch Kaikoura's new boat, and we headed out on the water to see some of the region's spectacular marine mammals.

We spotted a pod of dusky dolphins, several fur seals, and a couple of sperm whales. You may not believe it, but one of them is somewhere in the background of this photo!

Earlier this week, I announced an extra $20 million in funding for tourism in this financial year. The boost will allow Tourism New Zealand to lift our profile in key tourism markets.

Tourism is one of our biggest export earners, employs about one in ten working Kiwis, and its performance ultimately affects all New Zealanders. A strong tourism brand lifts our profile overseas and helps other exporters sell their products.

A quarter of the new money will be earmarked for Tourism NZ to carry out joint venture work with Regional Tourism Organisations and private-sector companies, such as airlines and hotels.

Click here to see more photos from my whale-watching visit (on Flickr)

TAKING ACTION ON VIOLENT CRIME

Last week was busy on the law and order front.

The Government passed a new law that allows police to collect DNA from people they intend to charge with an imprisonable offence, and to match that against samples taken from more than 8000 unsolved crimes. The new law won't just catch the guilty. It will also help clear the names of those who are innocent.

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We passed another law to help clamp down on gangs involved in organised crime and methamphetamine, or P. These laws give police new powers to monitor gang communications, remove fortifications, and increase penalties for belonging to a gang.

We also announced that the police are forming a team of hardened investigators to hunt down and seize millions of dollars in crime profits. The new 22-strong unit will be known as the Assets Recovery Unit and will double the capacity of police to investigate the proceeds of crime.

STRENGTHENING TIES WITH ASIA

Last week I was in Japan and saw a shipment of New Zealand melons. I'm told they sell for a small fortune in local supermarkets. That's a sign of how Japanese consumers value our food and how much they are willing to pay for it.

The opportunities for our exports in Asia are huge, and expanding trade access to the region was a focus of last week's trip.

I was in Thailand for the East Asia Summit, which brings together the leaders of Asian countries, and includes Australia and New Zealand. After that I travelled to Kuala Lumpur for the signing of our Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Malaysia.

We then flew to Japan to have talks with the new Japanese Prime Minister and to meet government ministers and business leaders.

New Zealand and Japan have a very warm relationship, not just at an economic and political level, but between ordinary Kiwis and Japanese people. I wanted to build on this to push along talks that could eventually lead to an FTA with Japan. Both countries have a lot to gain. Japan is the world's largest food importer and New Zealand's food exports play a huge part in our economic success.

I also opened the 100% Pure Giant Rugby Ball at the foot of Tokyo Tower to build interest in the 2011 Rugby World Cup, and was very happy when the All Blacks beat the Wallabies yet again.

FROM THE DIARY

Earlier this week I announced that Prince William will visit next year to open the Supreme Court.

I'm in my electorate today to open an exhibition at the Kaipara Sculpture Gardens. And on Sunday I'll be speaking at the National Memorial Service for Tsunami Victims at Auckland Cathedral.

Best wishes


John Key PM

ends

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