Key Notes - Go The All Blacks
9 September 2011
GO THE ALL BLACKS
Tonight I'll be at Eden Park for the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony and to watch the All Blacks play Tonga. Like millions of other Kiwis, I'm backing Richie and the team all the way to bring home the Webb Ellis Cup.
New Zealand will be in celebration mode for the next six weeks, with great rugby games and festival events happening all over the country. I'd like to thank everyone who is getting behind this tournament, taking part in the REAL New Zealand Festival, and welcoming visitors to our shores.
Visit www.nz2011.govt.nz to find out more about what's happening in your area.
HOSTING THE PACIFIC ISLANDS FORUM
This week I've been in Auckland to host the 40th anniversary Pacific Islands Forum. It's been a great chance to catch up with leaders from across the region. This year we've been focusing on building on the Pacific region's strengths, particularly in fisheries, tourism, and energy.
I've made a number of announcements, including a public-private partnership to build on the cruise ship industry in the Pacific, improvements to Pacific disaster management systems, and support for improved maritime safety.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and I announced a joint education initiative and also swapped rugby jerseys - I gave her an All Blacks' one and she gave me a Wallabies' one.
I'm looking forward to hosting some of the leaders at the All Blacks versus Tonga match tonight.
Click here to see photos of the Forum and here to watch a video from the Forum
featuring Foreign Affairs Minister Murray
On Monday Cabinet met in Christchurch to mark the one-year anniversary of the first Canterbury earthquake. I admire the people of Canterbury for their commitment to the region. They've really pulled together and supported each other over the past year.
At our meeting we approved the appointment of barrister Marcus Elliott as counsel assisting the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Canterbury earthquakes. He'll focus on representing the interests of victims' families.
We also approved the release of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority's draft Recovery Strategy for public consultation.
After Cabinet I announced that Christchurch is getting a new Trades Academy. The Government is doubling the number of promised new Trades Academies, which will bring the total throughout New Zealand to 21 - and Christchurch will get the first new one.
The Government remains committed to helping greater Christchurch rebuild and we've set aside $5.5 billion over the next six years to do that. It's also great we've had so many generous donations to the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust. It has allocated $70 million to community projects, out of the $100 million received and pledged.
DELIVERING BETTER HEALTHCARE
On Tuesday Health Minister Tony Ryall announced more great progress by our public health service. In the year ended June 30, a record 145,414 patients got the elective surgery they needed. This includes important operations on hips, other joints, cataracts, and grommets.
The record increase is made possible by the National-led Government's biggest-ever investment in health, and the hard work of many committed health professionals throughout New Zealand.
FROM MY DIARY
I'll start next week in Wellington, before heading to Auckland on Wednesday afternoon to open the Auckland International Boat Show. Then I'll be visiting New Plymouth and Hamilton later in the week.