Rt Hon John Key

Member for Helensville, National Party

Current Parliamentary Roles

  • Party Leader
  • Prime Minister
  • Minister of Tourism
  • Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services
  • Minister for National Security and Intelligence
  • Email:john.key@parliament.govt.nz

Interview: Prime Minister John Key

Saturday 28 Nov 2015 10:28 a.m

Lisa Owen asks John Key if NZ is at war with ISIS and if the Government dropped the ball on Kiwi detainees in Australia.

She also talks to the prime minister about his own declining personal popularity ratings in opinion polls.

PM flapping in the wind over detainee abuse

11 Nov 2015 14:27 PM

He was obviously rattled which is why he got quite shrill in the house and his lips were flapping in the wind. Right now he's backtracking, saying he doesn't know how many murderers and rapists there are. It was all just a big stunt from the Prime Minister because he is on the back foot because of his lack of action, his lack of leadership around the abuses that have been going on

Labour MP Kelvin Davis says the Prime Minister is getting rattled over the negative response to his stance on New Zealanders in Australian detention centres.

John Key yesterday accused Labour of standing up for rapists and murderers by calling for the government to check on the welfare of detainees awaiting deportation.

Australian Federal Police and Border Force officers yesterday regained control of the centre on Christmas Island where a riot broke out on Sunday.

Mr Daves was shouldered aside by Mr Key's bodyguards when he confronted the Prime Minister in the corridor as he was entering the chamber.

He says the Maori way is kanohi ki kahohi and he wanted to tell Mr Key to his face he was being gutless by refusing to confront the Australians over detainees' human rights.

"He was obviously rattled which is why he got quite shrill in the house and his lips were flapping in the wind. Right now he's backtracking, saying he doesn't know how many murderers and rapists there are. It was all just a big stunt from the Prime Minister because he is on the back foot becuase of his lack of action, his lack of leadership around the abuses that have been going on," Mr Davis says.

He says John Key should realise that brutalising detainees is not the way to ensure their reintegration with society once they are deported to New Zealand.

John Key : Aussies open to changing the path to citizenship

Published on Nov 27, 2015

ONLINE ONLY - NZ Prime Minister John Key says he's optimistic Australia will move next year to make it easier for some New Zealanders living across the ditch to claim citizenship there.

John Key on Christmas Island

Published on Nov 9, 2015

Prime Minister John Key is being urged to step in following rioting on Australia's Christmas island detention centre.

Debate on Christmas Island

Accusations from Prime Minister John Key that Labour is "backing the rapists" on Christmas Island prompted a mass walk-out today in Parliament. Story here: Mass walk-out over 'rapists' comment

Was John Key blindsided by Australia holding Kiwis in detention centres?

Published on Oct 2, 2015

NZ Prime Minister says Australia has set its deportation threshold too low and the New Zealanders detained by Australia are "virtually Australians to be blunt".

John Key takes it on chin after Turnbull rejects softer detention overtures

John Key admits this country "can do more" when it comes to the rights, or lack of, of Kiwis living across the Tasman.

Mon, Oct 19

The Prime Minister met with his Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull over the weekend, where the issue of New Zealanders locked up in detention centres was high on the agenda.

It appears little progress was made on the issue of New Zealanders who are sentenced to more than a year in prison being locked up and then deported, despite hopes Turnbull might relax the threshold.

There appears little appetite in Australia for change, despite the concerns it is causing in New Zealand.


Mr Turnbull had pledged more resources to ensure Kiwis weren't locked up in places like Christmas Island, and said they could return to this country while the process is being carried out, rather than being kept behind bars.

Mr Key told TVNZ's Breakfast today that more could be done on this side of the Tasman, but it was a matter of changing perceptions about Kiwis in Australia.

"We can do more,” he said.

"Where we really need to make change is back in 2001, Helen Clark, in her defence, had her back to the wall, there was nothing she could do.

"Australians basically had this notion that we weren't pulling our weight in Australia and they changed the law and they developed a category of New Zealanders that don’t enjoy rights to go to become residents, and therefore citizens.

"That's what we’re really working on. I'mnot saying we’re making total progress on that, but we are making some progress.

"There was some change on the weekend about higher education, but I think that's the real issue we need to address."

Mr Key maintains some progress was made, however.

"We had a fair idea they weren’t going to change the law as it was passed on a bi-partisan basis, and let’s be honest, Australia worries a lot about  those national security issues." 

Prime Minister John Key and his new Australian counterpart Malcolm Turnbull sit down today for talks that could be crucial for the future of about 200 New Zealanders waiting in immigration detention centres across the Tasman to be deported to their homeland.

Sat, Oct 17

New immigration laws introduced by Australia last December mean anyone who isn't an Australian citizen and who has served a sentence of 12 months or more there can be deported.

John Key's Government is unhappy with the policy and is particularly concerned about Kiwis who went to Australia when they were very young, grew up there and no longer have family or other connections with New Zealand.

"I look forward to discussing this issue with John Key. But it is very important that we maintain our standards, our security," Mr Turnbull said before he flew to Auckland last night on his first overseas visit since toppling Tony Abbott.


Last night Mr Turnbull had dinner with Mr Key.

Today the two primer ministers will discuss the detention and deportation of New Zealanders with criminal records as well as access to Australian benefits for ex-pat Kiwis living in Australia, and the recently-signed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Ahead of Mr Turnbull's arrival, Mr Key described his Australian counterpart as "an intelligent guy" who's "pretty sensitive".

And Mr Key, who's under a lot of pressure to get some concessions for Kiwis in Australia, said: "Quietly I'm hopeful that we can get changes in a number of areas." 

Meanwhile, a ONE News Colmar Brunton poll has shown more than half of respondents think New Zealand should send home Australians who've served jail time here.

Asked should New Zealand implement a similar deportation policy on Australians here, 58 per cent said "yes", 27 per cent said "no" it's Australia's right and 10 per cent had no view either way.

Labour leader Andrew Little says the two countries should deal with the issue as the "mates" they are. 

"It's ok if mates do something wrong. You don't retaliate, you just work out what the problem is and fix it," he said.

The two prime ministers are due to hold a press conference late this morning at Government House in Auckland.

Key ready to take on Turnbull on deportation policy