Despite the short week, we still managed to accomplish a number of great things, including:
- announcing the Christchurch Summit in Paris on the role of social media in terrorism
- opening 23 new state homes
- honouring those who served and continue to serve on Anzac Day
- announcing further funding for veterans and families
- introducing new mandatory classification of on-demand video to better protect their families and young people
- sending our condolences to Sri Lanka
Social media can connect people in many positive ways. However, for too long, it has been possible to use social platforms to incite extremist violence, and even to distribute illegal images of that violence.
We know that we, as a Government, have a responsibility to the people of New Zealand to stop illegal content circulating online. We also know that this is a global problem, one that can only be solved by working with the tech industry, other governments, business, and civil society.
That's why, this week, the Prime Minister announced that she will join the President of France in Paris in mid-May for the Christchurch Summit, where global leaders in these areas will meet to sign a pledge to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online. In honour of those who lost their lives in the 15 March terror attack, and the families they left behind, this pledge will be called the Christchurch Call.
It's clear that we must work together to bring an end to the ability of any person to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism. This is not about stifling diverse voices or opinions, or limiting free speech. We want a secure, open and free internet, where fundamental freedoms will be protected.
This week, we officially opened 23 new state homes designed for Auckland families in Birkdale.
These houses include 18 two-bedroom and five four-bedroom houses. They are warm, dry, and have been designed to meet the needs of families in the area. They are close to a number of schools, the Beach Haven ferry to Auckland CBD, and are 4km from the Glenfield Mall.
We know there is a real demand for public housing for families in need in Birkdale, and the Auckland region.
Between this redevelopment, and two others on the same street, Housing New Zealand has better utilised this land and transformed 12 old state homes that were no longer fit for purpose into 40 new two, three and four-bedroom homes for families in need.
This redevelopment project has helped to transform Birkdale into a thriving community for Auckland families of all different sizes and backgrounds.
The Prime Minister was joined by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge in honouring and commemorating those who served in Gallipoli at the Auckland Memorial's dawn service this Anzac Day.
As we remember those who gave their lives for our country, we also recommit our support to those who have served and returned from war. Minister for Veterans Ron Mark announced further funding for veterans and their families this week.
We now have upwards of 31,000 contemporary veterans in New Zealand. The funding will go towards health and wellbeing assessments for veterans to ensure that when they leave the Defence Force they are linked to the right support services.
The way New Zealanders access entertainment has changed dramatically. A survey at the end of 2016 showed that nearly two in five households have subscription video on-demand in the home.
However, New Zealand’s classifications system has not kept pace.
We need to protect our children and young people and make sure we are properly classifying on-demand content - bringing in line with other media. That's why we're working on making classification of on-demand video content mandatory, and to provide better guidance and protection to families and young people.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has extended New Zealand’s condolences to the Government and people of Sri Lanka following multiple bombings there on Easter Sunday.