I warmly welcome the Governor-General’s approval of my recommendation that John Key be appointed an Honorary Companion in the Order of Australia.
This is the highest Australian honour.
The Governor-General will invest John with the insignia of his appointment at a ceremony at Government House in Canberra tomorrow afternoon.
John was an outstanding leader of his country, and he is respected around the world for his influence in our region and beyond. As Prime Minister of New Zealand from November 2008 to December 2016, he was also deeply committed to advancing the Australia-New Zealand bilateral relationship and pursuing our common interests in the region and internationally.
Australia and New Zealand share a unique and close partnership, underpinned by shared history and values.
John helped drive economic growth in both Australia and New Zealand by reinvigorating the agenda of the Single Economic Market, which further liberalised the trans-Tasman economy and delivered benefits for Australian and New Zealand businesses and consumers. He was also committed to ensuring that New Zealand played its part in tackling the major security challenges the international community faces.
My instant, dismayed, reaction on his retirement last year was “Say it ain’t so Bro” - he has been a great friend of Australia and has represented his nation, and our shared values, magnificently.
Lucy and I look forward to seeing more of John and Bronagh this side of the ditch and perhaps John and I can venture out for another paddle before too long.