Prime Minister John Key has laid out his Government' agenda for the next three years, with housing and the fight against terror groups at the top of the list.

Mr Key gave his Speech from the Throne which was delivered by Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae in one of the traditional set pieces as Parliament officially opened for business this morning.

As Royal New Zealand Airforce helicopters and Sir Peter Jackson's vintage warplanes flew overhead and the Army's artillery battery at Point Jerningham fired a volley in salute, Speaker David Carter opened proceedings with a prayer and Labour MP Nanaia Mahuta gave a mihi in Maori.

Sir Jerry's speech reiterated Mr Key's message that his Government would have a focus on housing this term, including reform of the state housing portfolio under which many state houses would sold off.


"The Government will continue working to ensure that vulnerable New Zealanders have access to good quality housing, whether those houses are owned by Housing New Zealand or by community housing providers. The Government sees community housing providers playing a greater role in the provision of social housing over this term of Parliament", Sir Jerry said.

In terms of housing affordability, Sir Jerry said the Government would create more Special Housing Areas to ensure more new housing developments.

"Changes to the Resource Management Act will assist housing supply in the longer term", he said.

One of Mr Key's first key announcements following the formation of his new Government was a controversial review of current laws around New Zealanders who went to fight or planned to fight for Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

"The rapid rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant poses international, regional and local risks which the Government will respond to in a responsible way", Sir Jerry said.

A more comprehensive review would begin next year as part of the Government's commitment to "a strong security and intelligence community which operates within a clear legal framework and with the security of New Zealanders at its heart".

Mr Key's Government is also likely to meet controversy with its planned changes to employment law and the Resource Management Act.

Speaking about the Government's plan to look at changing the flag, Sir Jerry said the possible change would be put to the public.

"There will be no presumption of change, but there will be a very open process which will welcome and encourage full public input and debate."

Sir Jerry said the Government was "privileged to have won the trust and goodwill of New Zealanders for a third Parliamentary term, and will seek to re-earn that trust and goodwill every day over the next three years".