IN less than two weeks, the National-led Government will present our fifth Budget to New Zealand. The Government’s Budget will set out our path back to surplus – something we’ve promised New Zealanders we would achieve. It will also show the steps we’re taking to help the New Zealand economy grow, by supporting Kiwi businesses to innovate, expand, and hire more staff.
We know an important factor in deciding to hire another staff member for many businesses is the confidence they have for the future. Under National’s responsible economic management, we’ve seen business confidence rising, which is great news. This comes off the back of 3 per cent economic growth that New Zealand experienced last year. Under National, New Zealand has the lowest mortgage rates since 1965. After-tax wages are up 22 per cent, which is more than twice the rate of inflation. And there have been 54,000 net new jobs created over the past two years.
We’ve also removed unnecessary regulations and red tape which have been restraining growth. We’ve got a comprehensive programme of investment in important infrastructure, such as the country’s road network, and in connecting New Zealand with the world through ultra-fast broadband. And we are better supporting our families by delivering results from the health system, ensuring every child gets the skills they need at school, and supporting our justice system to keep you safe at home and in your community.
Supporting science and innovation
This week I joined Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce to announce a boost of $73.5 million to fund the National Science Challenges. The 10 science challenges will address the biggest science-based issues and opportunities facing New Zealand now and in the future. These challenges present an opportunity to focus New Zealand’s science research and will provide us with innovation and business development opportunities on the world stage.
From my diary
Today I’m attending the tangi of Labour MP Parekura Horomia at Hauiti Marae in Tolaga Bay. Parekura was a man of immense mana and he worked tirelessly for his people, and he will be missed.
Last weekend, I spoke to National Party members and delegates at the Mainland Region conference in Hanmer Springs. I talked about our commitment to rebuilding Christchurch, which is one of our four priorities for this term in office. Next weekend I am heading to Wanganui for the Lower North Island conference.