New Cabinet announced

October 6, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has announced the Cabinet for his third term:


“There is a lot of work ahead to continue implementing our plans to build a stronger economy, reduce debt and create more jobs,” Mr Key says.

“The new Ministry builds on the experience of the past two terms in office, and combines experience with some fresh talent.

“A number of Ministers have had significant portfolio changes, reflecting the need to give Ministers new challenges as well as providing a fresh set of eyes in some portfolio areas.”

Mr Key says a number of Ministers have been promoted either to the front bench, or further up the front bench, to reflect their strong performance in recent years and their promise for the future.

“Paula Bennett has been promoted to number five in the rankings, and picks up State Services, Social Housing and Associate Finance in addition to retaining her Local Government portfolio.

“Dr Jonathan Coleman becomes Minister of Health, and also picks up the Sport and Recreation portfolio, which will link nicely together.

“Amy Adams and Simon Bridges are promoted to the front bench, both with significant new responsibilities. Ms Adams becomes Justice Minister and Mr Bridges Transport Minister.

“Christopher Finlayson remains Treaty Negotiations Minister and Attorney-General, while picking up significant new responsibilities in the intelligence area. He becomes Minister in Charge of the NZ Security Intelligence Service and Minister Responsible for the GCSB, working closely with me in my new role as Minister for National Security and Intelligence.

“In this role I will continue to be responsible for leading the national security system, including policy settings and the legislative framework. Mr Finlayson will operate within the framework I set and exercise ministerial oversight of the NZSIS and GCSB, including approval of warrants.

“Officials have examined models used overseas and what we are adopting is very similar to what is seen with our closest partners.

“Housing continues to be a key area of focus for the Government, and a Ministerial team of Bill English, Paula Bennett and Nick Smith has been assembled to lead that work. Mr English will have direct responsibility for Housing New Zealand; Ms Bennett will focus on social housing, while Dr Smith will work on housing affordability and construction issues. The Social Housing portfolio will have responsibility for the government’s social housing functions, and for its relationship with the social housing sector.

Other changes include:

Gerry Brownlee becomes Minister of Defence, while retaining the role of Leader of the House and his Canterbury Earthquake Recovery and EQC portfolios.

Anne Tolley becomes Minister for Social Development.

Dr Nick Smith becomes Minister for the Environment.

Nikki Kaye becomes Minister for ACC.

Michael Woodhouse becomes Minister of Police. He also becomes Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety – a new portfolio title to reflect the modern focus of what had previously been the Labour portfolio.

Jo Goodhew becomes Minister for Food Safety.

Mr Key says, in announcing his new line up, three new Ministers will be appointed. Maggie Barry is to go straight into Cabinet as Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Minister of Conservation and Minister for Senior Citizens. Louise Upston and Paul Goldsmith will be Ministers outside Cabinet holding a variety of portfolios.

“Two ministers previously outside Cabinet have been promoted to Cabinet. Todd McClay will be Minister of Revenue and Minister for State Owned Enterprises, while Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga will be Minister of Corrections, Minister for Ethnic Communities and Minister for Pacific Peoples.

“Craig Foss remains a Minister, but will now serve outside Cabinet as Minister for Small Business, Minister of Statistics and Minister of Veteran’s Affairs.

“Chester Borrows will not be appointed to the new Ministry. He will, however, be National’s nominee for Deputy Speaker, and I want to thank Chester for his service as a Minister,” Mr Key says.

A number of Ministers continue largely in their current portfolio responsibilities. These include Steven Joyce in Economic Development, Hekia Parata in Education, Murray McCully in Foreign Affairs, Nathan Guy in Primary Industries, Tim Groser in Trade and Climate Change, and Nicky Wagner in Customs.

“The support party Ministerial and Under Secretary roles have already been announced, but I want to acknowledge again their contribution to the formation of a strong, stable National-led Government.”

Mr Key says the National Caucus will meet tomorrow (Tuesday 7 October) to elect its three whips for the coming parliamentary term.

The new Ministry will be sworn in at Government House in Wellington at 11am on Wednesday morning.

The list of names, positions and rankings is here.

 


Class of 2014

September 23, 2014

Prime Minister-elect John Key, his deputy Bill English and the new national MPs:

Bill English and I were proud to welcome National’s 15 new MPs to Parliament this morning.

 


Highest annual GDP growth for 10 years

September 19, 2014

Another reason to vote National for strong, stable government and a growing economy:

New Zealand continues to enjoy one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world, confirming that the Government’s sensible economic programme is taking New Zealand in the right direction, Finance Minister Bill English says.

“It’s only through a strong economy that we can provide New Zealanders with new jobs, higher incomes and opportunities to get ahead,” he says. “The Government’s economic programme is successfully delivering those things and families can now look forward to the future with some confidence if we stick with that programme.”

Statistics New Zealand today reported gross domestic product expanded by 0.7 per cent in the June quarter. This took annual growth – from the June quarter 2013 to the June quarter 2014 – to 3.9 per cent – the highest growth rate for 10 years and the highest so far reported by OECD countries. Average annual growth was 3.5 per cent.

Mr English says New Zealand’s challenge is to build on the solid foundations provided by the growing economy.

“It’s pleasing to see the good progress we have made as a country over the past few years. The economy is growing, the Government’s books are on track to surplus and another 83,000 jobs have been created in the past year. But one or two years of growth will not change New Zealand’s economic prosperity. We need to stay on course to really lift our long-term economic performance.”

Growth in the latest quarter was driven by construction activity, up 2.2 per cent, business services, up 4.2 per cent, and retail trade and accommodation, up 1.4 per cent.

New Zealand’s 3.9 per cent GDP growth in the year to June compares with 3.1 per cent in Australia, 3.2 per cent in the United Kingdom, 2.5 per cent in the United States, 2.5 per cent in Canada, no growth in Japan and 1.3 per cent in Germany. Average growth across the OECD was 1.9 per cent.

National is delivering one of the strongest growth rates in the developed world. Party Vote National to keep the economy strong. #Working4NZ ntnl.org.nz/1wtJgA2


The only way

September 15, 2014

As the election gets closer and polls get tighter some people are beginning to think about getting clever with their votes.

Bill English just told Jamie Mackay on the Farming Show that if people want a National-led government they should vote for National and leave the coalition permutations up to the politicians when the votes are counted.

It’s the party vote that counts and the only way to get a strong, stable government is to give National your party vote.

It’s also the only way to keep the country on course.

National’s clear economic plan and careful financial management is taking New Zealand in the right direction. ntnl.org.nz/1lQaKiR #Working4NZ


A little more or a lot less

September 9, 2014

National will continue with the economic plan that’s working if voters back it:

A re-elected National Government will return to surplus this financial year and stay there so we can reduce debt, reduce ACC levies on households and businesses and start modestly reducing income taxes, Finance Spokesman Bill English says.

“National’s clear economic plan is working for New Zealand by successfully supporting higher wages and more jobs, and ensuring government spending is invested wisely to deliver better results,” he said when issuing National’s Finance Policy today.

“National is working hard to ensure the economy grows sustainably into the future, supported by more savings, productive investment and exports. This will provide opportunities for Kiwi families to get ahead here in New Zealand.”

As set out in the Budget, a National-led Government will restrict average Budget allowances for discretionary new spending and revenue measures to $1.5 billion a year over the next three years. Within this allowance National will:

• Allow around $1 billion a year for new spending, including between $600 million and $700 million a year more for health and education. This total new spending is consistent with the level of new spending in our last two Budgets and it’s well below the $2 billion to $3 billion spending increases under the last Labour government, which had little to show for them. 


Clear and simple

September 5, 2014

National will be announcing its economic policy next week.

When it does the leader and finance spokesman will understand it and agree on the details, which is more than Labour seems capable of.

But then in another contrast with Labour, National’s economic plan is clear, it’s simple and it’s working for New Zealand:

Join the team that's working >> http://nzyn.at/teamkey


Answer’s maybe and that’s final

September 5, 2014

David Cunliffe has given five different answers to the question of whether or not CGT will be due on the family home when your parents die.

The answer is maybe and that’s final as far as he’s concerned because whether it is or whether it isn’t he’s got a problem.

If it is it will be a death tax by stealth which would be politically unsellable.

New Zealand families will be distressed to learn that Labour would force them to sell their deceased parents’ home within a month of their death or face a punitive capital gains tax, National Party Finance Spokesman Bill English says.

“The more David Cunliffe tries to explain his complicated capital gains tax, the more he ties himself in knots and confuses New Zealanders,” Mr English says.

“Last night on NewstalkZB, he contradicted his finance spokesman by saying Labour’s capital gain tax would apply to a family home after the death of a parent, unless it was sold within a month.

“In other words, he would force families to rush through the sale of their parents’ family home at a distressing time in their lives, or penalise them with a new tax.

“Just hours earlier, on RadioLive David Parker said the capital gains tax would not apply.

“If David Cunliffe and David Parker cannot get their story straight, it is little wonder that New Zealanders are confused and uncertain about Labour’s higher tax agenda.

“This is just one of five new taxes Labour and the Greens would impose on New Zealanders. This would stall New Zealand’s good economic momentum, creating uncertainty and costing jobs

“By contrast, National’s clear economic plan is successfully supporting higher wages and more jobs. It is steering New Zealand back to surplus this year and ensuring government spending is invested wisely to deliver better results,” Mr English says.

But if CTG isn’t levied on the family home when your parents die the tax take won’t live up to their projections which will leave a big hole in their budget.

Voters have a right to know the answer before the election.

Prime Minister John Key stepped up his attack on Labour’s capital gains tax today, suggesting it will create a headache for grieving children who inherit a house on the death of their parents. . .

Mr Key said: “You’d have to say by any definition it’s a complete and utter mess.”

Mr Key said Mr Cunliffe had yesterday told New Zealanders “that if they don’t sell the family home of their deceased parents, then within one month they will have to start paying a capital gains tax”.

“‘That is a horrifying thought for New Zealanders to be put in that position. Probate wouldn’t even come through within one month.

“I think everyone would accept the number one priority when your parent or parents pass away is not whether you should be out there flogging off the family home so you don’t have to pay a capital gains tax, it’s dealing with all the emotions and stress and issues that go with losing a loved one.”

Labour’s policy states the tax is payable only on the gains since inheritance and only when the home is sold.

Mr Cunliffe this morning said the fine details of when an inherited home would be liable for the tax would be worked out by and expert advisory group.

“Other countries have a range of periods — Aussie uses two years, some countries from the point of death, others from the point of settlement.”

Mr Key said Labour should have the answers now.

“We are now a couple of weeks out from an election this is a key policy for Labour and they can’t tell New Zealanders when it comes to their number one asset, their family home, how it will be treated.”

Will Labour's Capital Gains Tax (one of five new taxes) punish Kiwi families when their parents pass away? Let's ask them.


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