Helping to help selves

September 29, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has asked officials to come up with fresh ideas to tackle the issue of child poverty.

. . . Key’s genius is to sense developing problems, define what needs to be done and then act decisively to cauterise them. No better example is the call he has made this week for the DPMC, Treasury and other departments to delve into the issue of child poverty, and come up with fresh advice on how to wrap services into meeting the needs of those families who are struggling.

Left to its own, child poverty could lead to the evolution of a frustrated under-class and long-term a divided society. Key is going to make sure the issue is dealt to and doesn’t become a political headache. He doesn’t belong to the school which believes throwing more money at the problem is the solution. There’s a fundamental tension between ensuring sufficient welfare assistance is available and ensuring incentives to get into work are strong enough. Two out of five children said to be in poverty are in homes where one parent at least is in work.

Working for Families and other welfare measures are tactical measures: the overall strategy lies in more jobs, and, as Key sees it, in upskilling those who lack the skills for the opportunities opening up. Key argues the million NZers who voted for National on Saturday are caring people who will want to see the Govt understands the issue and is working its way through it. But he says those million people will also want to see those to whom assistance is targeted helping themselves. . .

Children shouldn’t be punished for poor decisions their parents make but nor should parents be paid, or compensated, for abrogating their responsibilities.

Only the hardest of hearts would begrudge assistance to the most vulnerable.

But most people work hard for their money and expect that those their taxes help, help themselves if and when they are able to.

Simply throwing money at the problem would entrench dependency and the social and economic issues that follow.


From the PM to the people

September 28, 2014

Prime Minister John Key has penned an open letter to New Zealanders:

Elections are a chance for people to assess what party has the best plan, policies and vision for the future. My assessment is that voters remain focused on the issues that matter to them and their families — the economy, law and order, health, education and the environment.

So although a lot of media attention can focus on peripheral issues, it takes a lot to distract voters from these core issues.

I am very grateful to the million plus voters who gave their party vote to National. Thank you for your support and encouragement — and the endorsement of the past six years.

An election is when people vote for a particular party; however the elected Government should work in the interests of every New Zealander and it is my intention to do so.

There will be times when people will disagree with decisions we make, but that is true of core supporters as well.

Then-Prime Minister Keith Holyoake said he agreed with about 80% of his party’s policies, was more or less neutral on about 15% and disagreed with 5%.

Over the past six years we have been transparent and straightforward about our decisions and the direction we have taken.

Although we are likely to have an outright majority in Parliament, that won’t change. We’ll continue to do what we said we would do, and will not embark on any agenda we have not campaigned on. We have been, and will remain, a centre-right Government. . .

Small adjustments to the direction of a big ship makes a big difference over time.

Some, inside and outside the party, would like more radical change. But centre right policies are more likely to be accepted and will be more difficult for future governments to change.

. . . Once the Government is sworn in, we will be getting to work quickly on our priorities. These include implementing our education reforms to lift professional standards, and our housing programme, which will see young first-homebuyers build a deposit through KiwiSaver HomeStart.

We will also continue to fast track the release of land and building through special housing areas.

We will continue to diversify and build productivity in the economy. That’s about more training places and apprenticeships in high-skill areas.

We’d like to finalise our Free Trade Agreement with Korea and will work hard on an FTA with the United States and other partners who are looking to form the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The country’s infrastructure build will continue at a rapid rate, including the expansion of ultra-fast broadband and the rural broadband initiative. We will work tirelessly on Christchurch’s rebuild, finalise those unsettled Treaty of Waitangi claims, and I want to work on the referendum process for a potential change to the New Zealand flag.

Welfare reform will continue to be a priority, as will health. One of our first targets will be to see hospice funding increased to 70 per cent, and we will also speed up the cancer treatment process so 90 per cent of sufferers receive treatment within 62 days of their first referral.

One of the messages we picked up on the campaign trail was that New Zealanders want us to do more for the most vulnerable children in our society. We will continue to try to move people from welfare-based homes to work-based homes, however we acknowledge there is potentially more we can do and we will be looking at ways to do that.

There is enormous opportunity over the next three years to continue to develop the job market in New Zealand. Over the next two years we expect to see about 150,000 jobs created.

Over the next three years we expect the average wage to move from $55,000 to $62,000 and expect to lift the minimum wage every year we are in office. We want to finalise our tax-cut programme and implement modest cuts for low and middle income New Zealanders from 2017.

This is while we continue to build surpluses, pay off some nominal debt by 2017 and reduce ACC levies.

In the time I have been Prime Minister I have marvelled at the creativity, ingenuity and generosity of New Zealanders. This is a remarkable country and there are enormous opportunities for us all. I am optimistic and ambitious for this country — and you have every reason to be as well.

National will continue to work hard for all New Zealanders.


Down but . . .

September 27, 2014

Cartoon of the week:

knock out

For a bigger image and more of Garrick Tremain’s wonderful cartoons click here.

 


Governing for all

September 25, 2014

National will continue to work hard for all New Zealanders.

One of the accusations thrown at National from the more rabid elements of the left is that it is only interested in helping the wealthy.

It is certainly the party which wants the country and its people to be wealthier but that won’t be achieved by policies which help any one sector at the expense of another.

And the aim of increasing wealth isn’t an end in itself but the means which provides us with more and better opportunities.


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.

 


Slight right turn

September 23, 2014

When National had its worst election result in 2002 parties to its left and right benefitted.

Act, New Zealand First and United Future all made substantial gains.

On Saturday Labour bled support and the major beneficiaries were National and NZ First.

The Green Party, which would have hoped to gain from Labour’s loss, lost too.

The Dotcom effect – a repudiation of the rort the Internet Mana Party hoped to inflict on us played a part in that, but New Zealand didn’t just vote against that, it voted for something better.

New Zealand made a slight right turn.

Act didn’t do well but National has enough seats, on the provisional results, to govern alone.

It won’t.

Prime Minister-elect John Key has already begun negotiations with United Future, Act and the Maori Party to include them in government.

That will give us a stable, centre-right government.

If Labour and the Green Party learn from this they will accept that their far left, backward, high taxing, high spending, government-knows best policies aren’t what voters want nor what New Zealand needs.


Governing for all NZ

September 23, 2014

Prime Minister-elect John Key said in his victory speech he wants to govern for all New Zealand:

“I will lead a Government that will govern for all New Zealanders” was a quote from Mr Key’s acceptance speech that stood out for many.

“I wrote the speech that was delivered on Saturday night because I wanted them to be my words and it was how I felt,” says Mr Key.

That is what every government should do.

The criticism that National only cares about the wealthy is nothing more than left-wing rhetoric.

One of its strengths is economic management but that isn’t the end, it’s the means to affording the services and infrastructure which benefit all of us.

The people who are hurt the most by poor management and sluggish or negative growth are the most vulnerable.

“There will be some New Zealanders who say, ‘Well, he may have made a difference, but not positively to my life.”

To them Mr Key says “[We in National] have certainly tried our best to do that”.

But he knows he must now carve his legacy.

“Helen Clarke will be remembered for the Cullen Fund or the Working For Families,” he says. “If it all ends on Saturday night, I would like to be remembered for leadership around the Christchurch earthquakes and [getting through] the global financial crisis.”

Robert Muldoon’s ambition, “to leave the country in no worse shape than I found it”, Mr Key describes as having an incredibly low ambition.

“I want to leave the country in better shape than I found it,” he says. . .

We were already in recession and facing a decade of deficits when National won the 2008 election.

National has us back on track to surplus just six years later in spite of the GFC and the earthquakes.

These quotes were taken from an interview by John Campbell which you can watch at the link above.

It was a very good interview which allowed the PM to answer questions without interruptions and viewers to form their opinions on what was said.

Why on earth didn’t we have that sort of interview during the election campaign?

 

 


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