While much of the focus this week has been on Labour and its leader David Cunliffe’s lackadaisical approach to accuracy in policy announcements the government and Prime Minister John Key have been focussing on what matters:
This week I delivered my annual Statement to Parliament, outlining National’s priorities for 2014.
We have a busy year ahead.
National is continuing with its plan to build a faster-growing economy with more jobs and rising incomes.
Our goals for 2014 reflect our four priorities.
The first priority is responsibly managing the Government’s finances. After inheriting long-term projected deficits and increasing debt from the previous Government, National has reined in spending.
This hard work is paying off. The Government’s books are on track to show a budget surplus in the 2014/15 financial year.
We are also making great progress against our second priority – building a more competitive and productive economy.
New Zealand continues to stand out amongst other developed countries. Our economy has been growing at 3.5 per cent, wages are growing faster than inflation, and there are 53,000 more people employed now than there were a year ago.
We are delivering better public services. Recorded crime is at a 33-year low, welfare reforms are supporting people off welfare and into work, and patients are receiving elective surgery sooner.
And we remain committed to rebuilding Canterbury. The Government’s contribution to the rebuild is set to total about $15 billion, and there are many exciting anchor projects under construction this year.
So there is a lot to do, and it is important we continue to lock in and protect the gains we have made so far.
The government has done a lot but the job is by no means finished.
This year voters have a choice.
There’s a National-led government which will protect the hard-won gains and build on them.
Or or there’s the prospect of Labour, the Greens, Mana and whichever other parties they need who will undo the good and take the country back to the high tax, high spending policies of the noughties which put New Zealand into recession long before the rest of the world.