The Opening of Parliament

Columns
Monday, October 20, 2014

It’s great to be part of a strong, stable National-led Government. I’m particularly looking forward to the opening of the 51st Parliament this week (20-21 October) when I will be sworn in along with 59 other National MPs.

The opening of Parliament signals the start of a busy time leading up to Christmas as the John Key-led Government gets on with the job of locking in the gains our country has made in the past six years.

The formal opening of Parliament, with all its pomp, will be carried out in two ceremonies. Today, (20 October) the Chief Justice, the President of the Court of Appeal and the Chief High Court Judge act as Royal commissioners and declare Parliament open on the Governor-General’s behalf. MPs will be sworn in and the Speaker elected.

The next morning (21 October) is the State Opening of Parliament at which the Governor-General will give the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. The speech outlines the National-led Government’s legislative and policy plans for this term.

In the afternoon MPs begin the Address-in-Reply debate in the House. In this 19-hour debate Government MPs will reiterate our plan to support growth, more jobs and higher incomes, and provide opportunities for New Zealanders and their families to get ahead.

It’s great to see that two of my fellow new MPs will lead off the debate with their maiden speeches. List MP Chris Bishop will move the Address-in-Reply and Taranaki-King Country MP Barbara Kuriger will second it.

National’s priorities for this term include working for Kiwi families by investing in teacher quality, free doctors’ visits for under-13s, extending paid parental leave, and helping more Kiwis into their first home.

The KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant will double support a first home buyer can get if they are buying or building a new home, which will encourage the supply of more affordable new housing. We also want to increase the provision of social housing for the most at-risk, low-income New Zealanders, with community housing providers playing a bigger role.

It’s important to lift our long-term growth rate and we’ll help do this by continuing to diversify and build productivity in the economy. This includes passing the Employment Relations Bill to ensure flexible labour markets that create more jobs for Kiwis, and reforming the Resource Management Act to provide more certainty, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness in decision-making.

We will work for local communities by continuing to supporting more Kiwis from welfare to work because full-time, sustainable work is the best way to lift families out of poverty. We’ll continue to reduce crime, and invest in better roads, broadband, and public transport.

National’s clear plan is about working for New Zealand, delivering sustainable economic growth, and helping households get ahead.