Creating A Confident, Better Performing Economy

Columns
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Next month Finance Minister Bill English will deliver the National-led Government’s seventh Budget. It will be a Budget that builds on the strong foundations we’ve laid through our economic programme over the past six years.

Our strong, growing economy, backed by the Government’s clear economic plan, is translating into real benefits for New Zealand households and businesses.

We have one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world. It’s supporting more jobs – 80,000 new jobs in the past year. Inflation and interest rates are low. Wages, on average, are increasing faster than the cost of living. More Kiwis are voting with their feet and either staying home or coming home to take up opportunities for their families.

But there is much more to be done – a couple of good years are not enough to change our long-term well-being. We’ll need many more years where we grow faster than other developed countries so we can continue lifting incomes and creating more jobs.

And we need to remain wary of the risk and challenges in an uncertain and changing world – whether it’s falling global commodity prices, a fragile Europe, and a weaker economic outlook for countries like Australia and China.

For its part, the Government will press on with its consistent programme of sensible reforms – that’s what the Budget on 21 May will focus on.

In his pre-Budget speech, the Prime Minister has outlined some important announcements ahead of Budget 2015.

Two of the most important ways we can achieve sustainable, long-term growth are through innovation and investing in the education of our young people.

We will provide another $244 million over the next four years for seven new schools, major expansions at four other schools, and an extra 240 classrooms at existing schools right across New Zealand.

We will also invest another $80 million over four years in encouraging more private sector research and development. This is on top of the $566 million we had already committed to private sector R&D grants over four years. It also means the National-led Government has boosted science funding significantly since we came into government – this year it will total $1.5 billion – a 70 per cent increase since 2008.

Thanks to the hard work of New Zealanders up and down the country, we’re in a strong position to build a brighter future. Providing we stick to our clear plan, we can deliver the opportunities and security New Zealanders and their families deserve.