Creating a confident, better performing economy
In a few weeks time Bill English will deliver the 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 Rotorua households and businesses.
In the last Budget, there was a lot of good news for Rotorua families as the Government provided a large amount of new or increased support for local families. We increased paid parental leave by two weeks, we boosted support for first home buyers through changes to KiwiSaver and HomeStart, we reduced ACC levies for families with a standard car by $135 per year, and we increased benefits and superannuation payments for hard working New Zealanders.
New Zealand has one of the fastest-growing economies in the developed world. It’s supporting jobs, as well as creating 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. I’ve heard first hand around the city that Kiwis are voting with their feet and either staying home or coming back home to take up opportunities with their families.
We know 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 growth is faster than other developed countries so we can continue lifting incomes and creating more jobs.
For its part, the Government will press on with its consistent programme of sensible reforms. In his pre-Budget speech recently, the Prime Minister outline some expected changes to support families and the economy. 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.