Rotorua Weekender: Government surplus shows country on track

Friday, October 23, 2015

Growing and supporting a strong economy is one of the most important jobs of Government. Since being elected in 2008, our focus has been on carefully managing the government’s books whilst investing in core government services. A strong economy means jobs for local people.

Last week the Treasury confirmed that the Government’s books are back in surplus. This is a significant milestone and one we can all take great pride in. The $414 million surplus in the year to 30 June 2015 is a huge turnaround on a more than $18 billion deficit New Zealand faced in 2011.

Despite absorbing the majority of costs from the Christchurch Earthquakes, we are one of the first developed countries to get its books back in a strong position following the GFC. Good fiscal management sees New Zealand well placed for sustainable growth over the coming years.

We’ve worked hard to get on top of spending and deliver better public services within tight financial constraints. There has been a strong focus on getting better results from taxpayers’ money, particularly for our most vulnerable people. As well as this, support for families with children has increased for the first time in 25 years, delivering help for those who most need it.

As a result of stable, responsible management the economy is growing. It recently registered its 18th consecutive quarter of expansion to deliver annual growth of 2.4 per cent in June 2015.

Rotorua is sharing in this growth. In the June quarter of this year, Rotorua’s GDP grew by 4.3%, and in the year to June it was up 3.3% - higher than the national average. We are seeing investment in many sectors and following a very strong summer and good winter visitor numbers to our city remain high. All indicators are that this growth will continue.

We’re also expanding our horizons by signing new Free Trade Agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership and Korea FTA and building new infrastructure like Ultra-Fast Broadband and the Rural Broadband Initiative – both will be good for local people.

The plan is working, and our economy is performing well. There’s a lot more to do, but the outlook continues to be for ongoing moderate growth delivering jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders.