Thursday, 18 September 2014

Economy: growth staying strong

Stats NZ have released the latest GDP (the measure of the size of our economy) figures:
GDP growth for the year ended June 2014 was 3.5 percent. This is the highest annual growth since the September 2007 quarter.
The expenditure measure of GDP rose 0.5 percent in the June 2014 quarter. Domestic demand (spending and investment by New Zealanders) increased 2.2 percent, while exports fell and imports rose.
Interestingly, our current account deficit actually decreased.
The size of the economy (in current prices) was $229 billion for the year ended June 2014. GDP per capita was $51,190 for the same period.
It's very pleasing to see added value industries, such as software development, are expanding.

Monday, 15 September 2014

A stronger economy: Business Growth Agenda

A re-elected National Government will focus on these priorities over the next three years:
  1. Negotiate and sign Free Trade Agreements including Korea, Trans-Pacific Partnership, and the WTO Government Procurement Agreement so our exporters can compete on an equal footing in other economies and further lift our exports.
  2. Introduce and pass the Resource Management Act reform package to provide more certainty, timeliness, and cost-effectiveness in resource allocation decisions.
  3. Hold Kiwi expat Job Fairs in Brisbane, Sydney, and Melbourne to recruit skilled Kiwis for jobs back in New Zealand and help remove skills constraints for key sectors of the New Zealand economy.
  4. Deliver more skills relevant to industry by setting up three new ICT Graduate Schools across New Zealand and investing to lift the number of engineering graduates available to employers.
  5. Double the level of business R&D to 1 per cent of GDP by 2018 so that more of our innovative high-tech businesses succeed on the world stage.
  6. Lift the footprint of the Ultra-fast Broadband rollout from 75 per cent to 80 per cent of New Zealand and extend the Rural Broadband Initiative so that all parts of New Zealand have world-leading 21st Century broadband coverage.
  7. Complete the passage of the Employment Relations Bill to ensure flexible labour markets that create more jobs for Kiwis.
  8. Deliver Inland Revenue’s Business Transformation Project and simplify the tax system for (small and medium-sized businesses) so that New Zealand businesses spend less time calculating their tax and more time working on their business.
  9. Accelerate petroleum and minerals exploration through our new data acquisition programme so that we increase exploration further from the $1 billion spent last summer.
  10. Roll out the next stages of the Roads of National Significance and key regional roading projects so that we remove chokepoints and improve the resilience of New Zealand's core land transport system.
National understands that it is only by having a strong economy that we can lift opportunities and incomes for Kiwi families, and provide world-leading public services. See more of our plan this election here.
Our Business Growth Agenda, along with our strong economic management and responsible management of the Government’s finances, will help turn the gains of the last few years into a sustained long-term lift in New Zealand's prosperity.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Ambitious for New Zealand


National has always been ambitious for New Zealanders and confident about what we can achieve at home and on the world stage.
Come Saturday, New Zealand voters have an opportunity to build on the significant gains this country has made under National over the past six years, and keep heading in the right direction.
We are a Government with a track record of delivering for New Zealanders.
When we were first elected in 2008, New Zealand had been in recession for almost a year – well before the global financial crisis – and the Government faced never-ending deficits and debt rising into the future. Two years later, Christchurch was rocked by the first devastating earthquake.
Over the past six years, the John Key-led Government has earned the trust of New Zealanders by being clear about our plan for turning things around and delivering on our promises.
We supported the most vulnerable through the recession and set a path back to surplus this year.
We are helping New Zealand businesses become more competitive so they can create more jobs and lift incomes.
We are delivering better public services – educational achievement is rising, more New Zealanders are moving from welfare and into work, and the crime rate is the lowest for 35 years.
And we are continuing to help the people of Christchurch to rebuild their lives.
The next steps in our plan will work to lock in the gains of the last six years to create a long-term lift in New Zealand’s prosperity.
We will keep government spending under control, stay in surplus, and start reducing debt.
We will keep encouraging the investment and enterprise needed to create new jobs and increase incomes.
We will focus on rewarding New Zealanders’ hard work. We’ll do that by further reducing government ACC levies – the equivalent of a tax cut for households and businesses, and by reducing income taxes for lower and middle income earners in 2017, should fiscal conditions allow.
We will work 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.
And we will work for local communities by continuing to support more Kiwis from welfare to work, shorten hospital waiting times, reduce crime, and invest in better roads, broadband, and public transport.
The alternative is changing course with risky, unproven policies that would stall the economy through five new taxes and more wasteful government spending.
This election the choice is stark. Your party vote for National will help keep New Zealand on the path to prosperity. A vote for any other party is a vote to take us in a different direction.
This Saturday, please give your party vote to National.

Monday, 8 September 2014

Seizing our opportunities

National’s clear economic plan and careful financial management is taking New Zealand in the right direction.
Our plan means our economy is growing. We’re creating new jobs and wages are rising. Families are doing better and we’re succeeding on the world stage. 
However, one or two years of good growth does not change the economic prosperity of a nation.  We need to stay on course to really lift our long-term economic performance, and see more New Zealanders in work, owning their own homes, getting the healthcare they need and the opportunities they want for their children.
The only way we can do that and grasp the many opportunities we have as a country is by having a strong, growing economy.
In this election, only National can credibly offer three more years of the strong and stable government that’s needed to keep the economy growing.  Our economic plan is straightforward and we’ve set out our priorities.
A re-elected National Government will return to surplus this year and stay there so we can reduce debt. Reducing government debt puts New Zealand in a better position to cope with any future economic shock or natural disaster.
We’ll cut ACC levies on households and businesses by around 30 per cent. That’s between $700 million to $900 million a year – the equivalent of a tax cut.
And, so long as it’s affordable, we’ll start modestly reducing income taxes for lower and middle income earners from 1 April 2017 because National believes in rewarding New Zealanders’ hard work and enterprise.
We’ll use any further financial headroom to get to our target of 20 per cent net debt to GDP sooner than 2020. Then we can resume contributions to the New Zealand Super Fund.
In addition, National will help to keep interest rates lower for longer by reducing government spending to below 30 per cent of GDP from 35 per cent in 2011. Our focus will remain relentlessly on targeting that spending where it delivers better results for New Zealand families.
New Zealanders have a stark choice this election. They can continue to support National and its clear economic plan that is working for New Zealand, delivering sustainable economic growth, and helping households get ahead
Or they can put all the gains and the growth in jobs and wages at risk by changing course. Under an unstable combination of Labour, the Greens, and Dotcom the economy would stall. They would introduce five new and unnecessary taxes and create a wave of wasteful government spending. They would undermine the confidence necessary for businesses to invest now for future growth and more, higher paying jobs.
National’s clear, straightforward plan will keep New Zealand moving in the right direction.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

SH58: NZTA's consultation

The Dominion Post reports:
...there was "significant" support for upgrading the State Highway 58 route over Haywards Hill rather than developing a Petone-Grenada road.
This was despite the topic of SH58 not technically being part of the consultation process.
This is much the same feedback I've heard while out on the campaign trail.