Verve Article - October 2015

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Taking stock, one year on.

It is one year since National won the 2014 election and went on to form another strong, stable Government. 
I’ve been reflecting on a busy year, and our achievements. They include free doctor’s visits and prescriptions for under-13s, extended paid-parental leave, and the first increase in benefits for family households in more than 40 years. 
At the election we promised to deliver an extra 4000 elective operations a year. We’ve exceeded that target by already performing an extra 5000 operations such as hip and knee surgery.
ACC levy cuts are helping car owners and we’re continuing to invest heavily in vital infrastructure such as broadband, roads, rail, schools and hospitals, and the rebuild of Christchurch.
Despite market volatility around the world and the recent drop in global dairy prices we have a solidly performing economy delivering jobs and higher incomes for New Zealanders.
The latest financial data shows New Zealand has recorded its 18th consecutive quarter of economic growth with the economy growing 0.4 per cent in the three months to 30 June, and 2.4 per cent for the year. 
New Zealand has also recorded 11 consecutive quarters of employment growth, with 69,000 more jobs created in the past year. The average annual wage is now over $57,000 – an increase of $10,000 since National came into office.
In my own portfolio, Commerce and Consumer Affairs, we’ve passed a number of important bills, implemented new financial markets and consumer protection regulations and promoted this Government’s desire to raise levels of financial capability. There’s always more to do. Later this year we will begin our review of our competition laws.
I’m proud to be part of a Government led by a strong and reliable Prime Minister who keeps his word and delivers practical policies which benefit families while strengthening the engine-room of the economy for a better future.