Verve Article - February 2017
Delivering for Kiwi families in 2017
Happy New year to all Verve Magazine readers! I hope you’ve had a relaxing summer break, and had a chance to recharge the batteries, ready for 2017.
As we launch into what will be another busy year, we are in capable hands with Bill English and Paula Bennett as leaders, and an energetic team of ministers and MPs behind them.
I am excited and honoured to be part of Bill English’s new Cabinet, with the Science and Innovation, Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, and Regulatory Reform portfolios.
I’ll be working hard to further drive innovation in the economy, continue the good work this Government has done in tertiary education, and further enhance our regulatory systems.
The Government is gearing up for the challenges of election year with a busy agenda and a clear plan for our country’s future - building on the strong momentum we have achieved over the past eight years.
It’s no accident that New Zealand is well positioned compared to most countries. It’s the result of New Zealanders’ hard work, backed by the National-led Government’s clear plan for our country’s future.
Our economy remains one of the strongest in the developed world. And Kiwi families are seeing the benefits.
Around 250,000 extra jobs have been created over the past three years and unemployment is falling. The average annual wage is now $58,400 – up $12,000 since 2008 and more than double the rate of inflation, while interest rates are at 50-year lows.
The country is back in surplus and we’re getting better results from important public services like hospitals, schools and social programmes.
We are seeing strong growth in sectors such as tourism, ICT, construction, and high-tech manufacturing.
New Zealand is also experiencing our biggest building boom – in the past five years, annual residential building consents have more than doubled. In Auckland, they have almost tripled.
National is committed to ensuring this stability and progress continues as we head into the New Year.