Opunake News Column: 1 year on – National delivering on its promises
It is one year since National won the 2014 election and went on to form another strong, stable Government.
It’s been a busy year – building on our first six very successful years – with the Government delivering for families and households.
Our achievements in the past year 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.
Our HomeStart scheme is helping more Kiwis into their first home. In the first three months after the scheme began on 1 April the Government paid out $7.2 million in grants to help more than 2000 people into their own homes. Nearly 4000 other applications are in the pipeline.
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.
We’re pursuing high-quality trade agreements and this year signed a free-trade agreement with Korea which will make it easier for our countries to do business with one another and will save our exporters $229 million in tariffs.
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.
Our 2.4 per cent annual growth compares to 0.9 per cent for Japan, 2 per cent for Australia, and 2.7 per cent for the United States.
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.
This is only year one and we have much more to do.
I’m proud to be part of a Government lead 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.