Opunake Coastal News Column – Supporting jobs and growth

Columns
Monday, April 4, 2016

Building a strong economy that creates more jobs remains front and centre of the National-led Government’s agenda.
Under National’s programme of responsible economic management we have seen more jobs and higher incomes for New Zealand families.
There were 175,000 more jobs in the last three years – and unemployment has fallen to 5.3 per cent, though we want to see it reduce further. We also expect more than 148,000 additional jobs to be created in the next three years. 
Expected employment growth in Taranaki for 2016 – 2019 is 2.3 per cent a year, which is above the average for the country. This is positive news for our region.
Average annual wages are $11,000 higher than when we came into office. They’re now almost $58,000, and expected to top $63,000 by 2020.
In the last year alone wages are up 3.1 per cent against inflation of just 0.1 per cent – meaning a real lift in the spending power of New Zealand households.
We frequently hear Opposition parties calling for the Government to magic up more jobs.
Actually, the Government doesn’t create jobs – businesses do that.  And this Government has taken many steps to help businesses do just that.
Here’s a few:  We’ve reduced tax to encourage more jobs and increase take-home pay. We’ve introduced 90-day trials to encourage businesses to hire new staff. We’ve controlled government spending, which is helping keep pressure off interest rates. And we’ve signed New Zealand’s biggest trade deal – the Trans-Pacific Partnership – to support more jobs and diversify the economy. These are all things Labour has opposed.
We're also supporting employment through a range of skills initiatives, such as Maori and Pasifika Trades Training, ICT Graduate Schools, Trades Academies, a focus on more engineering, ICT and science graduates, and increased access to workplace literacy and numeracy training.
Our economy, which grew 2.3 per cent in the last year, is also supporting changes that kick in on 1 April.
More paid parental leave, stronger work expectations for beneficiary parents, and the first non-inflation increase to benefits in 43 years are part of a raft of measures that came into force to help families get ahead on 1 April.
Working for Families, the minimum wage, and New Zealand Superannuation also increased on 1 April, and ACC levies will be further reduced.
These changes show that all New Zealanders continue to benefit from our strong, growing economy and the National-led Government’s responsible programme.