Keeping our word

Columns
Thursday, November 12, 2015

It has been a busy seven years, focused on delivering practical results in the areas that are important to Kiwis – the economy, law and order, education and health.  

Building a stronger and more prosperous country has always been the ambition. We want to maintain and enhance the great lifestyle we have by making sure we can earn good incomes that compare favourably with the rest of the world.   

The list of achievements and accomplishments over these seven years is pleasing, starting with the surplus for 2014/15, a target set following the impact of the Canterbury earthquakes and the GFC.

We’ve overseen an economy that’s supporting higher incomes and more jobs, with almost 200,000 jobs created over the past four years.  

The average annual wage is now more than $57,000, an increase of $10,000 since 2008, while households are managing to increase their savings.  

The biggest tax reforms in 25 years delivered across-the-board income tax cuts that also left more money in New Zealanders’ back pockets and has helped businesses become more competitive.

Families have been an important part of policy making. The first real benefit increases in 43 years means 110,000 vulnerable families with children will be better off.   

We’re delivering free doctor’s visits and prescriptions for 750,000 children aged 13 and younger. We’re extending paid parental leave.   

In health, more people are getting the essential care they need, such as the 50,000 more elective operations a year than in 2008, as well as ensuring cancer patients are getting faster treatment.

A record $25 billion is now being invested in health and education every year.

We’ve negotiated major trade agreements to help our exporters, and we’re supporting households and businesses through lower ACC levies, rolling out faster broadband across the country and cutting unnecessary red tape.   

Building on these gains must continue. We have lots of ideas for the coming years to ensure we maintain the momentum we’ve built up since 2008.

Jami-Lee Ross
Member of Parliament for Botany