Investing to build prosperity

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Friday, March 25, 2016

When John Key and Bill English took over in 2008 the most important goal they had was to build a stronger economy, deliver higher incomes and provide more security for New Zealanders.

Last week new gross domestic product figures were released showing that our economy has notched up another quarter of solid growth with GDP growing 0.9 per cent in the three months to 31 December 2015, taking annual growth to 2.3 per cent.

We can be proud of the fact that our economy is still growing faster than Australia, the UK, the US, and the OECD average.

A growing economy means we have the capacity to make improvements like increasing the minimum wage by 3.5 per cent to $15.25 and the starting out wage for young people to $12.20. These increases are on top of the minimum wage increases delivered every year since coming into Government.

They are expected to directly benefit more than 150,000 workers and lift wages throughout the economy by $75 million a year.

Another area that benefits a lot when the economy is growing is infrastructure.

Quality infrastructure such as transport, telecommunications, energy  and water helps give businesses confidence to invest another dollar and employ another person. Infrastructure projects also deliver thousands of real jobs.

The Roads of National Significance project, for example, is expected to involve around 35,000 construction jobs in regions around New Zealand.

The Government’s current investment in Regional State Highway improvements is expected to result in a further 2100 jobs.

The Ultra-Fast Broadband and Rural Broadband Initiatives are expected to result in over 4000 jobs between them, with a further 3000 from major rail upgrade projects since 2009.

Earlier this year we announced that we are bringing forward funding for the City Rai Link and East West Connection in Auckland.

We’re streamlining the consent process for the project to bring forward its construction. Estimated to cost up to $1.85 billion, it’ll provide a seamless link between the South-Western Motorway (SH20) and the Southern Motorway (SH1).

The projected growth rate of East Tamaki/Botany is generating greater demand for cross city east-west traffic. That’s why the project is a real priority and we’re committed to completing it as quickly as possible.

A growing economy means more jobs and higher wages. It also means Government can keep investing in important areas like infrastructure.

Jami-Lee Ross

Member of Parliament for Botany