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Figures late last week confirm New Zealand is well placed economically, despite uncertainty in other parts of the world.  In the three months to June, our economy grew by 0.6%.  This takes annual growth to 2.6% – the highest since 2007, which is great news.

In the first half of 2012, New Zealand has grown faster than the United States, Japan, Canada, the UK, and the Euro area.

New Zealand’s rate of GDP growth, which is the highest we’ve seen since before the domestic recession and the Global Financial Crisis, confirms our economic plans are having a positive effect on New Zealand businesses and households. We expect solid growth to continue.

We are making good progress towards building a more productive and competitive economy – one of our four priorities for this term in office.

Financial markets around the world continue to be volatile and uncertain.  Some of the world’s biggest economies have been struggling with high debt and low growth.

The good news is that here in New Zealand, things are looking up.

We’re very well-placed compared to most other developed economies.  Wages are growing. Households and businesses have been saving more and paying off debt.

Our economy is growing more strongly than predicted.  In the first quarter of this year, the New Zealand economy grew 0.8% while the Australian economy shrank 0.2%.

In three years we will be one of the first developed countries back in surplus and repaying debt while other countries keep borrowing.

New Zealand has a chance to stand out from the crowd of debt-laden countries, but only if we stick to our plan.

The National-led Government wants to create a climate of saving. Kiwis’ personal debt is too high. We’ve seen the results of finance companies, and Kiwis want safe investments with good returns if they are going to save for their future. That’s why the mixed-ownership model for state assets works. Other parties will tell you we’re selling the family silver. That’s not true. Government will hold majority ownership. What mixed-ownership of state assets gives is a gilt-edged investment opportunity for Kiwis either individually or through a retirement fund that offer a great and regular return. It also gives the state-owned companies the money they need to grow. There is $220 billion worth of state assets on the books at present – this model allows us the keep hold of them and grow their value while also offering Kiwis a great investment opportunity to save for the future.

National has a series of goals for 2011.  Firstly, we will be lifting real long-term economic growth, because only a strong economy can provide financial security for families, opportunity for young people, safer communities, and world-class education, health and social services.

We are focused on improving children’s progress in reading, writing, and maths with National Standards, and making sure that young people get the education and skills they need to succeed.

National is taking action on violent crime and addressing the causes of crime to make families feel safer in their homes and communities.

And we are going to deliver better public services for all Kiwis by cutting bureaucracy and shifting resources from the back office to the frontline, to deliver the high-quality health and social services that all New Zealanders deserve.

It’s going to be a busy year.

There has been a bit of coverage of the Government’s goal of catching up with Australian incomes recently.  It’s not happening, say the stats.

The key thing to remember is that the target is not a 2011 target.  It’s a 2025 target, and we’re doing a lot to work towards that.

The export sector is a key area.  Commodities Australia exports, such as minerals, make up 70% of their exports and have doubled in price in the last five years.  Our major export, dairy products, only makes up 20% of our total exports.

The only way we can permanently lift New Zealand’s economic growth is through considered and consistent reform and change, year after year.

The tax cuts coming in on October 1 will help.  But this goal is not a sprint.

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Authorised by Eric Roy, 97 Dee St, Invercargill

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