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We’ve seen after-tax wages for Kiwi workers go up in the last three years, but National is also looking after older New Zealanders in their retirement.

All rates of New Zealand Superannuation increased 19 per cent in the three years between 1 April 2008 and 1 April 2011 – almost twice the rate of inflation over the same period.

This means, in April 2008 a married couple were receiving $879.60 a fortnight; on 1 April 2011 the same married couple now receive $1045.92 a fortnight.

Older New Zealanders are benefitting from National’s across-the-board tax cuts, annual inflation adjustments, compensation for the GST increase, and because the after-tax average wage has risen significantly.

We’re giving New Zealanders some certainty when they retire.

More than 4700 businesses in Southland stand to benefit from the 1 April cut in company tax to 28 per cent.

This is more assistance for productive businesses in Southland.  Cutting company tax from 30 per cent to 28 per cent increases incentives for our firms to reinvest earnings back into jobs and growth.  This company tax cut puts us ahead of Australia, and helps make New Zealand companies more competitive.

The company tax cut is part of the second round of Budget 2010 tax changes.  Across-the-board personal tax cuts kicked in last October.  These tax cuts are paid for by last year’s increase in GST and a number of other tax measures that take effect on 1 April and make the tax system fairer.

The National-led Government’s tax reforms are helping tilt the economy towards savings, investment and exports, and away from unsustainable consumption, borrowing and government spending.

Firstly, I’d like to congratulate Nigel Skelt, the team at Stadium Southland, Sport Southland, and all those who have rolled their sleeves up to get on with business after the Stadium collapse.

You can-do attitude has meant the school holidays sporting programmes, major events, and local sports have been able to continue despite the major disruption to business as usual.

Another major disruption, and one that will hit the entire province hard, is the loss of so much stock in the week-long winter blast.  My condolences go out to all those involved, and while I know it is not a good time for either farmers or animals, stay strong in this time of gloom.

From October 1, the tax cuts promised by the Government come into effect.

The average family will be about $25 per week better off, the average wage earner about $15 better off, and a couple on NZ Superannuation will get about an extra $11 a week.

The lowest tax bracket will drop to 10.5 percent, and there is an immediate increase of 2.02 percent in Working for Families, superannuation, and benefits.

The 1 October changes are an important part of National’s plan to boost growth,create jobs, and lift incomes.

There are quite a few other tax changes, such as reducing taxes on savings over the medium term.  The tax changes will boost New Zealand’s longer-term growth prospects by tilting the economy towards savings, investment and exports and away from borrowing, housing speculation and consumption.

This is the next step in the Government’s programme to achieve faster growth and support sustainable, higher-paying jobs. In addition, the personal tax cuts-GST switch will leave the vast majority of Kiwis better off.

Treasury advice indicates even when all forecast cost of living increases for the rest of the year are taken into account, including the rise in GST and other issues, real after-tax wages will grow as a result of these changes.

We expect some volatility in the next few quarters. The Canterbury earthquake and uncertainties about the global outlook will no doubt impact on New Zealand’s immediate economic performance. That reinforces the need for the Government to press on with its comprehensive plan for turning around the economy.

This is the first part of the most significant tax reform package in New Zealand for nearly 25 years. For ordinary New Zealanders it will reward effort, encourage savings and help families to get ahead.

There are a lot of hurdles ahead of us at the moment.  Economists are noting the Canterbury earthquake will hurt GDP growth as people are unable to work and capital assets need to be rebuilt.

Nevertheless, these changes from October 1 will benefit all hard working New Zealanders.

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.

The 2010 Budget speech has started – Southlanders can hear it on 1314AM via the radio, watch it on SKY channel 90, or watch live on the internet. The Budget has across the board tax cuts to help families get ahead, and more money for health and education. Bill English is making it clear that this Budget is  all about lifting economic growth, controlling public debt, and improving our frontline public services. You can calculate your tax cut here:  www.taxguide.govt.nz.

There’s more about the 2010 Budget here  www.national.org.nz/budget

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Authorised by Eric Roy, 97 Dee St, Invercargill

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