28 August 2007
NEWS: Unsustainable rates rises need serious attention
National Party Leader John Key says the findings of an inquiry into rates support what National has been saying about the heavy burden now being carried by homeowners.
"Kiwis will be alarmed, that along with increasingly unaffordable houses and rising mortgage payments, there are now warnings that rates will become unsustainable in a decade."
In a recent speech, Mr Key laid out a platform for how National would broadly approach infrastructural issues facing local authorities. 
"National will be looking to develop a common investment framework spanning both central and local government investment in infrastructure, and which incorporates environmental, as well as economic, considerations.
"We share responsibility for infrastructure, so we want to see a shared basis on which to make sound infrastructure investment decisions.
"My intention would be to offer local government a broader range of tools which can be used to address the needs of local communities. These options could involve increased use of partnerships, charging arrangements, and longer-term financing.
"As today's report confirms it is not sustainable to simply keep on putting rates up year after year."
Mr Key says central government has to put its hand up, too, and take some of the responsibility for rising rates.
"National has identified 60-odd separate pieces of legislation passed in the past seven years which have impacted on local councils.
"Councils now have new obligations, which in many cases have not been adequately funded by the Government.
"A National Government would look to establish a much better process for the delegation of any new responsibilities to local government."
To read National Party Leader John Key's speech to Local Government New Zealand, click here.Tweet
24 August 2007
NEWSLETTER: Key Notes No. 17
On Wednesday, I made a really important speech to the National Press Club.
I spoke about our democracy, how precious it is, and how the democratic rights New Zealanders enjoy will be seriously eroded by Labour's Electoral Finance Bill.
The bill is a huge threat to freedom of expression. It is deeply flawed and anti-democratic. It should be ripped up and thrown in the bin.
You can get more information on the bill here. If you are as concerned as I am about the bill's assault on your democratic rights, please make a submission to the select committee considering this bill. You can do this online.
The deadline for submissions is 7 September 2007.
Make a submission and be heard. Our democracy depends on you.
At the National Party annual conference, I outlined our approach to Home Affordability. And last Monday, I spoke in more depth about this to the Auckland branch of the Contractors Federation.
It's clear that we have a big home affordability problem in New Zealand. And it's got to the point where this is having a big impact on the lives of young New Zealanders.
Just look at a first-home buyer on the average wage buying a median-priced house. In 1999 it took 42% of their pay to service their mortgage. It now takes around 81%. And that's after they've somehow managed to save up a 20% deposit in the first place. That's a crippling increase.
The good news is that we can turn this situation around. We can deal with the fundamental issues driving the home affordability crisis. Not just with rinky-dink schemes, but with sound long-term solutions.
That's what National's approach to home affordability is focused on, and we'll be rolling out more details over the next year.
To read and comment on my speech to the Contractors Federation, click here.
Coromandel and Hamilton visit
Last week I spent some time with National MP Sandra Goudie in the Coromandel. I visited Paeroa College and the Goldfields Special School, the Paeroa PPCS meatworks, and the Waihi Mine. The next day I was joined by David Bennett MP and we went to Rototuna Primary school, which is doing some very impressive work, and dropped in on the Hilda Ross Retirement Village and Waikato Hospital.
I also had the great pleasure of being interviewed by 12-year-olds Logan West and Mathew Bridle of Ngatea Primary School for their show on Pukeko Podcasting. You can listen to their interview here.
Rolling with the punches
While Labour's top ministers trawl through the inane details of my past, they're not doing their jobs. They're not governing the country. And if ever we needed Ministers focused on their responsibilities, it's now.
Our health system is falling apart. We have ballooning waiting lists, and patients being treated on trolleys in corridors because they can't get into a ward.
Our education system is churning out one in four teenagers without a qualification, while our teachers are on the verge of strike action.
We have gangs doing drug deals from prison, a State Services Commissioner who can't remember what he has been told, and a Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme that could choke our horticultural industry .
Every day that Labour's Ministers and their state-funded researchers spend building up dossiers on me is another day our country blunders on without direction.
Last Tuesday in the House, in the middle of a global credit crisis, Dr Cullen spent eight minutes in the Estimates Debate attacking me, and only two minutes talking about the economy.
That's eight minutes he should have spent addressing our high interest rates, failing finance companies, our over-stretched infrastructure, the more than 700 people who leave for Australia every week, and the massive over-taxation that prevents hard-working New Zealanders getting ahead under their own steam.
That's not good government by anyone's standards.
John Key MP
National Party Leader
Join the conversation: www.johnkey.co.nzTweet
|John and Jamie talk about John's "underwhelming" strip club visits - and other dirt-digging episodes thrown up recently by Labour - and what the allegations imply about the state of the Labour Government. Jamie points out that, based on the polls, the election appears to be National's to lose and John notes that there's a long time to the election but that the trends indicate New Zealanders may be ready for a change. On the dollar, John says there's so much volatility future trends are difficult to pick.|
23 August 2007
NEWS: Key dismisses latest smear attempt
National Party Leader John Key says he has no involvement in a leaky building issue which a newspaper report out today seeks to link him with.
The Truth has published a story claiming Mr Key is linked to a company involved in a leaky building court case.
“I can confirm that I am a shareholder in Earl of Auckland Ltd, along with the two businessmen mentioned in the story.
“The Earl of Auckland owns one commercial property in Auckland, which is not the subject of any leaky building claim.
“I have little knowledge of the leaky building issue cited in The Truth except for what I read in a NZ Herald story earlier this month [article link below].
“I have taken the issue of fairness and balance up with the editor of The Truth today [letter attached] as their reporter made no effort to contact me or my office before publication.
“This appears to be yet another attempt by my political opponents to smear me. It’s interesting that Health Minister Pete Hodgson mentioned the Earl of Auckland company on Morning Report today.
“The Labour Government should be concentrating on the real issues New Zealanders are concerned about – like the economy, high interest rates, and the appalling state of the health system – rather than spending all their efforts in personally attacking me.”Tweet