Speech

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21 October 2014
Speech from the Throne

Delivered by His Excellency Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand, on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament, Tuesday 21 October 2014

Honourable Members of the House of Representatives.

E nga Mema Honore o te Whare Paremata o Aotearoa, tenei aku mihi mahana ki a koutou, tena koutou katoa.

Following the General Election, a National-led Government has been formed with a majority in the House on confidence and supply.

Confidence and supply agreements have been signed between the National Party and, respectively, the ACT Party and the United Future Party. A Relationship Accord and confidence and supply agreement has been signed with the Maori Party. These agreements will enable the Government to operate in an effective, stable and inclusive manner.

Honourable Members, the Government has a comprehensive policy agenda and a substantial legislative programme that it will put before the House in the forthcoming session.

The Government is focused on returning to surplus and its long-term fiscal objective remains to reduce net core Crown debt to 20 per cent of GDP by 2020. Around $1 billion of the operating allowance in each Budget will be used to increase spending, with the remainder set aside for tax reductions and further debt repayment, depending on economic and fiscal conditions at the time.

ACC levies will be reduced in 2015, and more reductions are expected from 2016, as the three levy accounts are now fully funded.

The Government’s plan to build a more productive and competitive economy, supporting more jobs and higher incomes, is set out in the Business Growth Agenda. This contains around 350 individual initiatives. These initiatives will be progressed, and more will be added, in this term of Parliament.

The Government will continue to pursue high-quality trade agreements, including negotiations with Korea and the Trans-Pacific Partnership, while ensuring that New Zealand’s best interests are always served. More investment will be made in New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, to expand the number of businesses it works with and increase its international footprint.

The Government will continue to provide the environment and incentives to increase business-led research and development, with a goal of raising this to 1 per cent of GDP by 2018. More funding will be provided for the R&D grant programme. The Government will also establish a Food Safety Science and Research Centre, as well as four additional Centres of Research Excellence, with one of the Centres focused on Maori research.

The Government will progress legislation to increase flexibility and fairness in the labour market, extend flexible working arrangements and improve collective bargaining. The enforcement of New Zealand’s minimum employment standards will be strengthened, and paid parental leave extended from 14 weeks to 18 weeks by 2016. Legislation to improve health and safety at work will be progressed.

The Government will complete the implementation of the Financial Markets Conduct Act, and will progress legislation to strengthen competition laws, and improve the accounting and audit industries.

The overhaul of Inland Revenue’s business systems and information technology will continue, which among other things will make tax compliance faster and easier for businesses.

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