02 April 2014
Speech to the North Harbour Club, North Harbour Stadium

Today I want to talk about the Budget, which will come out on 15 May.

This will be the National-led Government’s sixth budget.

Some of those budgets have felt at times like an exercise in crisis management.

So I take my hat off to Bill English, who has done a great job of steering the country through the recession, the global financial crisis and the aftermath of a very destructive and expensive natural disaster.

Everyone’s circumstances are of course different and some people are still finding it hard.

But on the whole, New Zealand has come through the trials of the past few years in remarkably good shape.

Yes, we have taken on more debt to protect the most vulnerable families, to maintain living standards and to support the rebuilding of Christchurch.

But that period is coming to an end.

Budget forecasts will show that in the coming financial year the Government is going to post a surplus, albeit a small one.

Once that has been achieved, we can start getting our debt down.

The Budget will show that we remain on track to reduce net government debt to below 20 per cent of GDP by 2020.

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19 March 2014
Speech to China Agricultural University, Beijing

It is a great pleasure to be in Beijing today.

And I’m pleased to be here at the China Agricultural University for the first time - thank you for your warm welcome.

This is my fourth visit to China, reflecting the strength of the bilateral relationship between our two countries.

It also demonstrates the importance we place on the relationship and the potential we have to take it even further forward.

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11 March 2014
Speech at Victoria University

Good morning.

It’s good to be here in a place where ideas are encouraged and discussed, because that’s what I want to do today.

Anzac Day is approaching and, as you know, next year we will commemorate the centenary of that fateful landing by the Anzacs on the Gallipoli Peninsula on April 25, 1915.

In the struggle, the sacrifice, and the wretchedness of Gallipoli, an Anzac reputation for courage, endurance and mateship was forged that has endured long after those who survived that campaign have passed on.

Each year, on Anzac Day in particular, we remember our fallen as we should and as I hope we always will.

But once the centenary has passed, I think it will be time for us to take some decisions about how we present ourselves to the world beyond 2015.

For more than a hundred years the New Zealand flag has served us well, and we in turn have served it well.

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06 February 2014
Prime Minister’s Waitangi Day Speech 2014

E nga Rangatira

E tau nei ki Waitangi

Tena koutou

Tena tatau katoa

Ladies and Gentlemen.

Waitangi Day is a special day for New Zealanders. It’s a day when we reflect on the history of our young country, and it’s a day when we think about what we want for New Zealand’s future.

We come together here each year to commemorate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The Treaty is more than a document which created a new nation.

The settlement process which springs from the Treaty gives iwi the ability to move beyond seeking redress for past wrongs and instead look forward to seizing future opportunities.

I’m pleased to say virtually all iwi willing and able to settle, are engaged with the Crown.

That’s a big achievement.

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28 January 2014
Prime Minister’s Statement to Parliament

Honourable Members.

The Government is continuing to implement its plan to build a faster-growing economy with more jobs and rising incomes, and to support New Zealanders and their families.

The plan involves returning to surplus and then reducing debt; pushing ahead with a wide-ranging programme of microeconomic reforms to create a more productive and competitive economy; driving better results and better value for money from public services; and supporting the rebuilding of Christchurch.

This plan is working.

After much hard work, the Government is effecting a remarkable turnaround in the books, with the latest forecasts showing a budget surplus in the next financial year – 2014/15 – after which government debt begins to fall.

The New Zealand economy continues to stand out amongst developed countries, growing 3.5 per cent between September 2012 and September 2013. The Treasury’s latest forecasts show the economy growing at a similar rate in 2014.

On average, wages are growing faster than inflation. Business confidence is at its highest level since1999 and the terms of trade are expected to remain high. There are 53,000 more people employed now than there were a year ago, and the unemployment rate is expected to drop further as the economy continues to gather strength.

Alongside our economic agenda, we are also driving results from our public services. Recorded crime is at a 33-year low, for example, welfare dependency is reducing, and more elective surgery is being performed in the public health system.

The Government has also been working hard to support Cantabrians through the aftermath of the earthquakes and the rebuilding of their city.

Our approach is always to take the public with us by clearly outlining our actions and priorities, and always keeping in mind why we are in government – to make this country a better place for New Zealanders and their families.

In the coming years we need to lock in the hard-won gains that have been made and reject the alternative prescription – high spending, untried economic experiments and a lack of focus on what really matters.

Over the next year, the Government has a comprehensive policy agenda, and a substantial legislative programme that we intend to put before the House.

We look forward to continuing strong and effective relationships with our confidence and supply partners, the ACT, United Future and Maori parties.

The agreements we have with these parties, and the goodwill and respect that exists between us, will enable the Government to operate in an effective, stable and inclusive manner.

The Government’s policy agenda and legislative programme reflects our four priorities:

  • to responsibly manage the Government’s finances
  • to build a more competitive and productive economy
  • to deliver better public services to New Zealanders, within the tight budgets the Government is operating under; and
  • and to support the rebuilding of Christchurch.
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