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.Read full article
02 September 2014
Speech to the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce
Thank you to everybody for coming to this event today.
And I would like to thank the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce for hosting this event.
Two days from now, it will be four years to the day since the first Canterbury earthquake.
That earthquake, on the 4th of September 2010, was very damaging, but as we all know, worse was to come on the 22nd of February 2011.
Since day one, the National Government I lead has stood beside the people of Canterbury, as we moved from the initial response to the emergency and into the recovery and rebuild.
I want to acknowledge that the recovery has been difficult for a great many people.
Some are still in difficult circumstances.
But I want to assure you that I remain as committed now as I was then to ensuring everything possible Is done – and continues to be done – to aid the recovery and rebuild.
It’s appropriate that we take stock now of where we are, just shy of four years from the first earthquake.
We have moved firmly from demolition to construction in the central city.Read full article
24 August 2014
Address to the National Party Campaign Launch
Thank you for your welcome.
It’s great to be with you today in Manukau.
Haven’t we seen some tremendous entertainment this afternoon?
It’s fantastic to see young people so full of life.
Doesn’t it feel great to be launching National’s election campaign here in the heartland of South Auckland?
We’re the party that’s working for New Zealand.
We’re the government that’s delivering results.
The economy’s growing.
Wages are rising.
Benefit numbers are dropping.
Crime rates are falling.
More elective surgery is being done in public hospitals.
And this year, after all we’ve been through as a country, I’m proud to say that the Government’s books will be back in the black.
On top of all that, my sense is that New Zealand has become a much more assured and more optimistic country.
I move, that this House recognise that on the 4th of August 2014, we will mark the centenary of New Zealand entering the First World War.
A few hours after the declaration of war by the British Empire, of which New Zealand was a part, the Governor of New Zealand Lord Liverpool told a crowd of thousands outside Parliament that New Zealand was at war with Germany.
The New Zealand government’s offer to send an expeditionary force – a move endorsed by this Parliament – was hugely significant.
New Zealand’s population in 1914 was just over one million.
The initial deployment was of 8,000 men, but by 1919 over 100,000 New Zealanders – or ten per cent of the population – had left these shores to serve overseas.
They were not just soldiers. They included, for example, medical staff, sailors and tunnellers.
Over 5,000 Maori served in the War, alongside 500 Pacific Islanders. And 550 women served in the New Zealand Army Nursing Service.
Of those who served, 18,000 lost their lives and another 41,000 were wounded.
One in 20 New Zealanders therefore became casualties of the First World War.
Read full article
22 July 2014
Speech to Local Government New Zealand
Thank you for inviting me to the Local Government New Zealand conference. It’s great to be here in Nelson, and it’s great to see all the local mayors, chief executives and elected members.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
The relationship between central government and local government is one of partnership.
We rely on each other to make good choices for our fellow New Zealanders.
Our legislating to ban psychoactive substances earlier this year was in no small part due to your advocacy on this issue. You saw the misery these drugs were causing in your communities. And you made it clear to us that you didn’t want them being sold on your streets.
We listened and we acted.
So it’s important we work together.Read full article