06 February 2013
Waitangi Day Speech
E nga Rangatira
E tau nei ki Waitangi
Te hunga mate ki te hunga mate
Te hunga ora ki te hunga ora
Tena tatau katoa
There is no occasion on which the weight of New Zealand’s history is felt in quite the same way as it is here in Waitangi on Waitangi Day.
Anzac Day is also special but it reflects a different part of the New Zealand story. Waitangi Day is unique. It is marked across an emotional spectrum that ranges from great passion among some of those gathered here, to indifference from those Kiwis whose sole interest in the day is encompassed by the weather forecast.
From time to time, governments and others have tried to engender a greater sense of national participation around this day. It would be good to see but I’m not sure that we can or should try to force it. We are not by nature a nation of flag-wavers.Read full article
29 January 2013
Prime Minister’s Statement to Parliament
The National-led Government was re-elected in 2011 with a clear plan to build a faster-growing economy supporting more jobs, rising incomes and better public services.
The Government’s plan involves returning to surplus and reducing debt; pushing ahead with a wide-ranging programme of 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 programme is helping New Zealanders and their families get ahead, encouraging personal responsibility, and rewarding people for hard work and enterprise.
It is helping give businesses the confidence to invest and expand, which is the prerequisite for economic growth and new jobs.
A strong economy in turn provides the resources necessary to protect the vulnerable in society, maintain the rule of law, provide high-quality public services, look after the environment, and provide opportunities for young people.
Over the next year, the National-led Government looks 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 exist between us, will enable the Government to operate in an effective, stable and inclusive manner.
That stability is all the more important given the backdrop of an unsettled and uncertain global environment.
The Global Financial Crisis has had a profound and lasting effect on economies in the developed world.
Developed countries have not had such a difficult recovery from a downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Forecasts of growth in the world’s biggest economies have been progressively revised downwards.
And these global factors will continue to affect New Zealand, which makes up just a quarter of one per cent of the world economy.
An increased level of household saving has also weighed against economic activity in the short term, although it is a necessary foundation for more sustainable growth in the medium and longer terms. Read full article
25 January 2013
Speech to North Harbour Club
Ladies and Gentlemen
I hope you all had a good Christmas break and that you’re starting 2013 eager and energised.
I know I am.
And I know the Government is, because there are a lot of things to get done this year.
We have a re-energised team of Ministers, which I announced earlier this week.
And we have a very busy agenda.
Whether it’s welfare reform, law and order, education, the rebuild of Christchurch, or continuing our improvements in public services, it’s full steam ahead.
But the big focus for New Zealand remains the economy.
The economy will be front and centre this year.
The Government has a very substantial programme of work ahead of it.
I have told Ministers I want them to get on with the job.
And I’ve told them to step up momentum, building on the work we’ve already done over the last four years.
That work has been substantial.
We’ve made a huge turnaround in the government’s books, we’ve brought in the biggest changes to the tax system in a generation, and we’re making significant changes to reform the welfare system and strengthen work obligations.
Among other things, we’ve introduced 90-day trials; set time limits for the consenting of large projects under the RMA; introduced a competitive new system for awarding oil and gas exploration permits; got ACC back into good financial shape; and kick-started a multi-billion dollar programme of infrastructure investment.
And throughout that time we’ve been dealing with three major challenges:
- an economy that was left unbalanced, and in poor shape, by the previous government
- the impact of the Global Financial Crisis
- and the Canterbury earthquakes.
Each one of those challenges is still with us.
08 November 2012
Speech to Japan New Zealand Business Council Conference
Konnichiwa. Good afternoon.
It’s a pleasure to be here at your conference.
I want to thank the members of the Japan New Zealand Business Council – on both sides of the Pacific – for all the good work you do in developing trade relations, and in helping our countries get to know each other even better.
In particular I want to acknowledge Ryu Yano, the Chair of the Japan side of the Council, and Chair of Sumitomo Forestry, who has done so much for New Zealand-Japan relations over many years.
I understand Yano-san has attended almost all of these annual gatherings since the mid-1970s, which shows how committed he is to the Japan-New Zealand relationship.
He richly deserves the honours he has received this year – an honorary MNZM from New Zealand, and the Japanese Medal of Honour with Blue Ribbon.
Ladies and Gentlemen, this year, as you know, we are celebrating the 60th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Japan.
That is why I made a special visit to Japan in September on my way home from the APEC Leaders’ Meeting in Vladivostock.
Prime Minister Noda and I had a good opportunity to reflect on the warmth of our countries’ relationship over six decades.
And we had the opportunity to talk about the future, and the potential for Japan and New Zealand to do much more together.Read full article
15 October 2012
Speech to Royal New Zealand Returned and Services’ Association (RSA) National Council
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Thank you for inviting me to speak to your 2012 National Council. It is a great pleasure to be speaking to you again this year.
I would like to thank your national executive committee and president Don McIver. Don has been a tireless advocate for veterans for the last few years.
As Prime Minister I have the privilege of meeting many veterans and hearing your remarkable stories.
I know I speak on behalf of all New Zealanders when I thank you for the contribution you have made to our peace and security.
National is committed to honouring your sacrifice. That is why today I’m delighted to be able to give you an overview of the Government’s response to the Law Commission’s review of the War Pensions Act.
I know this has been a complicated process, which has taken some time to work through. I thank you for your patience. I believe we have developed a comprehensive package of initiatives in response.
But before I do, I would like to acknowledge the recent sacrifices our forces have made in Afghanistan.
Since 2003 the toll on New Zealand’s armed forces has been great – we have lost 10 brave soldiers in Afghanistan since we first sent troops.
These soldiers have selflessly given their lives in the efforts to restore stability to Bamyan province. Their sacrifice, like the sacrifices of our servicemen and women in years before, will not be forgotten.
There has also been a number of serious injuries from which the recovery can be a long, hard road.
The sacrifice generations of soldiers and their families have made for New Zealand will never be forgotten. Our servicemen and women help New Zealand play an important part in ensuring that we live in a stable, fair and just world.Read full article