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Challenges fortify will to succeed

This year is about building a brighter future for New Zealanders.

The most important challenge facing New Zealand is our economic performance. By building the foundations for a stronger economy, we will provide jobs, higher incomes, and better living standards that you aspire to and deserve.

In my annual State of the Nation speech, I outlined the next steps in our comprehensive plan to build stronger, enduring economic growth, deliver New Zealand’s communities better-paid jobs, and put the Government’s finances in a stronger position.

New Zealand needs to save more, spend less, and reduce reliance on foreign debt. The Government, on behalf of the taxpayer, is currently borrowing $300 million each week to pay the bills.

I have committed the Government to running a tighter Budget this year, trimming new spending to around $800 to $900 million. This will set us on a path to surplus in 2014/15, a year earlier than forecast.

We are also looking at the mix of assets we own. The Government owns about $220 billion worth of assets. Over the next five years, we will buy about $33 billion worth of new assets. This includes vital assets such as schools, ultra-fast broadband networks, and state highways and other transport infrastructure.

We have asked for advice on extending the mixed-ownership model, like that used for Air New Zealand, to four state-owned enterprises.

The Government would retain a majority stake and offer minority shareholding to Kiwi investors. We will make our final policy on asset ownership clear well before the election, and seek a mandate from the public before proceeding with any change.

At the opening of Parliament last week, I laid out the Government’s broad priorities for this year. Our two key priorities are building the foundations for a stronger economy, and building better results from the public services you rely on. This includes getting better value for money for taxpayers and better outcomes for all New Zealanders.

2011 will be a big year and I look forward to updating Indian Newslink readers on National’s progress as we build a brighter future for New Zealanders.

John Key is Prime Minister of New Zealand. The above article is exclusive to Indian Newslink ©

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