The economy is growing, unemployment is dropping, and our exports are increasing.
I know this will be welcome news for our Indian communities, especially for the many self-employed people and families.
The value of New Zealand’s exports has increased by 15% as we enjoy near record commodity prices.
And all of this is happening as we rebalance our economy on to a more sustainable footing, away from borrowing and consumption, towards saving, investment, and exports.
New Zealanders are choosing to pay down debt. They are saving more rather than borrowing to speculate on houses or buy flat screen TVs as they did for much of the past decade.
Kiwis paid off about $5 billion of debt in their homes last year. That is $12 billion a year turnaround on the $7 billion they had borrowed against their homes at the peak of the housing boom in 2007.
This trend towards saving more builds a strong platform for faster long-term economic growth.
Growth matters. It creates jobs. It lifts incomes. It boosts living standards and pays for the world-class health and education services that families need.
National was elected to focus on lifting this country’s prosperity.
We promised to increase after-tax incomes. We committed to investing more in critical infrastructure and focusing government spending on frontline services. We said we will tackle the challenges of the global financial crisis.
Two years on, we have delivered on those promises and have exceeded them in many areas.
Looking forward, we have put in place a comprehensive plan to get our economy growing strongly and to lift New Zealanders’ living standards. This will continue month after month and year after year.
Our six-point economic plan is intentionally wide ranging. There is no single silver bullet. Action is needed on a wide front if we are to turn around the poor economic performance of the past decade.
Our plan focuses on (a) A growth-enhancing tax system (b) Better, smarter public services (c) Lifting education and skills (d) Cutting red tape and regulations (e) Promoting business innovation and trade and (f) Investing in smart infrastructure.
A sustainable economic recovery is underway. It will pick up momentum next year as we continue to roll out our six-point plan and work to secure the brighter future New Zealanders deserve.