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National Party leader Bill English today outlined his vision to take New Zealand into the 2020s and his key priorities for the next Parliamentary term – including further raising incomes and reducing taxes.

“National’s New Zealand is open to trade, open to investment, happy to have Kiwis stay home and embraces growth because it delivers more jobs, higher wages and greater opportunities for New Zealanders,” Mr English told the Party’s annual conference in Wellington.

“We’ll work for a New Zealand where innovation and hard work is recognised and rewarded, a New Zealand that looks after the most vulnerable, and helps them change their lives.

“Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First, on the other hand, would shut down growth because they’re not up for tackling the challenges success brings.

“Well National’s up for it, and New Zealanders are too.”

To deliver on this vision, Mr English set out the priorities National will taking into the 2017 election.

“The economy will be front and centre of everything we do. Because we have to keep the economy growing before everyone can share the benefits.”

A growing economy and improving public finances will allow the Government to focus on the following key areas:

  • Delivering an ambitious programme to invest $32.5 billion in schools, roads, hospitals and broadband – the next stage of which is allocating the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to help build tens of thousands of new homes faster.
  • Further lifting incomes and cutting taxes to help hard-working New Zealanders get ahead and reduce the pressure on families most in need.
  • Protecting the environment for future generations, and growing the value of New Zealand’s clean green brand, by investing extensively to clean up our lakes and rivers and ensuring all significant waterways are monitored.
  • Delivering better public services for all New Zealanders, with an increasing focus on tailoring services to individuals’ needs, including:
    • Investing further in education – with a focus on ensuring our children have the maths and digital skills to thrive.
    • Ensuring all our young children have a healthy start to life, by reducing hospitalisations for preventable illnesses like asthma and dental conditions.
    • Rolling out programmes to target gangs, organised crime and drugs to reduce the harm they cause, as well as delivering an extra 1125 police staff.
    • Improving the lives of the most vulnerable by applying social investment tools to all government social services.

“We can all be proud of what we’ve achieved in recent years – with more jobs, higher wages, more police, better roads, better broadband, less crime, less unemployment and 60,000 fewer children in benefit-dependent households,” Mr English says.

“But we’re just getting started. We’re doing so well as a country, but we must grasp this rare opportunity to do so much more.”

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