With all the votes now counted it is clear that National has finished ten seats ahead of the Labour Party and also ahead of the Labour/Green grouping, says National Party Leader Bill English.
“I want to thank the more than 1.15 million voters that placed their trust in the National Party, and I remain as determined as ever to lead a strong, stable government for the next three years that will deliver on the hopes and aspirations of all New Zealanders”.
“Not since 1969 has the National Party finished ahead of the Labour opposition at four successive elections, and I want to thank everyone involved in this historic achievement.
“Now that the special votes have been counted it’s time for political parties to get on with the job of forming a strong government to take New Zealand forward, and I look forward to engaging with Mr Peters and New Zealand First over the coming days to achieve that”.
“Voters had a clear choice at the election between the two major parties that had a realistic prospect of leading the next government.
“They signalled very clearly that they wanted National to perform that role and we will now get on with the job of trying to give effect to their wishes.”
Prime Minister Bill English has offered his condolences to the people of the United States in the wake of the mass shooting which took place in Las Vegas overnight.
“The thoughts of New Zealanders are with the victims and their families affected by this senseless tragedy.
“Our thoughts are also with the first responders and the emergency services for their selflessness and heroism in carrying out their duties in the wake of such horror.
“Minister of Foreign Affairs Gerry Brownlee has also written to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Governor of Nevada Brian Sandoval to convey New Zealand’s condolences,” Mr English says.
The New Zealand Consulate-General in Los Angeles is in contact with the local authorities and there is no indication at this stage that any New Zealanders have been caught up in the incident.
New Zealanders in Las Vegas are advised to follow any instructions issued by the local authorities, register their details on www.safetravel.govt.nz and let their family in New Zealand know they’re okay.
Prime Minister Bill English has welcomed the announcement that His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge will attend the New Zealand Battle of Passchendaele commemorations in Belgium this month.
Prince William will attend New Zealand’s National Commemoration at Tyne Cot Cemetery on 12 October, representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand.
He will be joined by Princess Astrid of Belgium who will attend on behalf of her brother, King Philippe.
“It is fitting that the Duke of Cambridge will be there to mark 100 years since the battle and to recognise an important part of New Zealand’s story,” Mr English says.
“Passchendaele was the greatest disaster in New Zealand military history. Some 843 men are recorded as having lost their lives on 12 October 1917, the most on any single day of combat involving New Zealand troops.
“A century later we will remember the courage and sacrifice of those who fought and died and commemorate a significant chapter in our nation’s history.
“I am also pleased that Princess Astrid will attend as the centenary provides an opportunity for Belgium and New Zealand to remember the events which so profoundly affected both our nations and which tie us together today.”
The Government will be represented at Tyne Cot by Minister Nick Smith, and the Speaker of the House David Carter will represent Parliament.
National commemorations will also be held in New Zealand. More information about the centenary events can be found at ww100.govt.nz/passchendaele-centenary.
New Zealanders have a clear choice this election between two very different economic directions for New Zealand – National’s plan to grow jobs and incomes and ensure families continue to get ahead, and Labour’s agenda that would take us backwards.
“National is ambitious for New Zealand. We have a confident and comprehensive plan for a confident and growing country,” Prime Minister and National Party Leader Bill English says.
“Today we are setting out the choice New Zealanders have on the economy, so they can see the difference between National’s clear and ambitious plan for the future, and the vague and pessimistic ideas of our opponents.”
National’s economic plan is about backing New Zealanders to succeed. National will:
- Invest in skills and infrastructure, and maintain a fair industrial relations system, to give our businesses the confidence to invest another dollar, and employ another person.
- Ambitiously pursue trade agreements that connect our exporters to the world. We will ensure our immigration settings mean we are attracting the right people with the right skills to drive growth.
- Prudently manage the Government’s finances while still investing in world-class public services and infrastructure. And we will lower government debt, to help prepare for the next rainy day.
- Continue to grow incomes by reducing income taxes and increasing support for New Zealanders. Our Family Incomes Package will benefit 1.3 million families by $1350 a year on average.
Mr English says Labour on the other hand would put a handbrake on growth.
“Labour would increase taxes, and create uncertainty for business through their tax working group which would undoubtedly lead to capital gains and land taxes. They would stop free trade agreements, heavily cut migration and radically reform industrial relations.
“Our opponents haven’t realised that you have to keep growing the economy or you can’t spend the money. Labour have spent so much this election that their own numbers show they need to run two Budgets with no new spending outside health and education – that’s despite them borrowing $11 billion more than National.
“Meanwhile they would slow down growth which would mean less government revenue and even higher debt.
“We can’t risk that. New Zealand hasn’t become one of the best-performing economies in the developed world by accident.
“Our plan for the economy is delivering for New Zealanders. 181,000 jobs have been created in the last two years, and the average annual wage is up $13,000 under National. Someone working on the minimum wage has seen their annual income go up $8,000 since 2008.
“That success is why we can invest in better public services, put more money into family budgets, build world-class infrastructure like hospitals, schools and roads and help our most vulnerable to lead better lives.
“If we stay on track we can build on that success, delivering more jobs, higher incomes, and even greater opportunities for New Zealanders.
“National is committed to ensuring all New Zealanders get ahead. That starts with a strong and growing economy. Only National has a plan to ensure that continues,” Mr English says.
Voters can see their clear choice on the economy at www.national.org.nz/economy_choice
National is helping New Zealand families get ahead by delivering more jobs, boosting incomes and delivering better public services for all New Zealanders.
“Today we launched our Families policy for the 2017 election, and we’re focused on ensuring that all New Zealanders enjoy the benefits of a strong economy,” Prime Minister and Leader of the National Party Bill English says.
“National’s Family Incomes Package will boost the incomes of 1.3 million families by $1350 per year on average from 1 April 2018, through income tax reductions and increases to Working for Families and the Accommodation Supplement.
“The Package is designed to especially assist low and middle income earners, and will reduce the number of children living in families earning less than half of the median income by around 50,000. Labour showed their true colours by voting against it.
“The Family Incomes Package includes changes to income tax thresholds which will put an extra $1060 a year in the pocket of someone on the average wage. And that’s on top of wage increases driven by our strong economy, with the average annual wage up $13,000 to $59,000 - twice the rate of inflation - since we took office.
“Over 180,000 jobs have been created in the past two years alone and our strong economy means we can invest record amounts in the infrastructure and public services New Zealanders deserve – delivering world-class schools and hospitals and greater protection for our environment.”
Other steps in National’s plan to support New Zealand families include:
- Extending Paid Parental Leave to 22 weeks so new parents can spend more time at home with their babies
- Providing additional support for first home buyers to help them through the door of their first home
- Upgrading National Standards so that parents can see the progress their children are making at school throughout the year
- Additional investment in digital, maths and language skills for our children at school
- Rolling out cheap GP visits to an extra 600,000 lower income New Zealanders, so that 2.5 million Kiwis will be able to see their doctor for $18 or less – including free visits for all under-13s
- Extending the Community Services Card to an extra 350,000 New Zealanders
- More funding for health services, including mental health – we’re now spending $5 billion more each year on health than when we came into office
- Keeping our communities safer by delivering 1125 more Police staff, with the first recruits already at Police College
We are able to deliver all this because of our strong economy, underpinned by National’s clear economic plan,” Mr English says.
National knows that if you manage the Government’s finances well, you don’t need to raise new taxes.
“Our Family Incomes Package is funded from surpluses, not more debt or higher taxes, so it is sustainable. And the growing economy means we will be able to do even more for families, if we stay on track.
“Under National, New Zealanders will continue to share the benefits of a growing economy and they will continue to get ahead.”
National will provide New Zealand’s young people with the skills and language training to succeed in a globally-connected, high-tech world.
The next National-led Government will invest $379 million to provide school students with stronger maths, technology and languages skills, as well as updating National Standards to give parents and teachers better information about how students are performing and where they need more support.
“Now that the government books are in surplus, we want to invest more to help our young people embrace the tremendous opportunities New Zealand has through the next fifty years,” Prime Minister and National Party Leader Bill English says.
“Opportunities from new technology, new ideas and ways of working, and stronger international connections.
“Nothing can replace the thousands of motivated, professional teachers. But we can improve the tools they use and the support we give them to lift educational standards.”
National will roll out a four-point education package to:
- Provide every primary school student the opportunity to learn a second language
- Improve the maths skills of primary school students by upskilling teachers, providing additional classroom resources like digital apps, and delivering intensive support for students who need it
- Create Digital Academies and Digital Internships to give year 12 and 13 students practical, work-based learning opportunities that are a springboard into careers in the IT sector
- Extend National Standards to provide much more detailed information about how our kids are progressing right throughout the year – information that can be accessed immediately online by children and their parents
“National Standards provides a valuable snap-shot of how your child has performed across the year,” Mr English says.
“National Standards Plus will build on this by allowing you to track your child’s progress in more detail, online, as it happens.
“I want our children to be confident about their future, open to the world and ambitious for themselves and for our country.
“Our teachers and schools work so hard to create opportunities for our children and these measures will further help more of our kids reach their potential,” Mr English says.
The new funding is made up of $354 million of ongoing funding over four years, plus a $25 million one-off investment in systems to extend National Standards.
It’s great to see such a marvelous crowd. And a sea of blue.
Welcome to National’s campaign for Election 2017!
Thank you Nikki and Paula for those wonderful introductions.
And a special thanks to my daughter Maria for the way she sang our national anthem.
Maria, everyone here was glad it was you instead of me. I did offer!
Can I also acknowledge my son Xavier who is here today. Also my sons Luke, Tom, Rory and Bart. You all make be very proud.
I also want to thank my wonderful wife, Mary – thank you for everything.
Mary’s worked out that the best way to spend time with me these days is to join me on stage at our campaign launch.
Hers is the story of many new New Zealanders.
Her families came to this country from Italy and Samoa on the promise of a better life. And they found it through community and family.
They instilled in their 13 children the value of hard work and personal responsibility.
Mary is now a doctor, a business owner, a volunteer and a fantastic mother of six kids.
Like most parents, Mary’s mum and dad worked hard to ensure their children had better prospects than they did.
Their success makes me proud of my country.
And that’s what this election campaign is all about.
It’s a campaign for every New Zealander who wants to bring their dreams to life.
Who wants to see their small hopes grow bigger.
Who wants the New Zealand of the 2020s to be confident, successful and prosperous.
It’s a campaign for Kiwis who are prepared to work hard and back themselves.
To all of you, I say this:
We’re a party delivering for New Zealanders.
We share your ambition for the future.
We have always known this election would be close. That’s how it is under MMP.
On our side, we have a strong record of proven success and a confident vision to take New Zealand forward.
We have the best team.
We have MPs who listen to their communities.
We have Ministers with great ideas for making this country even better.
And we have new candidates passionate about our future.
But most importantly we have you – our volunteers and supporters.
You make us strong.
You make us united.
And you’re making New Zealand a better place.
Together, we’re creating a strong and growing country.
We are now a nation of opportunities for all.
Opportunities to build success for our families.
Opportunities to deliver on the potential of each and every New Zealander - providing we stay on track.
We will not squander these opportunities New Zealanders have worked so hard to create.
Remember just how far we’ve come together.
Since 2008 we’ve faced a recession, the global financial crisis and devastating earthquakes.
The economy shrank, unemployment rose sharply, and we faced large deficits and spiralling debt.
Fast forward to 2017. We now have one of the best performing economies in the world and the books are in surplus.
Under National, families up and down New Zealand are reaping the deserved rewards of that turnaround.
Over 180,000 new jobs have been created in the past two years and unemployment is the lowest since the GFC.
The average annual wage is up $13,000 since we took office, that’s twice the rate of inflation.
New Zealanders recognise progress when they see it.
In 2008, a stadium full of New Zealanders was leaving for Australia every single year.
Our children and grandchildren were heading for the departure lounge in search of better opportunities.
For the first time in a generation, more people are moving to New Zealand from Australia than going the other way.
That’s what success looks like and I’m proud of it.
New Zealanders’ hard work is helping the economy to grow.
But on its own, a growing economy is not enough.
Because National understands the pressures of running a household, paying the bills and saving a bit for a rainy day.
We’re making sure families are rewarded for their hard work and can see the benefits of growth flowing into their households.
And National is focused on making that happen.
Take a young couple, each on the average wage and looking to buy their first home.
Since 2008, their joint income has gone up by $26,000 a year.
And next April, they’ll get another $2000 boost from our Family Incomes Package – something Labour opposes.
And if we get re-elected, we want to do that sort of package again.
We’re also helping them get into that first house.
If they’ve been in KiwiSaver for five years, a combination of government grants and their own KiwiSaver would mean they have $50,000 to put towards a house.
Add in our Welcome Home Loan programme, and they would need to save another $10,000 to have enough for a deposit for a $600,000 home.
Or take a retired couple on New Zealand Super.
Since National came into office, their Super payments have gone up by 25 per cent – or $6000 a year.
From next April, they’ll receive another $680 a year on top of the normal increase as a result of our Family Incomes Package – cash Labour would take away from them.
And if they don’t have much other income on top of Super, they’ll now be eligible for an $18 GP visit from next July – saving them money every time they go.
That’s how National really is helping families.
Under National’s strong economic plan, we’re also building the houses, roads, schools, hospitals and broadband needed by our growing communities.
We’re investing to get our school leavers ready for work and to ensure our health services are world class.
We’re providing more police on the beat to keep our communities safer.
We’re lifting thousands of children out of poverty every year. And by one measure, our Family Incomes Package will reduce child poverty by 30 per cent.
We’re investing to improve our environment and protect our beautiful landscapes and fresh water and meet our climate change targets.
And we’re backing Kiwis to succeed on the world stage.
That’s why we’re leading the charge to finalise the TPP – because our exporters are world beaters when they’re given the chance.
The great thing is, if we stay on course we can do even better.
New Zealanders are ambitious for themselves and National is ambitious for them.
So in 27 days, voters will have an important choice.
A choice between two very different visions for New Zealand.
National’s plan to keep New Zealand moving forward - a confident plan for a confident country.
A strong National team energised by new ideas. A team that’s open to trade, open to investment, and knows how an economy works.
Or an unstable, untested group on the left that would risk it all with unpredictable and unclear policies.
Take the Labour Party, their policies have two things in common – working groups and more taxes.
Do you want a water tax?
Do you want a new petrol tax?
Do you want a new capital gains tax?
Do you want higher income taxes?
And nor do I.
Hard working New Zealanders aren’t an ATM for the Labour Party.
Labour wants to turn its back on Kiwi businesses and families, and add more taxes that would slow our economy and make it harder to compete in the world – just when we’re getting good at it.
Here’s the thing: we don’t need more taxes, if we manage the government finances well.
Unlike them, I back New Zealanders.
I believe in the Kiwi character, that when people make their own decisions and take responsibility they can and will succeed.
Here’s what I mean.
Recently, I met a determined young woman who lives with a condition that means her joints can dislocate with the slightest movement.
Her story had a big impact on me.
Diagnosed at 23, she was contemplating a painful and difficult life ahead.
Then she came across a new programme called Enabling Good Lives – National’s partnership between government and people with disabilities.
It’s about helping people one by one - giving those who want it more choice and control over their support, so they can choose what’s best for them.
It gives them the dignity of being responsible for themselves.
This young woman told me life is 10 times better because she’s living the way she wants.
Today, she is working as an advisor in the disability sector and speaks about the difference this approach has made in her life, and how she wants others have the same opportunity.
There are thousands more New Zealanders like her.
National respects their capacities and will enable them to have better lives.
Through our social investment programme, we’re changing lives person by person, family by family and community by community.
For example, we’ve set a target to reduce the number of children admitted to hospital with preventable conditions like rheumatic fever.
So now when a child turns up at the hospital with bronchial problems, we expect someone will be sent to their house to sort out problems with curtains, insulation and heating.
Another example is young mothers.
Too many don’t get the help offered by Plunket or GPs because they move house, they don’t answer the phone or they’re in hiding because of domestic violence.
I’m committed to changing the system from hoping those young mothers will turn up looking for help, to going out and finding solutions that work for them.
Moving from servicing misery to reducing it.
We’ll continue to expect personal responsibility and accountability.
In return, we’ll treat people with respect.
Our approach is about faster action, more trust and less bureaucracy.
And we can look taxpayers in the eye and tell them we’re investing their money well because it’s getting results.
Results like a 60 per cent reduction in teen parents on a benefit.
And 60,000 fewer children live in benefit dependent households because their parents can get jobs in our strong economy.
This is more than a plan.
It’s a mission.
And I’m committed to it because when we change lives, we change our country.
We reduce child poverty.
We help more families to live independently.
And we keep more children safe from violence.
National is turning ideals into practical results for people.
As proud of I am of getting our country’s books in order and back into surplus, that’s not what gets me out of bed in the morning.
What drives me is helping all New Zealanders achieve their goals and improve their lives.
What drives me is ensuring every child who grows up in our country has every opportunity to succeed.
We don’t give up on any of them. There’s always a way forward.
National is especially focused on education.
Isn’t Nikki Kaye doing a fantastic job as Education Minister?
She’s passionate about every child getting the opportunity to reach their potential, no matter what their background.
And she will do whatever it takes to deliver a New Zealand that’s open, ambitious and confident about the future.
We owe it to our children that they leave school equipped to succeed.
Every single child matters – they matter to their family, to their community and to our country.
And they certainly matter to me.
So National has put students at the centre of everything we do in education.
It’s working. Around 85 per cent of 18-year olds now get NCEA Level 2 – up from less than 70 per cent in 2008.
The improvement among Māori students is even better. Three out of every four Māori students now achieve NCEA Level 2. A few years ago, it was around half.
National is working hard for students and parents to build on those achievements.
We’ve increased the number of students who start school ready to learn by increasing early childhood participation to 97 per cent.
We’re sharing teaching expertise through our Communities of Learning.
And last month, we confirmed we’ll replace decile ratings with better targeted funding for kids at the greatest risk of not achieving.
Students from a decile 1 school recently told me what they thought of those ratings.
They said they were tired of having to explain why they aren’t useless.
No young New Zealander’s aspirations should be limited by a decile rating, and we will remove them.
National has also introduced National Standards, allowing parents and teachers to share valuable insights about every child’s learning.
Labour wants to abolish National Standards and prevent parents from getting that information.
I know from personal experience – quite a lot of it actually – just how valuable it was to get feedback about how my kids did at school.
All of these changes are improving achievement by our students.
But we can do even better.
We can do even more to help our young people embrace new technology, find new ideas, create new ways of working and build stronger global connections.
Nothing can replace the thousands of motivated, professional teachers who care for and educate our children.
But we can improve the tools they use and the support we give them.
So today, I’m announcing that National will implement a targeted four-point education package - costing $379 million.
Digital learning for senior students, more resources for maths, and a guarantee that all primary school students will be able to learn a second language if they choose to.
And we’ll make it even easier for parents to track how their children are doing at school, through an expansion of National Standards.
Let me talk you through the package.
First, we want our young people to have the best opportunity to take advantage of new technology – to become the next Mark Zuckerberg or Rod Drury or Frances Valintine.
So we’ll invest $48 million to introduce exciting new digital learning opportunities for Year 12 and 13 students.
Each year, new Digital Academies will offer 1000 students specialised, IT-focused learning. They’ll be similar to our Trades Academies, and they’ll be just as successful.
And new Digital Internships will provide mentoring and tailored learning from businesses for 500 year 12 and 13 students, a pathway between skills gained in the classroom and real IT careers.
The second part of our announcement today is a $126 million investment to raise maths achievement for primary school students.
National Standards show we need to lift our game in maths. So we’ll provide our students and teachers with the tools they need to do that.
We’ll help 1200 teachers a year complete extra university papers targeted at teaching maths to primary students.
We’ll also provide intensive classroom support for students, where schools have identified the need to improve their maths.
That’s all alongside extra funding for classroom resources like digital apps.
If we want our children to succeed on the world stage, from this small country at the bottom of the globe, they need to be good cross-cultural communicators.
So the third part of our package is a $160 million investment to give all primary school children the opportunity to learn a second language, if they choose.
Schools will choose from at least 10 priority languages, which we expect to include Mandarin, French, Spanish, Japanese and Korean, along with Te Reo and New Zealand Sign Language.
Finally, I can confirm that a new National-led Government will update National Standards, so families have more comprehensive and more timely information about their children’s achievements in the classroom.
It will be called National Standards Plus.
National Standards has successfully set clear expectations about what every student needs to achieve in reading, writing and maths.
It provides a valuable snap-shot of how your child has performed across the year.
National Standards Plus will build on this by allowing you and your child to track their progress in more detail, online, as it happens.
We will show you your child’s progress on your mobile phone.
Some schools have already rolled out tools that support this approach.
I’ve met these children.
It was amazing meeting a little 10-year old who sat me down and showed me how much he’d achieved in the last month and what he would learn next.
I want to see that for every child in every school.
By moving the reporting online, the new system will help our hardworking teachers by streamlining their paperwork and allowing them to focus more of their time on teaching.
And teachers will have better information at their fingertips to help them develop the individual learning paths they already create for students.
National is always looking to the future.
Our teachers and schools work so hard to create opportunities for our children and these measures will further help more of our kids reach their potential.
Ladies and gentlemen.
National is a party of fresh ideas for a confident and outward-looking New Zealand.
A country that’s moving forward and heading in the right direction.
But to be in the National Party is to never be finished.
To never be satisfied.
To take nothing for granted.
And to never stop working.
That’s my pledge to you, and that’s my pledge to New Zealanders: to never stop working alongside you to make our country even better.
So over the next four weeks, I’ll be talking – and listening – to New Zealanders about our country’s future.
National has a strong team with a confident plan to keep New Zealand heading in the right direction.
We will fight hard for every single vote.
Will you join me?
We have a clear message: If you want a growing economy – party vote National!
If you want an economy that can afford world leading hospitals, schools, roads and public transport – party vote National!
If you want higher wages and better jobs – party vote National!
If you want to raise family incomes - party vote National!
And, if you want to secure your future and New Zealand’s future – on 23 September, party vote National!
Public Defence Service Director and former Crown Counsel Madeleine Laracy, has been appointed Deputy Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security for a three year term, Prime Minister Bill English announced today.
“The Deputy Inspector-General assists the Inspector-General in preparing and carrying out programmes for the general oversight and review of each intelligence and security agency,” said Mr English.
“She also assists with the Inspector-General’s reporting responsibilities to the Prime Minister, the Ministers responsible for the intelligence and security agencies and the Intelligence and Security Committee.”
Ms Laracy’s term commences on 11 September 2017. She replaces Ben Keith, who completed his term as Deputy Inspector-General last month.
The appointment was made following consultation with the multi-party Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament.
Prime Minister Bill English today thanked United Future Leader Peter Dunne for his contribution to strong and stable government over the past nine years.
“Mr Dunne rang me earlier today to advise me of his decision to retire at this election,” Mr English says.
“I respect his decision. Now we have a clear choice in Ohariu between National’s Brett Hudson and the Labour candidate.
“Brett is an energetic and capable MP who has already made a considerable contribution to Government and has built strong links with voters in the Ohariu electorate.
“In the last three elections National has won the party vote in Ohariu by a significant margin. We will now fight hard to win the seat as well as maximising our party vote in the electorate,” Mr English says.
Prime Minister Bill English has acknowledged the passing of All Black great Sir Colin Meads.
“This is a sad day for New Zealand rugby and for New Zealand,” Mr English says.
“I have had the privilege of getting to know Sir Colin. He was not only a great All Black but also a genuinely good New Zealand bloke.
"He represented what it means to be a New Zealander. He was no-nonsense, reliable, hardworking, warm and very generous with his time.
"I remember when I was younger hearing stories about how he used to shear sheep all day and go running at night. I thought I'd give it a go. I quickly learned the Meads legend was built on physical and mental toughness.
"My thoughts are with Sir Colin's wife Lady Verna, and his family and friends at this time."