The Housing Infrastructure Fund will provide 10,700 more houses across two major new subdivisions in the Waikato, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith say.
“These investments will unlock two major subdivisions in one of New Zealand’s fastest growing regions,” Mr Joyce says. “It will provide network roading and water infrastructure for the 8100 section Peacockes Development on the southern border of Hamilton and a 2600 section subdivision in Te Kauwhata in Northern Waikato.”
The Peacockes development in Hamilton is close to the city’s CBD, university and hospital and has been on the planning books for some years.
“This proposal from the Hamilton City Council includes a new bridge over the Waikato River, as well as an interchange at Cobham Drive and connection to State Highway 3,” Mr Joyce says.
“This initiative is a massive boost to the supply and affordability of housing in Hamilton. The first homes are projected to be completed by the end of 2018, at least 1000 by 2022, and a further 7100 progressively as demand requires,” Dr Smith says.
“This project will complement the high level of uptake of the Government’s KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme for first home buyers. Hamilton has one of the highest uptakes; over 1000 people have used the scheme, with $25 million of KiwiSaver withdrawals and $5 million of HomeStart grants to fund first home deposits. The uptake has been predominantly for existing homes because of a shortage of new houses. This Southern Hamilton development is ideal for new house buyers.”
The Waikato District Council’s proposal is for a greenfield development adjacent to Te Kauwhata that will provide 2600 houses, all within 10 years.
“The Housing Infrastructure Fund will provide local road upgrades, cycle connections, and three waters infrastructure to allow this development to occur,” Mr Joyce says.
“An exciting aspect of this project is that it will provide significant environmental benefits alongside the supply of housing,” Dr Smith says. “The project includes a wastewater solution that will remove all the existing municipal wastewater discharges from the catchment of Lake Waikare and the Whangamarino wetland, allowing a major lift in the freshwater quality in both the lake and the wetland.”
The successful Councils will now work through Detailed Business Cases for the projects alongside government agencies, with the first funding agreement from the Housing Infrastructure Fund expected to be signed in the coming months.
Five of New Zealand’s fastest growing Councils will have infrastructure projects funded through the Government’s $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith say.
“These funding decisions will help provide another big step forward in housing supply,” Minister Joyce says. “The funding will be used to provide network roading and water infrastructure for 60,000 houses across nine projects in these five fast-growing urban areas.”
“The funding of this infrastructure is bringing forward the ability to build these homes in some cases up to eight years earlier than otherwise,” Dr Smith says.
“Adding these big new subdivisions will help lift the supply of residential sections and bring greater consumer choice into the housing market.”
The successful proposals are in critical high growth areas including:Auckland Council – $300 million – 10,500 houses
Greenfield development (North-west) at Whenuapai and Redhills.Hamilton City Council – $272 million – 8,100 houses
Greenfield development (Peacockes) on southern edge of Hamilton.Waikato District Council – $37 million – 2,600 houses
Te Kauwhata (new development on the shore of Lake Waikare).Tauranga City Council – $230 million – 35,000 houses
Greenfield development at Te Tumu (eastern end of Papamoa) as well as a capacity upgrade to the Te Maunga Wastewater Treatment Plant and a new (Waiari) water treatment plant (at Te Puke).Queenstown Lakes District Council – $50 million – 3,200 houses
Two new greenfield sites (Quail Rise South and Ladies Mile) on the Frankton Flats and an extension of the Kingston township.
Proposals were assessed by independent experts and an independent evaluation panel recommended the agreed package to Ministers.
“The infrastructure to be funded includes a new bridge over the Waikato River, a State Highway interchange, arterial roads, water and waste treatments plants, pump stations and reticulation and collection networks, and storm water drainage”, Mr Joyce says.
“This infrastructure initiative is the logical next step in our housing programme. We have freed up planning constraints on new subdivisions through Special Housing Areas and reforms to the Resource Management Act but the areas zoned for residences cannot be built on without infrastructure. We will be working closely with the Councils and developers to ensure these projects are progressed at pace,” Dr Smith says.
“The next step is for the Councils to complete with the Government the detailed funding agreements which we expect to be concluded in the next few months. There is also a huge amount of work required on resource consenting and construction of the works. The first earthworks will be under way this coming summer, the first homes consented early in 2018 and homes completed by late 2018.”
The Government expects to make statements on further new funding options and tools for housing infrastructure in the coming weeks.
The Housing Infrastructure Fund will provide $230 million in funding to the Tauranga City Council to provide for 35,000 more houses through three major new infrastructure projects in the city, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith say.
“These infrastructure projects will provide for a very large part of the expected need for additional housing for the next 30 years in one of New Zealand’s fastest growing regions,” Mr Joyce says.
“The proposed infrastructure includes a connection to State Highway 2, new local arterial roads, new wastewater and water supply network mains and storm water infrastructure as well as building a new water treatment plant and extending the wastewater treatment plant,” Dr Smith says.
Specifics of the developments are:Te Tumu Eastern Corridor: A greenfields development which will eventually include a town centre, potential job growth for about 8500 people, a new school development and significant recreational facility development. The Te Tumu development will provide infrastructure for 20 per cent of Tauranga’s forecast housing needs in the next 30 years. Waiari Water Treatment Plant: A new water treatment plant at Waiari, with existing consent to draw water from the Waiari stream until 2050. The plant will provide for 100 per cent of the fresh water needs for the predicted growth in the next 30 years. Te Maunga Wastewater Treatment Plant Extension: Increases the capacity of the existing plant to service 100 per cent of the waste water needs for expected housing growth over the next 30 years.
“Both the Te Maunga waste water extension and Waiari water treatment plant have been going through the planning process for 20 years. This demonstrates a good grasp of long-term infrastructure growth planning by Tauranga City Council, which is great to see,” Mr Joyce says.
“Te Maunga has already secured resource consent for the extension plans, which will speed up the implementation of this exciting new infrastructure. Sewage treatment and disposal would have been a significant obstacle to responding to rapid housing growth in Tauranga, and now we have a way for forward,” Dr Smith says.
The Tauranga City Council will now work through Detailed Business Cases for the projects alongside government agencies, with the first funding agreements from the Housing Infrastructure Fund expected to be signed before the end of the year.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges, in conjunction with Auckland Council, today announced appointments to the Board of City Rail Link Limited, the new company jointly owned by the Crown and Auckland Council with responsibility for delivering Auckland’s City Rail Link project.
Sir Brian Roche was appointed as Chair at the establishment of the company. The Board members are Russell Black, Brian Harrison, Karen Jordan and Anne Urlwin.
“I welcome the valuable knowledge and experience that these people will bring into their new roles,” Mr Joyce says. “Under the leadership of Sir Brian Roche as Chair, CRLL will drive delivery of this complex project.”
“The appointees bring considerable experience in major project management, procurement in rail projects and other large infrastructure projects, and expertise in finance, accounting and audit and risk,” Mr Bridges says. “I’m confident they are the right group to oversee this hugely important transport project.”
Russell Black is a consultant who is a Civil Engineer by training, and has significant experience in senior management of large transport infrastructure companies and project managing large infrastructure projects, such as the London Underground’s Jubilee Line extension. He was Project Director for the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTR) in Hong Kong and consulted to Metro Trains, Melbourne and Sydney Metro. He was previously a member of EQC, and he has been a director of Northpower Ltd since 2011.
Brian Harrison is a lawyer who specialises in infrastructure funding, procurement, PPPs and contracts. Some of the projects that he has been involved in include: acting for project finance lenders to the Arlanda express rail link, Stockholm; negotiation and delivery of the private finance portion of the funding for the construction of the Jubilee Line, London; adviser to the Strategic Rail Authority (UK) on the capitalisation and debt structuring of rail infrastructure assets.
Karen Jordan immigrated to New Zealand in late 2015 from the UK where her last role was with the Ministry of Defence as Director Contract Management, where she was responsible for improving capability across a multi-billion pound procurement and investment programme. Prior to that, she spent the majority of her career in British Gas or National Grid Plc.
Anne Urlwin is a Wanaka-based professional director, chartered accountant and business consultant with a wide range of directorship experience. Ms Urlwin is currently the Chair of Naylor Love Enterprises (to step down in October), a director of Chorus, Southern Response Earthquake Services, OnePath Life, Steel & Tube Holdings and Summerset Group Holdings. She has experience of both central and local government and has served on numerous Crown boards and two local government CCOs.
The Government accounts for the eleven months to 31 May 2017 show a surplus of $4.5 billion, $1.5 billion ahead of the budget forecast, says Finance Minister Steven Joyce.
“The rising surplus shows the benefit of a strong economic plan that is delivering consistent growth,” Mr Joyce says. “The primary driver for these results is stronger-than-forecast tax revenues, particularly company tax” Mr Joyce says.
Core Crown revenue was $1.1 billion higher than expected for the eleven month period, while Core Crown expenditure was $345 million less than what was expected.
Net debt is currently at 22.4 per cent of GDP.
“While these surpluses are significant, they will be needed to meet the cost of the significant investments we have committed to as part of the next four Budgets including the Government’s $32.5 billion infrastructure programme,” Mr Joyce says.
“It is only possible to make the investment decisions we have announced in the last few months because we have a strong economic plan which is delivering for New Zealanders. If we keep with the plan we will have the capacity to make more positive decisions into the future.”
The May actuals are compared against forecasts in the 2017 Budget Economic and Fiscal Update, previously published on 25 May, and are the last actual results published until the audited accounts for 30 June 2017 are released in mid-October.
“The next opportunity we will have to review the government accounts and the expectations for the years ahead will be at the Pre-election Fiscal Update on August 23,” Mr Joyce says.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce and ACC Minister Michael Woodhouse have today announced the sale of FairWay Resolution from Crown ownership to employee ownership with effect from July this year.
“Employee-ownership is a successful business model that will give staff a greater role in the future direction of the company,” Mr Joyce says.
“The change in ownership will also reflect positively in the way staff work, which has a direct flow on for clients.”
Fairway started in 1999 as the Dispute Resolution Service within ACC before becoming an independent Crown entity in 2011, and is New Zealand’s largest specialist conflict management company with a team of over 200 people throughout New Zealand.
“An independent review of the ACC dispute resolution process in 2016 found that Crown ownership affected clients’ perceptions of FairWay’s independence and the report cited change of ownership as a possible solution,” Mr Woodhouse says.
“With today’s announcement, any doubts that clients may have had about the complete independence of FairWay can be laid to rest.”
Independent advice was relied upon to identify and assess appropriate options for the long-term ownership of the company with the employee ownership model best for the crown and company. The agreed purchase price was $6.5 million
Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Transport Minister Simon Bridges have today signed the agreements with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff that establish City Rail Link Limited to assume responsibility from tomorrow for delivering Auckland’s City Rail Link, marking the next step in transforming Auckland’s public transport.
“City Rail Link Limited (CRLL) is a new company owned jointly by central and local Government, with the sole and express responsibility of successfully delivering the game-changing City Rail Link (CRL) project,” Mr Joyce says.
“This is a complex and critical piece of infrastructure that will unlock major development opportunities across central Auckland”, Mr Joyce says, “It is crucial we have a single joint entity running the project solely focussed on delivering a high-quality result for the city while effectively managing the investment of both the Crown and Auckland Council.”
“This is a massive public transport project to deliver New Zealand’s first underground rail system. I want to congratulate the project team that has successfully managed the CRL project to date, and supported the transition to CRLL,” Mr Bridges says.
“Today’s signing is the next milestone in this important addition to Auckland’s public transport system. Auckland’s population predicted to grow by more than 700,000 people over the next 30 years, the CRL will play an important role in getting people in and out of the city with ease.
“Once complete, the CRL will fundamentally change the way people get around central Auckland and demonstrates the Government’s is commitment to Auckland and its Public Transport systems.
“CRL is Auckland’s top new transport priority. It will double the capacity of the whole existing rail network and provide significant travel time savings for commuters,” Mr Bridges says.
“The Crown and Auckland Council have signed agreements transferring the project to CRLL, formalising their partnership to jointly fund and oversee it through to completion,” Mr Joyce says.
“Under the leadership of Sir Brian Roche as Chair, CRLL will drive delivery of this complex project.”
Once complete, the CRL will be one of New Zealand’s largest-ever transport projects. The 3.4 kilometre double-track underground rail line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce today announced that Lindsay Wright and Philippa (Pip) Dunphy have been reappointed to the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation Board.
“As a New Zealander based in Hong Kong, current Deputy Chair Ms Wright brings an international, particularly Asian perspective, and a strong asset management investment capability, both in public and private markets, to the New Zealand Superannuation Fund,” Mr Joyce says. “We are fortunate to have someone with Ms Wright’s understanding of financial markets on the Board.”
Ms Wright is currently co-Head of BNY Mellon Investment Management Asia-Pacific and Head of Distribution Asia Pacific. She will be reappointed for a shortened term of one year as her new term commencement date could fall within the caretaker government period.
“Ms Dunphy brings strong technical investment knowledge, deep Crown and private sector governance experience, as well as institutional knowledge of the Fund from her near five years on the Guardians Board,” Mr Joyce says.
Pip Dunphy chairs the Guardians Audit Committee. She is also Deputy Chair of Abano Healthcare Group Ltd and former Chair of Mint Asset Management Ltd. She is to be reappointed for a shortened term of two years in order to provide more options for succession planning.
The New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income Act 2001 established the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, a portfolio of investments held for the purpose of helping to meet the cost of New Zealand Superannuation. The Guardians manage and administer the Fund. The New Zealand Superannuation Fund is one of the Crown Financial Institutions.
Finance Minister Steven Joyce and the Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Gerry Brownlee have today announced plans to simplify and improve the EQC scheme for New Zealanders.
“EQC has provided huge support to New Zealanders following the Christchurch, Seddon, and Kaikōura earthquakes,” Mr Joyce says.
“This review has provided us the opportunity to consider how the scheme could work more effectively for future natural disasters.
“Everyone with a private insurance policy, that includes fire insurance for their residential building, will continue to receive EQC cover,” Mr Joyce says.
Mr Brownlee says the reforms will have no impact on the handling and outcome of existing EQC claims.
“The reforms we are announcing will simplify the relationship between the EQC scheme and private insurance and help provide faster and smoother resolution of claims following a major event,” Mr Brownlee says.
The reforms are:Increasing the monetary cap from $100,000 (plus GST) to $150,000 (plus GST) for EQC building cover. Clarifying EQC land cover is for natural disaster damage that directly affects the insured residence or access to it. Standardising the claims excess on EQC building cover at $1,000. This currently ranges from $200 to $1,150 depending on the size of the claim. EQC no longer providing any residential household contents insurance. Requiring EQC claimants to lodge claims with their private insurer who would pass the claim on to EQC (if the property is insured).
“Requiring EQC claimants to lodge claims with their private insurer will help EQC and private insurers work better together in future.
“Following feedback from the Discussion Document issued in 2015, changes were made in response to submitter concerns regarding the treatment of land damage affecting residential buildings, the previously proposed $2000 excess and the idea of combining building and land damage cap amount,” Mr Brownlee says.
Further work now needs to be done on the details of a scheme that will incorporate the features announced today.
The Government hopes to release a draft of an EQC reform bill later this year or early next year, with the changes anticipated to be implemented in 2020.
It’s wonderful to see you all.
Can I acknowledge our Prime Minister and our Deputy Prime Minister, the President, Party Board, Party management, can I acknowledge Ministerial and Parliamentary colleagues and fellow candidates, and fellow passionate New Zealanders.
This last week in politics has reminded us that we are heading into an election campaign. Election campaigns are tough. No order is given, they’re never smooth sailing and the Labour Party, we also learned last week, will stop at absolutely nothing to succeed; and we’ll come back to that.
I want to talk about what we’re fighting for. We’re fighting for this country, taking a new and modern approach to the world that is delivering for New Zealanders, that’s what we’re fighting for.
In the last four weeks, I have been around this country talking to people about a certain budget – Budget 2017, so far I’ve done around 32 different speeches to business groups, to social services, to communities and to iwi.
It’s been a great experience to take a pulse of this country. And can I say this, New Zealand is shaping globalisation to its advantage. New Zealand is doing magnificently.
I’ll put it this way, we are up on our foils, we’re going faster and stronger than our competition, that’s what this country is doing. Let me take you through a couple things.
First, economic progress. We, last year, were the fifth fastest growing economy in the developed world. And that’s good because I can remember those conferences in the early 2000s that a certain former Prime Minister would run when we were 22nd in the world and then eventually did nothing about it.
So that’s a good story. We are growing faster at this moment, and expected to over the next couple of years, faster than the UK, faster than Europe, faster than Japan, faster than Canada, faster than the US and faster than our very close friends who we like to beat every now and then on the sports field, and now in economic terms, the Australians.
And that’s good, but actually economic growth is not a mean in itself. I don’t expect to walk into a house in Lower Hutt, knock on the door with Chris Bishop and say “good news, the economy is growing well!”
They would rightly say, “Well, what’s in it for me?”
And what’s fundamentally in it for them, is job growth and wage growth, that’s what it’s all about, and you can’t have those things without economic growth.
You can’t have job growth, you could maybe do in a quarter or two, but you can’t have it without economic growth, and this country is growing jobs like it never has before. We are growing employment in this country at the rate of 10,000 jobs a month.
I met the Reserve Bank of Australia governor a few weeks ago, he was over here for the séances that Reserve Banks have from time to time. He was sitting there and he asks how’s it going? I said “it’s good, we’re growing at 10,000 jobs a month.” He said really, we’re not doing much more than that in Australia, 15-16,000 a month, and he’s right, over the last year they’ve been growing at 15-16,000 jobs a month and they are five times the size of New Zealand.
So don’t underestimate how important that is.
We now have more than three quarters of the New Zealand population between the ages of 15 and 65 in work, 76.2 per cent if you want to be precise. That is not only the second highest rate of employment for adults in the OECD, it is the highest rate of employment we have ever had in this country.
And we have wage growth, our average wage is around $56-57,000 and it’s going to go through to $63,000 over the next four years, and that’s good steady growth but it’s not as big in dollar terms as sometimes it was in the past, but it’s much bigger when you adjust for inflation.
And that’s actually what it’s all about, it’s what I can afford, my purchasing power. So yes, people were getting pay rises at 5 per cent back in 2008 and inflation was 5 per cent in 2008, so they were saying, how are we getting these pay rises and not getting ahead?
The answer was inflation and the cost of living. And last year the cost of living was nil and the average wage increase was 2 per cent and it all goes to the purchasing power of New Zealanders, that’s what it’s all about.
If you talk to the OECD they’ll tell you that we have faster real wage growth than the US and Europe and it’s not often that we can say that.
The other thing that’s really important is how much we owe the world, how much the world funds our growth. And many of you have been in these rooms, coming to these conferences will know that at various times it’s been a big subject of discussion.
In fact in the later part of the last decade when Labour were in office, a fair bit of that growth was funded by increase in what we owed the world. We effectively borrowed from the world to fund our growth.
When we came into office in 2008, New Zealand’s international liabilities, what we owe the world, was around 82 per cent of our GDP. And the ratings agencies around the world were saying that that’s a bit high. Well I can tell you that’s been coming down since.
Under this government, we have a steady growth record now of six years of growing every quarter all but one quarter, ever since the GFC, and what that means is now our international liability is down to less than 60 per cent.
That’s important, because the fact that it’s down to 58.5 per cent of GDP indicates that we are becoming a much stronger economy.
There’s a politician who’s been around for about 40 years, can’t remember his name, who rails about this stuff, and what really gets him wound up is how much everything has improved under this government, and that’s why he’s so grumpy. He’s had 40 years in politics and he hasn’t achieved anywhere near what’s been achieved by this National Government.
Why is this happening?
It’s happening because Kiwi companies and Kiwi entrepreneurs are getting out there and taking on the world and winning. They’re showing through their innovation, grit and determination that this country can compete on the world stage and get ahead, and create greater prosperity for New Zealand.
Last night I met a couple young guys at the Bay of Plenty Export Awards who won the ‘best emerging exporter’ category and I said to them, “how are you going?”
They said, we’re good, it’s really cool this business, what we’re doing is making stuff we’d like to be able to buy ourselves, and we’re now selling it to the world. I said, well that’s great.
They’re just 25-26 years old, and they’re not interested in hearing how we should shut this country down and stop growing, they’re not interested in how we should keep immigrants out and skilled workers to come help them with their businesses, they’re not interested in people who turn up and say we need to be tougher on trade deals because they’re getting out and showing New Zealanders how to do it, and doing a fantastic job.
And all of that work that these companies are doing are flowing through the Government’s Budget.
Our current Prime Minister and former Finance Minister has brought us back into surplus.
This government has been one of the first, if not the first, in the developed world to get back into a structural surplus which is sustainable in the years ahead, and that has allowed me to walk in through the door and act like Father Christmas.
It has allowed me to work with colleagues to come up with a Budget 2017 that delivers for New Zealanders, with a big investment in public services, $7 billion over the next four years.
Now these numbers get pretty big pretty quickly, especially when you talk to Jonathan Coleman, because the health budget goes up by nearly $4 billion over the next four years.
When we first came into office this country was spending $11 billion and change on health, this coming financial year we will be spending $16.8 billion a year on health, and that’s a massive increase in investment.
Our little friends in opposition are spending a lot of time telling us that it’s a cut, and there’s no way that $11 billion to over $16 billion is a cut, it is growing the health sector of New Zealand and this government is investing in the health of New Zealanders.
We are also New Zealand’s infrastructure government.
We are investing billions in infrastructure. When the Budget came out, people noted that we put an extra $4 billion into infrastructure this year and it was a debate for five minutes whether that was enough until they realised that the investment we’re making in infrastructure.
The Government alone over the next four years is $32.5 billion which is if you don’t know how that looks is 40 per cent more than the last four years, and double what is was a decade ago. That is a big increase.
We have the capacity to deliver all that infrastructure over the next four years. And that actually is a big part of what we have to do. Then we’ve got to be thinking about the four years after that because it’s going to be even bigger after that as this country grows.
And the other thing we were able to do in this budget was the family incomes and that is the bit that makes me the most proud.
When I was standing with the Prime Minister on Budget night watching the TV news and seeing those families in West Auckland and South Auckland and around the country saying hey this budget will help me get a chance to help my kids get ahead.
That’s what made it all worthwhile, the last eight and a half years work that we have all done to get this economy into shape so these families can be better off to bring up their kids and provide for their kids and that’s what’s important.
Those packages delivered the Accommodation Supplement changes, it delivered the tax changes and it delivered Working for Families changes that will ensure these families have a great opportunity over the next few years, we want to do it again if we have the opportunity.
What I still don’t understand is how the New Zealand Labour party, a party that might be chosen voted against that Family Incomes Package – I do not understand that at all. It’s just politics at all costs, it’s got nothing to do with Kiwis, it’s got nothing to do with families if they hadn’t they would have voted for it.
Of course we know they don’t. We know they don’t have a compass because they’ve been caught red handed this week in absolute scandal, no doubt about it.
Bringing international students on sham courses, saying they’re going to be doing courses on politics, not paying them, putting them up in substandard accommodation and making them sign non-disclosure agreements so they can’t talk about it to anybody.
I’m sorry, but that’s appalling.
Imagine how they would have attacked us if they weren’t the Labour Party, if it wasn’t the Labour party doing it. Well they sort of attacked us, they’re trying to get us to believe that it wasn’t them.
It’s nothing to do with us, it was set up by a rogue former staff member – right, Matt McCarten, the former Chief of Staff you’re referring to.
The guy that’s not worked for the Labour Party for about 18 days? “It’s nothing to do with us, it wasn’t the Labour Party.
And if it was, it was the Auckland Labour Party, nothing to do with us.
It’s nothing to do with us, we’re solving the problem. We’ve discovered it, and we’re sending in senior officials to sort out these other individuals.
It’s nothing to do with us; but we should get brownie points for admitting to it.
Ok, that’s reasonably low bar.
It’s nothing to do with us but yes it has got the former Prime Minister as one of its speakers, it has got the current leader and deputy leader named on the sheet, but that was nothing to do with us, it was over exuberance.
People got carried away. That’s what the Labour Party are trying to tell you – it wasn’t me, it was our little friend Matt McCarten who we are completely disowning and we have nothing to do with.
Well, let’s be clear, it’s a scam.
And the Labour Party leadership are now exposed as massive hypocrites.
We can’t take them seriously on immigration, on education or on standards of housing ever again. We have confirmation that that Labour Party of 2017 has no principles at all.
As Paula said, they only want to be in government because it’s their turn. That’s what they’re saying, they want to be in government because it’s their turn and they’re sick of being in opposition.
Well, I’m sorry but the New Zealand public, business owners, workers, mums and dads, retired people, they all deserve much better than that.
So delegates, we have a lot of work to do.
All we have done in the last few years is prove to ourselves that if we operate a good, sensible, consistent, reliable economic policy that values the contributions of individual New Zealanders that this country can go much faster and achieve much more and provide much more for its people than it has in the past.
That’s what we’ve proved to ourselves in the past few years.
Our job now is to keep delivering that for New Zealanders over the next three years.
We have to invest more in R&D, yes it’s growing, yes we are showing ourselves that we can build rockets off the Mahia peninsula and we can have clever yacht designers who can take on the world and win, fingers crossed.
We need to keep simplifying our tax system, and keep improving the rewards to Kiwi families. We need to keep growing and keep paying down our debt to the world.
We are here at this conference to set ourselves up for an election in 91 days’ time.
Where we are going to fight for kiwi businesses who come up to me every day and say you guys better stay in; because my business is growing, I’m employing more people, I’m providing for my family, you guys have to stay.
We’re here to fight for those people. We’re here to fight for the 10,000 people a month who have a new job, in construction, in hospitality, in farming and in IT.
We are here to fight for families who will get a tax break on 1 April next year – and who won’t get one under Labour because they’re already sidling away from their commitments.
We’re here to fight for the vulnerable people who need our help and we can only do that from a position of strength.
And we are here to fight for a positive aspirational New Zealand.
I have two young kids, I’m younger than I look.
My daughter is nine and my son is seven and for the first time in my life, I’m absolutely sure that both of those kids have a positive future in this country.
And I miss them a lot when I’m away, but I do it because I reckon if we all work together we can deliver that future, in a way we haven’t been able to do since our friends in Great Britain went off and joined the European Union – which they’re now leaving but that’s a different story.
I reckon this country over the next four years has the ability to be internationally connected, take advantage of all the opportunities in our region.
Turn into a place with the highest quality services and the cleverest technology and cleverest ideas happening in front of our eyes, there are hundreds and hundreds of kiwi companies doing this all around the country, and we have the ability with ultrafast broadband, and the way the world is connected to us these days, to do it from a New Zealand base.
Any young person who wants to do it can give it a crack.
That’s what we are able to deliver for this country over the next twenty years.
And I think we are on track to be one of the fastest growing and one of the most technologically savvy little countries in the world and definitely the best place to live.
And that’s what we’re fighting for, in the election on September 23.