What an incredible year. I’d especially like to thank Tauranga for the privilege of being your MP for another year, and all of New Zealand for the privilege of being Leader of the Opposition.
2019 has been exceptionally busy and I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved, holding the Government to account for its failure to deliver on its promises in this so-called ‘Year of Delivery’.
The reality is, New Zealanders have seen very little delivered and in many cases, things are getting worse, whether it’s in health, with falling numbers of elective surgeries for the first year in over a decade, to transport and infrastructure, where the Government has cancelled projects that were ready to go.
Most recently, we’ve seen Labour plunging New Zealanders into deficit and breaking the promise it made on the campaign trail just two years ago. Labour can’t be trusted with New Zealand’s finances. Good economic management is about investing where it matters and maintaining fiscal discipline.
This Government isn’t doing that. It’s wasted money and all it’s delivered this year are announcements.
National is the party that will deliver for New Zealanders.
We’ve released ten discussion documents this year, in everything from education to the environment, housing and law and order to name just a few. It’s the biggest policy development project ever undertaken by an Opposition, but we’re doing the work now so we’re ready to hit the ground running should we have the privilege of governing in 2020.
Christmas is a really special time of the year, but it’s also important to think of the people for whom it’s a hard time. That can be for many reasons, for example for the families dependent on food hardship grants who struggle to put food on the table at the best of times, but this year I’m also thinking of something a bit closer to home and all those who have lost loved ones as a result.
The recent eruption of White Island has tragically resulted in the loss of at least 16 lives, with many more terribly injured. My thoughts are with the victims at what must be an extremely difficult time for them and their families after what should have been a thrilling trip to a fascinating tourist site.
Many questions remain unanswered and I hope those are resolved speedily to give closure to those whose lives have been forever changed by the events just last week.
Family - and a very special visitor to Parliament
I’ve travelled up and down New Zealand this year, hearing the stories of everyday New Zealanders in every place I’ve been, sharing their concerns and finding out what matters most to them. What I hear all around the country is that family is of paramount importance. Being a politician, you don’t always get to spend much time with your family so it’s always extra special when I get to spend more time with mine.
Many years ago, I promised each of my children a trip to Parliament before they turned five, to see what I do and how I spend my days when I’m in Wellington. This year, it was Harry’s turn to come down before he started school, and I was thrilled to share it with him.
Wishing you a very merry Christmas
Thank you so much for your support this year. A very merry Christmas from me and my family, to you and yours. I hope that your 2020 is a prosperous and happy year.