Weekend Sun column

Friday, February 13, 2015

At the end of January I announced $37 million of urban cycleway projects to be rolled out across the country, as part of a $100 million programme we announced in the lead up to the Election. These projects are designed to make safe, user-friendly cycleways, encouraging uptake and resulting in health and environmental benefits. I will be announcing more projects at a later date, and I am hopeful that Tauranga will be included in the future.

Last week I had the honour of attending Waitangi Day commemorations with the Prime Minister and other MPs at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. It is a very special part of New Zealand and anyone who has the chance should take the opportunity to see where the Treaty was first signed back in 1840.

Parliament has had its first sitting week for the year this, which means MPs are back in Wellington. Each year begins with the Prime Minister’s statement, which outlines the Government’s plans for the year ahead. Some of the things that we will be focusing on as a Government are promoting economic growth, social housing and child poverty.

Our commitment to build a more competitive and productive economy is paying off. We have continually focused on economic policies that encourage business investment across New Zealand communities. Businesses need the confidence to invest in order to hire more people and achieve the sort of strong job growth we are seeing now.

The latest Household Labour Force Survey shows average wages are growing, lifting 2.6 per cent over the year, well ahead of the 0.8 per cent inflation rate. This means more money in the pocket. Our unemployment rate is below the OECD average and economic growth is among the highest in the developed world.

We will continue to work hard to build a strong economy, as this is the best way to create jobs and lift wages.