Weekend Sun column

Friday, December 9, 2016

Our diversified, strong economy is an important buffer in challenging times.

This week our Prime Minister announced he will be resigning and New Zealand will have a new leader in the coming weeks.

John Key's legacy will be as one of the greatest leaders this country and the National Party has ever seen. His leadership of National has been exceptional and he leaves an amazing legacy of a country that is now the envy of many others in the world. I wish John and his family all the best for the future.

Currently, government ministers are working on developing, then rolling out, support packages for people affected by the Kaikoura earthquake and its aftershocks.

But the recent display of the force of nature has been a timely reminder to all New Zealanders about the need to be prepared for potential natural disaster events. It is important we ensure we are prepared not just for ourselves, but for the ones we care for – families, friends, elderly neighbours or the young family next door.

We can't be shy about sitting down with family to talk about a plan and how we might work together and check-up on each other in the event of an earthquake. Just as it is prudent to have a personal plan of action for challenging times, it is the same with the economy.

The best-performing societies in the world don't get there by luck. They get there by adopting polices which reward investment in job-creating, and income growth-supporting enterprises.

And in these times of somewhat turbulent geopolitical events in parts of the world, we've also been reminded in recent weeks of the benefit of living in a country with a strong and increasingly diversified economy.

New Zealand's regional economies are reaping significant employment and income growth opportunities due to the success of the National Government's tourism strategy.

In this year's budget, we invested a further $45 million in tourism during the next four years, on top of more than $130 million National was already investing every year to facilitate tourism sector growth.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has confirmed tourism expenditure grew in every single region in the 12 months to October 31, 2016. Tourism spending in the Bay was up 10 per cent to stand at $1.7 billion in the same period. This is helping to grow our local economy and businesses in the region are seeing huge benefits from this.

MBIE's analysis indicates National's strategy to ensure all regions benefit from the exceptional growth happening right now in tourism is working to diversify our economy and strengthen its resilience to deal with any unexpected local or global challenges on the horizon.

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