National is committed to building better public services and ACC is part of that picture. Our reforms have seen a dramatic turnaround in ACC’s finances and now we are passing the savings on to Kiwi households.
An average household can expect to be just over $200 a year better off. From April 2014, workers and employers will pay $387 million less. Small businesses will be about $180 a year better off and larger employers will receive, on average, a $6000 reduction.
The cuts largely reflect accounts paid by workers and employers being fully funded. This means there is enough money in those accounts to cover the ongoing cost of claims.
We are committed to ACC’s continuing sustainability and the Government is on track for further levy cuts in 2015/16 as signalled in Budget 2013.
New Zealand is a great place to do business, supported by National’s responsible financial management and comprehensive plan to build a more competitive and productive economy.
As the economy grows following the global financial crisis, business confidence continues to improve, more people are employed, and wages are growing.
People who live, do business, and invest in New Zealand know they can trust our laws and our government to protect their rights and freedoms.
The latest Transparency International Corruption Perception index ranks New Zealand first, out of 176 countries, equal with Denmark, for having the lowest perception of corruption in the public sector.
New Zealand is also ranked first on the Forbes magazine list of the Best Countries for Business, partly due to the high trust in our public sector, and our transparent and stable business climate.
Before National came to power, our welfare system simply expanded to meet demand, without investing in support to get people into work, or preventing long-term benefit dependency.
We didn’t think that was good enough. After comprehensive changes through our welfare reforms, an average of 1,500 people are moving off welfare and into work each week.
Recent figures show people are better off in work. An average sole parent in South Auckland with two children under 13, working 15 hours while receiving a benefit, would take home $750 a week. That’s $107 more each week than the $642 they’d receive on benefit – including the Accommodation Supplement and a minimal allowance for costs.
A single person working a 40-hour week on minimum wage will be earning $520 a week – about $200 more than a single person on Jobseeker Support with Accommodation Supplement and minimal allowances.
Working means a better life and better opportunities. It also contributes to building a more competitive and productive economy – one of our priorities this term.
National is fundamentally changing social housing by targeting assistance to those in need, and growing the community housing sector, with the recent passing of the Social Housing Reform Bill.
The big change is a shift from state to social housing. Approved social housing providers will be able to receive the same rent subsidy as Housing New Zealand. This means community groups can play a greater role providing high-needs families with warm, dry, safe homes, regardless of who owns the bricks and mortar.
The bill also extends reviewable tenancies to focus housing support on those with the highest need. Tenants who can afford market rent will be supported in to housing independence to free up state houses for families with greater need.
These reforms build on our record $2.9 billion three-year investment in social housing, and our $139 million investment in growing community housing.
The recent Construction Sector Report highlights a huge wave of work in the years ahead for the construction sector – which employs 7 per cent of New Zealand’s workforce.
National wants the sector to be ready with a skilled workforce. The 8000 new apprentices who have signed up this year as part of the Government’s Apprenticeship Reboot are a great start to bringing more Kiwis into the industry.
The rebuilding of Christchurch, housing demand in Auckland, and fixing leaky homes are all putting unprecedented pressure on our construction industry, with demand projected to peak in 2016. It is important we are prepared for this.
The construction sector generates annual revenues of more than $30 billion to the New Zealand economy, contributing to National’s priority of building a more competitive and productive economy.
The Government’s sale of 20 per cent of Air New Zealand has raised $365 million for the Future Investment Fund so we can keep building new assets, such as schools and hospitals, while controlling Government debt.
This is a demonstration of National’s priority of responsibly managing the Government’s finances.
Just over 221 million shares were sold when the sell-down was completed on 19 November, leaving the Government with a 53 per cent majority controlling stake in the airline, and 88 per cent of the company in New Zealand hands.
Together with the 49 per cent share sales in Mighty River Power and Meridian Energy, the Future Investment Fund has received almost $4 billion.
In the past two Budgets, we've allocated almost $2 billion from the Future Investment Fund to projects such as 21st Century schools, new hospitals, irrigation projects, and helping to rebuild Christchurch.
TSB Bank has become the first bank to go live with the innovative RealMe service.
People with a RealMe verified account can now join TSB Bank without the need to supply identity documents.
RealMe enables proof of identity online to a high degree of confidence. It is the online equivalent of showing your driver licence. RealMe also allows people to login to multiple government services securely with a single username and password.
National is committed to delivering government services online and RealMe is a core component of this.
It is good to see the private sector adopting RealMe technology to help drive their business. RealMe is another example of our focus on delivering better public services and making life easier for New Zealanders.
National has released the final business case for 115 schools across greater Christchurch, including the schedule for rebuilding, repairing, and renewing.
This final business case follows more than a year of consultation and is a significant milestone in the city’s education renewal.
More than 80 per cent of classrooms in greater Christchurch will be modernised by 2022. This means the construction of more than 1,200 new classrooms, and the repair of more than 1,200 others.
National is absolutely committed to rebuilding Christchurch following the destructive earthquakes. We’ve made it one of our four priorities this term, and we’re investing $1 billion over the next 10 years to restore and renew the education sector.