I am looking forward to attending this year’s Indian Newslink Indian Business Awards. It is great to have Awards such as these recognising and celebrating business successes in New Zealand and to acknowledge the huge contribution made by Indian business to our economy.
My warmest wishes to all the businesses that are participating in the Awards.
There are over 500,000 small to medium sized businesses in New Zealand. They are the backbone of our economy and we recognise the integral part they play.
.Long-term economic growth is essential to create jobs, lift incomes, and raise living standards.
National has a straightforward and comprehensive plan to build a more competitive economy. We are creating an economy where businesses have the confidence to invest, expand, and take on new staff.
Over the past three years, we have introduced measures that enable businesses to grow and create incentives for people to work hard, save and get ahead.
In 2010, we improved the tax system, making it fairer. This included cutting company tax from 33% to 28%. We are building better roads, broadband, and other infrastructure so businesses can grow.
Our employment law package included pragmatic solutions to the challenges facing employers and businesses.
We introduced 90-day trials, which give employers the confidence to give people a go on the job. They have proved successful with 13,000 new jobs being created.
We also increased flexibility around holidays, reformed the personal grievance system, and improved collective bargaining.
If re-elected we will continue with further improvements.
What we will not be doing is introducing a complicated Capital Gains Tax, which will dumb down our productive sector, taxing our businesses, farms and home-based businesses.
As businesses are coming out of the recession, we will not be making KiwiSaver and employer contributions of up to 7% compulsory.
We are firmly focused on keeping Kiwis in jobs and supporting business.
The results of National’s sound, stable and responsible management is starting to show. The economy has grown in eight of the past nine quarters, despite the earthquakes and the lingering impact of the global recession. Over the last two years, there have been 63,000 new jobs.
Interest rates have fallen to 45-year lows, in part because investors know that the Government will continue to be fiscally responsible. Households this year will have a positive savings rate for the first time in nearly a decade.
Exporters have been getting very good prices for what they produce and our trade with Asia is booming.
The business sector understands that our economy keeps firms in business, people in their jobs, and families in their homes. It pays for medicines and health care, educates our kids, and pays our Super when we are older.
The future looks positive with National.
The economy is expected to grow an average of 3% a year over the next four years, with 150,000 more jobs. Unemployment is expected to fall steadily to below 5%, wages will continue to rise, and interest rates will remain low.
National will continue to offer sound, proven economic management and a positive vision for New Zealand, where the dividends of growth are seen in jobs, wages, and better public services.
Dr Jackie Blue is Member of Parliament on National List.