November 8 marked five years since this National-led Government was first elected.
We have seen the country through some tough times.
When we came into office, the country was in recession, the worst global financial crisis for generations had just struck, and we were facing years of government deficits and ever-increasing debt.
The day after we were elected, we got to work to turn this around, and we have not stopped. I am proud of our achievements.
Together with the rest of New Zealand, the Government has persevered even in the face of some big challenges along the way.
Under National, the country is in good shape. Our economy is among the fastest-growing in the developed world. Our hospitals are performing more operations every year. Our schools are lifting achievement for young people. And recorded crime is at its lowest rate in 33 years.
We want to take New Zealanders with us as we build on our momentum towards the brighter future you and your family deserve.
Government spending under Labour had risen by 50% in five years. Families were battling high inflation and mortgage rates of over 10%. One in five teenagers was leaving school, unable to read and write properly. Forecasts for unemployment were growing.
That was when voters turned to National.
New Zealanders wanted change. They wanted greater security, and better prospects. They wanted policies that they knew made economic sense.
The day after we were elected, we got to work. And we have not stopped.
The global financial crisis and devastating earthquakes would have knocked back the most robust of economies, and the most resilient of people. But the Government and New Zealanders have persevered.
We have worked together and it is that combination of effort and direction which has got us to the much stronger position we enjoy today. New jobs are being created. The economy is growing, and forecast to be among the top handful of countries for growth in the developed world. Inflation is at record lows. And so are mortgage interest rates. The government is on track to achieve budget surplus.
We have made big improvements to the public services families rely on – like healthcare and education. More surgery is happening than ever before, and if you have children at primary school, under our government, you are entitled to know how they are doing in their studies.
It has taken five years to reach this point, and there is so much more improvement to come. Our clear four-point plan is working.
We are responsibly managing the government’s finances, because that is our job.
We are building a more competitive and productive economy, because that will provide more opportunities for job-seekers, whether they are just entering the workforce, or gradually moving out of it. It will also provide more security for all of us, and our children.
We are rebuilding Christchurch because it needs to be done.
And we are delivering better public services, because you and your family deserve better results from your taxes.
New Zealand families expect the Government to spend their hard-earned taxes on the things that matter. Hence, we have a newly-sharpened focus to the public service.
We are working hard to achieve 10 results (accounting for 14 measurable areas) that we have set over the next four to five years.
We are getting traction on difficult issues like reducing crime, reducing long-term welfare dependency, and reducing educational under-achievement. This is one of the best ways the Government can help the most vulnerable in our society reach their potential.
John Key is Prime Minister of New Zealand. The above is an edited version of the speeches and statements issued on November 8, 2013, marking five years of National Government. For full text, please visit www.national.org.nz.
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