Partners in progress augment community value

I would like to congratulate Indian Newslink on its 11th Anniversary.

The newspaper is a voice for the Indian community and I look forward to seeing its continued growth.

New Zealand is an increasingly diverse and vibrant nation and the National-led Government wants all New Zealanders to contribute to the success of our communities and our economy.

We value the strong relationship we have with our Indian communities and we are working hard to ensure your voice is heard at the highest levels of Government.

National wants to secure a brighter future for your family, help build a sustainable economy, make your communities safer and ensure your children gain the skills they need to succeed.

Many people in our Indian communities are benefiting from the recent tax changes.

We reduced personal tax rates across the board on October 1, 2010.

Now, more than 2,500,000 people or 72.9% of taxpayers will pay a top personal tax rate of no more than 17.5 cents in the dollar.

Safer communities

These tax cuts are the biggest reform to our tax system in nearly 25 years.

They are part of our plan to lift New Zealand’s long-term economic growth to create jobs, boost incomes, raise living standards and provide world-class public services to help Kiwi families get ahead.

Since National was elected, we have passed a number of laws to support police, protect families and improve safety.

I am proud of what we have achieved to help make our neighbourhoods and communities safer. Like you, I believe every person in our Indian community has the right to feel safe and that victims receive the support and respect they deserve.

We have strengthened bail laws, toughened sentences for crime against children, and closed the loopholes for child sex offenders.

Police can also issue on-the-spot safety orders for victims of domestic violence. These will help more people feel safe in their own homes.

We promised at the 2008 election to put more police on the beat. So far, we have boosted nationwide numbers by 403 and we are well on our way to having an extra 600 officers by December next year.

An addition of 294 Police in Counties Manukau has helped reduce crime in South Auckland. Robberies, burglaries and car theft rates are dropping. Many people tell me they feel safer because of our changes.

Lifting education

I know many families in our Indian community want to help their children succeed at school, and so does National.

That is why we are working hard to lift achievement in our schools. We promised in the 2008 election campaign to address the shocking statistic that almost one in five young New Zealanders leaves school without the basic reading, writing, and mathematics skills they need.

We are delivering on our promise. This year we implemented National Standards in primary and intermediate schools to identify the children who are falling behind.

The Standards are signposts which show what Year 1 to 8 children should be able to achieve in reading, writing, and maths, and by when. Parents will receive plain English language reports on their child’s progress twice a year.

We are investing $36 million over four years to help those children who are identified through National Standards as needing extra help, moving education resources to the frontline and making sure that professional development for teachers and principals focuses on lifting student achievement.

I look forward to continuing to keep you up-to-date about National’s progress in securing a brighter future for your family through my regular column in Indian Newslink.

John Key is Prime Minister of New Zealand. He is seen here launching Electionlink pages watched by his ministerial and parliamentary colleagues and supporters at our offices on June 10, 2010. Picture for Indian Newslink by Narendra Bedekar ©

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