Key Notes: Encouraging investment in New Zealand
25 February 2013
In this issue:
The economic agenda
New apprenticeship programme
Refreshing our team
Visit to Antarctica
From my diary
Today I delivered a major speech where I set out the Government's plan to encourage investment, strengthen the economy, and boost jobs. We've been very clear and consistent about our programme, as we continue building on the momentum of the last four years.
The economy remains front and centre this year. We're responsibly managing the Government's finances to get back to surplus and start reducing debt. And we're pressing ahead with a wide range of measures to build a more productive and competitive economy through our comprehensive Business Growth Agenda. We want to turn the New Zealand economy into a magnet for investment, because the truth is, you only get jobs and growth in the economy when people invest in business.
In my speech I spoke about a handful of specific measures from our Business Growth Agenda that I want to see stepped up this year. And I announced a new programme to expand and improve the apprenticeship training scheme, including approximately $12 million a year in increased funding. As a result of our changes, and stimulated by the boom in construction and other trades that is already underway in Christchurch, we estimate that around 14,000 additional apprentices will start training during the next five years, over and above the number previously forecast. This will mean thousands of New Zealanders get to learn a new trade that will last them a lifetime.
Refreshing our team
To ensure our Cabinet team is re-energised for the busy times ahead I've announced changes to the Cabinet, to bring new ideas and new energy into the Government.
Long-serving MP David Carter is the Government's nomination for the role of Speaker, where I believe he'll do a fantastic job running the House. I also announced that Phil Heatley and Kate Wilkinson will be leaving Cabinet. Both Phil and Kate have made a real contribution to the Government in their four years as ministers, and I've thanked them for their service.
National has an extremely talented Caucus and I want to give other members of our team an opportunity. I've promoted Nikki Kaye as a new Minister inside Cabinet, Simon Bridges will be promoted to inside Cabinet, and I've asked Michael Woodhouse to step up as a Minister outside Cabinet. Nick Smith will return to Cabinet and bring his energy and enthusiasm to the Conservation and Housing portfolios.
Read my press release here, which outlines other changes to our Cabinet line-up.
Last weekend I visited Antarctica to see some of the science and other programmes New Zealand is involved with, as well as view New Zealand's historic hut conservation projects and see first-hand our collaboration with the United States on the Ice. I also participated in a ceremony celebrating the installation of Maori artwork at Scott Base. This was a fantastic opportunity for me to thank those living and working on the Ice for the important role they play in protecting this wilderness, and maintaining our presence in the region.
Next week Parliament resumes, and I'm delivering my annual commencement speech to the House. I will set out more detail of our busy legislative agenda for the year ahead. I am also looking forward to attending the swearing-in ceremony for our new members of Cabinet.
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