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Collins Comments - August 31 2015

Collins Comments - August 31 2015

Hon Judith Collins, MP for Papakura
Hi everyone,

There is plenty of great news for New Zealanders in the progress the Government is making with its policies of promoting education and employment, and its continued the focus on health.

Research and Development Grants for Students

The Government is providing 94 research and development (R&D) Student Experience Grants for 2015/2016 to students who are future innovators in the Auckland region.

The grants are for young people who are studying for science, technology, engineering, design, or business qualifications to support them to develop their skills and understanding of commercial research and development (R&D) within New Zealand companies.

The grants, available through Callaghan Innovation, will be used by young, qualified Kiwis, with cutting edge ideas, to advance their skills and their knowledge of commercial research and development within New Zealand’s hi-tech industries. These industries and their R&D projects will benefit from employing smart, ambitious young graduates.

New Zealand as a whole will benefit from the Government’s programme to build a more competitive and productive economy and this initiative will contribute to that goal.

Continued growth in economy

Latest figures show continued growth in the job market with 7,000 more people employed over the last quarter and 69,000 more New Zealanders in work than a year ago.

Wage earners have also benefitted from higher pay as the average weekly wage rose 3.2 per cent over the year to $1,097.27. Wages have risen consistently since September 2012 – considerably faster than inflation at 0.3 per cent.

Our Government has also encouraged international students to come here to study and now that initiative supports more than 30,000 jobs.

IT software and services are exported, and the trade has grown by 14 per cent annually since 2009, providing more opportunity for employment as well.

National’s commitment to building a better and more productive economy is clearly working, as the economy continues to diversify and job growth has occurred across most regions in the past year.

Although the dairy industry is facing a tough time at the moment, other primary sector industries are doing really well. Horticulture exports worth over $4 billion, and red meat exports of $2.53 billion are just a couple of the ways our diversified economy meets the needs of international trade partners. Our Government is pushing to make our economy prosperous and able to cope with all sorts of changes in our markets overseas.

The New Zealand economy is better placed to deal with global challenges. Kiwis work hard and look for new opportunities and with the Government’s clear plan and careful financial management our long-term prospects remain strong.

Providing faster elective surgery

With an ageing population, the news of more elective surgery in Counties Manukau is fantastic. This year 17,533 patients received their First Surgical Assessment and that is 34 per cent more than seven years ago. Across the country, District Health Boards (DHBs) delivered 10,614 more elective surgeries than planned, with every DHB meeting the target for improving access to elective surgery.

In 2006 there were more than 15,000 patients nationwide waiting over six months for their First Specialist Assessment. This number has reduced significantly under the National-led Government and today there are just 21 patients waiting.

By speeding up access to First Surgical Assessments more patients are going on to get the operations they need with reduced waiting times. Across the country around 50,000 more surgeries have occurred over the last year - a 42 percent increase compared to the surgeries done in 2007/8 and that is a great result for older people.


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