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Govt moves quickly on programme of positive change

20 December, 1999

Govt moves quickly on programme of positive change

Today’s announcements on the minimum wage, training incentive allowance, student loans and the F-16 review show that the Labour-Alliance government is determined to advance rapidly with the programme of positive change New Zealanders mandated on 27 November.

“At the recent election New Zealanders clearly signalled that they wanted a fresh direction for social and economic policy, and a government which puts integrity and the wise guardianship of taxpayers’ money first.

“Today’s announcements are a crucial first step in this direction.

“The restoration of the Training Incentive Allowance, and changes to the student loans scheme, will help to remove barriers to higher learning and training erected by the former government.

“Without doing everything possible to sponsor the creation of a skilled workforce, talk of transforming New Zealand’s economy away from an over-reliance on commodity exports and towards the manufacture of high-tech value-added goods is meaningless.

“To have a knowledge economy, we need knowledge workers. Making higher education and training more affordable is an essential contribution to this aim, and one which will ultimately benefit all New Zealanders.

“The increase in the minimum wage demonstrates the determination of the Government to give a fair deal to employees. Further steps in this direction, such as the replacement of the Employment Contracts Act, are high on our legislative agenda for next year.

“A desire to make the best possible use of a limited defence budget underpins the review of the F-16 arrangements to be conducted by Derek Quigley, former chairperson of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs and Defence Select Committee.

“Above all this review is about New Zealand’s priorities, not about cuts. The review will look at what is the best use of the limited money that a small country has to spend on defence.

“After nine years of failed National government, New Zealanders want a change of direction. Today’s announcements show that the new Labour-Alliance government will deliver this change,” Helen Clark said.


ENDS

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