Looking ahead in 2015

Column Articles
Friday, January 23, 2015

In recent weeks there have been some excellent headlines in our local papers which show our community is heading in a great direction.

The summery weather you’ve enjoyed at the beach is expected to help bump up Gold Kiwifruit volumes by 70 per cent, supporting local employment. House sales in the Bay of Plenty rose 26.7 per cent during the Christmas period and there was strong growth in the sales and retail sector. One of my local favourites was the massive support for the new bi-monthly Little Big market in Papamoa and the large number of families that its 60 stalls attracted last weekend.

As a region and as a country we’ve made a great start this year. The economy is in its fifth year of expansion and economicgrowth is expected to average around 3 per cent over the next four years, better than the Euro zone, United States, United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada.

Nationally, employment is growing, with 72,000 more people employed than a year ago, and an additional 153,000 people are expected to be in work by mid-2019.

The average full-time wage is expected to rise by $8000 to around $64,000 by mid-2019. Unemployment, currently down to 5.4 per cent, is expected to fall to 4.5 per cent by 2018.

Our positive performance and outlook in an unpredictable world led one international bank economist to call New Zealand “the rock star economy”.

However, our goal isn’t to be a rock star. It’s to be rock solid. We want stable, sustainable growth over the long term to support New Zealanders and their families.

We’ll continue to do this by spending taxpayers’ money wisely and responsibly managing the country’s finances – just like you’d expect us to.

We’ll continue to build a more competitive and productive economy because that’s the best way to create more jobs and increase your wages.

We’ll continue to work at delivering better public services. These include lifting educational achievement and upskilling our workforce, providing better and more convenient healthcare, getting more people off welfare and into work, supporting the vulnerable, and making our communities safer.

This is a remarkable country and there are many opportunities for us all.

After a refreshing break with family and friends I’m looking forward to getting stuck in and continuing to build the brighter future our community and all New Zealanders deserve.