Investing in the skills of our young people

Column Articles
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Budget 2016 will be delivered tomorrow as our economy continues to out-perform many others within the OECD group of developed economies.

Our tourism, beef, wine, and IT sectors, among others, are thriving. That means tens of thousands of jobs are being created every year.

We’ve turned an $18.4 billion operating hole in the Crown accounts into a modest surplus last year.

Careful stewardship of the finances matters because it allows us to invest more in the health and education services New Zealanders value.

Sound finances also permit Budget 2016 to have a strong focus on our Business Growth Agenda to facilitate a more productive, innovative, and competitive economy. This includes investing in the training, skills, and innovation needed in a growing, modern economy.

In recent days, we’ve announced $15 million to help speed up the commercialisation of new technology developed by our scientists and entrepreneurs.

We’ve also announced $14.4 million for more apprentices to get more people engaged in vocational training and going on to build lifelong careers.

Other recent pre-Budget announcements include:

       $97 million boost to cutting-edge health research; 
       $9.6 million to meet the growing demand for Māori and Pasifika trades training;
       $4.6 million for Pacific Employment Service to assist youth move into training or jobs;

Since National was elected, Crown operating spending to promote tourism has increased by 40 per cent, from $75 million a year to around $130 million a year.

In recent days, we’ve announced Budget 2016 will include $45 million of additional spending over the next four years to further strengthen our dynamic and job-rich tourism sector.

What matters with all initiatives, of course, is not how much extra we’re spending but rather the positive results they will deliver for New Zealanders.

That’s true with innovation and skills-related initiatives, and it is also true for the many social service-focused initiatives in this week’s budget.