Busy start to the year for National

Nat11 - photography for Office of JK & National PartyPM Weekly Column

Our busy start to the year continues with the National-led Government making several important announcements over the past week.

Tertiary Education and Employment Minister Steven Joyce released the 2015 Occupation Outlook report and mobile App. This allows students and their families to easily compare job opportunities and average incomes of 50 different careers. With New Zealand growing into a highly-skilled…. economy, it is important that students consider their future career opportunities before moving into further study or training. The Occupation Outlook report and app brings together a wide range of information and puts it at the fingertips of students to give them all the information they need to make an informed decision about their future.

Environment Minister and Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith also detailed the Government’s plans to overhaul the Resource Management Act (RMA) to make it more practical and relevant.  The RMA has produced over 80,000 pages of plans and rules across New Zealand’s 78 councils. This 10-metre mountain of red tape is holding back the development of new houses and jobs. An independent report found the RMA is adding an extra $30,000 to the cost of an apartment and an extra $15,000 to the cost of a section, and is reducing the capacity of housing development by 22 per cent.

Our changes to the RMA will be pragmatic and moderate. Our aim is to ensure it strikes a balance between environmental effects and the impact on housing affordability, jobs and economic growth, and the development of our cities. In other news, I’ve just returned from a visit to Europe and this week will be giving my first major speech of the year in Auckland on social housing and increasing housing assistance for those who need it most. I’ll be able to give you more details on that in my next column.