This week I’ve been in London. Over the past few days, I’ve held meetings with a number of British political leaders including Prime Minister David Cameron, Foreign Secretary William Hague, and Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband. This visit been a wonderful opportunity to reaffirm the close relationship that New Zealand shares with the United Kingdom. It’s certainly a relationship that both Mr Cameron and I want to see grow and develop further in the years to come. One thing that’s obvious to me as I travel through Europe is the impact that high government debt has on families and communities – with higher taxes, big cuts to public services and pensions. I don’t want to see happen in New Zealand. That’s why it’s crucial that…… we stick to our plan of responsibly managing the government’s finances and building a more productive and competitive economy. We need to make sure we can continue to weather the shocks in the face of ongoing global uncertainty.
Recently, we’ve seen indicators that will give New Zealanders good reason to feel optimistic about the future under the National-led Government. Last week, Statistics New Zealand released data for the second quarter of 2013 that showed our annual growth was at 2.5 per cent. This makes us the fifth fastest growing economy in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), ahead of the United States, Canada and Japan. In the same week, the Grant Thornton Global Dynamism Index for 2013 showed that New Zealand is now ranked fourth in the world in terms of the most attractive countries for supporting and enabling dynamic business growth.
Business owners and managers around the country are also displaying increasing levels of optimism, with a recent MYOB Business Monitor survey reporting a significant improvement in the confidence and financial expectations of small and medium businesses in New Zealand. These are all positive signs, but we’re not finished yet. We’re continuing to work hard to deliver more jobs, higher wages, a better standard of living, and the brighter future that you and your family deserve.