Last week was a good week for New Zealand, both internationally and at home. It started after I arrived home from Sydney after having a very successful meeting with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott. These discussions have led to a number of positive outcomes for New Zealand, including the confirmation that Australia will extend access to student loans to long-term New Zealand residents in Australia.
New Zealand was also invited to participate in the G20 meetings later this year in Australia. This is where some of the world’s largest economies, such as China, India and the United States come together to discuss the world economy. It is a real privilege to be included. Back home in………. New Zealand we have also had some great announcements this week. One Is around Ultra-Fast Broadband, This week we announced that more than a quarter of the project had been completed. Delivering Ultra-Fast Broadband will transform the way New Zealanders live and work. I believe it will make us one of the most connected countries in the world by delivering fibre to 75 per cent of homes and businesses, and increasing the speed of the internet in rural areas.
UFB is a game-changer. It is promoting greater innovation, creating high-paid jobs and growing our economy. More great news this week was all about about making our streets safer. Keeping safe is very important to all New Zealand families, and National’s focus on more frontline policing is delivering results. We welcomed news that there has been a 155 per cent increase in Police foot patrols over the past two years. This meant there were over 104,000 foot patrols in 2013, a big increase from around 41,000 in 2011. Increased foot patrols mean Police officers are more visible in the community, particularly in known ‘hot spots’ when there is a risk of crime taking place. We believe everyone deserves to feel safe in our communities, and we will continue making positive steps to achieve this.