• Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister

The first job of a National-led government will be to lock in economic growth by cutting taxes for working New Zealanders, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

"The 4% economic growth forecast for the next two years must be locked in. Only by doing that will we see the new jobs and opportunities that will lift our standard of living," said Mrs Shipley.

"Tax cuts are at the heart of National's plans to help working families get ahead. Legislation we will pass before Christmas will mean that everyone earning more than $200 a week will pay less tax.

"We will swing into action with key elements of the Bright Future package. This will include the review of research and development and beginning a three-year programme for 4,500 scholarships jointly funded between Government and business for science and technology training.

"National will also ensure legislation is passed so that, from the next academic year, students face a fairer student loans scheme.

"On other fronts, National will hold a referendum on MMP so New Zealanders can tell Parliament whether this is how they want to be governed. The last thing we need is a select committee of list MPs making a decision which is in their interests but which may not reflect the wishes of ordinary people.

"By June we will have reduced waiting times to six months in five surgery specialities: cardiology; orthopaedics; gynaecology; ear nose and throat; and eyes.

"Family Start - a new innovative programme for helping our most disadvantaged families - will be rolled out around the country

"We will be taking action to bring our road transport system into the modern world. We cannot afford to wait any longer to solve the roading crisis in Auckland.

"This is a strong agenda for action. To get it in place we need stable government and the courage to take the bold steps that will help this country move forward.

"MMP has shown us that the ability to compromise is a one of the ingredients in stable government. But it has also shown us that courage and leadership are equally a vital part of the mix.

"A National-led government, backed by people committed to lower taxes for working New Zealanders and supporting businesses to create jobs and wealth for our country, is the best way to ensure that stability," said Mrs Shipley.