• Jenny Shipley
Prime Minister

"New Zealand is on the move again," Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today.

"The Coalition Government is moving forward in a number of areas that will give business confidence."

In a speech to the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Prime Minister said the Coalition Government is aware that this country's interests are best served by securing a growing and competitive economy.

"We are determined to continue delivering a progressive and responsible economic programme which then allows New Zealanders' social concerns to be addressed."

Jenny Shipley says the Government will be making significant announcements over the coming days in the areas of education, employment, tariffs and immigration.

"We are also moving to improve the long-term effectiveness of ACC in the interests of both accident victims and those who pay, by agreeing in principle to move to full funding of the Employers and Earners Accounts, and to introduce an element of increased competition.

"We are determined to reduce the cost of doing business. The Minister of Commerce John Luxton has just announced a "six-pack" of measures designed to ensure the costs imposed by legislation are minimised. There will be a Regulatory Responsibility Act to sit alongside the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Reserve Bank Act.

"We are also progressing further reform of the electricity sector, to ensure that both business and domestic consumers get power at the lowest possible price.

"All these measures are important to Auckland, as they are to the rest of New Zealand. Early next year a series of major decisions which are a key to Auckland's future will be completed. We are working closely with Auckland leaders on these issues.

"The new road funding and management system will enable us to respond to the demands of increasing road use and a growing economy. This has been well supported by Auckland Mayors and Regional Council chairs. This programme is especially important in Auckland, as it will provide more flexibility in dealing with this city's congestion problems.

"The final decisions on the Auckland Regional Services Trust will be known in the New Year. The future ownership of the Auckland Airport is actively being considered.

"The Coalition Government is continuing to consider asset sales, where appropriate. The Government does not see itself as a long term owner of airports. We would prefer to use this money to pay off debt, thus freeing up income for spending on health and other social priorities.

"The Government is putting more money into priorities such as health and education. Auckland is seeing very significant investment in both these areas to help meet the people needs of this city.

"The only cautionary note that needs to be struck today is to remind New Zealanders that our wealth is generated by the productive sector.

"We will need to be careful next year to see that domestic demand for wage increases or services doesn't outstrip our ability as a nation to pay. If we get it wrong we all lose through loss of jobs and higher interest rates.

"If we don't create wealth in this nation, we have nothing to share.

"I am proud of the Government's determination to be realistic about the balance between what we would like and what we can afford. This is in stark contrast to the wishful thinking of the other political parties in Parliament. Next year I intend to pressure those parties to see that they explain to New Zealanders what the consequences of an alternative government would be.

"This Government will continue to deliver sound economic management as the foundation for a positive future for all New Zealanders," Mrs Shipley concluded.