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Key Says Growing Economy And Not Social Engineering His Priority

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, Dec 8 NZPA - The 49th Parliament has opened with Prime Minister John Key saying his driving goal will be to grow the New Zealand economy and not be "distracted" by social engineering.

The speech from the throne delivered by Governor-General Anand Satyanand, but prepared by Mr Key, contained little new information, but outlined the programme of the new Government.

"It will be going for growth because it believes in the power of economic growth to deliver higher incomes, better living conditions and, ultimately, a stronger society for New Zealanders," Mr Satyanand said.

"In pursuing this goal of economic growth my government will be guided by the principle of individual freedom and a belief in the capacity and right of individuals to shape and improve their lives."

Mr Key indicated that he would not allow Parliament to become "distracted" by involving itself in decisions that were best made by households and communities.

National campaigned hard against what it called the "nanny state" social policies of the previous government.

The speech described the world as experiencing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s and New Zealand being in recession.

"The Government will run an operating deficit this year and is likely to do so for some years to come."

Unemployment would also rise.

The Government would not respond by cutting spending and social support, but there would be tax cuts and a "step-up" in infrastructure spending to stimulate the economy.

"Of particular focus will be the development of new roading and public transport projects, the improvement and expansion of school property... and the accelerated roll-out of an ultra-fast broadband network."

The Resource Management Act would be reformed in two stages.

The first would attempt to improve the consent process and simply the law, including priority consenting for projects of National significance.

The second stage would "focus on improving decision making around infrastructure, water and urban design".

Despite the measures, the Government was aware of "the enormity of the challenges the New Zealand economy faces."

For those who were hit by recession and lost their jobs there would be a "Re-Start" package of assistance to give transitional relief.

In other areas Mr Key confirmed:

* A halt in the growth of government bureaucracy;

* A review of regulations;

* A review of the emissions trading scheme to balance emissions reductions with economic growth, while honouring Kyoto Protocol obligations.

* The introduction of national standards at primary education level;

* Policies to reduce violent crime; and

* More use of the private sector to reduce waiting lists in public hospitals.

Mr Key also confirmed the Government would review the Foreshore and Seabed Act and with the Maori Party form a group to consider constitutional issues including Maori representation.

A referendum would also be held on MMP and the Electoral Finance Act would be repealed.

Initially there would be a return to the old Electoral Act, though new rules about donations would stay in place until a new law could be agreed upon.

The speech repeatedly returned to its economic theme.

"Without economic growth my government's objectives will be compromised, with stronger economic growth, its objectives will be realised more fully.

"In growing for growth my government will be acutely conscious of the fact that it is in the interests of no New Zealanders, and to the detriment of us all, to allow an underclass to develop in New Zealand."

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