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Budget 2017 Home Page Budget Speech - Budget 2017

Keeping the Economy Growing

Mr Speaker, the first priority in any budget must be to take the right steps to keep the economy growing.

To improve public services, invest in infrastructure, or boost family incomes, we must continue to have a strong successful economy.

A strong economy can never be taken for granted. It must be nurtured and worked on, or it will quickly go backwards.

While the world economy is growing, there are plenty of risks and plenty of political uncertainties that could affect us.

One of the biggest current risks is the more inward-looking isolationist economic policies being pushed in some parts of the world, and by some politicians here at home.

These people want to be more protectionist on trade, slash immigration, reduce foreign investment, centralise wage bargaining, and increase taxes.

All of these things would slow our industries down, reduce competitiveness and cost jobs.

That's the opposite of a recipe for growth - that's a recipe for stalling growth.

The Government's plan for growth is sensible conservative fiscal policy, strong orthodox monetary policy, and an ongoing programme of microeconomic reform that enhances the competitiveness and confidence of Kiwi businesses.

It is crucial that we pull on all three of these levers.

Our programme of microeconomic reform is called the Business Growth Agenda. It includes measures to boost New Zealand's trade, lift the skills of our workforce, recruit skilled migrants our companies need to grow, boost innovation, attract new investment especially in regional New Zealand, and build the infrastructure that a growing economy needs.

Budget 2017 invests $1 billion over four years in sustaining the strong economic plan that is getting New Zealand to grow.

First, the Government is allocating $373 million in the second round of our Innovative New Zealand programme.

Innovative New Zealand is a series of science, R&D and skills initiatives that are working together to lift the innovation activity of New Zealand companies.

The funding includes $82 million for the Government's pre-eminent applied science fund - the Endeavour fund; $132 million for Tertiary Education to ensure young New Zealanders obtain the skills we need; and $75 million for Callaghan Innovation's R&D grants to help our tech companies succeed.

It's all about adding more value to our export volumes. Investment in innovation is hugely important for lifting our productivity and providing for our future prosperity.

Budget 2017 allocates $134 million over four years to advance New Zealand's Trade Agenda 2030, including opening new embassies in Dublin and Colombo, as we work towards our ambitious target of having 90 per cent of goods exports covered by trade agreements.

There is $304 million towards the ongoing development of our screen sector, and $146 million in new funding to grow our tourism infrastructure around the country so every region can benefit from the growth in our tourism industry.

We can't talk about lifting economic growth in New Zealand without talking about the increasingly important Māori economy which is crucial for lifting not just the economic and social fortunes of Māori, but of all New Zealanders.

The Government's comprehensive programme for Māori Economic Development is called He Kai Kei Aku Ringa and it is led by Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell. Budget 2017 contains $93 million in new Māori Development initiatives, including $10 million to support the development of Māori tourism, and $17 million for Māori housing initiatives.

The funding will also allow for an extra 2,500 families to access Whānau Ora, and additional support for the continued revitalisation of te reo and Māori culture.

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