Top 200 Thinking: John Key

As Prime Minister I’ve had the privilege of visiting many businesses throughout New Zealand. I’ve chatted to business leaders about the issues they’re facing, the progress they’re making, and the opportunities that lie ahead. I’m constantly impressed by the talent on display. Everywhere I go I meet outstanding entrepreneurs, learn about world-class products and services, and see great examples of business leadership.

New Zealand’s future success ultimately relies on the success of these businesses up and down the country. They are creating the jobs, incomes, and return on investment that drives our economy and makes New Zealand such great place to live.

The Government also has an important role to play. It’s the Government’s job to have plan to navigate through the challenging global economic situation and create the right conditions for businesses to operate. We need to make sure New Zealand remains an attractive place to live, work, and raise family.

That’s exactly what this Government has been doing. I’m proud to lead Government that is doing the right thing by New Zealanders. We have plan to build the foundations for stronger economy, and we’ve been implementing that plan since we came into office.

In these times of global uncertainty, New Zealand is relatively well placed compared to many other developed economies.

We are not immune from slowdown in growth in the United States and Europe. But we’re well positioned to benefit from our strong links to Asia, which is continuing to experience faster growth than the rest of the world.

This positive outlook is underpinned by strong commodity prices, strong links with our largest trading partner Australia, increased rates of savings, and stimulus provided by rebuilding after the Canterbury earthquakes and our earlier stimulus package.

While we face the same challenges as other trading nations, our biggest constraint is organising our economy effectively to meet increasing demand for our food products from middle-class Asian consumers.

That’s why New Zealand is focused on implementing plan that involves policies to increase productivity. For example, this Government has cut personal and business taxes at time when many countries are increasing taxes. We’ve overhauled regulation to reduce costs to businesses and consumers. We’ve spent billions improving infrastructure like our road, rail and broadband networks – all of which support our export sector.

Another positive factor is our sound banking and financial sector and the sound position of our government finances. We’ve set path back to surplus in three years and our government debt is forecast to peak below 30 percent of GDP. Since the end of the recession in 2009, our economy has grown steadily and unemployment has started coming down from peak of about seven percent.

So, relative to many other countries, New Zealand remains well placed. But we’re taking nothing for granted and we’re continuing to work hard on our plan to reduce debt and increase productivity in our economy.

The action this Government has taken to get the country back into surplus as fast as possible – and to build the foundations for future growth – is not only the right course of action. It’s the only sensible course of action available to us.

I’m confident in this Government’s ability to navigate through the choices ahead with the best interests of New Zealanders in mind. And I’m confident in the ability of our business community to help us build brighter future for New Zealanders. Together we have chance to build platform for future growth. If we get this right, the opportunities for our country are endless.

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