The Informer

Columns
Wednesday, May 10, 2017


May is the month when the Minister of Finance delivers the Budget and for Steven Joyce, it’s his first one. He inherits the legacy of a growing and dynamic economy after 8 years under the hand of Bill English.

Treasury is predicting there will be many years of surpluses ahead which will enable us to reduce debt, improve public services like health and education. We live in an uncertain world. Reducing debt provides a “stabilising buffer” in case of more economic shocks which are almost a certainty, given the nature of the times we live in.
New Zealand needs to have the capacity to absorb not just one but a couple of big shocks like we had with the Global Financial Recession and the Christchurch earthquakes.

Being ever resilient is the key and all will be revealed on 25 May in the Budget.

New responsibilities
I’m delighted and excited to have been sworn as the Minister of Statistics as well as Associate Minister of both Immigration and Environment. It was a thrill to get the phone call from Prime Minister Bill English inviting me to become a member of his executive team. I have inherited topical policy portfolio responsibilities and I’m very much looking forward to getting my teeth into these important roles. 

It’s been a long time since we’ve had a Cabinet Minister from our electorate. The last was Graeme Lee back during the time Jim Bolger was Prime Minister.  Needless to say, my first priority is always serving as the Member of Parliament for Coromandel. I will work even harder to ensure our region is well represented in Wellington.

Huge Infrastructure Investment
A recent major Budget pre- announcement means a further $11 billion will be invested in new capital infrastructure. This signals the Government’s strong commitment to accelerating much needed infrastructure investment with our growing tourist trade and areas like Mercury Bay which has an expanding local population.

Such a huge commitment is only possible because of our strong  and growing economy. The two are inextricably linked. Without a strong economy there simply wouldn’t be the capacity to invest so heavily in infrastructure let alone the ongoing investment in education, health and social services.