Rt Hon John Key
Helping New Zealand families get ahead is a priority for the National-led Government. We’ve made a number of positive announcements in recent months that highlight our commitment to that.
These include news that more than 1,700 people in the greater Christchurch area who have been helped into their first home in the first 12 months of our new KiwiSaver HomeStart scheme.
In April last year we doubled support for first home buyers through the scheme. Low and middle-income couples can now apply for government grants of up to $20,000 to put towards a deposit for their first home.
This scheme is proving to be all the difference for many young families who are telling us they couldn’t have bought their first home without it. We’re investing $435 million into this scheme and it’s expected to help around 90,000 New Zealanders into their first home over five years.
Another way we’re helping Cantabrians, and other New Zealanders, is through investing more money into Pharmac so it can fund more lifesaving drugs.
We’re putting an extra $124 million into Pharmac over the next four years, which will bring its budget next year to a record $850 million. Pharmac says this extra money will allow it to fund treatments across a wide range of health areas, including for advanced melanoma, Hepatitis C and brain tumours.
Many of the drugs to treat these illnesses are cutting-edge and extremely expensive, which puts them out of reach of most New Zealanders unless they are publicly funded.
Another way we’re helping everyday New Zealanders get ahead is reducing compliance costs and making tax simpler for businesses, particularly smaller ones. Small businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand economy and are critical to the success of many communities around the country including in Canterbury.
Some 97 percent of all New Zealand enterprises employ 20 or fewer people, so it’s vital we search out ways of reducing the financial and time burdens these businesses face.
One of the key changes we’re making is reforming provisional tax, so that up to 110,000 small businesses will be able to use a new ‘pay as you go’ option from April 2018.
These tax measures build on other initiatives we’ve already put in place to help small businesses. These include cutting ACC levies by $2 billion a year since 2011, putting more money back into New Zealanders’ pockets, introducing 90-day trials, and rolling out faster broadband.
Helping more Kiwis into home ownership, improving our health system and helping enterprising small businesses are just some of the ways we’re helping hard working New Zealanders get ahead.