John Key has delievered a key speech to the West Harbour Rotary Club.
Some major points:
* the path toward ever-increasing globalisationis littered with both opportunities and threats
* having quality, long-term approaches to issues in the environmental and social areas has a lot to do with how much money you have to spend. And how much money you have to spend depends on how well the economy is performing
* At a national level, if we can generate more income in the future, we have more ability, collectively, to do things – to improve our public services and to strengthen our national institutions
* Rather than being play money for government ministers, we hold the view that more of the dividend from increased economic performance should go to individual New Zealanders and their families.
* Within the OECD, our economy is a third-division economy, and our nearest rivals are countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal and the Czech Republic.
* Improving our productivity is one of the biggest challenges facing the New Zealand economy. The good growth we have enjoyed in recent years has been driven largely by increased numbers of people joining the workforce, and people working longer hours. But that trend has come to an end, and our future growth must therefore be driven by improvements in our productivity
* We are a small country and a long way from the world’s major markets. A circle centred on London with a 2000 km radius takes in most of Europe and even part of North Africa. The same circle centred on Wellington takes in Norfolk Island, a few hundred fishing boats and about four million seagulls.
* Because we don’t enjoy the advantages of some other countries we cannot afford to have economic policies that are only average, or “good enough”. We need first-rate policies, and we need constant reflection and self-examination. We need to be continually looking at our economy, our regulatory environment and the best role of the government.