This month, thousands of businesses, workers and families across New Zealand are reaping the rewards of the work the Government was elected to deliver.
New Zealanders told us they wanted an economy that ensures everyone shares in the rewards of economic growth. On April 1, we implemented a range of policies to ensure this.
A number of Kiwis work more than one job. We've made life easier for these hard working New Zealanders by ensuring the removal of secondary tax.
The changes mean Inland Revenue will more closely monitor the tax paid by wage and salary earners through the year. If it appears the worker is being over taxed, Inland Revenue will suggest a more suitable PAYE tax code tailored to that worker.
Inland Revenue will also make it easier for individuals to apply for tailored tax codes that suit their earning circumstances, and provide an online process to apply for the codes.
This year's tax return will be different. If you're due a tax refund, you won't have to chase Inland Revenue – we've automated the process so the money you're owed will come directly to you.
A key to a stable, fulfilled life relates to security and community.
Thanks to a Bill submitted by our confidence and supply partner the Green Party, employers can now better support people affected by domestic or family violence.
Workers are now eligible for 10 days' domestic violence leave, and are able to request flexible working arrangements to keep themselves safe without losing their jobs.
For those New Zealanders who've already done the hard yards, we've made sure rates of New Zealand Superannuation and Veterans Pensions increase to reflect wage increases under this Government.
The net rate for a couple who both qualify for Super is rising by $15.82, to $632.54 a week.
Our Winter Energy Payment started on May 1 and will run through to October 1. Feedback from our seniors around this has been very positive.
We all deserve to be paid appropriately for hard work. The Government has increased the minimum wage by $1.20 an hour – a pay boost that will support more than 200,000 of our lowest-paid workers.
We're also providing more support to Kiwi businesses so they can innovate and create jobs.
With our new Research and Development tax incentive, more than 2000 businesses will be able to claim a 15 per cent tax credit on their research and development spending.
This will help them invest in the future of their business, produce higher value goods for export, and create new, high-paying jobs.
All businesses that spend at least $50,000 on eligible research and development qualify for this incentive.
This coalition-Government have a goal of raising Research and Development investment to 2 per cent of GDP.
With our reductions to ACC levies, business and self-employed workers will also be better off. We've dropped ACC levies on average from 72c to 67c per $100 liable earnings.
These changes will save New Zealand businesses around $100 million over the next two years.
We're delivering these important changes, while managing the economy responsibly.
Net core Crown debt is currently 22.1 per cent of GDP, down from 23.2 per cent a year ago. The coalition-Government is on track to meet our Budget Responsibility Rule of reducing net debt to 20 per cent of GDP within five years of taking office.
We are also continuing to invest in our future, by ensuring regular payments to the New Zealand Super Fund. Treasury has forecast economic growth of 2-3 per cent over the next few years.
My second Grow Waikato event will be on Tuesday May 14, 4:45 pm, The Atrium, WINTEC Hamilton City Campus. The focus will be on our region's growing construction sector.
Guest speakers will include: Leonard Gardner, commercial manager, Foster Construction; Jen Baird, general manager city growth, Hamilton City Council; Matt Stark, director, Stark Property.
If you would like to attend, please RSVP to: Melissa.firstname.lastname@example.org