Tax cuts are coming for most New Zealanders ... but you're going to have to wait for three years.
The lure of tax cuts was one of the few fresh carrots offered by National in the lead-up to last night's election, with Prime Minister John Key announcing less than three weeks out from polling day that a government led by him would put an extra $5 to $15 into the pockets of about 2 million Kiwis.
National supporters at the National election party at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland. Photo / Mark Mitchell
On the campaign trail, National mainly stressed that the continued development of a number of policies it had implemented during the past six years would ensure New Zealand was a better place in which to live. Wildly splashing out the cheque book would have the reverse effect, they said.
The core message from National is stability. The economy will continue to flourish. Savings will be made by tightening the public service and they will invest in improving teacher quality. Efficiencies will also be made in elective surgery.
National also appealed to the thousands of would-be first-home owners who have effectively been locked out of the property market by soaring house prices.
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Now they are back for another three years, National will start work on getting 90,000 people into their first house.
They aim to do this by replacing the KiwiSaver First Home Deposit Subsidy with a KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant, in the process doubling the support for buying a new home.
First-home buyers will be able to withdraw almost all their KiwiSaver savings to put towards a deposit.
The Auckland Housing Accord is already fast-tracking the consenting of 39,000 new homes and sections over three years with the creation of special housing areas.
National has also vowed to spend big on Auckland transport initiatives, including funding half of Auckland's $2.4 billion City Rail Link, which is set to begin in 2020, and fund a $760 million extension of the region's motorway network from Puhoi to Warkworth.
Auckland will also benefit with $350m spent on nine new schools, $100m for cycleways and the creation of a Hauraki Gulf recreational fishing reserve.
Further south, they have committed to pumping at least $15b into the Christchurch rebuild, the budget for which includes $1.7b set aside for "flagship projects" such as the convention centre, a Metro sports facility, and the Justice Precinct. It will also invest $650m to rebuild Christchurch hospitals and complete repairs on 11,000 homes in the EQC repair programme.
On a nationwide front, National says its ongoing employment and business reforms will create 150,000 new jobs by 2018, reducing unemployment to 4.5 per cent.
Paula Bennett at Viaduct Events Centre tonight. Photo / Doug Sherring
Working parents are also set to benefit under National.
Parental leave will be extended from 14 to 16 weeks, starting with a two-week extension from April 1 next year, and another two weeks from April 2016.
The new Government will spend an additional $155.7m to ensure early childhood education remains accessible and affordable, while funding will be provided for eight new children's teams working with at-risk kids and their families.
National also pledges to invest an extra $284m nationwide in new schools and improvements.
Potential partners' wishlists
• Act: Abolish the Overseas Investment Office and Resource Management Act and raise retirement age to 67.
• Maori Party: A commitment to its flagship Whanau Ora health and welfare policy.
• United Future: Income splitting for parents with dependent children, cutting tax rates, extending parental leave.
What happens next
• The election result cannot be officially confirmed until after the last special votes are received on September 30.
• The Electoral Commission expects to publish the official results on October 4.
• This will be NZ's 51st Parliament.
• To be sworn in as Prime Minister, a party leader has to convince the Governor-General that he or she would have enough votes to win confidence and supply motions in Parliament.
• The House must meet no later than November 20, by which time negotiating parties are expected to have formed a government. But if negotiations have not been successful by then, a confidence vote can be called during the Address in Reply debate. That would help work out which party or grouping of parties has the confidence of the House and could form a government.
• During the formation process, the pre-September 20 government remains in office. Traditionally, governments have constrained their actions until the political situation is resolved, in accordance with what is known as the "convention on caretaker government".
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