By Todd Muller
The old adage is that a week is a long time in politics. It is clearly as true today as when it was first written. In just seven short days we've had the unexpected resignation of our Prime Minister John Key, a fast but fair leadership challenge with a healthy pool of candidates and the election and seamless transition to power of a Bill English-led government. I have no doubt that John Key's intelligence, optimism and integrity as both Prime Minister and leader of the National Party will see him judged by history as one of New Zealand's greatest leaders. He had an ability to speak to every day New Zealanders in the language of their lives and to forge a real connection with those he encountered. He's a larger than life personality – but the strength and stability of our government has never been built on personality. It's been built on delivering meaningful results for Kiwis. New Zealand is in great shape. We have a strong, growing economy and our public finances are in good health thanks to the tough choices and decisions made by this government during the years driven capably by Bill English as Finance Minister. Responsible economic and fiscal management has delivered real and tangible benefits for everyday people. There are more jobs, lower unemployment and higher incomes. That isn't just a line from a campaign speech but a fact backed up by figures. Treasuries latest forecasts predict unemployment will drop to 4.3 per cent by 2020-2021, with more than 150,000 additional jobs created and average wages increasing by $7500 to $66,000 per annum. We are forecast to be $473 million in surplus this year rapidly rising to $8.5 billion during the same period. The point I'm trying to reinforce here is New Zealand is doing really well, and that isn't going to change based on the personality in charge. Bill English and Paula Bennett will steady the ship and deliver the continuity and stability that we need to enable National to keep working for New Zealand. I'm excited for this new chapter in our story, and I believe you should be too. From my family to yours, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year. Enjoy the time with friends and family, make the most of the weather, and I'll see you in 2017.