New Zealand First MP
April marks the mid-point of the Parliamentary term, and this week is a big one for the coalition government as it delivers a raft of changes offering better support for workers, families and businesses.
On Monday, the minimum wage increased by $1.20 an hour to $17.70. It is the largest increase in the adult minimum wage in New Zealand’s history, the second increase during our term in government, and it will not be the last.
We are committed to seeing it rise to $20 by 2021. This is core New Zealand First policy which became part of the Coalition Agreement.
While it is essential that our lowest-paid workers earn a fair day’s pay, I am aware of the concern among small-to-medium businesses about the affordability of the wage increase. We recognise that these increases are an additional cost for employers. New Zealand First is keen to see a tax package introduced which will help to offset the cost to business.
We have already played a key role in supporting businesses to grow through the establishment of a $1 billion Research and Development Fund for New Zealand enterprise.
From this week onwards, businesses spending a minimum of $50,000 on research and development will receive a 15 per cent tax credit. When businesses grow, so too does the economy.
This week also sees ACC levies drop, National Superannuation and Veterans Pensions increase, and new KiwiSaver rates of six per cent and 10 per cent added.
The coalition government is focussed on making life better for all New Zealanders, and I am proud of New Zealand First’s role in this.
We have made great progress, but there is more to be done and we are committed to maintaining the momentum.