Good morning everyone. It’s a pleasure to be here for the 2014 AusIMM New Zealand Annual Conference – my second since becoming Energy and Resources Minister.
The minerals industry plays a major role in New Zealand’s economy, contributing more than $1 billion to our GDP, producing vital inputs for industry, and adding significantly to our exports.
The minerals sector provides thousands of highly-skilled jobs, and workers across the petroleum and minerals sectors are paid on average $105,000 per annum – more than twice the New Zealand average wage.
National MP for Tauranga Simon Bridges today welcomed the decision by NZTA to clear all but $1 million of the $63 million debt associated with the Route K express bypass removed from Tauranga City Council’s books.
“This is great news for Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty” said Mr Bridges.
With Parliament wrapping up I will now be able to spend even more time in Tauranga working hard to share our message. And it is a simple one. Last election we laid out our four priorities for the term: responsibly managing the Government’s finances, building a more competitive and productive economy, delivering better public services and rebuilding Christchurch.
In this last week of Parliament before the Election we had a number of valedictory speeches from retiring National MPs, including Tony Ryall. As a new MP in 2008, Tony was a great help to me and I have learnt a lot from him sharing a constituency office in Tauranga over the past six years.