- By Christopher Luxon, Prime Minister and MP for Botany
Welcome to 2024.
I hope everyone out there enjoyed some time with friends and family over the Christmas-New Year period.
I had a wonderful summer spending time with my family and getting some home projects done – which included some water blasting and painting a shed.
This year is going to be great with much for the Government to deliver and, just like my shed, we are going to get it done.
Already we have seen some great outcomes as a result of this Government’s actions.
Over the summer, the coalition Government listened to the health sector who were concerned about the increase in frequent violent incidents in emergency departments.
The safety of the health workforce and patients is a priority, so eight emergency departments across the country – four Auckland hospitals, along with Waikato, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin – each received an additional five security staff for an extended period until the end of February.
We were pleased to see reports from Middlemore Hospital, where it was noted that violent incidents have nearly halved since the Health Minister Dr Shane Reti stepped up with extra security.
There’s no place for people being abusive or aggressive towards staff, who are doing their absolute best for their fellow New Zealanders in often stressful situations, so we are pleased to see positive results from this Government’s quick action.
A focus for the coalition Government is on students’ school achievement. For too long, our education system has delivered poor outcomes for learners, but we plan to turn this around.
That’s why, in our first 100 days, the coalition Government moved with urgency to remove distractions from classrooms by banning cell phone use during the school day in order to lift engagement and achievement.
This will start from Term 2 this year for all schools.
This Government has high aspirations for our learners and we refuse to leave essential learning to chance.
In 2024, we will also provide tax relief to help hardworking Kiwi families deal with the cost-of-living crisis.
This is a Government that believes fundamentally that people deserve to keep more of what they earn. After six years of being treated like a bottomless ATM, taxpayers are finally going to catch a break.
I look forward to announcing more details around tax relief for low-and-middle income earners in the coming months.
Kiwis voted for a Government focused on the issues that matter and there is a lot of work to do to make sure that we deliver.
I look forward to a year of delivery.