Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says the previous government left a “mess” and it is the current coalition Government’s job to fix that.
It was Luxon’s first official speech of the year, given to caucus colleagues at the National Party caucus retreat in Christchurch.
It’s an annual event for most parties — it was last year at Labour’s caucus retreat former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced her intention to resign.
Today, Luxon was introduced by deputy and Finance Minister Nicola Willis, who began opening comments with jubilation at the election result.
“This time a year ago in Napier and we were 34 [MPs] and now we are 49.”
It was met with applause from those gathered.
She said it was Luxon “who made that possible” and he’d brought together a team “at a low ebb” and introduced discipline to the caucus.
“With that focus [it] has done something historic … an incredible turnaround.”
Willis said Luxon had the “values, capability and confidence” to succeed at the country’s leader.
Luxon welcomed the caucus “back to work” and said they were going to “go hard” in Parliament, by delivering on their 100 day plan and confronting the “mess of the previous government”.
“We are going to continue to stay focused on things that are important to New Zealand and New Zealanders.”
He said if the National stayed in touch with New Zealanders and their concerns it could win the next election also, “to get some proper long term change in this country”.
“We couldn’t be more committed, we couldn’t be more determined, we couldn’t be more motivated to actually lead the Government because we have the opportunity — as I’ve said to you many many times before in caucus meetings — that very few people do, which is the chance to go change our country for the better.”
He said the Government’s vision for New Zealand was for it to be a stable, confident, outward-looking and much more prosperous country.
“We are going to be ruthlessly focused on outcomes.”
Luxon said there were huge opportunities including for the Government to work with iwi, business and community organisations.
He said the previous government had “left a mess” and a “turnaround job”, including in government spending, impacting inflation, the size of the public service, the country’s debt, student achievement, and hospital waitlists.
He said that was the “reality” that was “now our job” to resolve.
“It won’t be easy, it will be difficult, and there will be tough times ahead for us as we get that turnaround in place.”