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New Finance Minister Steven Joyce gave a wide-ranging speech at his first appearance at Finance 2017, an annual event co-hosted by Massey University and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. The Auckland business community, academics and media turned out in large numbers to hear Mr Joyce’s first speech in his new role, and Auckland infrastructure dominated the discussion.
Mr Joyce outlined the Government’s investment in roading for Auckland but admitted that the time for some “hard conversations” was coming.
“There is no getting away from the fact that central Auckland is built on a narrow isthmus, which makes it hard to get around – and the available land transport corridors are rapidly being used,” he said.
He confirmed he had been in meetings with Mayor Phil Goff earlier in the day and had ruled out the Government giving its support to a regional fuel tax.
“We do not see regional fuel taxes as part of the Government’s mix for transport in Auckland because they are administratively difficult, prone to leakage and cost-spreading and blur the accountabilities between central and local Government.”
He said the Government was keen to look at other ways of managing demand by reduce reliance on roads in favour of public transport.
Acting deputy head of the Massey Business School, Dr Claire Matthews, asked the Minister if the change of Prime Minister would mean a fresh look at the retirement age.
“In fact if you look at our long-term fiscal track, the far bigger issue is health costs,” Mr Joyce said. “So I am not anticipating great changes, but certainly Prime Minster English has not given the same commitments to not change the retirement as John Key did.”
Massey University’s new Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas encouraged the audience to build their connections with the University.
“Many of us have worked together, some of you have studied with us. Let’s build on those connections,” she said.
“Speak to us if you have ideas for ways that we could help your business through research or specialised courses, or if you have opportunities that you think might benefit our students or graduates.
“Our door is always open to collaborations that will shape a better, brighter world for all New Zealanders.”
Massey University and the Auckland Chamber of Commerce use any profits from the event to provide scholarships to the top first year finance and economics students at Massey’s Auckland campus. The 2017 award winners were Samantha Asser and Allan Ramage.
Created: 16/02/2017 | Last updated: 17/02/2017
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