5 Mar 2023

Christopher Luxon's State of the Nation speech: Affordable childcare plan unveiled

12:08 pm on 5 March 2023
National party leader Christopher Luxon gives his State of the Nation speech in Auckland on Sunday morning, outlining policies National will implement if it is elected this year.

Photo: RNZ / Jane Patterson

The leader of the opposition has announced he will make childcare more affordable if National gets into power.

Christopher Luxon's policy announcement came as he gave his State of the Nation speech in Auckland on Sunday morning.

Luxon said the recent "catastrophic" weather events had shown New Zealand had become fragile when it was once sturdy, "vulnerable when it used to be resilient".

"Added to those global events, many Kiwis up and down New Zealand are understandably feeling frustrated and worried about the direction New Zealand is heading."

Luxon said National would create a FamilyBoost childcare tax to make early childhood education more affodable for parents.

"Our plan will specifically target lower and middle-income families, to make their lives a bit easier," he said.

"National's FamilyBoost childcare tax rebate will help 130,000 low-and-middle-income families keep more of what they earn, with up to $75 more in their after-tax pay each week. That's $3,900 every year, depending on their income.

"Families will receive a 25 percent rebate on their early childhood education expenses, up to the maximum of $3,900 per year.

"It is a targeted programme that will be available to families earning up to $180,000, with the full $75 a week rebate available to those families earning up to $140,000."

In his speech, Luxon said the country had a new prime minister, but it was "the same old Labour".

"Chris Hipkins couldn't deliver for Kiwis when he was part of Jacinda Ardern's inner-circle, and he can't deliver for Kiwis now."

He said he had five commitments which the National party would deliver if it came into power.

Those included curbing the rising cost of living, lifting incomes for all, delivering a resilient infrastructure for the future, restoring law and order, and providing better health and education services.

To "restore law and order", Luxon said National would back police and tackle gangs, making it harder for them to access firearms and gang patches would be banned in public places.

"And we'll introduce tough consequences, including Youth Military Academies, for serious, repeat youth offenders because we want to help them turn their lives around."

Luxon said Labour had concentrated on things that "don't matter".

They included the Auckland Harbour cycling bridge, co-governance and the merge of TVNZ and RNZ that was longer happening.

He said the country was in its sixth year of a government that over-spent, over-taxed and under-delivered.

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