6 Nov 2009

Key defends Government's first-year performance

8:14 am on 6 November 2009

Prime Minister John Key says his National Government has achieved what it set out to do in its first year, given the economic conditions it inherited.

The Labour Party has accused the Government of lacking an economic plan a year on since it took power.

Deputy leader Annette King says National has no plan to deal with rising unemployment and has criticised Mr Key's political management.

On Thursday, ACT Party leader and National ally Rodney Hide said Mr Key had done nothing in a year apart from launching the national cycleway.

Mr Hide has since apologised for that statement, but has indicated he is frustrated with the progress the Government is making - particularly on economic policy.

Mr Key told Morning Report on Friday that National inherited a government in some of the worst conditions since the Great Depression.

The Prime Minister says the Government has made progress in several areas, such as law and order, tax cuts, reforms to the Resource Management Act (RMA) and free trade agreements.

Mr Key says the economic conditions have been difficult to work with in a very fragile international environment.

"Of course, when the economic conditions give us more room we will be wanting to improve even further on the gains that we've made.

"But no one should underestimate, for instance, the most substantial reforms in the RMA since it was introduced in 1991 will have a major impact on economic growth."

Mr Key says the Government is doing everything it can to narrow the wage gap between New Zealand and Australia.

United Future leader Peter Dunne, also Minister of Revenue, agrees that National's political management is less formal than the previous Labour-led government.

However, Mr Dunne says that makes a refreshing change and is sure mistakes made this year will not be repeated.