9 Dec 2008

Economy emphasised at state opening of Parliament

3:08 pm on 9 December 2008

The 49th Parliament has been officially opened, with the Government pledging to stimulate economic growth, increase infrastructure spending and lift educational standards.

At the state opening of Parliament on Tuesday, Governor-General Anand Satyanand was welcomed on the forecourt of Parliament by Black Rod and the New Zealand Herald of Arms, to the sound of an accompanying powhiri.

Mr Satyanand made his way to the old debating chamber from where he delivered the Speech from the Throne, which sets out the Government's legislative plan for the next three years.

There was a strong emphasis on the economy, and the speech stated the Government's intentions to stimulate economic growth.

"My Government believes that building a stronger economy in the term of this Parliament will not be without considerable challenges," Mr Satyanand read from the speech.

"These are extraordinarily difficult times for the country and the world."

There was a heavy emphasis on the economy, but the speech also touched on climate change and stated that the Government will honour its Kyoto Protocol obligations.

"It will work to achieve further global alliances that build on the goals agreed to at Kyoto. In approaching future international climate change negotiations, it will work with fellow countries on finding a pragmatic way to include large emitters."

The speech committed the Government to its tax cut programme, increased spending on infrastructure and renewed efforts to lift educational standards.

Party leaders were giving their addresses in replay to the speech before the House went into urgency to pass legislation enabling tax cuts and KiwiSaver changes.

The House will sit until 10pm on Tuesday and will remain under urgency for two weeks.