Key to paint positives of growth at Nats conference
By Sarah Robson
It is Prime Minister John Key's turn to tell the National Party faithful how his government plans to keep New Zealand on track.
With concerns about an economic slowdown and the impact of the reduced dairy price on people's minds, Mr Key is expected to use his keynote address today to the party's annual conference to paint a positive picture of the country's prospects for growth.
The occasion also provides the prime minister with the chance to take stock of National's victory at the 2014 election and pay tribute to party members who were out in force on the campaign trail.
An announcement is also expected in Mr Key's speech due to be given in Auckland about lunchtime.
Yesterday, the economy, housing and Auckland's infrastructure woes dominated discussions between ministers, MPs and party members.
Housing and Building Minister Nick Smith talked up what he is doing to ease the housing crisis and increase supply - especially in Auckland.
Dr Smith has signalled he wants to make further changes around building and resource consents, including looking at a bigger role for private players.
"The government is exploring providing contestability in the delivery of both building consents and resource consents," he told reporters.
"This is a complex question on which we're getting officials to do more work."
Finance Minister Bill English took a reassuring approach, saying New Zealand remains on track for moderate sustained growth.
He also said the government is working to ensure the economy remains resilient, despite the challenges it faces.
Nearly 700 National Party members have been at the conference at the SkyCity convention centre.