Prime Minister Christopher Luxon says New Zealand in 'fragile' situation, warns of tough decisions

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon is promising to be "straight up" with Kiwis about the "fragile" situation of New Zealand but warns his Government is going to make some tough decisions that "not everyone will like".   

Luxon delivered his State of the Nation speech on Sunday morning in Auckland, where he warned he wouldn't leave New Zealand's future to "chance" and his Government won't "sit by and wait for miracles to happen".   

He slammed the previous "broken and distracted" Labour government, who left "nasty surprises", saying New Zealanders had been "badly let down".  

Christopher Luxon gave his first State of the Nation speech as Prime Minister on Sunday morning.
Christopher Luxon gave his first State of the Nation speech as Prime Minister on Sunday morning. Photo credit: Newshub

"Not everyone will like it, but I think Kiwis need a Prime Minister that levels with them, and is straight up about the state of the nation and where we're at," Luxon said in his State of the Nation speech.  

"The last few years have been too tough, for too many Kiwis. We've lurched from challenge to crisis - a global pandemic, conflict overseas and natural disasters,"  

"But those external crises have masked a more fundamental challenge. Kiwis are a resilient bunch.   

"But the last government treated us like a country that had lost its mojo. And because of that, we did. We were badly let down by a broken and distracted government."  

The Prime Minister believes it's "no surprise" Kiwis have been "voting with their feet", with a record net 44,500 New Zealanders leaving the country last year.   

Luxon pointed to a range of issues as to why he believes New Zealand is struggling.   

He described New Zealand's economy as a "major problem", tied down with "unnecessary" regulation, and saw "farmers and businesses as something to be sneered at rather than celebrated".  

He slammed New Zealand's attendance rates, and the amount kids learn at schools, saying since 2000 15-year-olds have slipped from 4th in the developed world for maths to 19th.  

The Prime Minister also took aim at New Zealand's welfare dependency, pointing to the additional 70,000 on a Jobseeker unemployment benefit, compared to 2017.   

"That's like adding every man, woman and child in Napier onto the Jobseeker benefit in just six years," he said.   

But promised to make changes, continuously referring to "tough choices" his Government would make and was confident New Zealand could get its "mojo back".   

"We need to celebrate ambition and aspiration - and back ourselves to take on the best in the world. There's so much, so much more that unites us than what divides us," the Prime Minister said.   

"However, you got here, whenever you arrived, and wherever you're going - we all want to leave our kids, our grandkids, and our community with more hope, more opportunity, and more confidence in the future of this great country we call home."  

He puts his hope and optimism down to the people in New Zealand, which he believes is the "best country on Planet Earth",  

"It's not because of our beaches. It's not because of our mountains. It's certainly not because of our roads. It's because of you. Because of us. Our people," Luxon said.   

"Kiwis are resourceful and savvy. We work hard and we play harder. We're a country with a glint in our eye and fire in our soul. We reach for the stars even while we stay close to our roots.   

"We climbed Everest. We split the atom. We charted waka across the ocean to come here, and we're blasting off to space to compete with the best in the world. We're also big enough and smart enough to face reality when we need to."