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As we launch into 2017 and what will be another busy year, we can have confidence New Zealand is on the right track.

We are in capable hands with Bill English and Paula Bennett as leaders, and an energetic team of ministers and MPs behind them.

The Government is gearing up for the challenges of election year with a busy agenda and a clear plan for our country's future - building on the strong momentum we have achieved over the past eight years.

During the holiday break, I took some time out with family and friends. It has been great to see all the events going on in Wairarapa over the summer, and there are plenty more coming up throughout February and March.

I'm looking forward to another productive and busy year for the Wairarapa in 2017.

New Zealand is well positioned compared with most other countries.

That's no accident. It's the result of New Zealanders' hard work, backed by the National-led Government's clear plan for our country's future.

Our economy remains one of the strongest in the developed world. And Kiwi families are seeing the benefits.

Around 250,000 extra jobs have been created over the past three years and unemployment is falling. The average annual wage is now $58,400 - up $12,000 since we were elected in 2008 and more than double the rate of inflation, while interest rates are at 50-year lows.

The country is back in surplus and we're getting better results from important public services like hospitals, schools and social programmes.

We are seeing strong growth in sectors such as tourism, ICT, construction, and high-tech manufacturing.

Tourists coming through our area, particularly over these summer, event-filled months, are pumping money into our local economy and providing Wairarapa people with jobs and business growth.

New Zealand is also experiencing our biggest building boom - in the past five years,

annual residential building consents have more than doubled.

This is reflected here in Wairarapa, with more new builds and new subdivisions popping up regularly.

As a nation, we now have the resilience and the financial strength to bounce back from challenges such as the Kaikoura earthquakes, and the Government will continue to support the recovery efforts there.

National is committed to ensuring this stability and progress continues as 2017 gets under way.

I look forward to representing Wairarapa and catching up with as many of you as I can.

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