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National quit while they're behind

Jim Anderton, Progressive Leader

25 August 2004

National quit while they're behind on economic growth

In response to Jim Anderton suggesting Opposition leader, Don Brash should quit while he's behind, after making misleading comments about New Zealand's economy, National did.

Rather than question the government on the buoyant economy, Tony Ryall jumped to Brash's rescue to avoid him further embarrassment and moved on to the next question.

"National were incapable of putting the government on the spot about the economy and so they leapt straight into the next oral question in the House today after I demonstrated that the National Leader's comments to Australia that our economy was on a slippery slope were patently untrue. Quit while you're behind I said, and they did," the Progressive leader said.

"Don Brash's gloom about New Zealand's future stands in stark contrast with reality, as shown yet again in the latest regional trends survey," Progressive leader Jim Anderton said today.

"Day after day we get an insight into the inner thinking of the National Party leader. His gloom apparently extends to an irrational fear that New Zealand is about to slip down the slippery slope to the poor growth rates National presided over in the past.

"He needs to get a grip. The reality is that New Zealand's regions are humming, unemployment is at its lowest level in a generation at 4 per cent, and Maori unemployment at 8.8 per cent is at its lowest since records," the Progressive leader said.

According to the OECD, New Zealand's average rate of economic growth surpassed Australia's over the past five calendar years. During that period our per capita GDP increased by a cumulative 14 per cent, compared to 11.3 per cent for Australia. In the previous 5 years the figures were 9.9 per cent for New Zealand and 16.9 per cent for Australia, showing underperformance during the National led period of government.

The National Bank reported that New Zealand's economic growth is 4.3 per cent, year on year for June 2004, and every region is still in positive annual growth mode. Twelve of fourteen regions recorded a rise in economic activity in the June quarter.

"The Labour Progressive government's policies that work in partnership with regions, business and industry sectors are clearly working. We are proactively contributing to building the nation's capacity through skills development, infrastructure investment, export development, and by attracting investment.

"Our strategy is to lift economic performance region by region, sector by sector. It is a strategy to maximize the potential of the innovative and creative ideas that individual businesses helped them achieve their strategic goals. It is a strategy that is paying dividends for all New Zealanders," Jim Anderton said.

ENDS

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