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New Zealanders deserve honesty on the economy

18 April 2008 Media Statement

New Zealanders deserve honesty on the economy

The global challenges affecting New Zealand’s economy deserve serious and honest talk from political leaders and commentators, Finance Minister Michael Cullen said today.

ACT Founder Roger Douglas has today echoed the National Party’s call to blame government policy for the decision to move hundreds of Fisher and Paykel jobs to low-wage economies.

“I’ve been saying since late last year that we all need to realise the full scale of the challenges facing our economy,” Dr Cullen said. “We have experienced the longest period of growth since World War II and we have the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded, but the reality is our challenges are serious.

“Household budgets are under pressure due to rising food and petrol prices just when the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis in the United States is pushing up mortgage rates. The weakness of the US dollar continues to put pressure on exporters and drought has hurt a number of our farmers.

“These pressures are not unique to New Zealand, but New Zealanders deserve an honest discussion from their political leaders on them.

“This especially applies to those workers who have lost their jobs this week. These workers do not need politicians scrambling to attach a difficult situation to whatever political point suits their needs.

“For a start, they do not need to be told that if our productivity growth was in line with Australia or our monetary policy more like that of the United States that they would be keeping their jobs. The Fisher and Paykel employees in Brisbane and California who have also lost their jobs would find that argument very interesting to say the least.

“Next month’s Budget will outline a real response to the situation facing households and a real plan for a strong economy into the future.”

ENDS

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