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Labour gives up on attracting Kiwis home

John Key MP
National Party Leader

8 September 2008

Labour gives up on attracting Kiwis home

Labour has waved the white flag of surrender by axing the expat marketing programme that was aimed at luring Kiwis home from Australia, says National Party Leader John Key.

“Helen Clark and Labour have shown that after nine years in office they are out of ideas for solving one of the biggest issues facing this country.

“On Sunday I challenged Helen Clark to tell New Zealanders what she was going to do to start closing the ever-widening wage gap between New Zealand and Australia.

“This followed news in the past few days that the wage gap between the two countries is growing wider.

“Our figures show a gap of 38% in Australia’s favour. CTU economist Peter Conway says that, based on data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the variation between pay packets, adjusted for the exchange rate and cost of living difference, is now a whopping 49.7%.

“It comes as no surprise, therefore, that we also have migration to Australia at record levels.

“Yesterday morning, Cabinet Minister Shane Jones dismissed the issue by saying: ‘people will come, people will go’.

Today, the media reported that the expat marketing programme in Australia would cease because it has ‘not proven to be effective’.

“Marketing campaigns are all very well, but they do not address the fundamental issues facing the economy.

“The Government has a responsibility to create the conditions that will keep New Zealanders wanting to live and work in this country, and to attract people home. But after nine years Labour has failed miserably to address the most important issues facing New Zealand in this global world – our poor productivity and low wages.

“National has detailed a clear, cohesive plan that will lift our productivity over time, and create a stronger higher-wage economy.”

ENDS

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