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Slash and burn not the solution to economic recovery

Slash and burn not the solution to economic recovery in Canterbury

New Zealand is in a good position to carry the economic cost of the devastation caused by the Christchurch earthquake and there is no need for a slash and burn exercise, says Labour Leader Phil Goff.

“There’s no need to panic. The recovery effort will take years. We can spread the cost over time. The best way to pay for the Canterbury rebuild is to grow the economy, create jobs and keep money in the pockets of people who will spend it. We don’t need to slash and burn.

“It’s been reported this morning that Finance Minister Bill English isn’t ruling out cuts to Kiwisaver, Working for Families and interest-free student loans. Labour believes that would be the wrong approach to take.

“It would be wrong to cut financial assistance to families and students who rely on that support, especially when the cost of living is sky high. That would simply slow the economy down. We must keep money in the pockets of people who will spend it, “ said Phil Goff.

“It’s also important that this disaster is not used as an excuse to sell off our valuable assets. The quake is a game changer and we do need to take another look at our priorities but we can get through this without the need for asset sales. There are many ways to come up with the shortfall needed to pay for the recovery. Let’s take the time to carefully reassess our priorities.

“The earthquake is a tragedy. The lives that have been lost will never be recovered and we mourn their passing. But all New Zealanders are prepared to stand together and shoulder the financial burden of the recovery. And given economists are pointing out the Government does not have a debt problem – there is room to move.

“We are in a good position to carry the weight of this tragedy.”

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