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Memo to National: Stop the bullying and listen

Grant ROBERTSON

Deputy Leader

16 July 2013    MEDIA STATEMENT

Memo to National: Stop the bullying and listen to the message

Bill English’s bullying of visiting academic Professor Robert Wade shows how out of touch and arrogant the National Government has become, Grant Robertson, Labour’s Deputy Leader says.

“It’s disgraceful that the Deputy Prime Minister would make such threatening comments and gestures towards a respected academic.  Using a menacing tone and saying “Don’t you say that again” is straight out bullying, and is unacceptable. On behalf of other New Zealanders I would like to apologise to Professor Wade for Bill English’s actions.

“Following on from John Key’s comments last week that appeared to threaten the Human Rights Commission’s funding after it called for an inquiry into New Zealand’s intelligence agencies, this kind of bullying is now typical of a government that is arrogant and out of touch.

“What Bill English should be doing is listening to Robert Wade about the vital importance of addressing the growing inequality in New Zealand.  Under National the gap between the rich and everybody else is growing.  What Professor Wade and others are pointing out is that growing inequality is a huge waste of potential; it leads to increased social problems and is a significant drain on the economy.  Bill English would do well to hear that message.

“Under his watch New Zealand has developed a two-speed economy where many New Zealanders are struggling with rising electricity prices, unaffordable housing and low wages, while the government does deals with vested interests and electricity companies take super-profits.  

“Things are especially bad in regional New Zealand where communities feel abandoned by the government as unemployment remains high and significant job cuts are on the way.

“Addressing inequality is a major priority for Labour.  We need to ensure that all New Zealanders have opportunities to prosper.  That will only happen with a change of government to one that rolls up its sleeves and makes it a priority to help create jobs, increase wages, lower the cost of living and give children the best start in life,” Grant Robertson says.

ENDS

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