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Lost Ardern-Peters Govt putting economy at risk

Simon Bridges - Leader of the Opposition

26 March 2018

Lost Ardern-Peters Govt putting economy at risk

Opposition Leader Simon Bridges says after less than six months cracks are appearing in the Ardern-Peters Government which is putting New Zealand’s world-class economic performance at risk.

“After nine years of one of the world’s most stable and successful governments New Zealanders, international markets and investors will be concerned about what we have seen developing in recent weeks.

In that time:

· The Prime Minister has undermined our oil and gas sector and the thousands of jobs it supports by claiming her Government was considering an end to exploration, only to try and backtrack just hours later

· Both the EU and UK free trade agreements have been put at real risk by Winston Peters’ open courting of Russia, and his reluctance to come out and condemn Russia for the nerve agent attack in the UK

· Mr Peters has also put the China FTA upgrade at risk by openly questioning New Zealand’s relationship with what is our largest trading partner

· Shane Jones, the Regional Development Minister, has crossed a line by threatening the leaders of one of New Zealand’s most successful companies simply because he wants attention – and openly defying the Prime Minister in the process

· The Government also has appeared to be moving away from New Zealand’s role as a leading proponent of free trade, including publicly sympathising with the US decision to impose tariffs and failing so far to secure an exemption for our exporters

“New Zealand’s economy has been humming in recent years – creating over 10,000 jobs a month, and lifting the average annual wage by $13,000 since 2008. The Government is putting it all at risk with confused, low-growth, negative policies,” Mr Bridges says.

“These include its dog whistle promise to slash immigration and restrict foreign investment despite an outcry from businesses and local mayors, as well as employment relations changes that threaten thousands of jobs, emboldened union bully boy tactics, and a plan to impose a raft of unnecessary new taxes on hardworking New Zealanders.

“It all adds up to a real risk our business confidence and economic growth weakens and New Zealanders pay the price. Already our growth is slowing while the world’s speeds up.

“The strength of the economy means we will likely muddle along despite these harmful policies – but we won’t do as well as we would if the Government had a clear plan to drive growth, and were competent economic managers.

“What this Government needs to remember is that a strong economy underpins everything else it wants to achieve – more jobs, higher incomes, and greater investment in infrastructure and public service. It’s not a political plaything.

“This Ardern-Peters Government is threatening to squander the hard work New Zealanders have put in over the past decade but the National Party will fight to ensure that doesn’t happen.”

ends

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