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National to rebuild confidence in the economy

National has today released its fourth Discussion Document, which focusses on the economy and outlines a range of policies that will help rebuild business confidence, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.

“National’s economic plan will focus on creating a more productive, competitive economy that lifts incomes, lowers the cost of living for all New Zealanders and provides responsible economic management that delivers world-class public services.

“National understands that a strong economy is what puts more in the back pockets of New Zealanders and allows us to invest more in the things that matter to New Zealanders.

“Without a strong economy we won’t be able to afford a healthcare system New Zealanders can rely on, transport that gets Kiwis home on time and the world class education Kiwi kids deserve.

“The economy has sharply declined under the current Government. GDP growth has slowed from around four per cent per year to barely two per cent. Per person growth is less than one per cent and benefit numbers are rising rapidly. New Zealand families are finding it increasingly difficult to manage the rising cost of housing, rents, petrol and electricity.

“Led by Finance Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith, today we’re proposing a range of positive initiatives which will bring back confidence to businesses in New Zealand and support a strong, growing economy.

Some of the most exciting commitments include:

• Requiring all government departments and government agencies to pay their contractors on time and within 30 days;
• Establishing a ‘Small Business Payments Guarantee’;
• Repealing 100 regulations in our first six months of office;
• Eliminating two old regulations for every new regulation introduced in our first term;
• Requiring quality cost-benefit analysis for any major new regulation;
• Māori land reform; and
• Ensuring the Treasury has a greater focus on providing sound advice on the effectiveness of Government spending, identifying wasteful spending and driving higher productivity in the public sector;

We’re also proposing or asking for New Zealanders feedback on:
• Considering new innovative approaches to infrastructure funding;
• Pricing mechanisms to manage the flow of traffic that are revenue neutral;
• Allowing savers to deduct the inflation component from their interest income;
• Accelerated depreciation of business assets;
• Removing the ability for Governments to give preferential pay agreements to union members during public sector wage negotiations;
• Bank account number portability; and
• Removing all remaining tariffs.

And we’re re-confirming a number of previous commitments, including:

• Indexing tax thresholds to inflation;
• Repealing the Regional Fuel Tax;
• Overhauling the Resource Management Act;
• Reintroducing targets in health, education and law and order;
• Encouraging direct investment in productive assets by overturning the Government’s foreign investment changes;
• Repealing the ban on oil and gas exploration; and
• Repealing recent Government changes made to the Employment Relations Act, such as removing 90-day trial periods.

“A strong economy means more, higher paying jobs. It means more opportunities for Kiwis to get ahead, to look after themselves and their families, and to afford the good things in life.

“Today we are also committing to progressively increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67 starting in 2037, reinstating the social investment approach and not introducing any new taxes in our first term.

“This document is part of the biggest policy development process by an Opposition ever. The current Government has no plan to grow the economy and is failing to deliver for New Zealanders. We’re doing the work now in Opposition so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020.”

National’s Economy Discussion Document can be found here

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