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Economic deathwatch for dying Government

Labour
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"Today's figures, showing a sharp further deterioration in the merchandise trade deficit, are another nail in the coffin for this dying Government," Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen said.

The provisional deficit for the year ended September is now over $2.2 billion - the highest for well over ten years. And the trend growth in imports continues to outstrip exports.

"It is just the latest piece in what has become a litany of bad economic news as Jenny Shipley heads uncertainly and unconfidently into the election campaign and into tonight's TV3 leaders' debate.

"Interest rates are already heading up and will rise further with the release of the next Monetary Policy Statement on November 17.

"The economy beggared everyone's expectations by contracting 0.3 percent in the June quarter. The contraction occurred across almost all sectors of activity, and manifested itself in zero employment growth over the three months.

"National has absolutely no policy response to any of these problems.

"Instead it maintains its arid ideological commitment to "hands-off" economic management while our manufacturing base continues to shrink. Bendon is only the most recent casualty. There have been many others as an internal report prepared for the Northern Employers and Manufacturers Association shows.

"It lists 53 manufacturing plants known to have closed their doors since mid-last year with the loss of 4826 jobs. And the list is not exhaustive. It comprises only those closures and rationalisations which have been reported in the media.

"Who will be next to go," Dr Cullen asked.

"New Zealand desperately needs the economic leadership and vision the incoming Labour Government will give. The damage done by Mrs Shipley's dull and motley crew is already extensive."

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