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National Presides Over Dying Economy

National Presides Over Dying Economy

Progressive leader Jim Anderton says he has rarely heard a speech of such breathtaking cynicism as Prime Minister John Key’s in support of the 2011 Budget.

“As his Government set us on a course to take New Zealand back to the very worst of National’s failed policies of the past, he had the gall to tell Parliament that the previous Labour-Progressive Government, of which I was a cabinet minister for 9 years, was responsible for the poor position this country is in.

“Let’s look at the facts. In 2008, the Government had a fiscal surplus of $2.7 billion and its accounts were forecast to stay in surplus, unemployment was the lowest in the OECD and only 17% of children in New Zealand lived with someone reliant on a benefit. The Crown was contributing to the Superannuation Fund and had no net debt at all.

“Yesterday the Government announced a deficit of $17 billion. In less than three years, unemployment is back at levels last seen in the nineties and 32 thousand more children live with someone reliant on a benefit. It is no accident.

“Let’s look at where the current deficit comes from. The income tax cuts from 1 October last year cost $17.8 billion over four years. The top ten per cent of income earners alone got income tax cuts worth $44 million a week, which means that the government is borrowing two and a half billion dollars a year just for tax cuts for that top ten per cent of income earners.

“Let’s now look at what has this Budget done? It has cut Working for Families, it has cut Kiwisaver and it has cut student loans and it has promised to sell off state-owned assets. But is has also allowed the rich to keep their tax cuts of $44 million a week.

“What we have is a government that is too weak to make the changes New Zealand needs, and there is a predictable outcome to this failure; ordinary people will suffer. When families don’t have adequate income, children end up living in poor housing conditions, they lack nourishment and they are not warm enough. Their health suffers and their opportunities suffer even more.

“This Government should be ashamed of itself. It has not one single programme to fix the problem it has outlined and if it is voted back in office at this year’s General Election, it will come back and ask again for more because its policies have failed.

“This Budget is a return to the failed policies of the nineties. It fails to create jobs, it fails to lift incomes and it fails to create a stronger future for New Zealand. In fact it is unarguably the worst I have heard in all of my years in Parliament,” Jim Anderton said.


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