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Not a brighter future at all

Not a brighter future at all

With unemployment up by 50 per cent and 100,000 Kiwis having left for Australia Labour leader Phil Goff today called on John Key to explain his record as Prime Minister.

"John Key says he knows the numbers. However there are some numbers he prefers not to talk about.

"Today I am releasing 10 vital statistics that all show New Zealand has gone backwards under John Key.

"Every Prime Minister has to stand on their record and John Key is no different. He can't keep promising things will be better soon.

"This is not a personal attack or slight. The simple fact is things have got worse since he has been Prime Minister," Phil Goff said.

    * Unemployment has increased by 50 per cent, leaving 157,000 New Zealanders out of work.
    (Source: Statistics New Zealand, Household Labour Force Survey)

    * 100,000 New Zealanders have left for Australia after he promised he would stop the brain drain.
    (Source: Statistics New Zealand, International Travel and Migration)

    * Prices have gone up nearly four times faster than incomes over the past 3 years. John Key increased prices by hiking GST after promising not to.
    (Source: Statistics New Zealand, New Zealand Income Survey and Consumer Price Index)

    * The first credit rating downgrade in 13 years and a double downgrade at that.
    (Source: Westpac, Weekly Commentary: Sign of the times, 3 October 2011)

    * There are 60,000 more people on benefits costing an extra $1 billion a year.
    (Sources: MSD, National Benefit Factsheet and Monthly Benefit Data; and Treasury, Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update 2011)

    * The wage gap with Australia has increased by $32 a week.
    (Sources: Statistics New Zealand, Quarterly Employment Survey and Australian Bureau of Statistics, Average Weekly Earnings, PPP adjusted)

    * There are 55,200 15 to 24 year olds not in education, employment or training and the number of young people on the unemployment benefit long term has increased by over 700 per cent.
    (Sources: Statistics New Zealand, Household Labour Force Survey, NEETs and Hon Paula Bennett, Question for Written Answer 6058 )

    * The economy has grown by just 0.4 per cent since John Key took office.
    (Source: Statistics New Zealand, Gross Domestic Product)

    * National's tax cuts for the most well off were supposed to be paid for with the GST. They actually cost an extra $1.1 billion in their first nine months.
    (Source: Treasury, Financial Statements of the Government of New Zealand for the year ended 30 June 2011)

    * The underclass has grown with the number of children living in benefit dependent households increasing by over 32,000 in the past 3 years.
    (Source: New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, Vulnerability Report, Sept 2009 and Sept 2011)

"Yes, there have been some challenges, but John Key should not use them as excuses. He needs to step up and explain his record, rather than fending off the scrutiny with glib one-liners designed to distract from the real issues.

"I want to know what he is going to do about rising unemployment, the rising cost of living and the ticking time bomb that is the rising number of young people not in work or training.

"I also challenge John Key to defend his two word plan for our future - asset sales. He says it's a three word plan - mixed ownership model - but it's really just two words: Asset sales.

"It is a dumb idea to sell the assets we already own. New Zealanders know that, and they don't want it.

"New Zealand needs a real plan to pay back the debt and live within our means.

"Labour has that plan. We will keep our assets and introduce a Capital Gains Tax so that everyone pays their share. We will convert the dole to an apprenticeship subsidy so our young people get the skills they need.

"We will introduce Universal KiwiSaver and lift the age of eligibility for NZ Super to guarantee super payments and give everyone an additional nest egg in retirement.

"The 10 key statistics I have released today will not improve until New Zealand has the leader who makes the tough calls and does what's right for the future, not what's easy for today," Phil Goff said.

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