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Prime Minister in denial on the economy

Paul Goldsmith - Finance

1 October 2019

The Prime Minister’s claims this morning that the economy is performing well shows she is in denial about the real state of economy, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Once more, the Prime Minister poured scorn on business confidence surveys by clearly implying on Radio New Zealand this morning the surveys were biased against Labour.

“That might have been an argument when they first entered office, but after two years business confidence has continued to collapse because the Government continues to add costs, create uncertainty and demonstrate incompetence.

“The just released NZIER quarterly survey of business opinion showed yet another drop in business confidence to the weakest level since 2009, with the most reliable indicators pointing to GDP growth of less than 1 per cent later this year.

“The Prime Minister said economic growth in New Zealand is at the long-run average. That is nonsense. The most meaningful measure of economic progress is GDP per person – which takes out population growth – which has only grown by 0.5 per cent in the last year, a drop from an average of 1.7 per cent a year during the last five years of National.

“Any Prime Minister who thinks per person growth of 0.5 per cent is acceptable is not serious about improving the living standards of New Zealanders.

“Then the Prime Minister claimed her Government was investing in infrastructure. But again this is nonsense. The first thing the Government did when they entered office was cancel a dozen major roading projects, many of which were ready to go, and replace them with projects that are not ready to go and won’t be for some time yet.

“New Zealand is now staring down the barrel of an infrastructure hole as there are very few major projects here to keep our construction workers from moving to Australia.

“Finally, the Prime Minister referenced the Provincial Growth Fund as something the Government had done to stimulate the economy. What a farce.

“Shane Jones has made a mockery of the Provincial Growth Fund and his crass plea for votes from Northland foresters has once again reminded New Zealanders what the fund is all about. It’s not so much an economic development fund as it is a New Zealand First re-election fund.

“The first step towards making progress on any problem is to accept that there is a problem. The Prime Minister’s interview this morning shows she has a long way to go.”


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