New Zealanders are paying the price for a weak and incompetent Government that is more focused on blaming President Trump or Brexit for New Zealand’s slowing economy than taking an honest look at its own failed policies, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“GDP figures out today show annual growth of just 2.1 per cent, the lowest since 2013.
“GDP per person - a better reflection of New Zealanders individual living standards - was only 0.5 per cent for the year. That means New Zealanders are almost no better off on a per person basis under this Government.
“The Government will presumably continue to blame President Trump, President Xi, Brexit, Hong Kong, Iran, Saudi Arabia or anyone but themselves for New Zealand’s economic slowdown.
“Yet the rhetoric doesn’t match the facts.
“New Zealand’s terms of trade – the price we receive for our exports relative to the price we pay for our imports – is near historical highs. Exports grew by 1.7 per cent over the last year, despite a drop during the last quarter.
“Business and consumer confidence are both in a slump. It is domestically-focused businesses that are struggling, not our exporters. Business investment has stalled and the manufacturing, construction and mining sectors all contracted over the last quarter.
“The Government needs to take responsibility for the slowing economy because it has added costs to businesses and families, it has created massive uncertainty and it has demonstrated incompetence, most famously with KiwiBuild and its failure to deliver the infrastructure New Zealand needs.
“The Government could undo the damage it’s done to the economy if it was willing to undo its failed economic policies and implement a pro-growth agenda focused on reducing taxes and regulations on Kiwi businesses and families, providing certainty to investors and building the infrastructure this country desperately needs.
“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 all of us.
“National will restore confidence and revive our economy so that we can lift our aspirations, both in what we can earn and in what social challenges we can overcome.”