The Government risks serious damage to New Zealanders’ livelihoods by replacing the real productive economy with wishful thinking, National’s Economic Development Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“On TVNZ’s Q&A this morning, Economic Development Minister David Parker spoke of his wish to reduce the number of livestock in this country. He said horticulture, such as growing apricots, would be better for the environment.

“He said the problem was that it was too expensive to pick fruit in New Zealand. But, no worries, we’ll invest in robotics. Robots will pick the fruit and the economy will surge.

“This is wishful thinking on a grand scale and it fails on so many levels.

“Mr Parker also admitted that the Government hadn’t done an analysis of what the economic impact of his proposed shift away from current land use.

“We all agree with Mr Parker’s desire to improve our environment, but it’s much easier to stop doing things than it is to find viable replacements that will provide a good standard of living, to people living in our regions.

“His comments this morning were similar to the Government’s wishful thinking over oil and gas. We’ll trash a big part of the economy but don’t worry we’ll develop a clean energy industry that will more than make up for the losses.

“Real economic development is about more than flinging around loose ideas to make up for stopping significant parts of the economy.

“It’s actually amazing how carelessly and callously Government Ministers talk about playing with people’s jobs and livelihoods.

“For the sake of our regions in particular, this Government has to get its head out of the clouds and start being real.”

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