The Government needs to be careful with its economic policy settings as Stats NZ figures show growth slowed slightly at the end of last year, National Party Finance Spokesperson Amy Adams says.

“While growth for the year is a respectable 2.9 per cent, that is significantly slower than the 4 per cent experienced in the 2016 year, and the 3.5 per cent and 3.6 per cent in the two years before that,” Ms Adams says.

“We saw a slight slowing of growth in the end of last year, as weather and policy uncertainty started to take a little bit of the shine off the New Zealand story. It’s worrying that growth has slowed in the fisheries, forestry and agriculture sectors.

“The Government needs to take notice and be careful that its economic policy settings don’t put a handbrake on New Zealand over the next few years at the very time the world economy is picking up speed.

“Labour’s policies in areas like international investment, employment relations, and immigration could all combine negatively to restrict the capacity of New Zealand businesses to grow and succeed. That would be a major missed opportunity for our country and its prosperity.

“The benefits of having growth almost continuously over the last seven years is apparent in a range of areas.

“As we saw yesterday we have reduced out international debt from 84 per cent of GDP down to 52.8 per cent of GDP over the last nine years. That’s a huge contribution to New Zealand’s economic sovereignty.

“And the strong Government books have flowed through into opportunities for increased investment like the initiatives in child poverty in last year’s budget which were largely picked up by the new Government.

“Now is not the time to put barriers in the way of growth. We have experienced what it is like to have a Government focused on the economic strength of our country. The new Government needs to make sure it doesn’t allow the opportunities we have as a country to drift away.”

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