Labour’s Budget lacks ambition for New Zealand

Today’s Budget is an indictment on the Labour Government’s ability to deliver for New Zealanders, National’s Shadow Treasurer Andrew Bayly says.

“We are staring down losses for the next five years. We need a plan to grow the economy, to get us back in surplus sooner so we can be prepared for the next inevitable shock, whether that is a natural disaster or a trading disruption.

“Instead, Finance Minister Grant Robertson is comfortable to keep borrowing $110 million a day.

“This Budget should’ve delivered a plan to get New Zealand back to prosperity and to reduce the debt burden on future generations. National wanted to see an unashamedly pro-growth Budget that would unleash businesses and get our economy firing on all cylinders.

“Instead of supporting businesses to create jobs and lift wages Labour has focused on increasing the benefit. All New Zealanders are feeling the weight of the rising cost of living as a result of Labour’s policies, but there’s little here for those Kiwis working hard on low wages.

“Labour will increase your benefit, but it won’t help you find work.

“We were hoping for a Budget that finally took New Zealand’s productivity crisis seriously, that would grow our economy rather than keep treading water. There’s nothing on that front,” Mr Bayly says.

“The previous National Government created an environment that helped create 10,000 jobs a month,” National’s Finance spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“That has more than halved under Labour, with projections of just 3700 jobs to be created per month. That’s no surprise given the huge burden Labour has imposed on small businesses.

“$200 million for PHARMAC is welcome, but those Kiwis suffering from rare diseases and cancers will be hugely disappointed when they see Labour has been prepared to pump more than double that, $490 million, into bureaucracy and restructuring costs.

“Labour has also callously reduced the amount of money going to DHBs for cost pressures, meaning it won’t be possible to keep the lights on and to keep many crucial services.

“What we’ve got is a Budget that’s papering over the cracks.

“A National Government would be ambitious for Kiwis. We would be actively working with businesses to help them grow through areas like Research and Development, supporting them to buy new plant and equipment machinery to improve productivity, and we would back Kiwis to take more risks and to innovate.

“A growing economy means new jobs for those unemployed, better paying jobs and it means we can invest more in hospitals, schools and roads.

“We don’t have a roadmap for growing the economy. A National Government would give New Zealanders the tools they need to succeed,” Mr Woodhouse says.