The Prime Minister’s announcement of yet another working group to try and shore up plummeting business confidence will do nothing to address the uncertainty created by the Government’s anti-growth policies, National Party Leader Simon Bridges says.
“This is a Government that believes it can talk its way out of anything – but instead of trying to shout over the conveyor belt of weak economic indicators they should be taking concrete steps to change their anti-growth policies.
“The Prime Minister talks about wanting to lift wages and grow a sustainable economy – everyone wants that. But the way to do it is to take real steps to support businesses, not driving uncertainty through endless working groups and bad policy.
“Instead Ms Ardern has announced a Business Advisory Council, a body with a chair but no members yet, and a Business Partnership Agenda that merely repackages existing, problematic policies, a third of which are working groups.
“There’s a growing sense of panic from this Government. The Prime Minister is desperately trying to deflect attention from poor economic indicators with a list of well-meaning objectives without detailing how they’ll be achieved.
"The Government inherited an economy growing at 3-4 per cent, generating 10,000 new jobs a month, strong surpluses, declining debt and a residential building boom. It is rapidly eroding that buffer.
"GDP per capita has fallen to its lowest annual level since 2011. Job creation has plummeted. Business confidence is at its lowest level since the GFC. And the cost of living is rising.
“Over 90 percent of our businesses are SMEs who are really hurt by the piling on of costs, taxes and compliance. They won’t be comforted by today’s slogans and slides from the PM - with no clear economic leadership delivering a plan for our economy.
“This fact is the Government has inherited an economic buffer which is protecting New Zealanders from the worst. But those gains made under National could be easily lost.
“Responsible economic management matters - National delivered a solidly growing economy that lifted wages and created jobs. But the government’s anti-growth policies will undo that good work and take us backwards.”