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New Zealanders would expect the Minister of Finance to know the cost of slowing economic growth, something he today underestimated by more than two billion dollars, National’s Economic and Regional Development spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.

“Under the watch of Finance Minister Grant Robertson, the New Zealand economy has experienced a sharp decline from close to 4 per cent growth a year to just 2.3 per cent. The number of jobs has fallen by 4,000 this year.

“And today Mr Robertson showed he has no idea the scale or cost of a weakening economy. When asked what a 1 per cent decline in GDP growth is worth – about how much the New Zealand economy has undershot previous forecasts – he answered $800 million.

“The correct answer is actually about $3 billion – more than three times as much.

“What this shows is a Finance Minister who is not over the detail and is unaware of the true cost of a weakening economy. When the $3 billion is spread over all New Zealand households it equates to about $1600 less per household.

“A weaker economy has also resulted in lower tax revenue of $600 million for the year to March 2019. That is $600 million less for essential services like Health, Education and Infrastructure.

“National knows a strong economy is essential to improving the living standards of New Zealand families. New Zealand deserves a Government that has a plan to grow the economy to ensure more jobs, higher incomes and a lower cost of living for New Zealanders.”

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