The Finance Minister’s fat pockets have come at the expense of hard-working New Zealanders who have been taxed to the eyeballs by this Government, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“The Government should be looking to stimulate the economy by letting New Zealanders keep more of what they earn.
“Instead, it has piled on more and more taxes to the point where Grant Robertson is sitting on a big surplus while those living outside Wellington’s beltway struggle with rising living costs.
“One of the reasons debt is lower than forecast is because the Government is failing to invest in the infrastructure New Zealand needs.
“It has cancelled or delayed a dozen major new roading projects right across the country and replaced them with projects that weren’t ready, and won’t be ready for some time yet.
“Meanwhile, the Government has been piling on taxes. It has legislated to milk an extra $1.7 billion from motorists through fuel tax hikes and extra GST, while its misguided housing policies have pushed up rents and burdened landlords with extra costs and regulation.
“National legislated for tax relief that would have put more than $1000 a year extra into the back pockets of New Zealanders. This Government cancelled that.
“We will index tax thresholds to inflation so that New Zealanders aren’t taxed more by stealth every year because of the rising cost of living.”
A decision to overturn a ban on the expansion of the Waihi Gold Mine shows that the Government’s land and environment policies are in disarray and that Eugenie Sage is not capable of being the Land Information Minister, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“Eugenie Sage has repeatedly let her Green Party ideology get in the way of making good decisions. The decision to override her is a vote of no confidence in the Greens and shows how unstable the coalition is.
“Ms Sage declined the expansion of the Waihi mine saying it was ‘inherently unsustainable, will increase emissions, and will provide only moderate employment benefits relative to winding down the operation and remediating the site’.
“Now that the Waihi Mine expansion has been agreed, Ms Sage must now remove her objections to the West Coast Hydro Scheme and let this project go ahead also.
“It’s no wonder business confidence is so low under this Government. This application should never have been turned down. The Government has an incoherent plan for economic development. The inconsistencies in decisions means businesses need a crystal ball to have any idea what the Government will do.
“National would make rational decisions, bring back certainty to businesses and inject confidence back into the business sector. The Prime Minister needs to show some leadership and take this portfolio off the Greens.”
The Prime Minister’s Climate Change and Trade announcement overnight in New York is disappointing with only four countries signed up. New Zealand exporters need more action not PR spin, National’s Trade spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“The previous National Government was advancing policy in this area.
“New Zealand played a leading role in the Environmental Goods Agreement Negotiation with about 40 countries, including the European Union, Japan, United States of America and China.
“The TPP also included significant environmental provisions.
“This Government’s Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability is a pale imitation of the work the previous National Government was undertaking. The TPP was the first of its kind to include environmental provisions and included some of the biggest countries, as well as developing countries.
“The Prime Minister’s agreement has only had five countries sign up, including New Zealand. The other four countries are Fiji, Costa Rica, Iceland and Norway, which have a combined population of less than 20 million people.
“For only four other countries to sign up to the Prime Minister’s initiative is embarrassing, but not surprising. Did the Prime Minister even ask the European Union to join when she met with EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström, or the United Kingdom when meeting with Prime Minister Johnson? We know climate change was barely mentioned with President Trump.
“The Prime Minister’s focus is right, we support eliminating tariffs on environmental goods, but her actions aren’t following. The Prime Minister needs less PR hype and more delivery on New Zealand’s trade agenda.”
The Government’s economic plan is weak, underdone and will do nothing to restore confidence in the economy, National’s Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith and Economic Development spokesperson Todd McClay say.
“It has taken the Government nearly two years to come up with this so-called plan, which lacks any meaningful ideas to grow the economy, but on the plus side contains some rather nice pictures, Mr Goldsmith says.
“The Government’s plan includes more than 20 working groups or reviews, very few real policies and even fewer ideas to restore confidence and grow the economy.
“Most of the policies are ones the Government has already implemented and are bad for business, like union-friendly industrial law changes, KiwiBuild and Fees-Free.
“The two minor tax changes announced are just tinkering around the edges and will affect very few real New Zealand businesses.
Mr McClay says that in the time it has taken produce this short and muddled document, economic growth has fallen from about three or four per cent a year to just 2.1 per cent.
“Growth per person, meanwhile, is close to zero, business confidence is as low as it was during the Global Financial Crisis, consumer confidence is falling and the number of people on benefits has skyrocketed.
“The Government needs to take responsibility for the slowing economy. It has added costs to businesses and families, created massive uncertainty and demonstrated incompetence, most famously through KiwiBuild and its failure to deliver on infrastructure.
“National understands that a strong economy puts more in the back pockets of New Zealanders and allows us to invest in the things that matter to all of us.”
A National Government will repeal 100 regulations in our first six months in Government and we will eliminate two old regulations for every new one we introduce, National’s spokesperson for Economic Development Todd McClay says.
“National understands the effect excessive regulations can have on competitiveness and productivity. We want an operating environment where businesses can thrive and aren’t strangled by red tape.
“We need to regularly test whether regulations are still needed, remove barriers to new businesses entering markets and streamline unnecessarily slow and expensive bureaucratic procedures.
“That’s why we will require future governments and regulatory agencies to undertake at least one regulatory simplification process every three years that looks at reducing the complexity and number of regulations.
“Over a number of years, New Zealand has developed good processes to encourage discipline around the spending of taxpayer money. We need to translate expected levels of fiscal discipline to regulation.
“This requires meaningful cost-benefit analysis of new regulations as well as political discipline. When Government imposes regulatory costs on New Zealanders it should be held to account.
“National understands the importance of moving quickly to introduce new regulations for new technologies to get established, and sometimes to disrupt old patterns. The previous National Government worked quickly to establish a regulatory regime for New Zealand’s growing space industry.
“We will continue to work swiftly as new technologies arrive and we will remove regulations as they become redundant. We understand the kind of regulatory environment that businesses need to succeed.
“National will restore business confidence and revive our economy.”
National’s Economy Discussion Document can be found here
Kiwi businesses deserve a government focused on the basics rather than smoke and mirrors to hide the harm the coalition Government’s anti-growth policies are doing to the economy, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“With slowing GDP growth and talk of deficits and recession the Government must take responsibility for the harm its policies are doing domestically.
“Kiwi business are crying out for better infrastructure, balanced employment laws, lower costs and less regulation. They need a government that can get the basics right on economic growth and development.
“For instance, businesses are desperate for skilled workers yet significant delays in visa processing is slowing business down.
“Tourism businesses are missing out on $150m this year because of falling visitor numbers from key markets whilst the government dreams up new tourism taxes.
“Export education is being put on hold as our universities and polytechnics miss out on $70m of fees this year because student visas aren’t being processed.
“This Government inherited a strong economy, big surpluses and National’s proven economic plan. They’re wasting the hard work of kiwi businesses who deserve better.
“This part time Government must get the basics right before businesses are forced to be part time too.”
The Government must accept responsibility for the fact its lacklustre policies have seen 4000 jobs disappear from our economy, National’s Economic Development Spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“There were 4000 fewer employed people in the March 2019 quarter, according to Statistics New Zealand. By contrast, 10,000 new jobs were created per month on average across 2015-2017 under National.
“It is a core role of Government to put in place polices that help create jobs and maintain our living standards. But this Government has lost focus and failed to put in place an economic plan that supports employers.
“The Government needs to recognise that what’s driving job growth down is its anti-growth agenda and lack of plan to support our businesses.
“Policies like the oil and gas ban, greater powers for unions, industrial law reform, and increasing labour costs shake business confidence by demonstrating a lack of regard for those who create jobs.
“Policies that increase costs – like higher fuel taxes, new tourist taxes, and increased WorkSafe levies – as well as threatened new taxes on cars and capital gains, make it harder for businesses to employ people and harder for Kiwis to get ahead.
“The Government needs to stop making excuses and get on with putting in place an economic plan to support New Zealand businesses.”
If the Government believes the solution to a slowing economy is lower commodity prices then it’s really in La La Land, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“Forestry Minister Shane Jones’ comments that he hopes log export prices will fall even further is reckless, and could lead to contraction and job losses in some regions.
“The Government needs an economic development plan to grow the economy and support Kiwi businesses. Shane Jones should be backing New Zealand exporters rather than talking down export prices. It’s no wonder business confidence is at decade-low levels.
“Thousands of jobs depend upon forestry exports. The Government should care more about industry job losses in Northland and Wairarapa, as well as other parts of regional New Zealand.
“The Prime Minister must tell her Forestry Minister to rescind his comments and stop talking down export prices.
“National backs hard-working New Zealand businesses and our exporters. We will work hard to deliver opportunities for our export industries by reducing costs and making them more competitive, as well as helping businesses succeed on the world stage.”
If the Government’s response to the lowest levels of business confidence in a decade is to write big taxpayer-funded cheques then expect more to reach for their passports, National’s Economic Development spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“The Government has loaned $15m from the Provincial Growth Fund to geothermal company Geo40, despite its imminent listing on either the New Zealand or Australian stock exchanges.
“This is a shocking use of taxpayer funds from a Government with no economic plan.
“Geo40 says it has been considering relocating offshore. That just shows how dire the economic conditions here have become.
“Labour inherited a growing economy and big surpluses. It should be working to attract businesses to New Zealand though sound economic policies and a clear plan rather than offering dodgy loans and sketchy share schemes.
“Taxpayers’ hard-earned money isn’t a backstop for failing economic policy. Shane Jones has questions to answer around these dodgy PGF loans.
“It’s becoming increasingly difficult to figure out how the loans actually work. Are they interest free? What rates are they being offered at? What kind of risk is the taxpayer signing up for? What does the Government know that banks do not and why is the Crown offering to convert loans to shares? More transparency is needed around this.
“National will back the regions with proven economic policies that deliver for all New Zealanders, rather than photo-ops and spending on a whim.”
The Government’s lack of an economic plan is driving down business confidence and two newly released ‘strategies’ offer no solutions, National’s Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“The Government released the two documents today around innovation and productivity, yet they do nothing to address the causes of a slowing economy and reducing productivity. Business and industry are right to be disappointed by this.
“To drive innovation and productivity, the Government needs to address the problems caused by their own anti-growth policies and create certainty for the business sector.
“Policies that restrict foreign investment, ban industries from operating, make our labour market less flexible and put a handbrake on our economy need urgent attention.
“For instance the horticulture and agriculture sectors need skilled and unskilled labour now to get their products to overseas markets. The New Zealand economy cannot afford to wait decades for technological advancements, it needs real and actual solutions from the government urgently.
“In contrast, National has proposed an ambitious plan to grow our export market through new trade deals and targets in our International Affairs Discussion Document.
“We proposed a new agritech fund to boost technology in the primary sector in our Primary Industries Discussion Document.
“National has committed to indexing tax brackets with the cost of living, ensuring that Kiwis are no longer taxed by stealth.
“National will also be releasing our Economic Discussion Document later this year which will propose a range of ideas to continue to boost productivity, add jobs, and grow our economy.
“These are the kind of ideas that help to grow our economy, support our innovators, and ensure that Kiwis can keep more of what they earn.”