“The scale of our economic and jobs crisis is starting to become clear,” National Leader Todd Muller said today.
"Data released this week by leading employment website, SEEK, shows jobs advertising has collapsed by nearly a half since February - standing at just 57.1 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels over the last two weeks.
“This is disastrous news for the 200,000 New Zealanders now on Jobseeker or COVID-19 relief payments, including the 50,000 who have joined the ranks of the unemployed since mid-March.
“It is despite the $12 billion borrowed for wage subsidies and the return to level 1.
“On Wednesday, Statistics NZ, the Reserve Bank and The Treasury released the New Zealand Activity Index, which showed a 19 percent decline in April on the same month last year.”
“Our economy is struggling to find its feet. National has a plan to create jobs and boost the economy.”
“Labour has shown over the past three years that it can’t deliver on anything except more borrowing and tax.
“My National Government will bring back strong, competent economic management to get you, your family and your community back to work.”
Today I am confirming a minor shadow cabinet reshuffle due to the retirement of Paula Bennett.
Dr Shane Reti will be ranked number 13 and will take on Associate Drug Reform. Shane has demonstrated a huge intellect and capacity for work, supporting Michael Woodhouse in our Covid-19 response, as well as achieving much in the Tertiary Education portfolio.
Simon Bridges will be picking up the Foreign Affairs portfolio and will be ranked at number 17. Simon has been leader and a minister for a number of years in the last National Government. He expressed a desire for this portfolio and his experience will be valuable in this important role.
Deputy Leader Nikki Kaye will pick up the portfolio of Women and will make several announcements associated with this portfolio in the coming months.
Amy Adams will take the portfolio of Drug Reform. She will work with Shane Reti in this area.
This reshuffle will ensure that National has a strong team, with huge depth, that will deliver more jobs for New Zealand.
The Prime Minister needs to stop misrepresenting the border issue and tell New Zealanders what her strategy is to protect the economy long-term, Leader of the Opposition Todd Muller says.Read more
Paula Bennett’s service to the National Party and New Zealand deserves acknowledgement and recognition, National Party Leader Todd Muller says.
“I want to thank Paula for everything she’s done, not only for the National Party but for the country over the past 15 years.
“Paula has been a stalwart of the National Party for a long time, serving as Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader.
“She has been a staunch advocate for West Auckland, becoming a List MP in 2005 before winning the seat of Waitakere and Upper Harbour, each twice.
“Paula has held more than 14 portfolios as a Minister, including Minister for Social Development and Employment.
“As Climate Change Minister, Paula signed the 2016 Paris climate change agreement in New York, which committed to delivering New Zealand’s 2030 emissions reductions target.
“She significantly reformed the welfare system to make sure it focused on supporting people as they got off welfare and into work, helping thousands in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis.
“Paula will always be remembered as a staunch advocate for women and victims during her years in Parliament with a results-based approach to policy, holding herself accountable for how her work made a difference in the lives of New Zealanders.”
National Party Leader Todd Muller has unveiled the first of a new series of election hoardings in Napier today.
“With our country facing its biggest economic challenge since the end of the Second World War, New Zealanders have an important choice this election.
“They can choose to elect a strong, competent National-led Government that will be focused on creating jobs and delivering quality infrastructure, and knows how to build the new economy that will be needed in a post-Covid world.
“Or they can return a clumsy and incompetent Government that has failed to deliver on every major promise from KiwiBuild and light rail through to ending child poverty and keeping our border secure.”
Mr Muller says the new hoardings spell out what National will deliver when it wins the election and forms Government: a strong team, more jobs and a better economy.
According to Infometrics, 40,000 jobs have already been wiped out by the economic crisis, and a coming second wave could see about 120,000 families lose their income by the election.
“The National Party got New Zealand through the Global Financial Crisis and the Canterbury Earthquakes safely. New Zealanders trust National governments to come to power at times of economic crisis, and to steer the country through them safely.
"Creating tens of thousands of new full-time jobs and building a better economy than before the Covid-19 crisis will be National’s focus.”
National will be unveiling more hoardings across the country in the coming weeks.
New Zealand’s rural communities need a National Government to unlock their full potential and help our farmers and growers handle the heavy lifting of our economic recovery.
National Party Leader Todd Muller, Agriculture spokesman David Bennett and National’s rural MPs and candidates spent the day in Hawke’s Bay today talking to drought-affected farmers and hearing about the issues affecting our primary sector.
Rabobank’s latest farmer confidence survey showed farmers’ confidence has plummeted, with net farmer confidence in the broader agricultural economy falling to -44 per cent in the March quarter, down from -12 per cent previously.
“New Zealand is entering a deep recession and our strong primary sector is proving its worth as the industry left holding our export economy together,” Mr Muller says.
“Farmers have been hit hard by drought at a time when the primary sector is also facing significant challenges around land use, emissions and water.
“Farmers deserve policy that allows them time to absorb and adjust. But all they are getting from the clumsy and incompetent Government in Wellington is excessive regulations and taxation.
“National will give the primary sector the tools it needs to reach its full economic potential, through investment in the strategic infrastructure that the industry wants.
“I have a passionate belief that the primary sector is a huge part of who we are as a country today, and under a National Government, what we will become over the next 20 years.
Mr Bennett says farmers and growers need certainty from central Government so they can make the best commercial decisions possible.
“Farmers deal with uncertainty in world markets and weather every day. They don’t need any more coming at them from the Beehive in Wellington.
“Regulations need to be practical, achievable and based on the best science.
“National is committed to helping our farmers farm their way to better outcomes. We look forward to sharing our agriculture policies in the lead-up to September’s election.”
Health Minister David Clark has finally turned up to work, and when he did, his first job was to throw his Director-General of Health under the bus, Leader of the Opposition Todd Muller says.
“David Clark’s treatment of Ashley Bloomfield is a disgrace. He humiliated a man we have grown to respect and trust during lockdown.
“While Dr Bloomfield has fronted up day after day, Clark hasn’t even bothered to look at the quarantine arrangements that are so vital in protecting New Zealand from the virus.
“Clark is the very definition of a ‘non-essential worker’.”
Mr Muller observed that while the Minister of Health’s continued, bumbling presence defines the incompetence of the Labour Government, he is not the only one who should accept responsibility for the furore.
“Did the Prime Minister know that Clark would be directing all blame on Dr Bloomfield?
“Jacinda Ardern is happy to take centre-stage during lockdown briefings but as soon as there’s bad news, she is nowhere to be seen.
“For Ardern, when things go wrong, the buck stops with the frontline workers, never her Ministers, never herself.”
The demise of Auckland’s light rail is yet another broken promise by Labour and shows they simply can’t deliver, Leader of the Opposition Todd Muller and National’s Transport spokesperson Chris Bishop say.
“This Government talks big, but delivers little. Light rail will now join KiwiBuild as the prime examples of its epic failure to deliver on its promises to voters,” Mr Muller says.
“Auckland light rail was Jacinda Ardern’s first campaign promise as Labour leader in 2017 and was meant to be up and running between the CBD to Mt Roskill by 2021. But nearly three years on, the project has gone backwards.
“After years of work and millions of dollars spent on consultants, lawyers and policy advice, the Government has got absolutely nowhere.”
Mr Bishop says the Government has been left red-faced by Transport Minister Phil Twyford’s inability to deliver on its cornerstone election promise.
“There is no plan, no route, no cost estimates, no business case, no consents – nothing.
“We don’t even know what type of rail will be used. The Government has never been clear about what its objectives for the project are.
“Unlike Labour, National will deliver on transport, particularly for Auckland. Our plan will deliver the rapid transit system that Auckland needs.
“National will invest in roads and rail to boost jobs, grow the economy, and spur housing development in our largest city.”
Today’s GDP figures confirm National’s worst fears about the looming economic and jobs crisis, Opposition Leader Todd Muller said today.
“Today’s announcement of a 1.6 per cent drop in GDP in the March quarter confirms the Reserve Bank and the National Party were right to say New Zealand faces its worst economic downturn in 160 years,” Mr Muller said.
“On a per capita basis, the news is even worse – with the income of the average Kiwi down 2.2 per cent in the March quarter.
“Even though this data today covers just one week of lockdown, it is the worst result in 30 years, despite the wage subsidy scheme and massive fiscal stimulus.
“Since the time of this data, Statistics NZ says nearly 40,000 jobs were destroyed in the month of April that followed, and all predictions are that it will keep getting worse.
“For example, Infometrics says another 80,000 expected to be axed in the second wave of job losses before the election – and even more in the third wave before Christmas.
“As National has been saying, it is now certain New Zealand is in a deep recession. Every family and community in New Zealand is going to be hit worse than almost anyone alive today can remember.
“This was before the shock news this week that New Zealand’s clumsy and incompetent border controls risk the return of Covid-19, putting lives at risk and threatening even more unfathomable economic misery.
“New Zealand needs a National Government and a comprehensive recovery plan not Labour’s ‘borrow-and-hope’ strategy of never-ending industrial-scale borrowing while waiting – perhaps forever – for a vaccine.”
The Prime Minister needs to make a captain’s call to better secure our borders and improve quarantine management, Leader of the Opposition Todd Muller says.
“Everyone knows Health Minister David Clark is out of his league – and that from day one the Prime Minister has been running the health portfolio and every aspect of the Covid-19 response.
“The sacrifice of the ‘team of five million’ cannot be put at risk by a clumsy and incompetent Government that allows bureaucrats to run the show by deciding which of the rules they are going to apply on any given day.
“The Government only does that when it’s covering for a weak minister. David Clark needs to be sacked.
“In the past few weeks there have been multiple incidents, from the Crowne Plaza to Avatar to this situation, where the management of Covid-19 has been left wanting.
“As New Zealand faces the worst economic crisis in 160 years, the last thing this country needs is the team of five million’s success in fighting Covid-19 being undermined by the international media now panning us for lax border controls and being unsafe.
“The Prime Minister now needs to make another captain’s call to protect New Zealanders’ jobs and their family income.
“The Prime Minister must immediately adopt National’s safe and stringent procedures for secure borders announced last week.”