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Economy must deliver a fair go for New Zealanders

The latest Half Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) provides further evidence that the economy that the National Government and Bill English have is sitting on shifting sands and leaves many people behind, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says today.

“It’s easy to glance at the headline figures and see a rosy picture of government surplus and economic growth, but look harder and there is plenty for New Zealanders to be concerned about.

“The country’s economic growth is a sandcastle based on rampant house price inflation, high personal debt, and on population growth that is putting pressure on infrastructure and public services – pressure that this Government is failing to address.

“On a per-person basis New Zealand is hardly growing at all. It’s no wonder people are feeling that they are working longer hours but they are only treading water. And the forecasts today are for almost no real wage growth in the next two years.

“And then there are the tens of thousands of people just being left behind, homeless, out of work and losing hope under National’s watch.

“Labour’s focus is getting New Zealand back to its best. That is when everyone has a roof over their head, access to the best health and education systems in the world, and the opportunity of decent work and a good pay packet.

“As Finance Minister I would commit to more investment in people through strong public services, starting to pay back the enormous debt that been amassed since 2008, and planning for the future by restarting contributions to the New Zealand Super Fund.

“Bill English however is still playing politics with dangling irresponsible tax cuts. This is all the more so with this year’s surplus slashed due to the Kaikōura earthquakes.

“Calm the farm, Bill, and pull back on the tax cut carrot. The HYEFU shows that the real priority is invest to get sustainable growth that foster the innovative and productive economy that will deliver decent jobs,” says Grant Robertson.