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Sluggish growth reflects nine years of drift from National

Today’s GDP figures reflect an economy that the National Government has allowed to drift along on the basis of growing population rather than improving productivity and adding value, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“It is important to recognise that in the year to June 2017, per person growth was 0.6 per cent. On a per person basis, today’s numbers represent the weakest growth performance for the economy since 2011 as the impacts of the global financial crisis were wearing off.

“The ANZ Bank has said today that ‘GDP growth in per capita terms also remains mediocre, reinforcing the economy’s poor productivity performance over recent years’.

“Even the headline numbers of 2.5 per cent growth are lower than forecast just last month in the government’s pre-election update.

“Population growth continues to account for the lion’s share of New Zealand’s growth. This is not sustainable and it is not the route to higher wages and improved standards of living that New Zealanders want and need.

“Our exports of goods and services rose by just 0.1 per cent last year.

“What is urgently needed is improvement in productivity. Despite Bill English claiming otherwise last night, productivity in New Zealand is actually declining – as confirmed by the Treasury’s own analysis.

“This is a long term challenge for New Zealand, but it will not be addressed by more of the same that we’ve seen for the last nine years.

“Labour will lift productivity by increasing the skills of our workforce, lifting investment in research and development, and encouraging the productive economy, including in the regions.

“We need an active government acting as a partner in our economy, not the drift of a tired and out of touch National Party,” says Grant Robertson.