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Treasury sounds warning bell – but National’s not listening

Today's long term fiscal outlook issued by The Treasury is a welcome wake-up call on the need to dramatically improve and diversify our economy and properly plan for the future, Grant Robertson, Labour’s Finance Spokesperson says.

“Through our Future of Work Commission the Labour Party has recognised the need for significant changes to ensure there is decent work and a higher standard of living for New Zealanders in the future. This report highlights many of the same issues such as improving our productivity, regional development, diversifying our exports. The Treasury also emphasises the importance of lifelong quality education and training – which have been at the core of Labour’s economic policy.

“The report is clear that in those measures that really matter for the well-being of people- incomes, housing, hours of work and educational attainment, New Zealand is below average in the OECD.

“We can also see why New Zealanders feel they are working harder, but struggling to get ahead.  Our GDP per capita is 8 per cent below the OECD average.  New Zealanders are working more hours but our real output per hour is falling.

“The report also highlights that New Zealand needs to take a longer term approach to meet the challenges ahead from an ageing population and the increasing costs of vital health services.  Between now and 2060 superannuation costs will rise by more than 50 per cent - from 6.2 per cent to 9.7 per cent of GDP. John Key's head-in-the-sand approach to the long term sustainability of superannuation is reckless and irresponsible.  Rather than cut taxes we need to re-start contributions to the Super Fund now we are back in surplus.

“We can continue to provide New Zealanders with security and opportunity throughout their lives if we make sensible long-term spending decisions now.  Labour is committed to reviewing our tax system to ensure all New Zealanders pay their fair share, and to making the investments now in our people to deliver prosperity in the future."  Grant Robertson said.