The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.
The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working families have seen their slice of the economy shrink by $50 a week under the current government.
“Since National came to power, just 37% of economic growth has gone into the pay packets of working families. Under the last Labour Government that figure was over 50%.
“If working New Zealanders’ share of the economy hadn’t shrunk under National, the average family would now be $50 a week better off. All up, the average family has missed out on more than $13,000 under this government.
“This is a result of a government that is increasingly out of touch and focused on the few at the top. As a result, middle New Zealand is going backwards and we are seeing the emergence of real poverty in this country.
“Meanwhile, the services families depend upon have been squeezed too far. Health has been underfunded by $1.7 billion. Education costs for parents and students are rising at ten times the rate of inflation.
“The Kiwi dream of homeownership is disappearing, with our next generation giving up hope they can ever save enough to buy their own home. At the sharp end of the crisis, we see the heartbreaking and inexcusable situation where children are forced to live in garages and cars.
“This is not the New Zealand we want, and eight years into John Key’s government, the time for excuses is over.
“A Labour government would deliver a Budget that prioritises health and education, takes real action on housing, and ensures that working people get their fair share of economic growth.
“We will back the hopes and aspirations of middle New Zealand and have zero tolerance for poverty.
“That is what this government must do and I will hold them to the challenge,” Andrew Little says.