New Zealand Labour Party

English is plain wrong on productivity

Bill English's claim that productivity has grown pretty well in New Zealand is wrong, and flies in the face of evidence from his own Government and the view of most commentators, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.

“New Zealand has seen no growth in labour productivity in the last four years. In fact we are going backwards, with Treasury seeing 0.03 per cent drop over the past four years. As Bernard Doyle from JB Were has said, ‘New Zealand is in a productivity recession’.

“This is backed up by the OECD, which has noted that our labour productivity is well below leading OECD countries, restraining living standards and well-being.

“Bill English is plain wrong. He cannot deny that our productivity growth has stalled and that relying on population growth for growth in the economy is simply not sustainable.

“It is improving productivity that will drive higher wages in New Zealand. In the last year wages have failed to keep up with inflation. We will not turn that trend around unless we can lift the value of our work.

“The international evidence shows that investing in workforce skills is critical to lifting productivity. That is why Labour is so focused on investing in education and training.

“Our three years free education and training policy will not only benefit school leavers but all those in the workforce who have not studied or trained before.

“We also need to lift our investment in research and development. Innovation is core to productivity growth and Labour's Research and Development Tax Credits will give businesses the certainty to invest in this critical area,” says Grant Robertson.