When it comes to the debate around the Government’s accounts, you will find language like responsible, prudent and stable being used interchangeably by political parties. Labour is committed to these principles, and to building a strong economy. We are committed to lifting our productivity and wages, through investing in skills, research and development, innovation and opportunities in our regions.
But building a strong economy is not enough to declare success. Success for Labour means ‘shared prosperity’. Success in our economy will only feel real when all New Zealanders benefit from the wealth that growth in the economy provides. It's why we will target child poverty – measuring our economic success against reducing its incidence in New Zealand. It’s why we don’t accept that having 70,000 young people without employment, education or training is normal or acceptable. It’s why we won’t rest while 40,000 people are homeless and children are doing their homework by torchlight in the back of a car. It’s why we need to be an active partner for growth in all regions of New Zealand – ensuring that jobs and career opportunities exist right across the country.
I believe that when we hold ourselves to account, you can hold us to account. That is why we have worked so hard to establish our two key fiscal policy tools — the Budget Responsibility Rules, and this Fiscal Plan. Taken together, they are the foundation on which we have built our wider programme of investment. They highlight our belief in the fact that ‘shared prosperity’ can only be delivered alongside sound fiscal management.
This Fiscal Plan sets out Labour's vision for an alternative government that will deliver the kinds of positive change that New Zealanders can really feel. By choosing to reject tax cuts, Labour can deliver $8bn more for health, $6bn more for education, and $5bn more for our most vulnerable families. Delivering our Budget Responsibility Rules means we can reduce the housing and infrastructure deficits that have developed over the past nine years. By choosing to invest in New Zealanders and the regions of New Zealand we can deliver a more prosperous, productive, and positive future.
Let’s do this.
Leader of the Opposition