Nats admit they have no plan for savings

After nine years in Opposition and nearly two in government, it is astounding that National has admitted it still has no plans to lift New Zealand’s crucial savings rate, Labour Finance spokesperson David Cunliffe said today.

David Cunliffe said revelations in a Sunday newspaper today that National had approached Tax Working Group chair Bob Buckle and PricewaterhouseCoopers tax expert John Shewan to run a savings working group shows National “is desperate to fill its now obvious policy vacuum and is rattled by Labour’s growing economic policy momentum.

“While consultation with experts isn’t wrong, it’s extraordinary that National, after nearly two years, has no decisive policy of its own on how to increase savings,” David Cunliffe said.

“Outsourcing the problem to a savings working group is tantamount to an admission that any effects from tax changes have been minimal, and National has nowhere else to go.

“Today’s revelation comes on the back of a dreadful week for National and Bill English, with growing evidence of a double dip recession, declining manufacturing outputs, sharply rising unemployment, declining business confidence, low business investment, and continuing falls in commodity prices,” David Cunliffe said.

“Bill English’s speech last week to the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development, in which he blamed ancient history, the Australian minerals boom and every other imagined difficulty he could ‘lay hands on’ to try to explain away the slow, difficult and patchy economic recovery under National, is the most defensive he’s given in two years.

“This is clearly a government on the back foot with no vision and no plan to take New Zealand forward,” David Cunliffe said.

“The lack of milestones to catch up with Australia and the mistaken and unfair allocation of massive tax windfalls for upper income earners is reminiscent of earlier National prescriptions of tax cuts, deregulate and hope.

“The latest development, showing the lack of strategy around lifting our crucial savings rate, proves once again National is adrift without a coherent plan for jobs, growth and a brighter future,” David Cunliffe said.