New Finance Minister Steven Joyce has failed his first test with an uninspiring and empty effort in his first major speech, Grant Robertson Labour Finance Spokesperson said.
“This was the opportunity for Steven Joyce to give New Zealanders some hope that he had a plan for how they can get ahead. Instead we get a jumble of tired statistics and vague ideas.
“While headline growth numbers look positive, Mr Joyce failed to acknowledge that on a per person basis New Zealand’s growth rate is actually eight per cent below the OECD average. Our economy is built on a sandcastle of population growth and record household debt. That is not sustainable.
“We got the same failed rhetoric on housing in this speech. The reality is that for most Kiwi households the housing crisis has wiped out any wage increases they got in the last year. The latest Statistics New Zealand data shows that the average household was only a dollar a day better off in the last year once housing costs are taken into account. That is why so many people are struggling to keep up with the bills.
“The closest Steven Joyce got to a specific new proposal was to float the possibility of electronic road tolling in Auckland Everyone knows that developing this will take a decade or more, and in the meantime the city’s transport problems will just get worse. In fact the most definite thing Mr Joyce did in this speech was rule out a regional fuel tax for Auckland, even as short term solution. We need a strong partnership with local government in Auckland, not the Minister issuing dictates and slap-downs.
“New Zealand can do so much better than this. Labour has a plan to give New Zealanders a fair share in prosperity. Our priorities are to invest in housing, health and education, and in the opportunity for decent work right across the country,” Grant Robertson said.