New Zealand Labour Party

Surplus sideshow over, time for action

John Key and Bill English have delivered a jobless ‘recovery’ that has come and gone with unemployment expected to keep rising over the next two years Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

 “Several years after they declared the recession over, National have delivered the weakest economic recovery on record with unemployment never dropping below 5.6 per cent and wages remaining stagnant.  Unemployment is now forecast to stay above 6 per cent until 2017.  That means tens of thousands more Kiwis out of work. 

“The number of additional jobs forecast in the budget for this financial year has been slashed from 42,000 to just 7,000. All the while wages will remain screwed down for most New Zealanders.  The half year Budget update shows that wage growth will fail to match inflation for the next two years. 

“All of this is the result of a Government without a plan other than to drift along and hope for the best. New Zealanders deserve better than that.  

“After manufacturing a surplus through under-valuing EQC liabilities, Bill English now admits it was a one off. The excuse that because of inflation, there will be no surplus in the current year doesn't wash.  It is declining growth in the economy and wages that are the problem. The truth is that real sustainable surpluses are generated by getting people into jobs, growing incomes for workers and profits for productive businesses, not accounting tricks.  

“Now that the surplus sideshow is over, it's time for National to put people first in their management of the economy.  No one can declare our economy a success when the Children’s Commissioner tells us today that one third of children live in poverty.  We must put poverty eradication as a core economic and social goal of the government. 

“ With this government all the big issues are put off for another day.  It has pushed out the target for paying down debt by another year, and contributions to the Super Fund will now not recommence until 2022/23. This kind of irresponsible short termism will be the legacy of the National Government. 

“ It is time for the government to prioritise growing real jobs, exports and incomes rather than letting the economy drift into a malaise. New Zealand needs a government that puts the long-term needs of people and productive business investment first. That's what New Zealanders deserve and that's what they will get from the next Labour government” says Grant Robertson.