Today’s weak growth figures are less than half of what was forecast in last month’s Budget and signal rough weather ahead, Labour’s Finance spokesman Grant Robertson says.
“GDP figures showing the economy grew just 0.2% in the first three months of 2015 show how overly optimistic the 0.5% to 0.7% prediction was. The Government can no longer ignore what is happening.
“Behind today’s Statistics New Zealand figures are our agriculture numbers which contracted 2.3% in the quarter, weighing down overall growth.
“John Key and Bill English made a losing bet that dairy prices would remain strong and they wouldn’t have to invest in other areas of the economy. They got it wrong, and they’ve got no Plan B.
“The Government squandered the opportunities they had in the good times to invest in diversifying the economy, boost R&D, and revitalise the regions. Instead they sat on their hands.
“It is worrying that we now face so much government debt with not a surplus in sight, high unemployment and we are staring at weaker growth ahead.
“A responsible government would have used a period of high dairy prices and growth to build the foundations of a broader, stronger economy. Unless real leadership is shown now, we will be left with a stagnant economy,” Grant Robertson says.