New Zealand Labour Party

Working people carrying the can for the Government

Today’s announcement of a Government operating surplus is the result of the hard work of many Kiwi businesses and workers, who will be asking themselves if they are receiving their fair share of growth in the economy, Grant Robertson Labour Finance Spokesperson said. 

“Getting an operating surplus is a basic fundamental in our economy, and New Zealanders from all walks of life who have put in the long hours and the hard work to get there will be pleased to see it.

“Those same people will also be asking whether the benefits of that economic growth are being fairly shared.   It is all well and good to be pleased about a surplus, but when there are children living in cars and garages, older New Zealanders in pain waiting for operations, and school funding going backwards, the Government needs to take a long hard look at their priorities. 

“Families and working people across New Zealand are carrying the weight of these results.  Household debt to income ratios are the highest they have ever been and wages are stagnant, with more than two-thirds of working people getting less than a 2 per cent pay increase last year. 

“The Government’s own debt has spiralled, and Bill English admitted this week that not a single cent of net debt has been paid off on his watch. 

“Before the Government gets too carried away with self-congratulation, Bill English needs to front up about his incompetent and irresponsible management of Housing New Zealand - that sees it nearly broke when there is an urgent need for more social housing. 

“ These accounts show that while the hard work of New Zealanders is paying off,  the overall net worth of the government has fallen since 2008 and debt is higher than forecast.  Labour believes New Zealand needs an economic plan that creates long term and sustainable growth. New Zealand at its best will build an innovative and sustainable economy delivering high wage jobs.  That will take real investment - not just National’s failed borrowing and hoping approach.”  Grant Robertson said.