New Zealand Labour Party

Worst Six Months for Economy since 2011

Today’s new GDP statistics show growth per capita has declined for two quarters in a row but the Government is still just watching from the sidelines, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says.

“This quarter GDP per capita is down by 0.03 per cent, following a 0.3 per cent decline the previous quarter. This is the worst six months for economic growth per capita in over four years.

“Economic growth of 0.4 per cent is below Treasury’s Budget forecast of 0.7 per cent, and that of most market commentators. The rosy Budget forecasts are yet again failing to turn into reality.

“National is asleep at the wheel of the economy. When growth was good, unemployment remained high and wages stagnated. They did nothing to prepare the economy for the inevitable downturn. Now the economy is slowing down, they are doing nothing to get it back into gear.

“It’s time for Bill English to stop his disappearing act and come up with measures to stimulate the economy. Bringing forward infrastructure projects and kicking off a house-building programme like Labour’s KiwiBuild would be a good start.

“Unfortunately the Finance Minister doesn’t think that’s his job. He’s leaving all the heavy lifting on the economy to the Reserve Bank Governor.

“The economy is looking more and more like the downside scenario Treasury raised in the Budget, meaning high unemployment and stagnating wages for years to come. The Government should be doing everything it can to avoid it. Instead they appear to be sleepwalking towards the downside,” Grant Robertson says.