Friday, July 19, 2024

National entering fiscal ‘Bermuda triangle’

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says National Party Leader, Christopher Luxon’s State of the Nation address was “the same tired old story” that failed to offer any new ideas for New Zealand’s future.

Mr Robertson slammed the speech as a continuation of the mistakes made by the succession of National leaders since John Key, saying the maths just didn’t add up when it came to the Party’s fiscal policies.

“Christopher Luxon wants to cut taxes, reduce debt, and keep on spending. This is the same fiscal ‘Bermuda triangle’ that got Paul Goldsmith in trouble, and nothing seems to have changed for National,” Minister Robertson said.

“Let’s be clear, what National outlined today will mean cuts to important services. They need to front up to Kiwis and say which health, education and housing services they will slash to make that happen.

“The reality is that Christopher Luxon’s proposals will just make things worse. There will be more congestion on Auckland’s roads, it will be harder for first home buyers to buy a house and those on low incomes will fall further behind.

“National is still missing in action on a plan for the major issues that will define New Zealand’s future. The speech said nothing about how we will meet the challenge of climate change or seize the economic opportunities that come from a low carbon economy to provide higher wage jobs.”

He said Mr Luxon had also failed to address the nation’s COVID crisis in his address.

“The speech shows once again that National will not face up to the hard decisions that come with being in government. Just as the previous National government failed to address housing or mental health, this time around they are not prepared to back the work Labour is doing on the much needed reset of our health system or to ensure New Zealanders have safe drinking water and decent waste and storm water systems.”

“While it might be inconvenient for National, the facts show that New Zealand has one of the strongest and resilient economies in the world. Unemployment is at a record low and our exporters are benefiting from higher prices for their produce. We are in a strong fiscal position, with lower than expected deficits and debt levels well below that of other countries we compare ourselves against.

“We know that some New Zealanders are doing it tough at the moment as the global forces of inflation and the pandemic combine. We will continue to support those most in need and take a balanced and careful approach to deal with COVID and invest in our future while carefully managing our resources to ensure the long term sustainability of the economy,” Mr Robertson said.

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