Weak economic growth and projected deficits show the New Zealand economy is poorly prepared for the economic shock of Coronavirus, National’s Finance Spokesperson Paul Goldsmith says.
“The Minister of Finance needs to recognise the pre-existing weaknesses in the New Zealand economy. We should be doing better than we are.
“What’s needed now is strong economic management, a clear focus on growth and improved productivity.
“Growth of 1.6 per cent in 2019 – as estimated by the Reserve Bank – and projected Budget deficits are not signs of an economy well prepared for a shock.
“The slowdown in 2019 is a direct result of the Government introducing more tax, excessive regulations and gutting New Zealand’s infrastructure pipeline. Under National’s responsible economic management, New Zealand was much more resilient to these type of economic shocks.
“Rather than recognise weaknesses in the economy and signal a readiness to change settings to support growth, the Minister of Finance this morning did the opposite by suggesting the economy had ‘good momentum’ in the first half of the financial year.
“This sort of complacency is concerning and suggests the Minister of Finance is not prepared to make the necessary changes to support the economy.
“The Government should be focused on policies that deliver growth and increased productivity. That would involve reducing costs and regulations for businesses, stimulating demand with tax relief for middle income earners, increasing labour market flexibility and encouraging the flow of investment.”