National puts economy in reverse gear

People in the Indian community are working hard and doing everything they should do, but they just cannot get ahead.

Prices are rising much faster than incomes. Every week I hear stories in my electorate of people cutting back just to be able to put food on the table, pay the power bill or buy clothes for their children.

National’s third Budget should have addressed this issue but unfortunately, it makes the struggle much tougher.

This Budget hurts. It is tinkering and does not have a plan to get the economy going again. It does not have the courage to address the problems that are holding the economy back.

National’s cuts to KiwiSaver are short sighted, because they discourage saving and move the goal posts on New Zealanders yet again. Changing the rules midway through the game undermines New Zealanders confidence that the scheme will be there for the long term.

Labour will announce a bold savings policy in coming months.

National’s plan to sell our public assets is just as short sighted. It is like selling your house to pay the mortgage, then renting a house off someone else.

It just does not make any economic sense to sell off assets built by generations of New Zealanders and provide returns to the Government of $700 million.

That is why Labour is committed to not selling assets.

There is no doubt that times are tough and everyone needs to do their bit. But National’s plan only targets struggling middle New Zealand. Those earning the most and who received windfall tax cuts of over $300 a week have not been asked to give up anything.

That is not a plan that will grow the economy.

Action Plan

We do not need more promises from National of a ‘brighter future’ that never eventuates. We need a solid plan for a growing economy. We need a plan that gives hard working families a break by lifting wages. Unfortunately, we did not get such a plan in this Budget.

Labour is committed to getting the deficit under control, but cutting KiwiSaver and selling off our assets is not the way to do it.

Labour has begun laying out a bold, fully evaluated alternative.

We will confront the tough challenges, the squeeze on working families, high debt and low savings, the pressure of a volatile Dollar on our exporters, and under-investment in our businesses.

Our Leader Phil Goff has unveiled the first tranche of Labour’s vision – saving $800 million by bringing agriculture into the Emissions Trading Scheme earlier. That money will be used to fund research and development.

National is subsidising pollution. Labour will end that subsidy and use the money to invest in the future: high-tech, high-wage jobs.

We have also announced that Labour will increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour in our first year in power. That will put $66 a week more into the pocket of a full-time minimum wage worker, which they will spend and save, stimulating their communities’ economies.

The best way to bring down the deficit is to get the economy growing again.

Labour has begun outlining our plan to get the economy growing. It is a credible strategy for rebuilding the economy and bringing down debt.

New Zealand deserves better than the visionless budget presented by National.

We need a serious and responsible Government with the courage and boldness to make the hard choices that will lead all New Zealanders to a better tomorrow where we own our own future.

Labour is ready to be the Government that all New Zealanders need.

David Cunliffe is an elected Member of Parliament representing the New Lynn Constituency and Labour Party’s Finance Spokesman. The above article is exclusive to Indian Newslink ©

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