Paul Goldsmith takes the government to task
Myopia, under-performance, poor government spending and wrong policies are all taking the country in the wrong direction, says National Party Finance Spokesman Paul Goldsmith.
Paul is an old friend of Indian Newslink, and our association began at the turn of the century when he used to passionately write about the economy, public finance and macro economy. His current assignment is recent but his knowledge is deep and sound. He held several ministerial positions including Tertiary Education, Skills & Employment, Science and Innovation and Regulatory Reform.
“The Coalition government has created uncertainty in many areas- Union Laws, Domestic Savings, KiwiBuild and the list goes on. This government is confused and complacent,” Mr Goldsmith said, speaking to Indian Newslink.
Complacent? We would have thought that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern often mentioned that that much remains to be done and Finance Minister Grant Robertson saying that many more economic and social reforms are on the cards.
“Wage increase, for instance,” Mr Goldsmith said, as if reading my thoughts. “Of course, there should be a wage increase, but it should be linked to productivity. Exporters should not made to suffer. We are a small economy in the corner of the world. Denmark is of similar size but it is amidst 300 million people in Europe. We are struggling to stimulate investment. This government has killed initiatives and business confidence continues to fall,” he said.
He cited the international education policy resulting in the falling number of international students and shutting off oil and gas exploration as examples of a ‘complacent government.’
Although the next general election is more than a year away, National is preparing for a major fight and Mr Goldsmith has started thinking of his fiscal policy.
“I would not increase taxes if I were to become the next Finance Minister,” he said, but added cautiously, “Tax will be adjusted to inflation. I would follow a careful and disciplined spending, have planned economic growth and increase incentives for innovation and allow businesses to expand. Of course, we do not know what we will inherit,” he said.
Mr Goldsmith spoke about aspirations- his and that of his Party- which he later emphasised at the National Party Annual Conference held in Christchurch on July 27 and 28, 2019 (Please see reports in this edition and on our website www.indiannewslink.co.nz)
Individual and Collective aspirations
As well as generating work and opportunities, good economic management and a strong economy enables the country to have better public services that improve our lives – a quality education, access to world-class healthcare when we need it, decent transport infrastructure so we can get home on time, the reassurance of superannuation when we are old, he said.
“Good economic management is not just about spending money; it is about generating it. As we all know, the current Government is having great fun spending the surpluses it inherited. They have been slack, confused, and lazy in their spending choices. The hundreds of millions on free tertiary fees, for fewer students, is the classic example; as is the Provincial Growth Fund – one part economic development, nine parts NZ First re-election fund,” he said.
There are countless other examples. The $2 billion for KiwiBuild that was supposed to deliver 10,000 houses a year but has instead delivered about 200 in two years, and the $300 million for 279 working groups, he said.
Mr Goldsmith said that slumping business confidence is a symptom of the confusion and doubt this Government has sewn.
“It has fallen because this Government continues to add costs to businesses. It has created massive uncertainty and demonstrated incompetence in critical areas, starting with KiwiBuild and transport. Our approach would be the opposite. We will have a clearly articulated plan for growth. One that accepts successful, modern economies have to do lots of things to make a living. The most sophisticated and successful economy in the world, the United States of America, is also the largest producer of oil,” he said.
Paul Goldsmith speaking at the National Party Conference