In the third in a series of six major policy speeches, ACT Party Leader Don Brash will tomorrow announce the cornerstone economic policies the party plans to campaign on and fight hard for in the next government.
The speech, delivered to the Workplace Savings Industry Conference in Auckland, sets out an economic package to boost productivity and address the deep structural imbalances in the economy, and would represent a radical step-change from the policies that have brought New Zealand to the brink of economic crisis.
"Our net debt to foreign creditors is around 90 percent of GDP, right up there with Greece, and Australian incomes are on average still 38 percent higher than ours.
"Our productivity growth is among the slowest in the developed world and pathetic compared with the rapid growth of countries in Eastern Europe and Asia.
"Meanwhile 65,000 people between 15 and 24 years of age are unemployed, 38% of young Maori between the age of 15 and 19 are unemployed, and at least 220,000 children are growing up in benefit-dependent households."
Dr Brash said that while the economic package he would announce tomorrow contained sound mainstream policies that economists widely concurred with, of necessity it needed to be bold.
"Expect to hear courageous positions on the hard issues, including the scandalous electoral bribes introduced by the Clark/Cullen government such as interest-free student loans - which Bill English described as 'an election year bribe on an unprecedented scale', but which has been left unchanged.
"You can also expect strong advocacy for radical reform of the RMA and privatisation, and realism about the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation.
"The National Government didn't create the current mess; for the most part it was created by the Clark-Cullen Government.
"Over the past three years, especially with ACT's contribution on such matters as the 90 day probation period and the establishment of the Productivity Commission, National has made a few steps forward.
"But it needs to move further and faster. I can't sit by and watch the country sliding downhill while our bright young people continue to leave in droves."
Dr Brash said his motivation for returning to Parliament was to help create a better New Zealand for his children and grandchildren.
"This is, perhaps, a rather extreme example of special interest politics, but I make no apology because what's good for my children and grand-children is good for your children and grand-children also.
"I see no reason why New Zealand can't again lead the world in living standards, with good jobs paying good wages for all New Zealanders. We can eliminate poverty and give our children and grandchildren the option of having a good life here or a good life abroad. It's just going to take some vision and courage, and ACT has plenty of that to offer," Dr Brash concluded.