“We can have a better future in New Zealand, but at the moment the brutal truth is that money talks and many Kiwis finding it increasingly difficult to stay afloat in New Zealand will do what they have to do to get by.

“Under Labour the median wage gap has gone from Australians earning $17,400 more to $23,400 more. As well as earning more, people in Australia pay less. Interest rates are 1.5-2 per cent lower than New Zealand, and their Reserve Bank has stopped hiking the OCR. New Zealand mortgagees who refix this year will pay an extra $300-$400 per week.

“New Zealand’s falling wages reflect a long-term productivity decline. Lithuania, The Czech Republic, and Slovenia have all overtaken us for productivity in the past five years. We don’t even compare to Australia anymore.

“As we lose competitiveness, we lose skilled people and investment. As we lose skilled people and investment, we become less competitive. This is the spiral we must avoid. Do we want to carry on in comfortable decline until we slip away from first world status, or do we want real change?

“ACT says it is not enough to simply trim the sails when New Zealand is heading in the wrong direction. What is needed is a new direction, with real policy change for greater productivity. That includes:

  • Reducing Government waste to improve the quality of results from public services
  • Reducing taxes so more people keep more of what they earn to encourage upskilling, work, savings and investment
  • Increasing discipline on regulations so that people are not tied up in red tape
  • Setting high goals for educational success then trusting the profession to achieve them without micromanagement by the Ministry of Education

“ACT has set much of this agenda out in great detail. There are real alternatives available for New Zealand. ACT’s Alternative Budget for Real Change shows how to arrest the decline and grow the economy. It is needed reward Kiwis for their hard work by allowing them to keep their money. Under our plan a nurse with one child, for example, earning $70,000 would receive around $2,300 in tax relief. We would remove restrictions on investments from democratic OECD countries to bring more capital into the country.

“The Government’s approach is taking in record taxes to pay for wasteful spending. ACT’s approach is to take the foot off the throat of taxpayers and let them keep more of their money.

“People like to think of New Zealand as a first world country but our income figures tell a different story. Until we have a government focussed on economic growth we will continue to see tragedies in our health system, out of control crime, diminishing education standards and poverty.

“These challenges can be addressed, but in order to do that there needs to be a strong economy built around creating conditions for prosperity, giving people the opportunity to get ahead.”


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