“New Zealand is becoming an economic backwater to Australia under Labour and we need real change to stem the tide of Kiwis fleeing our shores”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“On just about every economic measure, Australia is winning the Trans-Tasman battle:

  • The Australian median wage has grown $6,600 a year faster than New Zealand’s since 2017
  • Inflation in Australia is 5.1 per cent, lower than our 6.9 per cent
  • Australian floating mortgage rates were 2.59 percentage points lower than in New Zealand’s in March
  • New Zealanders pay 33 per cent of their income in tax, while Australians pay just 29 per cent
  • It’s much easier to invest in Australia which receives 80 per cent more investment per person from the rest of the world compared with New Zealand.

“New Zealanders are earning less and paying more tax than Australians. It’s no wonder they're fleeing. In the 12 months to May, the net outflow of people was 67,500.

“In Parliament today, Finance Minister Grant Robertson defended decades of comfortable decline under Labour and National, saying everything is okay.

“Successive governments’ obsession with dividing up and doling out the wealth, instead of creating it, mean we’re poorer than we should be.

“Some people believe we can get back on track simply by changing the faces in the Beehive. That’s wrong. Our trajectory is one of decline from first world status. We need to change the path as well as the people.

“It’s too hard to invest, build, hire, and do business in New Zealand, but there’s depressingly little appetite from other political parties for the kind of change New Zealand needs.

“ACT’s Real Change Budget would have attacked wasteful spending by removing whole departments that add no value, radically simplified our tax system, raised productivity and wages, made the government’s books sustainable, and created a culture where work, savings, investment and innovation are rewarded.

“In short, it took on difficult issues other political parties want to avoid to secure our future as a prosperous first world nation.

“We’ve long conceived of ourselves as a prosperous first world country. Today, we’re not even close. Our GDP per hour worked in 2020 was $61.88, compared with the UK’s at $89.76 (45 per cent higher). Even former communist countries that we used to feel sorry for are overtaking us. Lithuania’s GDP per hour worked is $65.14.

“This is why Kiwis can’t afford pharmaceuticals. It’s why families have been hit harder by the cost of living crisis. It means there’s less money to put away for retirement.

“While other politicians are focused on the next election, ACT is focused on the next generation.

“Our country is in real danger of slipping away from first world status. We can’t afford business as usual. Real change means asking who we want to be as a nation for generations to come, not who gets what this election.

“We can’t just evict the current government. We need to evict its ideas, too, and deliver real change.

“The choice we now face is the same as we faced a generation ago. Do we want to carry on in comfortable decline, or do we want to ? The real question is: Can we afford not to do this?”

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David Seymour