“Today’s Labour Cost Index showed 2,000 more people in unemployment than last Quarter, with no increase in the number of people employed.
 
“We have a labour crisis in nearly every area of the economy, nurses, builders,fruit pickers, pilots, accountants. With the borders opening, Labour can’t get more people in employment but they’ve managed to increase unemployment.
 
“It seems that any positives gained by the opening of the border have been made null in void by the amount of Kiwis flocking overseas. 10,000 Kiwis left in the first quarter of 2022 and the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has previously predicted 50,000 will leave our shores for the year.
 
“It’s no wonder they’re looking for greener pastures, today’s figures show that New Zealanders are working harder and losing more money under Labour’s watch.
 
“According to today’s figures, wages are up 6.4 per cent for the year, almost a full percentage point behind inflation at 7.3 per cent. In effect, people have taken a one per cent real pay cut over the last year.
 
“Labour’s policies are making it harder for Kiwis to get ahead and today’s statistics are another signal of the slow decline.
 
“What the Government needs to do is cut spending and cut taxes, so that people can keep more of their own money. The alternative is we continue on this path away from first world status.
 
“The next Government will have to deliver real change, ACT is showing the way to do this with practical and well thought out policy that will turn our economy around.
 
“ACT is the only party putting forward practical solutions, having released two payments on the cost of living crisis since we declared it last December. For example,we have proposed that the Labour Market Test be dropped for accredited employers. It’s absurd that every employer has to individually prove there’s a shortage of labour when the whole country is clearly facing a Labour crisis.
 
Note, ACT’s full Cost of Living paper is here,in summary ACT would:

  1. Embrace free trade by unilaterally abolishing all tariffs to reduce costs of clothing, food and equipment imported into New Zealand by $200 million per year
  2. Simplifying the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme by abolishing labour market tests, the wage rule, and transfer restrictions, clearly not needed in a labour crisis, so firms can produce to their potential without labour constraints
  3. Allow foreign supermarket chains from OECD member countries to bypass the Overseas Investment Act, bringing real competition to our supermarket sector
  4. Creating a Materials Equivalence Register, forcing Councils to accept substitutes for scarce material such as Gib Board, to reduce costs and bring down delays for building
  5. Incentivise councils to build by sharing GST with them, but only if they say yes to residential development, building more plentiful homes for the next generation and bringing down prices
  6. Cut taxes for every earner, including $2,185 for an average full-time worker, with a two-rate tax structure: 17.5 per cent up to $70,000 and 28 per cent thereafter, together with a Low- and Middle-Income Tax Offset. As well as provide Kiwis with a Carbon Tax Refund
  7. Replacing the RMA with a fit-for-purpose law where only those whose property is directly physically affected can object to development, allowing vital supply chain infrastructure to get built
  8. Restore monetary policy credibility to the Reserve Bank by returning its mandate to solely taming inflation, allowing the appointment of monetary policy experts from New Zealand and abroad, and applying stricter scrutiny in future before granting Crown indemnities

Reverse the Government’s workplace relations changes that are hammering businesses like Fair Pay Agreements, an extra public holiday, and bringing back 90-day trials.

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David Seymour