“The Productivity Commission’s latest report confirms Labour isn’t seriously committed to growing productivity,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The Commission has proposed that migrants should learn te reo to gain ‘insights into te ao Māori and tangata whenua […] promote better understanding of New Zealand’s bicultural nature [and] acknowledge the status of te reo as an official language and taonga.’

“This is a nice-sounding idea, but the purpose of the Commission is to lift productivity, not to improve race relations.

“New Zealand has a serious problem with low productivity. We’re not going to be able to afford better pharmaceuticals or a cleaner environment if we ignore it, focus on pursuing other goals, or decide instead to measure nebulous ideas like loneliness and identity.

“If migrants or businesses believe learning te reo is needed for higher productivity, they don’t need Ganesh Nana to tell them to learn it, they’ll just do it. More likely, requiring migrants to learn a language that is irrelevant to their job will hurt rather than help productivity.

“The Productivity Commission was until recently one of the few quangos free from the influence of social engineers.

“Nana’s appointment, however, confirmed that Labour had given up on meeting our most important public policy challenge: increasing productivity to lift incomes and living standards.

“Just last week, the New Zealand Initiative confirmed we needed policy to improve productivity. Printing money and sharing it around for political reasons won’t work. We’ve used soft money to hide real problems, while the Government has mismanaged COVID-19 and waged war on productive people with its social agenda.

“Labour has attacked the extractive industries, threatened 1890s style labour law they call 'fair pay' agreements, unleashed an avalanche of regulation on farmers, and made it harder for foreigners to send money to New Zealand by tightening the Overseas Investment Act.

“This Government said it would put children at the centre of everything but thought it more important to close charter schools for ideological reasons that adopt a policy that was working. Children will learn more about the Treaty of Waitangi than the global economy under this Government’s social engineering of education.

“There is no viable path to prosperity other than producing goods and services that people want at a price they’re prepared to pay, and doing it better, year after year.”