“The value of work and getting ahead in life is being eroded by Labour’s policies, new statistics show that productivity is anaemic,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Over the past three years labour productivity growth continues at a woeful 1.1 per cent for the years 2019-2022, only fractionally better than the 0.9 per cent from 2008-2019. The reason New Zealand feels increasingly poor is that labour productivity is so weak.

“Labour has increased the minimum wage 44 per cent over the last five years. But the productivity growth is not there to support it.

“Nothing sums up Labour’s attitude better than the changes coming into effect on Saturday 1 April. The Government is going to start giving more money to beneficiaries, students, retirees and minimum wage workers. What about the rest of the country – all the people who work for a living?

“Under Labour, the one thing that doesn’t get you ahead in life anymore is work.

“This has been a long time coming. Lithuania, The Czech Republic, and Slovenia have all overtaken us for productivity in the past five years. We don’t even compare to Australia, Canada, the U.S. or Britain any more.

“Approximately 2.8 million Kiwis rely on working, saving, or investing to get by and their after tax income is falling while costs increase. Since Grant Robertson became Finance Minister the average worker tax rate for personal income tax has increased from 20 per cent to 22 per cent. This means the average worker is being taxed an extra $3,629 annually.

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

“New Zealand is suffering from a crisis of values. The country was built on hard work but Government policy is more focused on dividing than growing, the value of working hard to get ahead is being eroded so why would you bother?

“ACT’s Alternative Budget for Real Change shows a plan 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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