By Simon Bridges, National Party leader.
OPINION: The Labour-led Government inherited a strong economy growing at three to four per cent. Job growth was up, and unemployment was down. We were lauded internationally as a “rock star economy”.
However, since taking office, the Labour Government have done little to keep that momentum. Instead of pushing the accelerator, it has pulled the handbrake. It isn’t just complacency. Their policies are actively slowing economic growth and will lead to fewer opportunities for New Zealanders.
It’s bad news for hard-working Kiwis with more on the way. ANZ has released its business confidence survey which has dropped to a very low net 38 per cent of businesses who expect things to get worse. Westpac echoes the sentiment, its latest employment survey shows workers are less confident.
The latest NZIER’s quarterly survey shows that businesses have become gloomier about the economy and their own prospects as they see profits falling and costs rising. The Reserve Bank is also saying that a cut in interest rates is now likely to support an economy that is slowing considerably under this Government.
There is a trifecta of poor policy decisions that will and are slowing our economy — taxes, waste, and regulation.
Labour’s proposed Capital Gains Tax discourages saving and enterprise. It punishes people who work hard and take risks to get ahead. It increases the tax burden on Kiwi families and will make us all poorer.
A Capital Gains Tax would tax people saving for their retirement, investors, small business owners, farmers and people living on lifestyle blocks.
It’s also unnecessary taxation.
The Government already collects more than enough tax from New Zealanders.
So far the Government has cancelled tax relief that would have put $1,000 a week in the back pocket of the average kiwi, introduced a regional fuel tax and increased petrol taxes and it has imposed more costs on landlords which are driving up rents.
Yet it’s still looking at ways to take more from hardworking Kiwis.
Wasting your money has been a cornerstone of this Government’s agenda. Be it $160,000 on mulching trees, $250 million on more than 250 working groups, $2.8 billion on fees-free or fundamentally shifting the goalposts of what we consider acceptable government spending, by introducing a $3 billion ministerial slush fund.
And other bad policies are slowing the economy. Banning new oil and gas exploration could end up costing the economy $30 billion.
Implementing 1970s style compulsory union agreements in the employment market could increase unemployment. And banning foreign investment is hurting our businesses looking to get ahead.
National has a proven track record as competent managers of the economy. We believe Kiwis should keep more of what they earn and that Government has a responsibility to spend what they take responsibly.
We will help New Zealand businesses to succeed, manage regulation, repeal any Capital Gains Tax and introduce no new taxes in our first term.
Simon Bridges is leader of the National Party.