Paul Goldsmith: National will deliver a strong economy

Opinion 10/09/2019

By Paul Goldsmith, National Party Finance Spokesperson.

Recently, Simon Bridges and I launched our Discussion Document on the economy. A strong economy matters and New Zealand should be booming, yet business confidence is as low as the depths of the global financial crisis and 63 per cent of business leaders think the Government is managing the economy poorly.

Our Economic Discussion Document sets out 50 commitments or proposals to restore confidence, revive our economy and lift our aspirations both in terms of what we can earn and the challenges we can overcome.

National recognises that Government does not drive the economy. It is driven by all the people who get up early, work hard, come up with new ideas and invest their time and their money to build opportunities for themselves and others.

New Zealand should be doing well; the prices for goods we export are near historical highs. Any effects from global uncertainty and trade tensions haven’t affected our exporters as of yet. The previous National government left large surpluses, which should have allowed this Government to invest in growth. Sadly, they’ve missed that opportunity. They’ve added costs to businesses and families, they’ve created massive uncertainty and they’ve demonstrated rank incompetence with KiwiBuild and their transport policies.

This Government has relentlessly dipped into your back pocket whenever they need a little extra cash.

We don’t think that’s fair, which is why we have already committed to indexing tax thresholds to the cost of living, so Kiwis aren’t taxed more by stealth every year, and we won’t introduce any new taxes in our first term. We will repeal the Regional Fuel Tax and not increase petrol excise taxes in our first term.

To establish a wealthy economy that can deliver for New Zealanders, we must tackle wasteful spending. National will ensure Treasury has a greater focus on providing sound advice on the effectiveness of Government spending. The Government scrapped targets implemented by National which focussed on reducing welfare dependency, child hospitalisations and waiting times for social housing. We will continue the Social Investment approach and reintroduce targets that are focussed on public agencies.

It’s frustrating for me to see this Government slowing us down with their lack of infrastructure development. When we just want to get home on time, this Government has cancelled or postponed many big transport projects that were ready to go and replaced them with projects that aren’t ready to go, and won’t be for a long time. It’s not just physically slowing us down, it’s slowing down the entire economy.

We have already committed to overhauling the RMA to make it more efficient and predictable. In the document, we have expressed we are also open to exploring pricing mechanisms that will help to efficiently manage the flow of traffic and are revenue neutral.

New Zealanders are hardworking and innovative, and we know it is discouraging when red tape holds you back.

A National Government will repeal 100 regulations in our first six months in Government and we will eliminate two old regulations for every new one we introduce, so that you can get on with the job. 

National’s bottom line is you, and it’s clear the unnecessary stress of getting paid on time is a big issue for New Zealand small business owners.  National wants to find ways to ease the stress for small business owners and ensure healthier cash flows. We’ve announced we will establish a ‘Small Business Payments Guarantee’ which will be a voluntary initiative committing large New Zealand businesses and not-for-profits to ensure small businesses are paid on time and within 30 days.

In the document, we’ve expressed that we want a superannuation scheme that’s sustainable for future generations. We won’t turn a blind eye to the future affordability of the scheme like the current Government. A National Government will ensure superannuation remains sustainable by progressively increasing the age of entitlement from 65 to 67 starting in 2037.

We’re doing the work now in Opposition so we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2020. These are just some of the many areas covered in the Economic Discussion Document. We want to hear your thoughts on how we can develop a thriving economy that delivers for you. Have your say by going to www.national.org.nz/economy.

Paul Goldsmith is Finance Spokesperson for the National Party.