Much of the economic pain you are suffering is home-grown

Every New Zealander who is struggling through the cost of living crisis needs to understand one vital truth: overseas events cannot be blamed for all of the pain you are suffering.

It’s a fact that this government’s ill-disciplined approach to the country’s finances has compounded any economic impact that’s been generated overseas. And it’s not just the National Party that’s pointing this out. Before Grant Robertson released his last budget, Treasury clearly warned him that it was a mistake to stoke the fires of inflation. Treasury’s pre-budget report stated: a large portion of New Zealand’s inflation at present is being driven by strong domestic demand.’

Unfortunately, the government chose to ignore the warnings of the experts and even to exceed the spending cap it had imposed on itself in December the previous year. The writing was on the wall and yet the government chose to gamble with the financial health of the country.

This cavalier approach to a fundamental responsibility of government is in stark contrast to the five-point plan National has been proposing.

  • Stop adding costs to businesses that inevitably get passed on to the rest of us (higher rents are just one example).
  • Change the immigration settings that are acting as a brake on the economy and welcome the skilled people we need.
  • Bring much-needed discipline to government spending to ensure every dollar spent is delivering results.
  • Give hard-working Kiwis some tax relief so they can keep more of what they earn.
  • Return the Reserve Bank’s focus to fighting inflation and stabilising prices. It’s a system that worked brilliantly for 30 years, until Grant Robertson started interfering.

It’s because Labour did none of this, that the economic pressures we are facing are unnecessarily harsh. My own experience in international banking leaves me in no doubt that Labour abandoned the principles of sound fiscal governance and we are now paying the price for that. This debacle has clearly demonstrated that New Zealand’s economy needs experienced economic leadership to unlock its potential, protect the livelihoods of its citizens, and bring the cost of living back under control.

The consequences of Labour’s economic incompetence will leave a legacy that our children will have to shoulder if we do not remedy the issues our communities are now having to deal with. The effects can be seen everywhere, from household budgets that are no longer adequate to business plans frozen due a lack of skilled staff.

A combination of vision and experience is urgently needed to drive our economy forward and restore our living standards. These are core tasks of government, and should never be sacrificed to pursue the ideologically-driven projects that Labour has been distracted by. It’s time for the government to listen, and immediately adopt National’s five-point plan. The people they purport to care about deserve nothing less.