National Party Leader Todd Muller has revealed the framework for the party’s Plan to create more jobs and a better economy.
At a speech to the Christchurch Employers’ Chamber of Commerce today, Mr Muller outlined the five elements of National’s Plan.
“All the components of the framework are designed to grow our economy and create more jobs,” Mr Muller says.
“The framework comprises five components: responsible economic management; delivering infrastructure; reskilling and retraining our workforce; a greener, smarter future; and building stronger communities.
“National will be releasing each of these components in a series of major speeches through this month and into early August to give New Zealanders time to scrutinise each element.”
The full plan will not be finalised until after the Government releases the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU) in August. It will be available by September 2 when overseas voting begins, to be followed by early voting, which starts on September 5.
It’s sensible to await the PREFU and good to know the timetable.
“National has a plan to rebuild our communities, get Kiwis back to work and deal with the economic and jobs crisis,” Mr Muller says.
“With Labour not having anything to offer except ‘borrow, spend and tax’, National understands that responsible government is about creating a deliberate and considered plan – and then following it.”
Labour and its coalition partners are very good at spending but bad at good spending. In focusing on the quantity of the spend they forget the importance of the quality.
They are also very good at announcements although as Jane Clifton points out, a lot of these policies aren’t shovel-ready, many are only press release ready:
In the full speech here, Todd outlines National’s commitment to:
- An open and competitive economy;
- A broad-based, low-rate tax system;
- An independent central bank with the primary goal of price stability;
- The Fiscal Responsibility Act, now part of the Public Finance Act; and
- A flexible labour market, underpinned since 2000 by good faith.
Our concern is that that basic macroeconomic framework is being diluted by the current Government – mainly through incompetence than the result of any plan. . .
Jacinda Ardern has admitted her party wasn’t prepared for government and it shows in all the over-promising and under-delivering before Covid-19 hit.
That failure to deliver then was bad enough, it is even worse now with their determination to borrow so much which is likely to deliver far more debt without the financial rigour necessary to ensure the quality of the spend and determination to get back to surplus as soon as possible.
Todd says National won’t panic.
Nor will National cut family incomes. National has already announced that, whatever lies ahead of us through the crisis, we will not raise the taxes you pay or cut the benefits paid to those who need help. We would like Labour to make the same commitment to New Zealand families too.
Nevertheless, National will work to keep borrowing as low as possible. Out of the $80 billion plus they spend each year, all governments have wasteful spending that needs to be trimmed. All finance ministers review all spending each time they bring together a Budget. And we will do the same.
Since the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the economic and political debate in New Zealand has tended to be on the quantity of borrowing or debt repayment each year. These remain critically important. Getting back to fiscal surplus and then paying down debt to 20 per cent of GDP is necessary, not least because New Zealand will inevitably confront another natural, economic or health disaster in the next couple of decades or beyond. But just as important is to focus on the quality of spending.
Labour forecasts net core debt will reach 53.6 per cent of GDP in 2024 under their policies. That’s an eye-wateringly high level. We will work hard to try to keep it lower than that, which would put New Zealand in a better position to recover. But of far greater longer-term importance is that Labour projects that under its policies, but with a far stronger economic environment than we face today, net core debt will still be as high as 42 per cent by 2034. That means Labour intends a mere 11 per cent reduction in net core debt, over a decade. At that rate, we will not get back to the safe 20 per cent mark until perhaps the mid-2050s.
National does not regard Labour’s attitude as anything like prudent. It would leave an enormous debt, not so much to our children but to our grandchildren. And it would leave our children and grandchildren – and also ourselves – profoundly vulnerable were the global economic and strategic outlook anything other blissful for three successive decades. . . .
We learn two lessons from Labour’s economic and fiscal projections and their refusal to rule out higher taxes. First, they don’t have anything to offer except borrow, spend, hope and then tax. Second, and even more important, they don’t think any of their borrowing and spending will actually do anything useful to improve New Zealand’s productivity, economy or the overall wellbeing of every one of us.
I’m not hiding that my Government will borrow large amounts over the next three years, and in 2020/21 in particular. National will always be more disciplined in its spending than Labour. Yes, we will borrow what we need to, to support New Zealanders through the crisis – neither more nor less. But we will not just fling money around, the way the Labour Party is. Instead, we promise to spend it better and invest it better than Labour, in a way that does in fact improve New Zealand’s productivity, economy, the overall wellbeing of every one of us, and which, in turn, makes it easier to pay the debt off. . . .
Labour and its coalition partners have been flinging money round since they got into government.
National went out of office with the government’s books in surplus and forecasts of that to continue.
Even before Covid-19 hit, this government was taking us back to deficit.
If it couldn’t manage the economy well in reasonable times, it can’t be trusted to do it now we’re facing the worst of times.
That matters now more than ever.
It matters because we need a government that knows that taxing more in a recession is counter-productive – making it harder for people to look after themselves and making it harder for businesses to grow.
It matters because we need a government that understands that borrowing for hard times is only the start, it must also plan to pay back the debt, and have a plan that will work to do that.
It matters because we need a government that will get New Zealand working and the failures of this one to deliver on so many of its promises show we can’t trust it to do that.