The Government is cheering on its mediocre performance. Economic growth has slowed and is nearing stall speed. Under National the economy had been growing at around four percent year on year. Now it is barely over two percent and productivity improvement is crawling at half a percent per annum, lagging well behind most developed nations. That equates to fewer jobs being created and fewer opportunities for New Zealanders to reach their aspirations.
The Government would have us believe that the softness in the economy is due to international conditions. Yet the facts simply don’t bear that out. Our terms of trade – the prices we get for our exports against the costs of imported goods and services – remain high and analysts talk about international conditions in the future tense. They don’t see international factors slowing our economy today.
New Zealand should be doing much better. The reason growth is stalling is the Government has been complacent about the sources of growth and is actively undermining them through regulatory uncertainty, higher costs and poor infrastructure investments.
A recent chat with a local business owner highlighted the impact of the Government’s law changes, particularly the aggressive raising of the minimum wage. They have had to respond by cutting staff. They have gone from nine full time staff to three and now he and his wife are back working in their business seven days a week.
The Government is destroying business confidence and, through that, taking opportunities from people to get ahead. Coupled with the rising cost of living, every day New Zealanders are going backward. It’s time for change.