Yesterday in the House Brownlee made it clear the government is getting close to throwing in the towel on Key’s fundamental purpose of government.
Hon TREVOR MALLARD (Labour-Hutt South) to the Minister for Economic Development: Why, when he replied “Yes” to whether he had targets or milestones to achieve income parity with Australia by 2025, will he not share those milestones with New Zealanders?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Minister for Economic Development) :In the answer I gave to the question that the member refers to, I shared my first target. That target was to remove the millstones from around the neck of the New Zealand economy placed on it by the previous Labour Government. Today I would like to share two other targets. My second target is to assist the Government’s programme to undertake comprehensive economic reform of the New Zealand economy. A third target is to rebalance the economy towards export-led growth. If we are successful in achieving these targets, we will achieve the Government’s milestone of achieving income parity with Australia by 2025.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Did he or his office give Steven Joyce, answering on his behalf yesterday, an answer that included the words “brush off”?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Yes.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Is closing the wage gap with Australia the fundamental purpose of this Government?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: The fundamental purpose of this Government is to make life better for New Zealanders. Closing the income gap with Australia over a period of time will certainly contribute to that.
Hon Trevor Mallard: Is closing the wage gap with Australia the fundamental purpose of this Government, as the Prime Minister said it was?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: In the last couple of days we have had a number of specifics attributed to the Prime Minister that have been picked out of an entire, one would say, speech or the outlining of a plan. Closing the income gap with Australia is very, very important for this Government. It is a long-term aspiration goal, and everything that we are doing in rebalancing the economy, in reorganising the economy, is aimed at getting a better deal, a better life quality, for all New Zealanders.
Hon TREVOR MALLARD: Does he know that 23 percent more Australian companies than New Zealand companies plan to lift their wage and salary levels this year, and that double the number of Australian firms plan to increase staff levels, and will this increase or decrease the wage gap with Australia?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I do not have responsibility for that sort of speculation. But I will say the suggestions made by Mr Mallard, if they are correct, simply serve to show what an extremely ambitious target the Government has and that we have to stick to the plan we have put in place to achieve it.