Yesterday Bill English again painted a rosy picture of a New Zealand economy growing well compared to the rest of the world.
Unfortunately it’s yet another tall tale from National.
This country desperately needs sustainable economic growth to create jobs and incomes, to give families hope, and to reverse the brain drain.
But after four long years of the John Key government there is still almost zero growth.
New Zealand is not doing well by international standards. Our annual GPD growth is lagging behind Australia, Brazil, Russia, Mexico, Germany, Turkey, Korea, Switzerland, Poland, Norway, Venezuela, Argentina, South Africa, Finland, Austria, Bolivia, Estonia, Iceland, Israel, Chile and many of the Asian economies.
Actually we’re going backwards because yesterday Statistics NZ said exports have plummeted by a horrific 17%. That’s a dire reflection on the government’s lack of a recovery plan, and it’s an indictment on economic development minister Steven Joyce’s $120 million of cuts to the economic development budget.
What about National’s other tired tall tale; the idea that growth will magically ramp up any minute now?
Well we’ve been hearing this nonsense for years. Last year English promised 3.2% growth, but Treasury says it’s probably been less than 1.6%.
Now the finance minister is promising we’ll have 2.6% growth in the next year – and he’ll conjure up billions to get rid of the deficit too.
The reality is Mr English can pick the pockets of every paperboy and papergirl in the country, he can raise the prescription charges, he can force the students out of their training, he can wave goodbye to thousands and thousands more kiwis at the departure lounge, he can cut and cut and cut.
But his tall tales still won’t be true and National will still be a zero government.
Over the next few weeks I will be blogging more on why National’s growth performance is inadequate, why their GDP forecasts are thus rosy and unreliable, why the Zero Budget provides zero hope of any improvement, and what some alternatives might look like.