It was great to be with finance spokesperson David Parker and local Wigram MP Megan Woods in Christchurch today to see our leader David Shearer deliver his Jobs that work for you speech.
New Zealand has suffered through four years of economic vandalism under the National government. Manufacturing and exporting is in crisis, thousands and thousands and thousands have been chucked on the unemployment scrapheap, and new records have been set almost every month for the numbers of disappointed New Zealanders moving to Australia.
Through it all National ministers have alternated between denying the facts and pretending there’s nothing that can be done.
Well David Shearer knows what New Zealanders know – the government has a responsibility to turn the country’s decline around, and David and Labour are intent on doing it.
Some of David’s bold and responsible proposals include:
- Expanding the scope of the Reserve Bank so the Governor can look at important economic wellness measures other than inflation,
- Expanding KiwiSaver to build the pot of capital for businesses to access to grow,
- Getting Government agencies to focus on purchasing from New Zealand suppliers,
- Launching a ‘one in a million’ target for significant government contracts. This would mean companies who win big contracts would be required to take on one apprentice or one trainee for every $1 million contract received.
- Pro-growth tax reform, including a capital gains tax to get investment flowing to real jobs and exports (not property speculators).
- Putting more checks and balances in place for employers who’d hire workers from overseas instead of job-seeking Kiwis.
No sooner had David finished speaking then guess who launches a petty and spiteful attack – Minister for abusing all and sundry and Finland, Gerry Brownlee.
Brownlee might have helped himself if he’d bothered to read David’s speech. He might have gotten some of his facts straight but, more importantly, it might have made him pay attention to the jobs crisis. Brownlee should read the speech because it’s full of ideas and his National government have none.
The minister seems to believe David was laying out a peculiarly Christchurch policy. Christchurch’s recovery is crucial – that’s why the entire Labour Caucus visited there this month, and it’s where we heard more about how major employers are shutting up shop and trainee teachers have no jobs to go to next year.
But if Brownlee had read David’s speech he’d know it’s a strategy for all New Zealanders and all of New Zealand. If ever evidence was needed of the myopic and selfish thinking in the National Party, it’s found in Mr Brownlee’s seeming inability to care about anyone past the end of his own gate.
Brownlee went on to paint a picture of growth in jobs which is completely at odds with reality. He misled his readers by quoting from an old job ads report while deliberately ignoring the current figures published by MoBIE – a government department which he has some ministerial responsibility for!
For Gerry Brownlee’s education, the official government figures show there was a 5.4% drop in online skilled job ads in September – including a 1.4% decline in skilled job ads in Canterbury. Brownlee cited positive job ads figures for Taranaki and the Bay of Plenty, but the official figures say skilled job ads in those regions crashed a horrific 9.9% last month.
Having already humiliated New Zealand in front of the world with his abuse of Finnish people this year, Brownlee should have learned to do his homework before attacking people. He should have focussed on the things that matter to ordinary New Zealanders, like whether they’ll have a job next week.
Now his abuse is exposed for the world to see all over again.
Gerry Brownlee should apologise to David Shearer, and he should read David’s speech because it’s full of excellent ideas and the National government has failed.