Labour responds to National's rebuttal on top statistics

By Derek Cheng

Labour Party Leader, Phil Goff. Photo / Paul Estcourt
Labour Party Leader, Phil Goff. Photo / Paul Estcourt

Labour's response to National's rebuttal to Labour's top 10 vital statistcics.

- In the last two years the labour force has grown by 10,000 more than the increase in jobs.

- The rate of departures to Australia has surged by 15 per cent under National and is now at record levels.

- Over the past three years the median after-tax income has fallen by $14 a week after inflation while someone on $200,000 is $240 a week better off due to National's tax cuts.

- Less than a quarter of the OECD has been downgraded by both S&P and Fitch.
Labour party
- Labour got more than 100,000 people off benefits. Mr Key's record is 60,000 more on benefits.

- We have used Mr Key's own preferred method for measuring the wage gap with Australia, which he tabled in Parliament on July 28 2010. This has not been refuted.

- National has the lowest annual average economic growth rate of any government in the past 50 years.

- NZIER found 60 per cent of households are worse off after National's tax switch.

- Benefits are always indexed to inflation. Families are poorer because they used to have jobs but now they are reliant on benefits.

The sparring continued between National and Labour yesterday as Phil Goff sought to discredit National's response to his 10 "vital statistics" attacking the Government's record.

Labour's original list included various figures on the economy, the unemployed, beneficiaries, the wage gap with Australia and the exodus across the Tasman, and the costs of National's tax cuts.

Prime Minister John Key dismissed the list as rubbish and said Labour did not seem to understand the international circumstances that have affected New Zealand's economy.

National later released a rebuttal to Labour's list.

Among other things it claimed after-tax average wages in New Zealand had grown faster than in Australia, beneficiary numbers were trending down and the economy had grown in eight of the past nine quarters.

Mr Goff returned fire yesterday.

"I'm not impressed. You could respond to just about every point (of National's rebuttal).

"They've acknowledged implicitly by not challenging the figure that they spent $1.1b more on tax cuts for the wealthy than they took back from GST. Clearly that is borrowed money.

"They've been borrowing to pay for tax cuts. That's irresponsible."

He said he had underestimated the exodus across the Tasman, which he earlier put at 100,000 since National took office.

"The Herald pointed out that it was 113,000 New Zealanders that had left, yet I remember John Key promising that that would come to an end. That hasn't happened. It's got worse.

"Why is that happening? Unemployment that used to be lower in New Zealand is now higher in New Zealand than in Australia. John Key promised he would close the wage gap. That wage gap has widened by $32 a week."

Labour later released a point by point response to National's rebuttal, claiming National had had the lowest annual average economic growth in the past 50 years of any New Zealand government.

Labour accepted that 60,000 jobs had been created in the last two years, but this was 10,000 less than the number of people who had joined the labour force in that time.

Mr Goff spent yesterday in the Hawkes Bay, visiting a Marewa Kindergarten, a Grey Power meeting of about 30 people and Future Col.

He received the strongest support talking against National's plan to partially sell state assets, but was challenged on whether Labour's policy of a minimum wage of $15 an hour would hurt small businesses.

He said under Labour, New Zealand companies would be more likely to gain Government contracts, even if cheaper bids came from overseas companies.

He remained confident despite Labour sliding to 25.9 per cent in the latest Fairfax Media-Research International poll, which was taken after last week's leader's debate during which Mr Goff was goaded by Mr Key's cry of "show me the money".

Yesterday during a live chat with senior Labour MP Trevor Mallard took full responsibility for Mr Goff being unprepared on Labour's costings.

"Because I have had involvement in the campaign," Mr Mallard explained.

Labour also released 15 quotes from Mr Key and Finance Minister Bill English talking up economic recovery, which Labour says has been woeful.

- NZ Herald

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