National today received the last piece of the economic puzzle it needed before the unveiling of its much-anticipated tax and economic policy tomorrow.

Leader Judith Collins has been tight-lipped as to what will be in the package, but she had spent the last two days talking up the fact that National's has a "strong" plan for economic growth.

"No country has ever taxed its way out of a recession," Collins said at a press conference in Parliament this afternoon.

She was talking about news that the economy had experienced a second quarter of negative growth, meaning New Zealand was officially in a recession.


Statistics New Zealand revealed that GDP had fallen 12.2 per cent in the second quarter of this year.

Collins called this the "deepest economic recession in living memory", given the sheer size of the economic contraction.

Soon after Collins' comments, Labour's finance spokesman Grant Robertson put a more optimistic spin on the numbers.

He said the figures were backwards-looking and a re-elected Labour government would oversee an economic bounce-back.

Robertson said that the GDP figure was actually better than what the Treasury expected yesterday, when it forecast a 16 per cent economic hit.

But Collins said that the economic effects of Covid-19 are going to be felt for "many, many years to come".

"This is a devastating time for many families," Collins said.

She was critical of the Government for not allowing construction companies to operate during the level 4 lockdown – something she said National would have not let happen.


But she would not say how much of an impact she thought this would have had on the GDP figures.

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Like Robertson, Collins said National was now looking ahead towards to the economic recovery and New Zealand needed National at the helm.

This is something that Robertson disagreed with, telling reporters that the Government has got a proven track record for guiding the economy through Covid-19.

A recent BusinessNZ survey reported that 71 per cent of businesspeople thought the Government had done a good/excellent job of handling Covid-19.

Robertson also said today's GDP numbers show the "limitations of GDP as a measure of the wellbeing of a country".

Asked about this comment, Collins dismissed it – "oh, for goodness sake".


"What a failure of a comment from the Minister of Finance," she said.

"The Minister of Finance should understand that people feel a lot happier when they have more money in their pockets, have a job and have a way forward."

National's tax and economic plan is likely to be the centrepiece of its campaign; its MPs have been talking the policy up for weeks.

Tax cuts are widely expected, as is National's new plan to significantly grow the economy.
However, it is also highly anticipated given Robertson's criticism of National's spending plans.

"It seems to me that the National Party is caught in a Bermuda Triangle style situation where they want to increase spending, reduce revenue and dramatically reduce debt.

"You can't do all of those things at once – I think their plan is lost somewhere in that triangle."