The Government has admitted it has no specific measurable objectives for New Zealand’s economic development, upon which they can be held to account for their performance, says Labour Economic Development spokesperson David Parker.
“Economic Development Minister Gerry Brownlee presented a sorry picture at today’s select committee, unable to pinpoint any targets which the Government will be held accountable for,” David Parker said.
“Mr Brownlee is great on the generalities, but at sea when trying to address how the Government actually intends to make the step change in the New Zealand economy they promised to catch up with the economic fortunes of Australia.
“In his opening comments to the committee today he spoke of ‘the Government’s ambitious targets’, but if anyone expected to hear what those targets were, they were doomed to be disappointed because Mr Brownlee refused to say what they are, beyond a general response related to 2025.
“When I tried to have an intelligent debate with him at the committee about what the targets were, he retreated to banalities about the Government’s so-called six pillars of growth, and huffed about getting ahead of Australia in terms of growth even though there’s not a Kiwi left, including Don Brash, who believes the Government has any plan to achieve this,” David Parker said.
“In the end Gerry Brownlee was forced to admit that the Government has no specific objectives or targets by which it can be held accountable.”
David Parker said that the Government has, in fact, undermined economic growth in high-value manufacturing by its changes to depreciation rules for high-tech manufacturing investments. “Making these changes, simply to help fund income tax cuts for the most well-off, took businesses by surprise and will have a real impact on their competitiveness.
“Mr Brownlee also showed today he can’t really see beyond developing agrarian and resource extraction industries. These are important, but will not bridge the gap between New Zealand and Australia. Sadly, Mr Brownlee attaches too little importance to developing high-value manufacturing services and other important export sectors,” David Parker said.
“In fact, Gerry Brownlee is not only at sea, but he’d be sunk without trace if it wasn’t for the life raft provided by the Rugby World Cup. Sadly, however, important though that one-off event will be to New Zealand’s economy at the time, in the long-term it will make little impact on improving our export growth. To use a rugby analogy, the scrum has well and truly collapsed because of this Government’s policies.”