Wage gap with Oz increases under John Key

John Key’s promise to close the wage gap with Australia has failed utterly with the gap rising by $70 to over $190 a week, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“It is remarkable that National should attack Labour’s planned minimum wage increase at the same time as having to admit that the wage gap with Australia has widened under its watch, using National’s methodology.
“This is despite the fact that Australia’s minimum wage is $18.70, or $20.55 in New Zealand dollars, far higher than Labour’s proposed $16.25.
“Closing the wage gap is yet another election promise that National has failed to deliver to New Zealanders.
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Interest rate rise will hit the regions

The latest interest rate rise will hit the fragile regional economies of New Zealand and hurt exporters by putting more upward pressure on the exchange rate, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker.

“The regions are already hit by dropping export prices for dairy products and timber prices plus they have flat housing markets from LVRs . Now they have to endure another interest rate rise which is a direct result of the Auckland housing price bubble.

““The Reserve Bank Governor has already said mortgage interest rates will get close to 7% by the end of the year, adding $233 to monthly costs on a $300,000 mortgage.
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KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth

The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“Universal KiwiSaver is an essential part of Labour’s plan to grow the wealth of New Zealand and create better jobs that pay higher wages.
“Currently young people are defaulted into conservative funds that invest mainly in bonds and cash rather than productive businesses. These also limit the amount young people can save for retirement.
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Labour won’t abandon regional New Zealand

Labour will ensure no regions in New Zealand are ‘red-zoned’ by tailoring Regional Growth Plans for each province as part of our Economic Upgrade, Labour’s Finance spokesperson and Deputy Leader David Parker says.
“The Royal Society of New Zealand’s Our Future report highlights the hollowing out of our regions under National, a trend that Labour has long warned of.
“That trend has become reality. A number of experts such as the NZIER, the Royal Society and Infometrics have warned that things have become so bad some communities may be abandoned.
New Zealanders have tremendous pride in their towns and regions. It is insulting to them and their forbears that they have been abandoned over the past 6 years by National’s management of the economy.
“Labour won’t abandon the regions – we will help them to succeed. Labour’s policies will support industry and boost growth to create jobs and opportunities in the provinces.
“We will work alongside businesses, communities and local government to tailor Regional Growth Plans to each province, as called for by experts such as Shamubeel Eaqub. Labour will announce further regional development plans next week.
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More evidence of need to clamp down on overseas ownership of farms and houses

On the back of Treasury, Reserve Bank and economist warnings that high net migration will lead to higher inflation, interest rates and house prices, we now have a large international fund manager targeting New Zealand and Australian farms for overseas investors, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“UBS Global Asset Management has announced it has set up a ‘farmland investment advisory service to meet the growing institutional demand… particularly from Asia. The new capability will offer direct farmland ownership…’
“Home ownership rates are the lowest in 50 years, a sure sign of rising inequality.
“The same thing is happening to our farms, with ownership increasingly concentrated amongst an ever wealthier small minority.
“This is made worse by allowing overseas ownership of our farms. Overseas buyers compete with locals and make it less likely sharemilkers can graduate to owning their own farm.
“New Zealanders are already amongst the best farmers in the world. Selling off the future income by allowing our productive farmland to be sold off to the highest offshore bidder makes no sense.
“This is more evidence that Labour’s polices to clamp down on foreign buyers of our homes and farmland are the right thing to do.
“It is the right of New Zealanders to own our land, not the right of those who do not live here.
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Treasury cover-up of rebuild cost outrageous

John Key’s admission that the Government’s share of the Canterbury rebuild will increase to $20 billion less than a month after the Budget stated it was $15 billion, raises serious questions either about the political neutrality of the Treasury or their manipulation by National, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“When the May Budget was delivered, the Opposition questioned the Crown’s cost for the rebuild after an independent report found the Christchurch City Council’s share alone had been under-estimated by more than $500 million.
“It is disappointing the Treasury has allowed the rebuild figures to be manipulated so the Government could claim a ‘surplus’. The Treasury should be an independent public servant, not a political arm of the Government.
“This is a worrying trend for the Treasury, which under John Key has become increasingly politicised.
“In 2011 the Treasury allowed the Government to book the proceeds of the asset sales in the pre-election fiscal update (PREFU) before they were sold, while at the same time not deducting the lost dividend revenue.
“The National-led government is looking increasingly shady in its manipulation of the Treasury.
“This is a National Government that calls John Banks ‘honest’, supports shonky electoral deals and National’s cash-for-access ‘Cabinet Club’. It also allows Judith Collins to remain a minister after misleading the public over her promotion of Oravida, a company her husband is a director of.
“This is a Government that this week secretly wined and dined diplomats in Queenstown at the cost of the taxpayer and refuses to disclose the costs of their junket. New Zealanders only learned about this because the Prime Minister’s briefing was distributed by mistake.
“The Treasury needs to show some integrity and explain how John Key has been able to manipulate the rebuild costs to manufacture a ‘surplus’ and re-announce higher figures just a month later.
“Will the Treasury’s PREFU announcement in August show the May Budget rebuild numbers were a lie?”
12 June 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT


Government has no solutions to tackle risks to economy

The National Government has no solutions to tackle the serious risks to the economy identified by the Reserve Bank today, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“Reserve Bank Governor Graeme Wheeler this morning highlighted falling dairy prices, declining log exports, strong immigration and high house price inflation as factors threatening the economic recovery. The Governor also noted that the exchange rate was at an unsustainable level.
“The quarter-point rise in the Official Cash Rate to 3.25 per cent means mortgage interest rates are well on their way towards 9 per cent.
“These pressures will add to the increasing cost of living. Kiwis know times are tough when 46 per cent of working New Zealanders have had no increase in their wage rate in the past year.
“National’s tool box is empty.
“Conversely, Labour has ideas to curb all these risks.
“Interest rates are going up because house prices are out of control in Auckland. Continue reading

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