MP Maureen Pugh’s reaction to this week’s release of New Zealand’s GDP figure as a minus 12 per cent situation is one of both optimism and pragmatism, after a second negative growth quarter puts New Zealand’s economy officially into recession.
“It is, of course, the season of election campaigning and candidate meetings are a great place for people to tell it to you exactly like it is – I’m hearing from farmers who are faced with this Government’s freshwater policy and who will not be taking any action until they are forced to, and then they will make a decision on whether or not to stay in farming. They cannot believe that a Government could do anything to cripple a primary industry, when we are turning to primary production because tourism and international education won’t be earners in the short term.”
“Another piece of disturbing feedback is in regard to the very vital component of migrant workers we need in the ag, horticulture and wine industries. Industry players are working on their own contingency plans after frustration with the Agriculture and Immigration ministers,” Maureen Pugh says, adding that some growers are already planning to harvest just higher-value crops whilst leaving other varieties to rot because the Government has no clear plan organised to supply the necessary workforce.
“It’s heartbreaking to see the fruit and wine growing industries in this position because they have no idea where their workforce will come from. Six months in, Covid can no longer be an excuse, it is the starting point that we are all given. Where is the plan?”
Maureen Pugh says it is interesting that Australia’s GDP figure is around half of NZ’s at 7 percent. She says that their Government is not coy about the reality of mining industries being the saviour of their economy: ”that needs to happen here and the road to economic recovery would be a lot smoother for everyone.”
With a Labour plan that sees New Zealand not returning to surplus until 2043, National’s economic plan sees Kiwi workers with a tax cut and a return to surpluses in 2028. Putting money back into Kiwis’ pockets with our proposed tax cut means the economy is stimulated from the ground up, not from Government handouts.
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