This morning David Shearer gave Labour’s “pre budget” speech. No new policy, but plenty of good one-liners and a strong statement of Labour’s position. Full text here, some extracts below.
Speech: Putting people first
John Key isn’t interested in the problems faced by hardworking families … He’s too focused on share-floats to care about the Kiwis working their guts out to make ends meet. He’s more focused on his mates than your mates. So it’ll be no surprise to you that when Bill English delivers his fifth Budget next week, there will be something missing. People.
You’ll hear a lot about glossy business growth agendas and progress reports. But there won’t be anything to help you find a job – or get a better job. To help you buy a house, to help you pay your bills or to stop your family moving to Australia. Because that is this Government’s record. This government makes promise after promise in Budget after Budget. But it hasn’t delivered. So why would you believe them this year?
Let’s take a look at their scorecard.
John Key promised he’d give Kiwis a reason to stay.
But as of last week, 200,000 people have left for Australia since he came to power.
At the last election, he promised 170,000 jobs. But in the last year there were 30,000 fewer.
There are now more than 163,000 New Zealanders unemployed.
In Budget 2010, they promised higher incomes. But since John Key’s been in office rising prices have outstripped pay packets.
In 2007, he promised to help our “growing underclass”. But income inequality in New Zealand is now the highest since records began.
There are now almost 24,000 more people on benefits and 21% of our kids live in poverty.
Under his watch, the gap between the top 10% and the rest of New Zealand is widening faster.
He promised to close the wage gap with Australia too, but New Zealanders are now earning an average of $58 a week less than their neighbours across the Tasman.
In the 2010 Budget, he promised a step-change in the economy. Instead, he has delivered a step-back for many.
John Key once said he was ambitious for New Zealand. I haven’t heard that for a while. The only thing he’s ambitious about now is his excuses.
You’ll have heard yesterday that he’s certainly not ambitious for Wellington – in fact he’s already signed its death warrant.
Talk about absolutely negatively John Key!
This Budget won’t change your life.
It’s a Budget for the boardroom, not the smoko room. …