Labour wants to bring back the Kiwi dream
It's time to get our priorities right. The economy is there to serve the people, not the other way round. A secure job, time with family and friends, an affordable home and pride in our land should not come second.
Governments have to be prudent, but should also deal with long-term problems, the biggest of which is that New Zealanders don't earn enough.
New Zealanders can be clear about the economic management they will get if they choose to elect a Labour government this year.
Labour will run surpluses, as the last Labour government did, and we will do this while ensuring Kiwis have secure work, supported families and healthy homes.
The biggest losers in this Budget are first-home buyers, whom the Government has failed.
Home ownership rates - one of the clearest indicators of inequality - are their lowest in 50 years and dropping. This Budget does nothing to change that.
Our housing and tax policies will restore the Kiwi dream of home ownership. We will tax speculators, ban foreign buyers of existing homes, and build affordable houses.
Last year 46 per cent of New Zealanders didn't get a pay rise. Average pay rates went up 1.6 per cent when inflation was 1.5 per cent.
Parents tell me they worry too many young people are in low-paid and insecure service work. The benefits of growth are not getting through to working New Zealanders.
Labour has set a target to reduce unemployment to 4 per cent in our first term to provide opportunities for all New Zealanders.
Our Economic Upgrade package focusing on investment, innovation and industry will create the jobs to meet that goal.
Our policies link up to generate more secure jobs, paying better wages. Labour has already announced industry upgrades for manufacturing and forestry.
Businesses support our R&D tax credits for innovation, and tax incentives for productivity-enhancing plant to help businesses move up the value chain.
Our Reserve Bank upgrade will help exporters by lowering interest rates, which takes pressure off our overvalued exchange rate.
Universal KiwiSaver, and the Variable Savings Rate, mean Kiwis will pay more money into their own savings, and less in interest.
Our capital gains tax, excluding the family home, will direct capital, boosted by universal KiwiSaver, into productive Kiwi businesses and away from property speculation. It's also fairer.
Right now middle income New Zealanders pay higher overall tax rates than wealthier people, and renters cross-subsidise landlords' tax breaks.
The choice is stark for us all this year.
On one side Labour's principled policy settings have the wellbeing of all people and the land as primary drivers, while on the other National pursues power and privilege mainly for the few.
The Dominion Post