Labour is framing next week's Budget as one "for the boardroom, not the smoko room" as it pushes the line that Prime Minister John Key is not governing for ordinary New Zealanders.
In a pre-Budget speech in Wellington today David Shearer said Key is "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."
"This National Government spends more time looking after vested interests than your interests."
He predicted Finance Minister Bill English's Budget on May 16 would be all 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."
He said 200,000 people had left for Australia in this Government's term of office.
A promise of 170,000 jobs had instead turned into 30,000 fewer jobs and more than 163,000 were unemployed.
Income inequality had also risen, Shearer said.
"In the 2010 Budget, he promised a step-change in the economy. Instead, he has delivered a step-back for many."
He accused the Government of doing deals with movie moguls, casino operators and protecting the "super profits" of power companies rather than worrying about bringing power prices down.
Shearer said it was time for bold new policies and a smart hands-on Government that used its power to make a difference.
"We will be prudent, responsible managers of the country's finances. We will balance our budgets," Shearer said, pointing to his own Presbyterian upbringing "where we didn't put things on tick".
He reiterated Labour's plan to revamp the power generation market, promising savings of $230 to $330 a year to the average household, as well as its KiwiBuild policy to build affordable houses to on-sell.
He also outlined its existing plans to revamp monetary policy, introduce a broader capital gains tax and enrol everyone in Kiwisaver.
And he promised "there's more to come" on policy, although the speech today contained no significant new announcements.
He said his first Budget would be about "hope" and giving hardworking families a reason to believe things would get better and a reason to stay in New Zealand.
- © Fairfax NZ News
Should TVNZ staff be forced to disclose party political links?Related story: TVNZ may seek staff's political ties