Source: New Zealand Parliament – Hansard
Question No. 3—Finance
3. Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH (National) to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by all of his statements, policies, and actions?
Hon DAVID PARKER (Associate Minister of Finance) on behalf of the Minister of Finance: Yes, in the context they were given, made, and undertaken. Particularly, I stand by my statements, policies, and actions following the IMF and Moody’s reports in the past week, which highlighted New Zealand’s fiscal strength, solid growth, low unemployment, and affirmed the policy direction of this Government.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: Does he stand by his statement, “Despite some who will take a half-glass empty approach, under this Government’s solid economic management we’re doing well”?
Hon DAVID PARKER: Yes, and in respect of farmers in particular, there was a survey out from Rabobank in the last day and, unsurprisingly, given that farm exports are up, as interest rates are at their lowest level ever, trade access is improving under this Government, and many farms are paying debt, around 80 percent of farmers remain positive that the future remains as good as or better than the current positive experiences they already have.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: How does he think per person annual growth of just 0.5 percent is doing well?
Hon DAVID PARKER: I’ve got good news for the member there as well. According to the OECD, when this Government took office, New Zealand was in the 34th position in the OECD in terms of GDP per capita growth. This now has improved to 32nd; an improvement which has been brought about by the good governance of the current administration.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: Does he think HSBC chief economist Paul Bloxham is taking a half glass—no, a glass, half glass—
SPEAKER: Glass half empty.
Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH: —glass half-empty approach when he said, “Economic management”—[Interruption]
SPEAKER: Order! I shouldn’t have interjected, nor should anyone else, but I think there was a bit of an invitation.
Hon PAUL GOLDSMITH: —when he said, “New Zealand was a rockstar economy…but since … things have slowed down … we are sort of thinking the rockstar term might have run its course. You seem to have lost your mojo.”?
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With the gladdest respect, listening to that question, it was absolutely, totally incoherent, and no Minister could answer the question.
SPEAKER: No, it’s all right. I think even the member would accept it was slightly muddled mid-question, but I think the acting Minister of Finance is capable of divining a question out of there and answering it.
Hon DAVID PARKER: I am, and indeed, I would say that the problem under the last Government was that the roadies weren’t getting a fair share of the ticket. Under this Government, we’ve got inclusive policies which are seeing wage growth for ordinary New Zealanders, who are better off as a consequence—
Dan Bidois: What’s a roadie?
Hon DAVID PARKER: —compared with under the last Government where everything went to the top 1 percent.
SPEAKER: Order! Someone should—Mr Bishop, can you just turn to your left and explain to the member what a roadie is.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: How does 0.5 percent growth enable us to invest in world-leading healthcare for New Zealanders?
Hon DAVID PARKER: Well, the ability of this Government to invest in world-leading healthcare is illustrated by the more than $1.5 billion extra being committed to the health sector to deal with mental health problems, addiction, and violence. I think that will be one of the lasting legacies of the Minister of Finance’s Budget, which shows how well the economy is being managed, that we can afford that generosity of contribution to mental health.
Hon Paul Goldsmith: So given the historic high terms of trade, shouldn’t we be doing much better than 0.5 percent per person growth?
Hon DAVID PARKER: Export growth has been very strong in the last year, in no small part because the exchange rate has settled to a more realistic level, which is helping the real economy expand rather than the speculative economy, which was pumped up by the last Government in reliance upon house price inflation and high rates of migration.
Chris Bishop: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Just wanted to check who you wanted me to explain what the endangered species of a roadie is?
SPEAKER: The member on your left, and you don’t need to do it publicly. He interjected at least four times “What’s a roadie?”, and I thought that the member has some knowledge of these matters and could explain it to him. I will say to the member: I’ve been one.