[Sitting date: 08 May 2012. Volume:679;Page:1990. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) to the
Prime Minister: Does he stand by all of his statements?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister)
: Yes, I stand by the statements I make, but, of course, I do not stand by the statements David Farrar makes.
David Shearer: Did he say in 2009 that New Zealand would be coming out of recession—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! I apologise to the Leader of the Opposition. I could not hear the start of his question because of other noise around the House. I invite him to start again.
David Shearer: Thank you, Mr Speaker. Did he say in 2009 that New Zealand would be coming out of recession reasonably aggressively by early 2010; and, if so, has it come out of recession reasonably aggressively?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, I remember making that statement. It was also part of the quote—if you look at the overall quote, which I do not have with me—that said it is subject to a lot of flux in Europe. And, yes, actually, we have grown in 10 of the last 11 quarters—better than most other countries around the world.
David Shearer: How can his Government continue to blame earthquakes and the financial crisis when just 6 months ago Treasury forecast revenue being $1.5 billion higher than today’s figures, and it notes that this result is largely due to employment, wage growth, and business profitability being weaker than expected?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: The member just made an interesting comment: is the Government going to blame the global financial crisis? Well, I hate to tell the member, but New Zealand is not an island on its own. Actually, the rest of the world has been badly affected by the global financial crisis, and that is why the unemployment rate in Europe is around 11 percent, unemployment in Spain is around 24 percent, and the unemployment rate in the UK is over 8 percent. That is why the UK is back in recession; that is why Australia has most recently cut interest rates. I wish I could live in a world that could just ignore what is happening in the rest of the world, as David Shearer wants to, but that is not the real world.
David Shearer: If the 18,000 new people in the labour force are looking for jobs because, as he said, “the economy is coming right”, then why was it that half of them could not find a job?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: What that shows, in terms of the second-highest participation rate since the household labour force survey has been in action, is that people are increasingly confident they will get a job, and, under a National Government, rightfully so.
David Shearer: Does he stand by his statement “We can effect things like labour laws and if you look at the jobs creation that we have been promoting; the Skycity convention centre, more mining and exploration, Australian companies coming back … they will create jobs.”?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Yes, and let us run through it. The Skycity convention centre would create about 900 jobs in construction and 800 jobs working your way through it. An extension of exploration and mining activities in New Zealand would certainly create jobs, as Bathurst and others have indicated recently. The Australian companies moving to New Zealand have quite clearly, in fact, demonstrated that they are wanting to invest in New Zealand to create jobs. In fact, I had a major Australian corporation in my office just last week telling me they are going to move a substantial amount of their operations to New Zealand. They are all things that the National Government is in favour of. Last night David Shearer told us what he was in favour of, and that is following Hollande and Greece and spending money we do not have.
David Shearer: When will he admit that his Government’s cuts to services, a zero Budget, and an economic plan based on pokies, mining, and low wages to attract foreign companies are, in fact, a sign of economic failure?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY: If you grow in 10 of the last 11 quarters at a time when the rest of the world is doing incredibly poorly, I do not describe that as economic failure. These are very difficult times for New Zealanders, and this Government—let us be honest—inherited an enormous mess from the previous Labour Government, which just left us with programmes that were spiralling out of control. Thank goodness we have had the economic leadership of Bill English to guide us through these very troubled times.
David Shearer: I seek leave to table more than 1,000 submissions from people who have written to the Labour website “Show us your cards, John” opposing the increase in pokies in the Skycity convention centre.
Mr SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table those documents. Is there any objection? There is no objection.
- Documents, by leave, laid on the Table of the House.