The Government’s naïve and muddled decision-making is hurting business and investment confidence across the economy, Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges says.
“Officials’ advice revealed yesterday that banning offshore oil and gas exploration would have a ‘chilling effect’ on investment in that sector was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to bad decision-making.
“While the Finance Minister trumpets economic conditions gifted to him by a competent and careful Government, New Zealand’s changed country risk profile just eight months into this Government means investment in productive sectors is essentially on negative watch,” says Bridges.
“This Government’s reckless pursuit of ideology over common sense, such as today’s announcement of an intention to bring in so-called Fair Pay Agreements – which really signals a return to National Awards – is having a marked effect on business confidence.
“Week after week Grant Robertson cherry-picks the narrow elements of each business confidence survey he thinks he can positively spin, despite the headline feedback being clearly negative and New Zealand’s reputation as a good place to do business suffering.
It was not only issues like the “short-sighted nature” of the Government’s decision on offshore exploration, but also the “callous lack of regard for due process in making it”.
“In that case we’ve seen ideology and cheap headlines trump common sense in a move that won’t lessen global emissions – ironically it will probably make them worse – while a similar lack of thought on restricting residential land to foreign investors, regardless of the value their wider investments would have brought to New Zealand, is also hurting our economy,” Bridges says.
“Property developers with links offshore can’t fund new subdivisions and apartments lest they get caught by the impending Overseas Investment Amendment Bill, meaning first-home buyers are getting stiffed by a Government that promised them salvation.”
Meanwhile only risk-takers “with very deep pockets” will be investing in primary industries with “a myriad uncertainty” over water taxes, stock numbers “and a Government that doesn’t support large scale water storage”.
“And all the while the trades unions rub their hands with anticipation at the prospect of cross-sector collective bargaining which, if implemented, will entrench workplace disruption and rob our exporters of their competitive edge,” he says.
“Returning to 1970s-style union-dominated collective bargaining will hurt the 82 per cent of workers who aren’t union members by reducing their employment flexibility and will add unnecessary costs to their employers.”