Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Bishop says Labour to blame for economic woes

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National Party MP Chris Bishop, left, was hosted by Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown during a visit to Howick. Times photo Wayne Martin

National Party MP Chris Bishop says the Government is to blame for New Zealand’s high inflation rate and he expects the country’s economic outlook to get worse before it gets better.

The high-profile frontbench MP launched a stinging verbal attack on the Labour Government when he joined Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown to talk to more than 100 of the party’s ‘SuperBlues’ supporters at Howick Bowling Club on October 21.

The pair covered a range of subjects including the cost of living crisis, emergency housing and homelessness, and inflation, among others.

The event was held the same week Kiwis learned the country’s annual inflation rate was a staggeringly high 7.2 per cent.

Following the talk Bishop told the Times National is concerned about “excessive levels of Government spending, which is driving inflation”.

“They’re spending an extra $1 billion per week compared to 2017 and you’re now seeing inflation at a 30-year high.

“The cost of living is just out of control and it shows no real sign of diminishing.

“You’ve got high Government spending driving high inflation and that high inflation is now driving very steeply rising interest rates.”

Bishop says earlier this year Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was adamant there was no cost of living crisis but she’s since acknowledged there is, which he believes is a sign the Government is “out of touch”.

“That happens with all governments over time, but I think they don’t have a real sense of how hard a lot of people are doing it.

“At my local food bank in Lower Hutt the shelves are bare. That will be because of demand.

“Food banks around the country are reporting record levels [of need] and you see KidsCan saying similar things.

“Everywhere you look there are signs of social decay and it’s really concerning.”

Bishop says he can’t remember a “level of despair” such as he’s seeing around the country at present.

“We’re in a very tough period and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better.

“The Labour Government is tired and out of touch and it’s increasingly arrogant and angry about it.

“A lot of what we’re now experiencing as a country, they are to blame for.

“There’s been a huge increase in Government spending and in taxation but no real results to show for it.

“We’ve got 4000 families living in motels, 480 families living in cars, child poverty is up not down, and the cost of living is out of control, so there’s a lot of despondency out there.”

The Times asked Bishop what lessons the National Party learned from its 2020 general election campaign, when it received just 25.6 per cent of the party vote nationwide compared to Labour’s 50 per cent.

He says the poor result taught it unity and discipline is “really important”.

“We’re completely unified under [Botany MP] Christopher Luxon’s leadership and we’re all fighting together as a team now.

“So that’s the biggest thing, to fight as a team, don’t fight each other.

“Stay on message, keep focusing on the Government’s weaknesses and our positive agenda for New Zealand’s future, and I think we’re doing pretty well at that.”

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