In my view, this election ultimately all boils down to the economy – how it affects you and who will best lead us through the next three years.
Now, some folks’ eyes will immediately glaze over and that’s because politicians and commentators often talk about the economy in very dry and abstract terms. However, we all want to see more investment in delivering higher quality and more accessible social and public services, yet none of that can happen if we don’t have an economy that grows and generates the income to do so.
The economy I experience daily is actually all about people and their livelihoods and over the last 10 months, I’ve visited hundreds of small businesses all across Botany. These business owners eat, sleep and live their businesses 24/7. They care deeply about their employees and have been incredibly challenged through our lockdown periods.
In times of maximum uncertainty, these businesses need a set of consistent government policies that gives them the confidence to invest in expanding their businesses and hiring staff.
The reality is tens of thousands of New Zealanders have joined the unemployment benefit line this year, and there is no doubt 2021 will also be very tough. We owe those Kiwis the very best chance to get a job.
National’s Economic and Fiscal plan will put more money in Kiwis’ pockets through a 16-month tax stimulus package, that will put more than $3000, or nearly $50 a week, in the pocket of the average earner. And it will also stimulate business investment and lift confidence by allowing businesses to immediately deduct new investments up to $150,000 and double depreciation rates for investment over $150,000 in plant, equipment and machinery.
During an economic crisis, it’s right to increase government spending and higher levels of debt are required in the short-term. However, we also need a responsible plan to reduce debt over time so future generations, our children and grandchildren, are not burdened with debt levels that require higher taxes or reduced public services. We don’t want to see our children paying the price for any wasteful spending now. They must see a genuine legacy from that borrowing in repaired schools, new hospitals and better transport networks.
Our Economic and Fiscal Plan will boost investment in core public services each and every year with a focus on health and education. Ultimately, however, we will prioritise lifting the outcomes and accountability of government spending and not just the volume – something the current Labour Government has mostly abandoned.
I believe New Zealand has a great future ahead of us but the next few years are absolutely critical. Responsible economic management has been a hallmark of successive National governments and with the right economic policy, we can restore our prosperity and once again have an economy that can provide opportunities for the next generation and a good standard of living.
It’s your economy, your future, and your choice on October 17.
Christopher Luxon is National Party candidate for Botany electorate.