Labour’s 4% unemployment target

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key says it is all very well setting a new target of 4 per cent unemployment but policies were more important than targets, and Labour’s policies would increase unemployment.

“I can have a dream of becoming an All Black, too,” Mr Key said at his post-Cabinet press conference. “But the probability of Steve Hansen naming me in the squad coming up in the next few months is next to zero.”

The Budget-week banter followed a pledge by Labour leader David Cunliffe to cut the rate of unemployment from its present 6 per cent (147,000 people) to 4 per cent within a term.

I was going to make the same point. A target means little. Policies are what matter.

Mr Key also said National was on track to meet its target of 170,000 net new jobs between 2011-2015 – a target which attracted plenty of derision when it was announced in Bill English’s 2011 Budget.

“We are going to fulfil our target of creating 170,000 jobs we talked about some years ago,” Mr Key said.

The economy was going well but under Labour unemployment would be going up because with its Green partners, it was anti-growth, anti-development, anti-oil and gas exploration, and anti-farming.

Labour would also slow down the economy by increasing taxes.

The Greens think investing in companies that lose 96% of their value is how you create jobs!

Mr Cunliffe called a press conference at Parliament yesterday to announce the unemployment target and to reaffirm the party would run surpluses unless faced with a domestic disaster or another global downturn.

Again a target means nothing by itself. Policies mean everything. Labour has opposed almost every single measure of spending restraint in the last five years. If they had been in Government, spending would be billions higher and we’d still be facing many more years of deficits. So are they saying their opposition to spending restraint was wrong? Are they going to run a surplus by increasing taxes, rather than restraining spending?

“They will ask us to ignore the stagnant wages of most working families. 

This is, of course, incorrect. The latest annual household income survey (June 2013) shows average personal income from wages and salaries increased 5.4% and the median personal income increased 5.3%.

They will ask us to turn a blind eye to the soaring costs of living at the supermarket

Food prices in February 2014 are only 0.2% a year higher than a year ago. Fruit and vegetable prices are 5.6% lower than a year ago.

in our power bills

Power prices (as measured by CPI) increased an average 3.8% a year since 2008. In Labour’s last term they increased 7.6% a year.

in our mortgages

The cost of owning property (as measured by CPI) has increased an average 3.0% a year since 2008. In Labour’s last term they increased 5.2% a year.

and rents

The cost of renting property (as measured by CPI) has increased an average 1.9% a year since 2008. In Labour’s last term they increased 2.8% a year.

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