National leader Todd Muller has pushed back on Labour's post-pandemic economic plan outlined at the party’s congress today, calling it “just more Kiwibuild”.
Mr Muller said Labour’s plan “certainly doesn’t confront the reality that New Zealand finds itself in - the greatest economic crisis of the generation”.
“Their response is very, very tepid,” he said.
Addressing the party membership in Wellington today, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern outlined the party’s five-point plan for economic recovery
The five-point plan included investing in trades and apprenticeships, a $1.1 billion Jobs for Nature package that was already announced at Budget 2020, investments in waste management and energy generation, and extending the Small Business Loan Scheme for businesses to the end of the year, after it was due to end on July 24.
Mr Muller said today’s announcement was “underwhelming” as the Jobs for Nature package was already announced in May.
He said the Small Business Loan Scheme was “fine” but didn’t deliver what he thought was needed, which was a “substantive restart” for the economy.
The Government was “warm on rhetoric, but hopeless on delivery”, Mr Muller said.
But he didn’t yet reveal National’s policies for the election.
“That’ll be many, many announcements over the subsequent few weeks.”
Mr Muller said while Labour did well handling the initial pandemic because it had a sole focus to keep people home in lockdown.
“When they’re tasked to do anything other than a single issue, they’ve failed dismally.”
“Today’s so-called economic plan will go in the same rubbish bin as its KiwiBuild plan, its light rail plan, its mental health plan and its child poverty plan," he added.
KiwiBuild had faced a raft of difficulties, from delays to the Government not meeting its targets.
Meanwhile, light rail for Auckland was halted, with the future of the project to be determined after the election in September.
Despite extensive cross-party consultation, Government parties were unable to reach an agreement on a preferred proposal.
Meanwhile, a February report looking at child poverty statistics in New Zealand showed a slight decline from the previous year, with hardship rates showing no change.
In April, the Government announced free mental health and addiction services would be made available for 1.5 million New Zealanders by the middle of next year.
The number of sites is expected to increase from 22 to over 100 after the programme received an additional $40 million from the Government, then-Health Minister David Clark said in April.