Grant Robertson opens fire on Christopher Luxon after State of the Nation speech

Finance Minister Grant Robertson is hitting back at Christopher Luxon after his State of the Nation speech on Sunday, saying it's clear "National would leave New Zealanders worse off".

"New Zealanders have heard the same tired old story from National Party leader Christopher Luxon today that fails to give any new ideas for our future," Robertson says.

"The speech shows once again that National will not face up to the hard decisions that come with being in Government."

Luxon accused the Labour Government of "economic mismanagement" and "unfocused spending" - criticising the billion dollars allocated for the "Three Waters asset grab", the $500 million to restructure the health care system, and the $15 billion for Auckland's "underground tram vanity project".

"Labour has time and again shown us that it thinks it alone knows what is best for Kiwis and their communities. They don't trust us to make decisions for ourselves and our families - they insist more and more things should be dictated by politicians and bureaucrats in Wellington," Luxon said.

"We have a Government that is deeply suspicious of business, and yet leads a public sector that can't build houses, can't deliver better health care, and won't do what's needed to improve our education system, all while piling on debt for future generations to pay off."

Luxon warned New Zealand has a cost of living crisis, with food, petrol, rents, and house prices shooting up, all while Labour carries out a "massive tax grab". He promised to repeal Auckland's Regional Fuel Tax, the proposed Light Rail Tax, the 10-year bright-line test extension, the new 39 percent top income tax rate, and the jobs tax proposal.

And he called for adjusting income tax thresholds to account for inflation.

"Now is not the time to be adding costs on individuals and businesses. We should be letting people keep their hard-earned money, not forcing them to hand over more and more to Grant Robertson to spend," Luxon said.

"Indexing tax thresholds to 2017 would cost just under $1.7 billion - which is relatively modest when you consider Kiwis will be paying an extra $12.5 billion in income tax this year compared to when Labour took office."

But Robertson has struck back, saying the maths "just does not add up".

"Christopher Luxon wants to cut taxes, reduce debt, and keep on spending. This is the same fiscal 'Bermuda triangle' that got Paul Goldsmith in trouble, and nothing seems to have changed for National.

"Let's be clear, what National outlined today will mean cuts to important services. They need to front up to Kiwis and say which health, education and housing services they will slash to make that happen.

"The reality is that Christopher Luxon's proposals will just make things worse. There will be more congestion on Auckland's roads, it will be harder for first-home buyers to buy a house and those on low incomes will fall further behind."

Furthermore, Robertson criticises National for not backing Labour's proposed reforms, claiming Luxon is "missing in action" on a plan to tackle major issues for New Zealand's future.

"The speech said nothing about how we will meet the challenge of climate change or seize the economic opportunities that come from a low carbon economy to provide higher-wage jobs," Robertson says.

"Just as the previous National Government failed to address housing or mental health, this time around they are not prepared to back the work Labour is doing on the much-needed reset of our health system or to ensure New Zealanders have safe drinking water and decent waste and stormwater systems."