National accuses Finance Minister Grant Robertson of insulting New Zealanders over GDP figures

  • 21/09/2023

Nicola Willis is accusing Grant Robertson of insulting New Zealanders over Thursday's GDP figures. 

"Labour is completely detached from reality and out of touch with everyday Kiwis who are struggling with the cost of living after six years of Labour's economic mismanagement," said Willis, National's finance spokesperson. 

"Anyone who heard Grant Robertson claim 'victory' today would be well within their rights to feel insulted and outraged."

Earlier on Thursday, Statistics NZ revealed New Zealand's economic growth had risen 0.9 percent in the second quarter of this year and revised figures showed the country had avoided a technical recession. 

Finance Minister Robertson said it was the result of "the Government's actions to build a stronger and more resilient economy". 

"This is a very positive result with Stats NZ confirming no recession earlier in the year due to a revision of the March quarter number. The economy is now 7.7 percent bigger than at the start of the pandemic." 

When asked about Thursday's GDP figures and New Zealand avoiding a technical recession, Willis said: "I just don't want to be talking about technicalities when I know the reality for New Zealanders, because I've been speaking to them on their doorsteps and in their homes and, for them, the economy has never felt bleaker. 

"New Zealand has been through an extremely tough economic time and remains in a very tough economic time," she told reporters. 

Robertson and Willis.
Grant Robertson and Nicola Willis. Photo credit: Parliament TV

"If Labour wants the debate at this election to be about whether this is their idea of a great economy, then bring it on because, if this is as good as it gets under Labour, it's not good enough." 

David Seymour, the leader of the Opposition ACT Party, pointed to the GDP figures being "against a backdrop of huge inbound immigration". 

"ACT is in favour of migration, but if the population increased by 0.4 percent in one quarter from migration gains alone, 0.9 percent [GDP] doesn't look so flash," he said on Thursday afternoon. 

"New Zealand might technically be out of recession but the reality is the next few years will be grim thanks to Labour's appalling economic mismanagement." 

Politicians needed to be honest with New Zealanders and offer realistic policies to revitalise the economy, he said.