Economic slowdown an opportunity to invest

The Government should be using the economic slowdown as an opportunity to invest to protect jobs and move to a smart, green economy, the Green Party said today.

Gross domestic product (GDP) data out today shows the economy is growing much slower than forecast, with quarterly GDP at 0.4 percent (compared to Treasury's Budget forecast of 0.7 percent) and annual GDP at 2.4 percent (compared to Treasury's Budget forecast of 3.3 percent).

“Growth is slower than forecast and the risk factors for future growth are increasing, yet the Government doesn’t have a plan to protect jobs or begin the economic transformation to a green economy,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.

“National’s inaction will have a real cost – it’s called people’s jobs.

“Unemployment has remained persistently high under National’s economic management. National’s promise to get unemployment below five percent is looking increasingly improbable in light of today’s GDP data.

“The economic slowdown is the ideal opportunity for our Government to start investing in the green infrastructure needed to move the economy to a low carbon footprint and protect jobs.

“Any one of the following smart green investments would provide a significant stimulus and create jobs:

  • Start the Auckland City Rail link now;
  • Create a Green Investment Bank to speed private sector investment in cleantech infrastructure;
  • Introduce new measures to stimulate tree planting, like a strong price signal on carbon;
  • Increase the build of state houses, especially in places like Auckland;
  • Build a network of safe walking and cycleways to our schools.

“Never has there been a time like this when the cost of capital has been so cheap, giving us the perfect opportunity to invest in the infrastructure that underpins a low carbon economy,” said Mr Shaw.