Bill English’s state of the nation speech today lacked vision and leaves New Zealanders with a stark choice about the kind of government they want, the Green Party said.
“The new Prime Minister didn’t talk about the housing crisis, or stagnant wages, or polluted rivers and lakes. These issues aren’t going to go away – in fact, it’s now clear that the only way to fix them is by changing the Government,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“New Zealanders can have warm, safe, affordable homes and higher wages but only a Green-Labour government will make those things a reality.
“There was nothing in Bill English’s speech for families who are struggling with the cost of living and housing, or people stuck in traffic just trying to get to work, and there was no commitment to ending child poverty or cleaning up our rivers.
“Bill English said at Rātana that the Government had reached the limits of what it could do for poverty and the economy. From today’s speech it’s clear they’re giving up trying.
“National has had nine years to address the major challenges that we’re facing as a country, whether it’s affordable housing, child poverty, low wages, unswimmable rivers, or climate change. For the ninth year in a row, Bill English and National have come up short.
“The Prime Minister didn’t mention climate change even once, or any environmental issues, when New Zealand has a prime opportunity to help lead the global movement towards a high-value, clean-tech economy.
“It’s important that people feel safe in their communities, but we need to focus on fixing the underlying causes of crime with investment in mental health, drug and alcohol services, and helping people find stable jobs and homes in their communities once they’ve served their time.
“Putting more money into Police is how you catch criminals and fill prisons, but it’s not how you reduce crime,” said Mr Shaw.