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Cunliffe pledges surpluses and to get unemployment to 4% by end of first term

Labour Party leader David Cunliffe has pledged to reduce the unemployment rate to 4 percent by the end of his first term, if elected, from 6 percent currently, saying the Opposition would create 20,000 more jobs than National is projecting.

Cunliffe said a Labour government would also remain committed to running budget surpluses "unless there's another international downturn or domestic disaster that necessitates a counter-cyclical policy."

Labour would drive jobs growth through a combination of policies including more government buying of Kiwi-made products, stimulating production of higher-value wood products to boost forestry jobs, and create jobs in the construction sector via its 'KiwiBuild' plan to build 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years.

He also said Labour's policies of imposing a capital gains tax would shift more investment into the productive sector, while its plan to establish a central electricity buying agency to bring down power prices would cut costs to business and households.

Labour's plan to amend the central bank's monetary policy to include a lever over retirement savings would contribute to jobs growth easing interest rates and the kiwi dollar, making exports more competitive and increasing household disposable income, he said.

"This programme to drive economic growth and improve the lives of New Zealanders will be built on solid fiscal foundations," Cunliffe said in a statement. "This is in keeping with our record of running consistent surpluses and paying down debt."

Cunliffe's policy announcement comes before Thursday's annual Budget, where Finance Minister Bill English is expected to upgrade the government's forecasts for economic growth, giving it room for modest new spending while building on a return to fiscal surpluses from the 2014/15 year.

The Green Party is to launch an alternative budget statement tomorrow, and the ACT party announced a flat tax policy over the weekend.

Across the Tasman, the newly elected conservative Coalition government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott will publish its first Budget, which is expected to include major cuts to government agencies, welfare programmes, and corporate support.


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Comments and questions

Labour would not have to do much to reduce unemployment more than National's "do nothing" approach to housing etc.
Even cranking up Auckland's massive housing shortage by training young NZers would create thousands of extra jobs.
Sitting on their hands and expecting the market to solve all problems has not solved the major problems in the economy. National will find out in September what most ordinary people think of their weak approach to housing.

We don't need 20,000 more civil servants

Ha! Classic comment!

Interesting angle, however a Labour Govt always ends in economic recession. Been there done that to many times, no thanks.

Reduce unemployment to 4% and inflation will rise, then interest rates will rise. Labour is a commodity, the price of which is governed by supply and demand.
Got anymore stupid ideas Mr Cunliffe? I enjoy a good laugh!

Labour is only a commodity if you have an economy troublesomely rooted in low added value primary sector industries.

If we stopped treating peoples hard work and ingenuity like a commodity and look for added value and differentiation from education through the whole economy we might get some of that productivity we desperately need for said economy to start to perform on more than one cylinder

Performing on one cylinder is a good interpretation.

Like it or not. Cunnliffe stole the march on Key with this one. Together with the dinner with the Cunliffes home on Campbell Live last night, Key will be starting to worry.

And so he should. His government have made a mess of Christchurch rebuild, paying up CBD land for 4 times its worth, with the rest of Christchurch paying for it. The so called freemarket government doing actually the opposite.

Peoples homes are far more important than a few peoples investment properties in the CBD. This government have their priorities all wrong!! The CBD wont be developed for a decade or more.

Under MMP shouldn't he be advising the Nats how he would reduce unemployment.He would get more kudo's. Does he not know that NZ already has 1 of the lowest unemployment figures already and to lower it further will be nigh on impossible..

Cunliffe pledges surpluses and to get unemployment to 4% by end of first term.

Yeah right.

How about he pledges to tell us who gave him the dough?
Just for starters.

Cunliffe would pledge to cure cancer by the end of his first term if he thought he would get a vote from it.

Given that he's against almost everything that is likely to produce jobs, as are the Greens, who he will need as coalition partner, it's a little difficult to see how he wouldn't dramatically increase the numbers of unemployed. Sorry Mr Cunliffe - you're not my cup of tea.

just saw Cunliffe on Campbell Live although it was largely an interview with his wife!

ok - sounds like nationals policies

Maybe this year JK will deliver on the 170,000 new jobs he promised us 2 years ago.

Perhaps if you read more widely No worries, you would see that the 170,000 is actually on target to be achieved within the timeframe originally given.

Nothing but sound bite politics. Even by as low as 5% you are well into the unemployables. Through in a sunstantial minimum wage increase and tougher labour laws that will ineviatably come with a Labout Govt and who is going to pay $16 a hour to some drop kick that can't pass a drug test. I guess Labour will just put them all on the sickness benefit as aunty Helen did to pad the numbers.

Piece of cake - borrow tens of billions of dollars, and spend it all. Of course, inflation would hit the roof and we'd be bankrupt before the decade's out, but hey - at least he'd be true to his word for once.

What a chump.

Just look at the mess labour/greens have caused in Australia trying to manipulate every aspect of the economy. The real pain is about to start in Australia Thanks to JK we should be spared the same

It is actually quite easy - tax the hell out of all us "rich pricks", shift a few drop kicks over some other benefit and then spend a whole heap of money on fancy work schemes.

Good thinking 99

Hey there DC - it is all nonsense and won't happen happen anytime soon - welcome to the real world.