National Party leader John Key says the Labour Party leader's 'top 10' list of statistics are either rubbish or show Phil Goff is in denial over the crises New Zealand has faced.
Mr Goff campaigned in Porirua on Tuesday where he outlined to a Rail and Maritime Transport Union conference a list of statistics he said showed New Zealand had gone backwards under Mr Key's leadership.[image:3662:half:right]
He said unemployment had increased by 50%, prices had gone up faster than incomes, the wage gap with Australia had grown and 100,000 people had left New Zealand for Australia.
The Labour leader said New Zealand had the first credit downgrade in 13 years under Mr Key's watch, the economy had grown by 0.4% and there are 60,000 more people on a benefit.
Mr Goff also pointed to statistics on the number of young people not in education, employment or training, National's tax changes, and the number of children living in benefit-dependent households.
He said it was not a personal attack against Mr Key but every Prime Minister has to stand on their record.
Labour 'in denial'
Mr Key says Phil Goff needs to focus on the real world, in which New Zealand faces difficult times.
"The reality is that we have the global financial crisis which has been swirling around now for three years, Christchurch has had earthquakes, and he seems to be in a state of denial that either of those things have happened."
Of the top 10 list, Mr Key said "most of them are either rubbish or they're in denial of the international circumstances we face."
He said National had done the best it could in guiding New Zealand through the crises.
1. Unemployment has increased by 50%, leaving 157,000 New Zealanders out of work.
2. 100,000 New Zealanders have left for Australia after (Mr Key) promised he would stop the brain drain.
3. Prices have gone up nearly four times faster than incomes over the past 3 years. John Key increased prices by hiking GST after promising not to.
4. The first credit rating downgrade in 13 years and a double downgrade at that.
5. There are 60,000 more people on benefits costing an extra $1 billion a year.
6. The wage gap with Australia has increased by $32 a week.
7. There are 55,200 15- to 24-year-olds not in education, employment or training and the number of young people on the unemployment benefit long term has increased by over 700 per cent.
8. The economy has grown by just 0.4% since John Key took office.
9. National's tax cuts for the most well off were supposed to be paid for with the GST. They actually cost an extra $1.1 billion in their first nine months.
10. The underclass has grown with the number of children living in benefit dependent households increasing by over 32,000 in the past 3 years.
The list cites sources such as Statistics New Zealand, the Treasury, Westpac and the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services.