26 Jul 2015

No need to panic over slowing growth says English

10:24 am on 26 July 2015

The Finance Minister has re-assured the National Party's annual conference in Auckland that slowing economic growth will not derail the party's re-election chances in 2017.

Bill English told delegates that the slowdown in growth this year had come at the right time in the electoral cycle.

Caucus run 21/07/15

Bll English remains upbeat about the economy and the Government's prospects of re-election. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Mr English said by next year and particularly by election year the effects of lower interest rates and the lower value of the New Zealand dollar would be flowing through into the economy.

He reminded the conference that despite the effects of the slump in dairy prices and problems in China the New Zealand economy was still growing, even if a little more slowly than previously forecast.

Economic Development Minister, Steven Joyce, said National's reputation for economic management was not based on economic cycles but on the Government's sensible and pragmatic approach in good times and bad.

Mr Joyce said Opposition parties had consistently raised fears about the economy. Labour, for instance, had talked up a crisis in manufacturing, which had now recorded its 33rd consecutive month of growth.

But he said the public now believed opposition parties panicked about the economy.

Mr English said National's credentials on economic management were unchallenged.

"Every day we are talking about the economy is a good day for the Government," he said.

One delegate asked about the slump in dairy prices and whether dairy farmers were being left out to dry.

Mr Joyce said that was not the case and the Government was doing what it could to support the dairy industry.

Mr Joyce said negotiations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks were particularly important because, if successful, the deal would open up access to the United States and Mexico for New Zealand's dairy exports.

But he also hit back at opposition criticism that the Government had put too much focus on the dairy industry.

Mr Joyce said the Government was promoting economic diversification and many other industries were doing well, including an expanding information and communications technology sector.