11 Apr 2011

Australian politicians disagree with comparisons by English

8:55 am on 11 April 2011

Two Australian politicians disagree with claims by Finance Minister Bill English that New Zealand has a competitive edge over its trans-Tasman neighbour.

Mr English says New Zealand has a number of advantages over Australia, including lower wage rates, its political system, better regulations, better infrastructure and a better export base.

Federal Trade Minister Craig Emerson disagrees, saying Australia was one of a few countries to avoid recession during the global financial crisis.

Dr Emerson says government debt will peak at just 6% of the country's annual output.

Liberal Party deputy leader Julie Bishop says she disagrees with an analysis by Mr English that Australia's political system is paralysed.

She says the fact that Australia has a hung parliament is an unusual situation which should be resolved at the next election.

Labour comment

Labour finance spokesperson David Cunliffe says Mr English has no plan and has lost his grip on his portfolio.

He accuses the Government of renegging on its promise to narrow the wage gap with Australia.

Mr English claims New Zealand's competitive advantages over Australia include a 30% lower wage rates.

Mr Cunliffe told Morning Report that Mr English campaigned on narrowing the wage gap but the gap has widened since the National Party took office.

He said Mr English's comments were an admission his policies have failed.

Mr Cunliffe said New Zealand needs investment in jobs, skills and research and development to build high paying jobs for the future.