Opposition parties are scorning Prime Minister John Key's state of the nation
speech, describing it as a rehash of tired old ideas and policies.
Labour leader David Shearer says the centrepiece announcement of 14,000 more
apprenticeships over the next five years is too little, too late.
"Apprenticeships have declined 20 per cent under National - the lack of
apprentices is a direct result of four years of inaction," he said.
Mr Shearer says the government had previously announced its intention to
change the Resource Management Act and cut red tape.
"The speech contained no fresh thinking or big ideas to get the economy back
on track," he said.
"It's the same tired, hands-off approach that has delivered an unemployment
rate of 7.3 per cent, stagnant growth and a housing affordability crisis."
Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the "underwhelming" speech lacked
vision and repeated "faded old excuses".
She says there were 12,933 apprentices in 2009 and under National they had
dwindled to 10,434 by the end of 2011.
"Blaming his failure on jobs and the economy on the previous government just
doesn't cut it after four years," she said.
"It's no longer credible for Mr Key to blame his economic failures on the
rest of the world when unemployment is rising here while it is steady or falling
in most developed countries."