Solberg and Støre in tight and tough Prime Minister Duel
In four lost years, much of the leeway in the economy has been squandered, says Jonas Gahr Støre. Wrong, unemployment is on its way down and the economy is rising, says Erna Solberg. The two met for the first Prime Minister Duel.
In a packed room with a view of the Parliament, the Labour Party’s leader and Prime Minister Candidate, Jonas Gahr Støre and Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservatives, Erna Solberg, on Wednesday met for the election campaign’s first Duel.
The debate in the locales of the liberal think tank Civita became intense and hard, but not without glimpses of humor.
Støre went straight for the jugular. Støre believes Solberg has spent her period in Government giving NOK 21 billion in tax cuts, without creating jobs or contributing to growth.
– Now the leeway has been squandered, and you have not delivered any results. It has been four lost years, says Støre.
He showed that after a change of Government, Labour will strengthen a society with small differences and high level of trust.
Attacked increased taxes
Solberg countered, and maintained that Labour time and time again more concerned with spending money than creating values.
– We have prioritized using the big money to lift welfare in Norway. The important debate is how do we earn and create the big money in the future. It is absolutely crucial. Yes, we have reduced taxes, but tax revenues have still increased, says Solberg.
She attacked Labours’ promise to raise taxes by NOK 15 billion in the coming electoral period.
– The sharp fall in oil prices in autumn 2014, which had major consequences for Norway in terms of increased unemployment and weaker growth, has been met with action packages and record low interest rates. Recently, the arrows point in the right direction: unemployment drops and the growth rate increase.
The Government also refutes Labour’s allegations that more and more people fall outside the labour market, by pointing to positive forecasts for the employment rate – how large part of the population is employed.
– We must not meet Norwegian business with increased taxes and fees in a period where we depend on the creation of more jobs. The choice is whether we are going forward or want a policy that reverses the development, says Solberg.
Støre replied that he would redo “a crappy regional reform”, but insured at the same time:
– Reversal does not exist in my political vocabulary.
The Conservatives especially denotes Labours would be partner, the Centre Party, as a Party for reversal. The reason is their opposition to forcibly merge municipalities and their resistance against the major changes in the police structure.
It was room for jesting when Solberg criticized Støre for missing political results.
– The reason you have not seen the results of our policy is that you have been in Government, and I have been outside, the Labour leader retorted.
Laughter was also heard when Solberg concluded that her health policy is a continuation of the Labour model of a decision-making forum that evaluates new medications and methods.
– I am befuddled; I thought for a moment that Erna Solberg said that she had built on something Labour has introduced, according to Støre.
– Not everything you have done is wrong, you know, Solberg retorted.
Monday they meet again for debate, this time together with the other party leaders in Arendal.
The parliamentary election is September 11; pre-votes can be cast as of Thursday (tomorrow).
© NTB Scanpix / Norway Today