Adrian Delia says government chasing economic success at the expense of people’s quality of life

‘What’s the use of living Joseph Muscat’s cosmopolitan dream and us being worse off’

Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia this evening accused the government of focusing on numbers and the interests of a few people, rather than the quality of life of the whole population.

Delia was addressing the PN’s General Council, where he said that while the country’s GDP was increasing, the quality of life of those who lived on the island continued to deteriorate.

The PN leader noted that the latest Eurobarometer survey had found that the Maltese population’s biggest concern was immigration, followed by the cost of renting a home. The PN, he said, had been talking about such issues for months, “if not years”.

He said the PN was speaking about these issues more often now because people were growing more concerned. “The government has guaranteed that these problems will continue to grow.”

Turning to reports of Turkish workers being brought to Malta to work on large construction projects, Delia said that “since property has become very expensive we are now using containers”.

“First we spoke about containers that have become classrooms or schools and then we spoke about foreigners being brought to Malta in trucks - not even buses - whose working conditions are worse than precarious,” Delia said.

He said the government’s attitude, in the face of problems it had created itself, was to listen to people and ridicule them. He accused Education Minister Evarist Bartolo of refusing to discuss the issue when approach by PN media.

“Not only does he recognize the problem, not only is there a total admission, but he’s ridiculing those trying to speak out and say that our country, in the best of times, deservers better,” Delia said. “Joseph Muscat was there, standing next to him, laughing.”

He said that after spending “years” talking about the country’s surplus, Muscat was now speaking about the problems of success. 

“This is what people mean for Joseph Muscat,” he said, adding that the Prime Minister was satisfied with the country’s growing GDP, even if this meant rents rising and people facing difficulties. “If there is no space, you can fit in a container,” he said.

Muscat, he said, was telling pensioners that the only way the country could afford their pensions was if it accepted more foreigners.

“[Joseph Muscat is telling pensioners] it’s not the government’s fault because it did not plan ahead, it’s your fault for living too long,” Delia said.

He said the government didn’t measure success by considering improvements to people’s quality of life, but in terms of people being “a problem of the country’s success”.

“Joseph Muscat is telling children learning in containers that they are a problem of success, he is telling the elderly that can’t make ends meet that they are the problem of success.”

He said the same applied to those who were struggling to buy their own property and who couldn’t make it to the end of the month.  

Another result of the government’s lack of planning, Delia said, was unbridled construction and traffic congestion. He said that while he was in favour of development, this needed to be undertaken in a sustainable manner and without negatively impacting the lives of residents.

“What’s the use of living Joseph Muscat’s cosmopolitan dream and us being worse off,” he said.

Muscat, he said, had a strategy that ignored the interests of the many in favour of the interest of the few.

Delia also spoke about Malta’s reputation abroad, insisting that Malta was becoming less attractive to foreign investors because of this. He referred to HSBC’s announcement this week of a 23% drop in profits, insisting that this had partly been due to damage done to the country’s reputation. 

“In the face of all this the government keeps saying it is the best of times,” Delia said, arguing that the PN’s biggest challenge was to start making a difference from the Opposition.

In this regard, he said the government was speaking to as many people as it could and was now putting forward proposals spanning a range of different areas, from local councils to waste management.

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