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Economic Risks Increasing - Business Roundtable

Economic Risks Increasing



"The latest surveys confirming low levels of business confidence are sending a message that should not be ignored", Mr Ralph Norris, chairman of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, said today.

"Together with the weak currency, the loss of international investment interest in New Zealand and the outflow of enterprising people, they are a clear signal that New Zealand is on the wrong track.

"Policy changes made by the government are out of line with the directions being pursued by successful countries. Most of the rest of the world is enjoying robust economic growth and there is no good reason why the New Zealand economy should be faltering so soon after its recovery from a recession.

"The experience with the Asian downturn showed that the New Zealand economy is not robust in the face of policy mistakes such as high government spending and anti-business measures. The full effects of the government's programme have not been felt and the economic risks are increasing.

"The accumulating evidence points to a need for the government to urgently reassess its policy programme. A major negative factor in business confidence is the radical features of the Employment Relations Bill which were not foreshadowed prior to the election. A decision by the government to withdraw the Bill pending a proper process of consultation with the employing community would be a hugely positive signal that the government was listening to business concerns.

"The business sector fully supports the vision that the government put to the electorate of raising New Zealand's rate of economic growth and getting the unemployment rate down to 3 percent. Current indicators and the Budget forecasts suggest there is no prospect of these goals being achieved with present policies. I believe the business community would welcome the opportunity of meaningful consultations about a growth strategy for New Zealand which would reverse the present slide", Mr Norris concluded.




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