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Business To Government: Please Listen

Media Release From The Business Roundtable

The New Zealand Business Roundtable appealed today to the government to stop lashing out at its critics and to recognise the damage its policies are doing to the economy.

"Last December finance minister Michael Cullen dismissed concerns that the dollar had fallen below US50 cents and predicted it would soon be on its way up", executive director Roger Kerr said.

"It has now dipped below US40 cents and fallen significantly against the trade-weighted index.

"Only 6 weeks ago associate finance minister Trevor Mallard ridiculed the views of economist Gareth Morgan on the impact of government policies on the dollar saying "If Gareth says it's heading to thirty-nine, we might get a bit of a recovery in the next few days."

"The fall in the currency goes well beyond the impact of external factors. Policy dithering during the last two parliamentary terms undermined New Zealand's earlier success and the adoption by the Labour/Alliance government of policies that are outdated and out of line with those of successful countries are now compounding the problem.

"Besides the currency fall, there is a loss of investment interest in New Zealand, an outflow of enterprising people and low business confidence, and the economy shrank in the last quarter.

"We have yet to suffer the impact of the Employment Relations Act and the government is promoting further measures that will damage the economy such as changes to takeover regulation, the Commerce Act and telecommunications regulation, and premature action under the Kyoto Protocol.

There is an urgent need for the government to reassess its programme", Mr Kerr concluded. "It must take the Reserve Bank's warning of the possibility of stagflation seriously. There is no need for New Zealand to be in such a parlous state when the rest of the world is booming. The message to the government from business and the community must be "please listen".

ENDS

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