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Alliance State-Of-The-Nation Priorities Endorsed

The Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) is urging the Alliance to concentrate on the promotion of some of the priorities listed by its leader Jim Anderton in a 'state-of-the-nation' speech on February 6th.

"Mr Anderton's view that we should be prepared to try things and do more of what works and throw out the policies that don't work, is commendable," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"For example, we fully back his suggestion to amortise the debts incurred by science and engineering students when they work in New Zealand.

"We also suggest the Alliance should extend the plan to targeted New Zealand graduates at present overseas to encourage their return, particularly as we need to tap into the specialist skills they may acquire overseas.

"Market demand locally for professions such as accountants and lawyers appears to be endless but the demand for science and engineering is perceived lower with fewer people taking them up. Those that do find they can often get high rewards and a rapid reduction of their student loans by going overseas.

"This means New Zealand taxpayers end up helping pay to maintain other countries standard of living.

"Without a steady supply of science and engineering graduates the development of our biotech and high tech industries is hampered. Their innovation and research capability is urgently needed.

"Other priorities such as allowing free access to some tertiary courses, and ensuring no one under 20 is on the dole are equally meritorious.

"Business wants the opportunity to assist with the development of policies such as these before they go into the Budget process."

Further comments: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911


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