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Size And Distance Don't Tell The Whole Story

Size and distance are not the only reasons for our economic decline, says Business New Zealand.

A Treasury analysis* concludes that New Zealand's small size and distance from export markets are the reason for our comparatively poor economic performance.

But Business NZ Executive Director Anne Knowles says there is a much wider range of issues that needs to be addressed if we are to raise our incomes.

"Reducing government spending and debt, reducing the protectionist element from occupational licensing, making labour laws more flexible, cutting taxes and compliance costs - all these would make it easier for New Zealand companies to be internationally competitive.

"It's true that our size and remoteness make it hard for us to compete on the world stage - but we've been top of the OECD ladder before, so size and distance obviously don't tell the whole story. These factors mean we need to do much better in the areas we do have control over.

"Business NZ's analysis has come up with a list of 20 key areas** that require action in order to improve our living standards. It's a longer list than many of us like to acknowledge, but has the virtue of being achievable.

"However it is positive that Treasury is addressing the problem of our economic decline, and we look forward to further contributions on factors other than size and distance. Then we need action," Ms Knowles said.

* The Importance of Being Enormous can be found under What's New: Economic Transformation Project on * * Twenty Growth Priorities can be found under Changing Gear on

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