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FFNZ: Government Bucks World Trends

12 February 2002

The Prime Minister's statement to Parliament today bucks international trends says Federated Farmers of New Zealand President Alistair Polson.

"While laudable, the Government's aim to return New Zealand's per capita income to the top half of the OECD rankings over time is unrealistic under current policy, said Mr Polson.

"The reality is New Zealand is part of a global economy, and capital and labour is highly mobile. The Government needs to focus on policies aimed at reducing regulatory, taxation and compliance cost burdens on business to maintain our international competitiveness.

"There is little or nothing in the document which points to these issues being addressed. Rather the Government is considering a raft of new legislative initiatives that will further reduce New Zealand's international competitiveness.

"Most concerning for farmers is the Government's stated intent to ratify the Kyoto Protocol without first making the costs and benefits of ratification public. This flies in the face of rational policy making.

"Farmers will be disappointed that much of their hard earned tax will be directed towards this Government’s “winners” or their rates frittered away by councils desperate to act “in partnership” with Government on some new “community-initiative” inaccessible to farm families.

"A clear message has come through from this speech and that is consultation is mere window dressing. The Government has made firm pronouncements on its Tertiary Education Strategy even though it has just put its strategy out for consultation. It produced a draft Science and Innovation Advisory Council report but seems to have ignored any submissions as no final report has been seen.

"Rather than tinkering with tax payer funded handouts the Government would be better to focus on reducing barriers to successful business in New Zealand."

ENDS


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