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Wake-up call for New Zealand

Wake-up call for New Zealand

The latest Global Competitiveness Report is a wake-up call, says Business NZ. The World Economic Forum ranked New Zealand 16th of 80 nations for growth competitiveness in 2002, a drop of 6 places from 2001’s ranking of 10th.

The Index focuses on the institutions and policies supportive of medium term growth and includes sub-indexes on public institutions (including corruption and integrity of contract and law), technology (including innovation and information and communication technology), and the macroeconomic environment (including macroeconomic stability, country credit rating, and government expenditure).

As in previous years New Zealand ranked well on public institutions, maintaining its 2001 ranking of 4th. This is an indication of New Zealand’s strong and well-developed legal system and lack of corruption both in government and business.

However New Zealand slipped from 14th to 17th in macroeconomic environment, largely because of high government spending and a poor national savings rate (relevant rankings 49th and 62nd).

And in technology New Zealand slumped from 11th in 2001 to 27th in 2002. Of particular concern are poor rankings for firm-level innovation (63rd), government prioritisation of ICT (52nd) and promotion of ICT (48th) and private sector R&D spending (28th). Compared to New Zealand’s 27th ranking on technology, Australia ranks 9th – perhaps the starkest difference between the two countries in the Report.

Business NZ Chief Executive Simon Carlaw welcomed the confirmation that New Zealand is an open and transparent place to do business and free of the corruption and official favouritism rife in many other countries.

“But New Zealand needs to do more to lift its game on implementing policies that are supportive of growth and innovation. The slippage in the macroeconomic environment and technology rankings shows that there is still much to be done if New Zealand is to improve its growth rates on a sustained basis.”

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