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Kerr welcomes IMF report on New Zealand

Kerr welcomes International Monetary Fund report on New Zealand

New Zealand Business Roundtable Executive Director Roger Kerr today welcomed the release of the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) report on New Zealand.

The report was prepared by staff at the IMF following consultations earlier this year with New Zealand authorities, the private sector, labour unions and academia.

"It is pleasing to see the IMF recognise the strong performance of the New Zealand economy over the past three years, with real growth reaching 4 percent in 2002," Mr Kerr said.

As noted by the IMF, New Zealand's recent economic performance owed much to the structural reforms of the mid-1980s and 1990s.

"Economic reform is always difficult, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that the gains from the reforms of the past two decades have been both tangible and significant," he said.

"While there are economic risks in the short-term - due to factors such as the external economic environment, low rainfall and possible power shortages - it is important that the government focus on developing sound policies for the medium-term."

One of the clear lessons from New Zealand's experience with economic reform is that sound policies deliver better economic and social outcomes over time, Mr Kerr said.

According to Mr Kerr, the IMF report had usefully highlighted several factors that were key to enhancing the country's growth prospects. These included the need to maintain a flexible labour market, to reduce disincentives to work and to ensure that government intervention aimed at lifting economic growth is soundly based.

The successful reforms of the mid-1980s and 1990s have provided New Zealand with a strong platform for growth. It is important that we build on this. The IMF report provides some sensible suggestions in this regard, said Mr Kerr.

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