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'Spend now pay later' Budget

'Spend now pay later' Budget

Business NZ Chief Executive Simon Carlaw says there's no real argument with the Government's four main Budget objectives - infrastructure, skills, exports and low-income families. "But these objectives have been addressed with a spend-now mindset. There's little evidence of investing in our future by improving our international competitiveness in the long term," Mr Carlaw said.

Infrastructure - "The Budget has failed to address infrastructure constraints, making no contribution to unplugging roading or energy bottlenecks and giving no encouragement to private investment or public-private partnerships."

Skills - "With current and forecasted skills shortages, Business NZ was looking for signs of action to get better value from the tertiary sector and a better deal for industry training. There is a huge unfilled demand for apprenticeship training because of the funding cap on apprenticeship places. Modern Apprenticeships and industry training should have been given equal funding status with other tertiary education."

Export - "Assistance for the export sector has taken the form of increased funding for bureaucracy, which won't help the battle for international competitiveness. For this, internationally competitive tax rates, a flexible labour market, lower compliance costs and better resource management policies are required. Increased funding for bureaucrats in the name of export help, while imposing new taxes on exporters for border security, shows skewed thinking on exports."

Strategy for low and middle income working families - "People should be better off in paid work than on benefits - 'making work pay' is a good objective. But it's important that the work itself pays, rather than payment through redistribution of other people's taxes. This Budget gives hand-outs - a short-term approach. A more sustainable approach would be to improve the environment to produce more good jobs. That means an environment that is internationally competitive - if it's not, it will simply leak jobs to other countries. An internationally competitive economy requires good infrastructure, good skills and competitive tax rates. Today's Budget has made no move towards any of these."

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