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Business Council: Budget hits the right buttons

18 May 2006

Business Council: Budget hits the right buttons on future proofing New Zealand

The Budget opens the way for a lot of essential work to be done on future proofing New Zealand's way of life, the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development says.

Business will welcome:

• the major effort to complete key roading projects
• research programmes to help secure the country's energy future
• boosts for education and skills training
• better funding to manage the transition to an older population, and
• the funds set aside for a much-needed concerted programme to manage climate change issues and improve the quality of life.

Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says the Budget will hit many of the right buttons with a large number of New Zealanders.

Recent Business Council research showed Kiwis' most want to preserve their quality of life – and will back economic growth when it leads to this.

"In nearly every study we have done and read, letting innovative go-getter Kiwis achieve economic growth – while delivering the benefits into health, education and preserving our environment and lifestyle – rates well ahead of single economic measures like tax cuts," Mr Neilson says.

"The Budget aims to hit those buttons. The Budget sets up a good base camp for the great assault yet to be made to achieve growth and sustain the quality of life New Zealanders want.

"We're very encouraged by the signals sent on climate change policy. By putting $100 million aside for what we hope will be incentives, means the Government has a golden opportunity to shift from an unpopular sticks to a more popular carrots approach so New Zealanders can do the right things on climate change.

"They can include giving people to move to more efficient vehicles, insulate their homes, use bio fuels, cut waste and emissions and save energy. That sort of programme will improve our air, health, and quality of life while cutting petrol bills and the Government's Kyoto carbon deficit."

Securing the country's energy future long term is crucial and it is good to see longer-term thinking. Some 70% of energy used in New Zealand comes from fossil fuels. The country needs the new research initiatives, like another $11.7 million in funding, to investigate new energy options, Mr Neilson says.


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