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Stop picking winners, support ‘winning behaviour'

Media Release. 9 May 2008.

Stop ‘picking winners’ and support ‘winning behaviour’.

The New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA), is calling on the Government to scrap is policy of ‘picking winners’ and support ‘winning behaviour’ in the wake of the decision to cut funding to the Screen Council.

“The policy of ‘picking winners’ has been wasteful. In the case of the Screen Council, we have two Ministries arguing over how public money should be spent, and the funding that has already been provided has either gone offshore or has failed to bring any benefit to the New Zealand economy”, says Chief Executive John Walley.

“The Association is concerned that because the Government and its agencies decide to whom and when funding is allocated, the system lacks clear objectives, cohesion and fairness”.

“The Government will inevitably find support from an assortment of companies and organisations that receive grant”, says Mr. Walley. “The problem is that this policy is unsustainable because funding decisions are made according to political whims, rather than the seriously considered needs of New Zealand’s companies and organisations across the economic spectrum”.

“Policy needs to support productive behaviour of our firms and organisations, rather than pushing them into hastily arranged funding clusters and initiatives such Growth and Innovation Frameworks, Manufacturing+, Digital Forum and the like.”

“Seasonally corrected, our economy lost jobs in the first quarter of this year and business confidence is in free fall; clear signs that policy change is needed”, says Mr. Walley.

“However our companies and organisations are still being told to go out there and find new customers, develop new products, and promote New Zealand’s ‘brand’, yet public policy exaggerates swings in the exchange rates making any return from offshore markets something of a lottery. A better way would be to rethink policies that de-risk productive activity and exporting – exchange rates and targeted assistance for productive activity to briefly suggest a few”.


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