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2025 Productivity Taskforce report on the money

Media statement
Monday, November 30th, 2009

2025 Productivity Taskforce report on the money

Leadership is what is required to get New Zealanders to buy into a growth economy and higher real incomes for all, the Employers and Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

Catching up with Australia's GDP per capita growth by 2025 will demand the commitment to a lot of small steps by both government and the private sector, EMA says. There's no silver bullet.

"The most important thing the Productivity Taskforce report does is kick start the debate on what's needed to lift our economic performance," said EMA chief executive Alasdair Thompson.

"The debate is long overdue.

"We Kiwis have been living beyond our means for decades and our debt level will become a drag on the future if not reversed.

"A starting place is to increase our domestic savings and borrow less from foreigners. Then we must focus that capital on far more productive investment.

"To do this we propose the establishment of a New Zealand Investment and Development Fund, with the 'Cullen Fund' transferred into it, plus the proceeds of sales to New Zealanders of shareholdings in commercial SOE's, and up to perhaps 50 per cent of all Kiwisaver money invested in it.

"The number one objective for all business in the public and private sectors must be to raise the value and gross profit margins on their products and services.

"Investment in skills, capital plant, R&D, technology and automation is far too low. For example our investment in science, research and development is half the percentage of GDP invested by other developed countries.

"Above all, our governments need to lead. They need to state the goal, and articulate and defend what we all must do to achieve it.

"We must get past populist, do-nothing, 'don't rock the boat and let's get re-elected' political behaviour.

"If New Zealanders don't buy into faster growth we will all need to think what the future here will be like, and start saving for travel across the Tasman to visit our children and better off friends and relatives."

ENDS

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