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We have lift-off

A triple whammy putting a dent into doom and gloom merchants…

That's how Economic Development Minister Jim Anderton is describing new figures this morning showing unemployment falling, business confidence rising and a huge leap in profits at Carter Holt Harvey.

Jim Anderton said Carter Holt's 592% increase in net earnings, to $90 million, indicated that New Zealand can't be such a bad place to do business.

Meanwhile the June 2000 Statistics New Zealand Household Labour Force Survey shows unemployment is down to its lowest level since 1996, and only a tenth of a per cent above its lowest level of the nineties at 6.1% of the workforce

Most of the growth was in full-time employment, with 28,000 more full-time jobs compared to December when the new Government took office.

"Other than the occasional bank economist or Act MP who thinks unemployment is good for the economy, this is good news," Jim Anderton said.

"The good employment news comes on the same morning that the northern Employers and Manufacturers Business confidence survey shows stronger export sales and rising domestic turnover. There is concrete evidence that rising confidence is justified in the huge increase in Carter Holt's profits. Despite the doom and gloom merchants, it is clear that New Zealand is not such a bad place for business after all."

But the Deputy Prime Minister cautioned there is still a long way to go.

"We still have a yawning balance of payments deficit and we still have to do much better at lifting wealth across the board so that everyone can share in the improving economy.

"Per capita incomes are still down compared to the average of other developed countries and we can't be satisfied until the incomes of all New Zealanders are being lifted, not just the incomes of a few.

"If we keep going, and invest more, and keep working on a better environment for investment through a partnership-based economy, things will get better still," Jim Anderton commented.

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