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Business Need More Than A Charm Offensive

“The country’s businesses and employers need much more than a charm offensive and a talk-fest from this Government,” National Finance spokesperson Bill English said today.

“The NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion shows confidence has fallen to similar levels to that experienced during the Asian crisis, and cost pressures are now more widespread than at any time for 13 years.

“The Business Forum next week is clearly too little and way too late to turn confidence around.

“The Government needed to show direction and leadership on economic policy and where it was taking the country months ago. We hoped to get that in June at Budget time and didn’t. Months have passed and business confidence has got worse.

“In my experience New Zealand business want to feel confident but they can’t even see signs that the Government has any confidence in the economy.

“Many people around New Zealand are questioning whether Labour and the Alliance actually have the ideas and ability to provide the leadership needed in Government.

“Confidence is remaining low because of flat activity in the September quarter with expectations of no recovery in the December quarter and the pressure on margins. The cost pressures businesses face are broad based and will lead to further price increases in the months ahead.

“The hit on profitability has lead to negative investment intentions and an expectation of declining employment. Latest consensus forecasts show average GDP expectations of 3.1% for the year to March 2001, down from 4.1% just three months earlier.

“The Government must act on this major crisis of confidence. Continued pessimism is costing us all. “

Ends

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