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Govt Needs To Change To Catch Wave

29 July 2001

National welcomes this week's Knowledge Wave conference in Auckland but warns that the Labour Government's restrictive policies will prevent it capturing the knowledge wave and growing the economy.

"The conference is the next step from National's Foresight project, a two-year review of the knowledge society which resulted in the 1999 Bright Future package," National's Tertiary, Research Science and Technology spokesperson Maurice Williamson said.

"Bright Future allocated $223 million to research and development, incubators, scholarships, and teaching. Catch the Knowledge Wave is the next step in the direction clearly signalled by the National Government.

"Knowledge always has been and always will be a key driver in wealth creation. We look forward to the conference generating new insights into how New Zealand can build on its unique characteristics enabling it to be a successful knowledge-based economy," Mr Williamson said.

National's Finance spokesperson Bill English said this would be difficult under the anti-growth Labour Government. "Through the 1980s and 1990s New Zealand's barriers were torn down and the country gained a large infusion of knowledge through increased trade, investment and immigration.

"The Labour-Alliance coalition has dumbed down education, limited funding to science, research and technology and is holding tertiary institutions to ransom over funding. It has also made labour laws and planning rules more restrictive, proposed endless new taxes and breached its own budget. The result is a 2 percent economy after the Government inherited the economy of 4 percent growth from National.

"The Government has already demonstrated through its commitment to the Superfund that its top priority in coming decades is retirement income. New Zealand cannot afford an early retirement. The conference will succeed if it makes economic progress a top priority. It could turn out to be a direct challenge to the Government's policies rather than the public relations exercise the Government wants.

"National's drive to grow the economy through lower taxes, encouraging foreign investment, opening up immigration, better education, innovation and lower regulatory and compliance costs can catch the wave," Mr English said.

Ends


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