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No Goals, No Strategy, No Policy, No Timetable

"Innovative New Zealand:" No Goals, No Strategy, No Policy, No Timetable

ACT Finance Spokesman Rodney Hide said today that Helen Clark's hyped up Big Idea for Business was a burger with no meat.

"She's bought a broke airline and opened a dodgy bank - all with taxpayers' money - and now she thinks she understands business.

"There is nothing in her "Innovative New Zealand" strategy for business or for growth. It's just more Wellington sloganeering and policy gobbledegook.

"In 2000 it was "Closing the Gaps". In 2001 it was "Economic Transformation". Now it's "Innovative New Zealand".

"Helen Clark's other Big Ideas never got off the ground - nor will this one. It's again designed for PR spin rather than to deliver anything tangible. Helen Clark's spin doctors can't point to one concrete policy in the entire Prime Minister's statement that will assist New Zealand's economic performance.

"Helen Clark's fundamental premise is flawed. `Government Innovation' is oxymoronic. Private entrepreneurs free from excessive tax and red tape will drive innovation - not bureaucrats, not politicians, not Wellington committees.

"In 2001, Helen Clark set the goal of getting into the top half of the developed world's economic ladder in ten years. The Treasury estimate that would require an annual real growth rate of 4.6 to 7.4 percent, depending on the measure of GDP that is used. The target is a tough one - and requires much more than words, taskforces and talkfests.

"New Zealand's economic performance is measurably deteriorating under the Labour-Alliance government, despite spin to the contrary. Treasury's medium term outlook is for a poorer performance than we have had over the past ten years.

"The 2001 December Economic and Fiscal Update (DEFU) predicts that over the current parliamentary term, total economic growth in New Zealand will only match that of other developed countries. The DEFU projections for future years (averaging between two and three percent a year) show no signs of improvement.

"New Zealand's average growth rate over the 10 years to 2001 was 3.1 per cent - slightly above the advanced country average of 2.8 percent according to the International Monetary Fund. For the five years to 1996 - before Winston Peter's disastrous spend up - New Zealand averaged four percent annual growth.

"New Zealand's economic performance is deteriorating, not improving. Treasury is forecasting a poorer performance over the next ten years than the country actually realised over the last ten - and that was only mediocre.

"New Zealand has spluttered along buoyed up by a strong world economy, high commodity prices, favourable weather and a low dollar. Nothing of this has had anything to do with the Prime Minister.

"Helen Clark has had a devastating effect on business. She has:

· Upped the top rate of tax 18 percent;

· Re-monopolised the labour market;

· Re-nationalised ACC;

· Increased red-tape;

· Taken no action on the Resource Management Act;

· Retrospectively changed our tax laws back to 1986 to grab more cash.

"The growth strategy that New Zealand needs is the one that actually works - more freedom to do business and to work, and with more of what you earn staying in your own pocket and own business instead of being stuffed into the orchestra, the grievance gravy train, or a dopey state bank," Mr Hide said.


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