Is This As Good As It Gets?
"The $3.8 billion balance of payments figure for the year ended December 2001 will be as good as it gets," says National Finance spokesman David Carter.
Mr Carter predicts deteriorating current account deficits for the country from now on.
"The latest figure has come on the back of strong exports - generated from a once in a generation combination of good climatic conditions, high commodity prices and a low exchange rate.
"On top of this, imports have been low due to the weak domestic economy."
Mr Carter says most economists are now expecting a deterioration in our balance of payments given stronger domestic activity and weaker exports.
"It's disappointing that the Government has missed a golden opportunity to take advantage of these favourable exporting conditions to lock in a better performance for the New Zealand economy."
He says the answer to New Zealand's persistent balance of payment problems are economic policies that will improve our international competitiveness in areas such as compliance costs, tax rates and skill level of the workforce.
"These are the only things that are important and it is where National is concentrating its efforts," Mr Carter concluded.