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National To Streamline Economic Development

25 June 2002

National To Streamline Economic And Regional Development

"An incoming National Government will undertake a major revamp of current economic and regional development services," says National's Economic and Regional Development spokesman Tony Ryall.

Mr Ryall says the current structure is far too bureaucratic with around 32 different government agencies currently responsible for fostering business innovation.

"National intends reducing this bureaucracy by amalgamating the various government agencies' activities into one department.

"We will establish a Ministry for Innovation, Economic and Regional Development as the single body responsible for overall economic development policy and strategy.

"This new Ministry will have a stronger focus on producing results rather than producing consultants."

Meanwhile, Mr Ryall says current regional development lacks strategic purpose and direction, and to function effectively it needs to be run by the regions.

"Industry New Zealand is too top heavy with almost all its staff based in Auckland or Wellington. National will decentralise INZ's funding and devolve responsibility to the regions, where it will be much closer to the needs of the community."

He says National will also attract and welcome foreign direct investment that helps increase employment opportunities and export earnings for New Zealand by establishing an investment promotion agency.

"New Zealand needs an aggressive economic strategy to improve our economic fortunes. Government must first support business by lowering taxes, reducing compliance costs and encouraging investment.

"However, it also has another role to play in fostering growth. As a significant investor in the economy, not only through direct ownership of assets but also as the country's largest funder of both research and development as well as enterprise assistance, it has a duty to ensure its investments are well targeted," Mr Ryall concluded.


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