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Progressive: jobs and development Vs Brash-istan

Progressive: jobs and development Vs Brash-istan

There is a man [referring to Tony Ryall who preceded Matt Robson and delivered a vein-popping speech on law and order] who objected to a prison in his area when he was offered one.

Yesterday in the Estimates Debate Parliament said YES to the Labour Progressive government's $263.128 million investment in Economic, Industry and Regional Development.

Funding has been approved for 26 new initiatives in the 2004-2005 financial year totalling $98.398 million.

Some of the more exciting investments in propelling the economic transformation of our nation include programmes to enhance New Zealand's ability to attract new investment in our country;

The opening of new international market opportunities for a number of our industry sectors; Significantly greater participation in international trade fairs and promotions of New Zealand goods and services; The Large Budget Screen Production fund, which is paying dividends for all New Zealand.

New Zealand is increasingly a technologically-advanced and forward-looking society which is confident of its place in the world and confident of where we are going as a nation. The progressive coalition government relishes its vital role in contributing to that process of economic transformation.

The reason the coalition government is active in supporting industry and regional development is because we know that intelligent partnerships are assisting the whole economy to leverage more out of our existing skills and advantages.

It is a multiplier effect. And we need a lot more of it to ensure that the five years of exceptionally strong economic performance we’ve seen since 1999 continues uninterrupted for many more years yet.

We are a government that is actively encouraging new investment in new job-creating businesses, including those with export potential.

Strengthening the international connections of our businesses plays an important part in lifting national economic competitiveness and therefore delivering higher average living standards. And the progressive government's hard work is constantly paying dividends for all New Zealand.

Yesterday, Jim Anderton and EDS New Zealand announced that EDS has already achieved a major milestone stipulated in an investment partnership forged between it and the government in March of last year.

EDS has created more than 200 jobs in just 15 months!

EDS New Zealand created all these jobs in the wake of this government's $1.5 million investment in the company via our Strategic Investment Fund.

This is great news of course for our expanding ICT industry. EDS's next target is to create 360 new jobs in total by March 2006. Increasing the number of high-value, high-skill jobs is an important step towards the Labour Progressive government's goal of raising the living standards of every New Zealander.

While EDS expands its Best Shore programme, New Zealanders raise their skill levels and gain experience in a high tech global company. The flow-on effects to the wider society from the government's partnership with this global company is that all of New Zealand benefits from having a stronger ICT sector based on our shores.

All of course all of New Zealand benefits from increased export earnings and a sophisticated, skilled workforce.

EDS says that more than a dozen of its overseas clients have transferred work to New Zealand. These include contact centre positions, applications testing and development work, information technology operations support and production engineering.

EDS New Zealand Managing Director Rick Ellis says the government grant was an important factor in assisting EDS New Zealand to compete in the global market for work from overseas EDS subsidiaries, because the investment partnership reflected the strong level of government support enjoyed by EDS New Zealand.

EDS's expansion has given additional credibility to New Zealand's high tech sector through providing another practical example of what New Zealand has to offer as a place to base you global company.

The government is committed to working in partnership with New Zealand to get more and more New Zealanders into jobs. As at March 2004, there were 1,985,000 people in work. That’s 193,000 more than when we were elected in 1999. Growth in jobs far exceeds the growth in the labour force.

The unemployment rate is at the lowest level in a generation and we have the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the OECD. I look forward to the June 2004 figures which will be released on Tuesday the week after next.

If you want to know what the opposite of this progressive government's economic development policies would look like then you need look no further than the National Party in the Opposition benches.

National strongly opposes the new jobs created at EDS and the positive partnership between the government and EDS that is delivering high quality jobs for our people. National used its annual conference to confirm this and to outline instead a Nightmare Scenario of Reckless Big Government Spending.

National proposes to, on the one hand, end this government's investment in our future prosperity, while, on the other hand, to instead recklessly spend much more on building prisons and more police to keep order in the streets of the alternative society they want to build.

Theirs is a vision of a society failing economically and socially and therefore having to use precious taxpayers' money to build ever more prisons.

New Zealand currently imprisons 155 people per 100,000 inhabitants, the 7th highest imprisonment rate in the OECD.

If National's policies were implemented, New Zealand would have one of the very highest imprisonment rates not just in the OECD, but in the entire world. It would be higher than in Uzbekistan, according to one report I read in the recess.

Uzbekistan is famous for its failure to develop its regional economies to anywhere near their potential. That, of course, explains why Uzbekistan is also infamous as one of the more authoritarian of the authoritarian states of Central Asia.

Societies cursed with governments that fail to invest in economic transformation and in people quickly experience a proliferation of gangsters like the Filthy Few running the regions, towns and cities.

Those societies also quickly end up with reactionary governments forced to waste billions of dollars mopping up the social mess that always results from failure to invest in economic transformation.

New Zealanders deserve so much better and they'll continue to get so much more with the Labour Progressive government.

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