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NZ needs to climb out of third division

John Key MP

National Party Finance Spokesman

6 March 2006

NZ needs to climb out of third division

New Zealand shouldn't settle for small-island mediocrity and should aim to rise out of the third division of the world's economies, says National's Finance spokesman, John Key.

In a speech for delivery to Auckland's West Harbour Rotary Club tonight, Mr Key outlines significant economic problems that have been masked by the headline growth rate.

They include high levels of indebtedness, the widening wage gap between New Zealand and our major trading partners, and the disastrous loss of skilled people overseas.

"We are used to thinking of ourselves as a small country punching above its weight - in the first division of the world's economies, if you like," he says.

"But, if truth be told, we are not in the first division of developed countries. We aren't even in the second division. Within the OECD, our economy is a third-division economy, and our nearest rivals are countries like Spain, Greece, Portugal and the Czech Republic.

He says National is ambitious for New Zealand. "We shouldn't settle for small-island mediocrity. We should have a vision and aspirations for this country.

"National wants to lead the economic debate in New Zealand, so over the course of the next 12 months I've decided to deliver a series of speeches looking at various aspects of the economy.

"The theme that will overlay all these speeches is a concern for New Zealand's continued economic performance."

Topics Mr Key hopes to cover in forthcoming speeches include:

* Lifting productivity levels.
* The investment and trading relationship with Australia.
* Growing exports.
* Encouraging innovation and entrepreneurship.


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