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No chance of Clark achieving her OECD promise

Bill English MP
National Party Finance Spokesman

12 December 2007

No chance of Clark achieving her OECD promise

National Party Finance spokesman Bill English says the Government’s economic indicators report out today shows Helen Clark has no chance of delivering on her promise to get New Zealand back into the top half of the OECD within a decade.

“New Zealand is currently 22nd in the OECD out of the 30 member countries. This ranking is two places lower than in 2005. Furthermore the report says ‘the income gap between New Zealand and the top half of the OECD is reasonably large, and closing it will require a number of years of performance consistently above the OECD average’.

“This is the direction that Labour’s so-called ‘economic transformation’ is taking New Zealand. We’ve slipped two places down the ladder in just two years.”

Mr English says the Economic Development Indicators Report of 2007 also says that alarmingly, New Zealand’s GDP per capita is lower than that of all of the Australian states except Tasmania.

“This poor performance is reflected in the average weekly earnings actually being lower in New Zealand than in Tasmania.”

In 2006, the average weekly earnings of full-time workers in Australia ranged from NZ$1,025 in Tasmania to NZ$1,248 in Western Australia (converted at purchasing power parity PPP exchange rates). In New Zealand, earnings averaged NZ$906. This wage gap has widened over time.

“When the NZEIR recently produced figures showing the growing wage gap between New Zealand and Australia, the institute was accused of being ideologues. Even this Government report now comes to similar conclusions.

“The recent moves to further lower taxes in Australia will see that gap widen.

“While there appears to have been some improvement in some areas, the fact that New Zealand has slipped two places on the OECD ladder should be of grave concern.

“New Zealand has been running on the spot under Labour for the past eight years. We can and should be doing better.”

Other worrying factors in the report include:
- The quality of energy infrastructure is perceived to be lower than in most other OECD nations.
-The participation rate in education for 15- to 19-year-olds is well below the OECD average.
- Questions around the speed and success with which new immigrants (who are needed to compensate for high outflows) are integrated into the workforce.

ENDS

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