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Dunne: Business needs stable political environment

Media statement

Embargoed until 1:00 pm

Thursday 2 October 2008

Business needs stable political environment

The current world financial crisis places a premium on political stability and commonsense politics, according to UnitedFuture leader, Peter Dunne.

In a speech to the Otago Chamber of Commerce this afternoon, Mr Dunne, also the Minister of Revenue, said that while New Zealand was now more resilient and better able to withstand international shocks, the economy would not escape unscathed from the turmoil now engulfing world markets.

“While we are at the end of the queue in many respects, the best thing any Government can do right now to reduce the adverse effects on New Zealand and promote business and investment is to ensure a stable political environment

“In these troubled times, business needs certainty, and the assurance that the Government is not going to be knocked off its course by errant support partners.

“We need to set clear goals, seeking to be competitive with Australia in the first instance, as our major trading partner, and to seek to improve our comparative position with other similar small economies.

“We need to be smart and flexible, with political leadership nimble enough to respond quickly to change, and open enough to work with business as an equal partner to achieve broadly agreed goals for the country’s future,” he said.

Mr Dunne said the present situation with the financial scandals surrounding New Zealand First, Act’s insistence on Sir Roger Douglas’ return as Minister of Finance as the price of supporting a National-led Government and the Maori Party’s “cuddly bear approach to the serious business of government” all gave a Mickey Mouse air to current politics.

“It gives no confidence that while this is what passes for political leadership, we can lift our game to the extent required,” he said.

Mr Dunne said that, by contrast, UnitedFuture was a “past master” at ensuring stable government under both Labour-led and National-led administrations, as well as achieving significant pro-business policy wins – the “gold standard” of support partners, according to the National Business Review recently.

He cited the $3.4 billion business tax reform package which UnitedFuture achieved through its current Confidence and Supply Agreement, and which saw business taxes reduced to 30 cents from 1 April this year, the first business tax cut in 20 years, and the introduction of a 15% tax credit for research and development.

Mr Dunne said that UnitedFuture now proposed further tax reforms, to include a streamlined personal tax scale:

10 cents up to $12,000
20 cents from $12,000 to $38,000
30 cents above $38,000

In addition, UnitedFuture would align the top personal, business and trust rates; abolish gift duty; and introduce voluntary income splitting for parents with dependent children.

Mr Dunne said UnitedFuture was strongly committed to reducing New Zealand’s infrastructure deficit through an active encouragement of a combination of public private partnerships and infrastructure development bonds, especially in the transport sector to boost economic growth and development.

“We are more than happy to endure being described as a safe and solid set of hands – because we are reliable.

“And in an environment where single party government is unlikely, the support of the safe, centre party is a valuable commodity for any government.

“We are not in politics to satisfy an ego, or just to be loved by all, or to prove that we were right in a 20 year old argument that most people do not even know ever happened.

“We are here to do what is best for New Zealand families – by fostering an economic environment in which they can prosper, and where young people can feel sufficiently confident they have a viable future in this country.

“We have worked well with the Labour-led government to achieve many of our key policies over the last six years – now we look forward to working with the new government to take our ideas and policies further,” he said.


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