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Stagnating productivity another sign of economic failure

18 March 2013

Stagnating productivity another sign of economic failure

The Government’s programme to build a more productive and competitive economy is failing, the Green Party said today.

Statistics New Zealand today released industry and labour productivity statistics which show that labour productivity increased one percent in 2012 but, when the effects of a good agricultural growing season are removed, labour productivity actually fell.

“Labour productivity, when you exclude agriculture, is going backwards under National,” said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman.

“The high New Zealand dollar is hollowing out our manufacturing and export sectors and businesses are struggling to invest in the technology and skills which will lift productivity.

“National’s strategy to rely on intensified agriculture is producing a simpler economy which does fine when it rains but is vulnerable to external shocks like climate-induced drought.

“We need a diverse economy which has more to offer than milk powder and a housing boom.

“As Westpac noted in its commentary this morning, we are heading into another cycle of rising house prices which will induce another round of consumer borrowing and spending, with the booming construction sector provoking inflationary pressures.

“We need to start working smarter to increase our prosperity, but the current Government’s economic settings are not moving the New Zealand economy towards a productive, sustainable, diverse, high wage future.”

Statistics New Zealand found that the average labour productivity over 2008–12 was 0.6 percent. This was the lowest average cycle growth in labour productivity since the series began.

“A smart green economy is one that deals with our external imbalances while simultaneously moving our economy to a more environmentally sustainable footing,” Dr Norman said.

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