Important step to knowledge economy
"The most urgent task facing Labour in government will be to accelerate the transition to the knowledge economy," Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen said today at the launch of the party's competition policy.
"We need to complete that transformation if we are to persuade our best and brightest that they can have exciting fulfilling, creative careers in New Zealand.
"And we need it if we are to begin to recover our former affluence. New Zealand farm incomes were strong enough to give us one of the highest standards of living in the world in the 1970s. But commodity prices have been falling steadily on a trend basis in the past two decades - and they have taken our standard of living down with them.
"National's response has been to cut taxes. Labour's response will be to raise incomes.
"To do this we need to break New Zealand's over-reliance on commodities and to encourage more sophisticated, knowledge-intensive enterprise. A Labour government will take a leadership role in pushing the economy down this path.
"We have been laying out elements of our strategy for some months now: the centrepieces are the industry development policy which we released in April and our tertiary education and skills training policies which we will be releasing closer toward the election.
"But the competition policy we are announcing today, particularly as it applies to the telecommunications sector, is also critical to the knowledge economy project because telecommunications is about the flow of information and information is the lifeblood of the knowledge economy," Dr Cullen said.