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Alliance IT policy will create highly skilled jobs

The Alliance Telecommunications and Information technology policy launched today will help create the 80,000 highly skilled jobs we need if New Zealand is to have a first world standard of living as we enter the next millennium.

'We have to recognise that high tech industries are different from traditional industries. Banks are not prepared to take the risk and back enough high technology industries to switch our economy from a primary produce economy to a high technology economy,' Alliance Leader Jim Anderton said.

'The Alliance will bridge that gap by providing venture capital from its $200 million Economic Development Fund to start up new sustainable high technology industries.

'Education needs to be seen as an investment not a cost. The Alliance will invest heavily in education making tertiary education free so that people can train and retrain over their lives without incurring huge debts.

'New Zealand business investment rules need to be tightened up. In such a small country it is ludicrous to allow giants such as Telecom to run right over smaller companies.

'A recent example of this is the 0867 Internet access problem where Telecom unilaterally imposed a new regime on the whole industry breaching the Kiwi share provisions but the government did nothing. The Alliance will not stand by while Telecom makes ever-increasing monopoly profits at the expense of both competitors and consumers.

'We need to encourage e-commerce by getting the government to lead the way. The government must ensure that an e-commerce option exists for as many business transactions as possible.

'The future of our country cannot simply rely on our natural resources if we want to continue to have a high first world standard of living. It is time the government started to lead New Zealand to become a 'first world' high technology, highly skilled economy,' Jim Anderton said.

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