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Budget responsible, unimaginative

Business has got what it didn't ask for: Budget responsible, unimaginative

The Budget may help shore up stability in the economy more than set growth alight, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"Business productivity is where countries succeed or fail and this Budget presents no excitement on that front," said Alasdair Thompson, the association's chief executive.

"I suppose we should not complain that Government has not kept its promise to make business r&d tax deductible as we were warned there would be more grants for research instead. Nevertheless we are disappointed.

"We welcome Government's intentions to boost the knowledge economy with $21 million more for private sector r&d, though business would have much preferred to see r&d fully deductible in the year it was incurred as applies in Germany, the UK, the U.S. and virtually all other countries.

"Making r&d tax deductible would have created far more impact than grants which are still too easily captured by the science community.

"Even better would have been a statement of intent to lower the business tax rate to match or better Australia's. If this is not done soon, New Zealand risks losing much more of its tax base to Australia.

"Should that occur even the unambitious projection of 3% GDP annual growth for our economy over the next three years would be in doubt.

"If the projection is sustained, a pleasing aspect is the reduction in the current account deficit to 5% of GDP within two years.

"In spite of the economy heading up Dr Cullen's list of priorities, most of the Budget's emphasis is on 'closing the gaps' between the well off and less well off, and the regions and cities. Successive Governments have been trying to do this for decades with little to show for it.

ends

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