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Goal Posts Are Up - Crossbar Too Low

Business NZ Chief Executive Simon Carlaw says today's Budget reflects a Government that is listening.

"A year ago the business community was complaining that the Government was not listening - that is not the case today.

It is reassuring to hear that in today's Budget the Government has picked up on Business NZ's goal of improving our OECD ranking for GDP per capita.

"But we say the Government should lift the target higher than the top half - we should aim to reach the top 10 in the OECD.

"Then there is the issue of how we reach the top 10. Business NZ has scored the relevant measures in the Budget with pluses or minuses against our ability to get there.

"On an uncapped score sheet where any plus or minus score is possible, Business NZ gives the Budget an overall score of 1.

Fiscal management +1

* A conservative, careful approach to controlling expenditure * Growth target not high enough * Fiscal cap will be hard to maintain

Transforming the economy +1

* Venture capital - Govt should not pick winners; private sector firms should call the shots in allocating funding

* Economic development & partnerships - positive developments include technology scholarships and industry partnerships

Helping New Zealanders to save -1

* Still awaiting tax simplification * Excessive compliance costs remain * Officials to focus on savings industry, not savers themselves

Superannuation -2

* Surpluses devoted to super makes it harder to join the rest of the world & cut taxes * Partial funding does not ameliorate fiscal risk; gives NZers a false sense of security * Not tax neutral

Education +2

* Funds for adult literacy, industry training, centres of excellence and restructuring the tertiary sector are all good building blocks towards economic growth * Business input into establishment & operation of TEC will be essential

Environmental measures +1

* Most measures aid the tourism sector but are neutral with respect to impact on business sector overall, but increased funding for border security is a real plus

Social services +1

* 'Making work pay' provision will be useful

Paid parental leave -1

* Absence of detail is disappointing

Trade -1

* Negotiating labour & environmental standards into trade agreements is inappropriate & unnecessary

* A rigid, non-market approach Contact Simon Carlaw 04 4966555 or 025545472, or Kathryn Asare 021555744 for more information


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