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Wellington Chamber Reacts Positively To Policy

15 April 2002

Wellington Chamber Reacts Positively To National’s Economic Policy

“The economic policies outlined this morning by Opposition Leader Bill English, deserve a good measure of endorsement from Chamber members in the Wellington region and beyond” said Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Philip Lewin today.

“The Chamber is here for businesses in the wider Wellington community. We note with approval that today National has indicated areas for relief for businesses, and better economic incentives for business investment, without forsaking the Government’s responsibility as guardian of the “decent society”.

Along with other business groups, Chambers have consistently called for a lower top personal income tax rate, and corporate tax rates no higher than that of Australia. Mr Lewin noted that the policy blueprint outlined by Mr English today will achieve the goal of lower corporate and personal tax rates.

“An ultimate target of 25% top rate for both personal and company tax is both ambitious and desirable. Both major political parties have now bought on to the goal of returning New Zealand to the top half of the OECD. A competitive taxation regime has to be a key part of getting us back up there”.

“But again, this must be done without harming the most vulnerable sectors in our community” Mr Lewin continued. “Mr English told us today that National will properly meet its obligations to those in need. We take at face value National’s assurances that both objectives can be met” said Mr Lewin.

At the same time, Chambers believe that the New Zealand economy must look beyond simple redistribution to growth and dynamism.

“We heartily endorse Mr English’s comment today that New Zealand is not going to go anywhere by listening to tired ideological debates about public versus private ownership. The public sector should have the right mix of assets to help, not hinder, the economy”.

“Recently the Government has made a certain amount of progress on reducing compliance costs. But more needs to be done. We welcome National’s emphasis on attacking this minefield for small businesses with renewed vigour, and on uplifting skills levels in the workforce”.

“Support for free trade and open markets for New Zealand’s exports is now back where it belongs, in a bipartisan space. Again, we welcome National’s renewed commitment in this direction” Mr Lewin continued.

“The plain fact is that, given our place in the world, the spectrum of sensible business policy measures open to any New Zealand Government is narrow. These sensible choices need to be acknowledged on a non-partisan basis - if not by the contending political parties, then by all other New Zealanders as stakeholders. Along with other business groups, we want to see a better nationwide consensus for taking the country forward”

“The Wellington Chamber looks forward to being part of a high quality marketplace for ideas in the lead-up to the General Election” concluded Mr Lewin. “Overall, we can welcome National’s contribution today, as a positive step along the road to the optimal policy mix which New Zealanders will need to have in their sights, as they make their choices on election day”.

Ends

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