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More Long-Term Answers Still Required

“No Surprises – But More Long-Term Answers Still Required” Says Wellington Chamber On Cullen’s 2002 Budget Speech

“We welcome the lack of surprises in Dr Cullen’s Budget speech today” said Wellington Regional Chamber CEO Philip Lewin. “On the basis of this document, the Government may fairly lay claim to a record of prudent fiscal management over the last two and half years”.

“The higher-than-anticipated budget surplus has not led to an election year spending splurge – and this should be acknowledged with approval” added Mr Lewin.

“Dr Cullen’s 2002 Budget has put some much-need flesh on the bones of the Government’s February Growth and Innovation Strategy. However, we are still keen to hear the Government spell out in more detail the micro-economic policies which are going to take us above the 4% per annum growth bar”.

“The Wellington Chamber fully subscribes to the goal of New Zealand as a dynamic knowledge economy – and we welcome the strong focus on skills training for the workplace which this Budget indicates”.

“We agree that the task is to lift New Zealand’s sustainable growth rates and not squeeze out business opportunities. But ratifying the Kyoto Protocol is not the way to accomplish this. And despite Dr Cullen’s peroration, we are not convinced that current tax policy settings maximise business vitality and give New Zealand the attractive international business profile that is needed”.

“This said, we welcome the Minister’s renewed commitment to alleviate the tax compliance burden on small and medium businesses. Our members are keen to see positive outcomes on this front”

“Finally, broadband access is indeed vitally important, to Chamber member businesses up and down New Zealand. Again, the Government is on the right track here, particularly with its rural schools broadband initiative”.

“Generally, in and of itself, this is a fiscally responsible budget which deserves overall business support” concluded Mr Lewin. “But more specific policy steps must be defined and taken over the next few years, if we are to get back up the OECD ladder”.


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