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Budget Statement 2002

Media release 23 May 2002

Budget Statement 2002

Business NZ Executive Director Anne Knowles says today's fiscally prudent 'no surprises' Budget approach is welcome.

"The Government, like any business, must ensure its expenditure matches its income, and it's clear the Government is approaching this in a businesslike fashion," Ms Knowles said.

"Placing industry training funding on the same footing as the rest of tertiary funding is a crucial shift, as is doubling the number of apprentices. Equally significant is the focus on assisting beneficiaries into the workforce, with a particular focus on people with disabilities.

"Business NZ has been concerned that regional initiatives might focus solely on 'picking winners', so the broadband initiatives, underpinning wider regional growth, are also welcome.

"The reduction in public debt since 1999 from 36.8% of GDP to 28.6% of GDP is applauded.

"Unfortunately, surpluses over coming years will not help continue this prudent reduction, but will instead be channelled primarily into the Government's superannuation scheme, thereby inhibiting New Zealand's economic growth.

"Government spending as a proportion of GDP, at 33%, is still too high, locking us into corporate tax rates that make us uncompetitive with those in the Asia-Pacific region with whom we compete for investment - a better proportion would be less than 30%.

"Ultimately, government spending is not going to be the key to improved growth performance. Government must positively and speedily address the factors that will set us on the path to higher economic growth."

Contact: Anne Knowles 04 4966555 or 021 425868 or for more information contact Kathryn Asare 021 555744

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