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Vote To 'Make The Boat Go Faster'

Thursday, July 25th, 2002

Vote To 'Make The Boat Go Faster'- Top Priority For Business

A quick fire last minute poll of businesses in the Auckland region has re-affirmed overwhelming support for economic growth as the number one election issue.

Growing the economy faster was the top priority for 71 per cent of unprompted respondents.

The survey of their 1000 largest employer members by the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) asked chief executives, first, what do they think is the single most critical thing the next Government must do.

"We took heart from the survey because there is widespread awareness that growing the economy faster holds the answer to many of our social issues," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"Our members are saying 'a vote for growth is a vote for education, health, and the environment.'

"Many unprompted responses simply said the most important thing Government can do is focus on policies which 'dramatically grow the economy in order to fund health and education.'

"Other responses specifically identified education issues (9%), law and order (8%), health (7%), with other things such as the need for stability and lower compliance costs favoured by the balance.

"EMA members are equally convinced the surest route to achieving faster growth would be to lower taxes.

"When asked in a second question what is the single thing Government could do to achieve faster economic growth, half of all respondents identified cutting taxes, again unprompted.

"These are divided about half and half. Half think both personal and company tax rates should be cut, and the other half believe we need to cut to the company tax rate only.

"The third question said if Government did only one thing to achieve faster economic growth, which of the following eight policies would contribute most?

"The eight issues selected were:
1. increase the rate of skilled immigration
2. reduce the company tax rate to 20 per cent
3. accelerate the roll out of broadband
4. reduce RMA compliance costs
5. rapidly complete Auckland's motorway network
6. invest more on core literacy/numeracy
7. improve incentives for R&D/innovation
8. target high skill levels education

"Nearly two thirds (64%) plumped for cutting the company tax rate. Support for the other issues leaned towards lifting high level skills (9%) and R&D incentives (9%).

"When respondents were asked to identify their second and third priorities the results were more evenly distributed. But again a clear preference was evident for improving the level of skills available both through developing high level skills and bringing in more skilled migrants.

"Reducing the RMA's compliance costs started to feature highly as the third priority."

"We urge voters this Saturday to vote for the candidates and party they believe will first and foremost back New Zealand's urgent need to get our economy growing faster.

"Vote for 'making the boat go faster' because a vote for growth is a vote for better education, health and the environment."

Ends

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