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Pep talk on growth should broaden horizons

Media statement
Monday, January 19th, 2004

Pep talk on growth should broaden horizons

When the Prime Minister gives Cabinet her pep talk on picking more winners tomorrow, the Employers & Manufacturers Association hopes some ministers will pipe up about the need to encourage investment and growth in all sectors.

"Picking out a couple more emerging sectors for special Government help won't lift New Zealand far up the ranks of OECD countries," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"Far more urgent is for Government to articulate and promote a vision for investment-led growth that all our industry sectors can sign up with.

"Government's anti-business agenda, mainly from the Margaret Wilson faction, not the PM, is undermining the work of Government's embarrassingly modest Growth and Innovation Framework.

"Extra compliance and costs just in the raft of new employment related legislation is totally inconsistent with providing more hand outs to favoured economic activities.

"It's also inconsistent with how other social democratic governments around the world approach business and investment.

"For example in the UK the lopsided impact that compliance has on small business is offset, not by free postage for tax returns, but through a reduced company tax rate.

"Companies in the UK pay zero tax on their first 10,000 pounds of earnings, and just 19 per cent on earnings up to 300,000 pounds. The same principles are applied in Canada, Ireland, throughout Asia and elsewhere.

"Business owners don't benefit directly except that they can build their enterprises faster and employ more people, since as individuals they pay tax at the same level as others.

"'We're from the Government and we're here to help you' is no substitute for clear statements of Government's ambition for business growth backed by real cost and investment benefits provided across the board to spur business growth."


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