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Worrying Fall In Competitiveness Rating

Worrying Fall In Competitiveness Rating

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-NZ-BUSINESS-ROUNDTABLE

WORRYING FALL IN COMPETITIVENESS RATING

"The further fall in New Zealand's rating for international competitiveness underscores the deterioration of the quality of economic policy in recent years", the executive director of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, Roger Kerr, said today.

Switzerland's International Institute for Management Development rated New Zealand 21st out of 47 countries in its latest survey. This compares with a rating of 9th in 1995, 11th in 1996, 13th in 1997 and 1998 and 20th in 1999.

The ratings for the brain drain (41st) and export growth (46th) were particularly weak.

Mr Kerr said that countries such as the United States *-(in first position), Ireland (7th) and Australia (13th) had far outstripped New Zealand in reforming and strengthening their economies.

He added that it was likely that the survey results had not taken account of recent decisions by the Coalition government including the planned $5.9 billion spending package, the increase in the marginal tax rate, the renationalisation of ACC, the planned re- regulation of the labour market and the freeze on tariffs. All these would raise domestic costs and make it harder for New Zealand industries to compete internationally.

"Next year's survey could well see New Zealand losing further ground", Mr Kerr said. "Because of the positive relationship between international competitiveness and growth, particularly for a small, open economy, this does not augur well for New Zealand's chances of maintaining the economic recovery and achieving sustained economic and employment growth."

ENDS

MEDIA RELEASE FROM NEW ZEALAND BUSINESS ROUNDTABLE

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