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Achieving Faster Growth For New Zealand

Achieving Faster Growth For New Zealand – What To Do With Public Spending

“This whole work programme is about how to make New Zealanders considerably better off through economic growth” said Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Philip Lewin today.

Mr Lewin was commenting on the launch of the New Zealand Chambers’ fifth and final policy document for 2003, “Constraining – but not slashing – growth in public spending to 1% per year”.

In New Zealand central and local governments are responsible for around 40% of the economy and directly influence the remaining 60%.

“As the economy grows, so the relative proportion of spending devoted to governments can reduce” said Mr Lewin. “The policy document we’re launching today details the areas where such expenditure constraints can be applied”

“A 1% bigger government sector next to 4% annual real growth across the whole economy would see the ratio of public expenditure to private reduce markedly over the next decade, to no more than 30% of GDP – without harming vulnerable New Zealanders”.

“We’d be keeping increases in real per capita government spending to below the rate of economic growth, and simultaneously lifting New Zealand’s productivity, as we stressed in our first policy release back in April”.

“At the same time, our country should be hitting the three other big growth policy targets the Chambers have identified – boosting our exports by 70%, making sure Auckland’s economy is fit to grow 80% (without short-changing the rest of us), and increasing basic skills to get more people in employment.”

“As Chambers of Commerce, we need to ensure that the importance of economic growth to social wellbeing is never lost sight of” Mr Lewin concluded.

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