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Is This As Good As It Gets?

Is This As Good As It Gets?

The Government’s done well – congratulations!

NZ business has done well, and as a result the Government has rewarded the working family!

Growth last year was 3.5%, putting NZ in the top performers within the OECD.

While next year’s growth expectation is down to 2.8%, it will still be a top performance in the OECD – “is this as good as it gets for New Zealand?” asks Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

“If so, we need to stop saying ‘we will get into the top of the OECD’ because we are already performing as good as the best in that group”.

Yet we all agree we should be doing better, said Mr Barnett. Is there another benchmark we need to adopt to achieve the higher sustained growth we agree we badly need?

Government clearly acknowledges the skills barrier is the major block to achieving higher sustained growth – “a message the Chamber of Commerce members have been delivering now for three years.” It is great that the Government has acknowledged this barrier.

It is also pleasing to see the new benchmark Government is setting to reduce debt. When Government came into office, debt was 33% and they set a benchmark of 30%. They have now got that down to 25% and in this Budget set a new benchmark of 20% by 2015.

“But we need to ensure we are not reducing our debt to a level where we are sacrificing growth,” said Mr Barnett.

“Clearly it is stupid to reduce debt at the expense of investing in the better infrastructure that is badly needed to improve the quality of life of all New Zealanders.”

The Budget hand-outs are only part of the package needed to improve the standard of living of New Zealanders. Improved infrastructure is needed too.

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