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New Zealand Should Look At Ireland

Richard Prebble

I have never known New Zealanders so depressed. People no longer believe that New Zealand can foot it as a major nation.

I tell you this, not to add to the gloom, but to let you know I do know. I have a house in Titirangi. My personal accountant runs a large practice here in Henderson. He tells me he cannot understand what Michael Cullen is saying about a robust economy. Not one client is going to be paying more tax than last year.

The latest GST figures released yesterday show that my accountant lives in the real world. GST collected by the IRD is down 6.9% for July and August.

It’s my own view that we can rejoin the first world and do so in half a generation. In just seven years we could move from our present 20th position in GDP per capita, to being 10th. I like the sound of that – 10th by 2010.

Parliament should look at every law, every policy and ask the question – will this policy help put New Zealand back into the first world? Will it help reach the goal of 10th by 2010.

I have been through the coalition’s policy and legislative programme. There is just one initiative – the pilot project to upgrade apprenticeships – that might help the economy grow.

I think Tony O’Reilly, the owner of the New Zealand Herald, is correct – New Zealand should look at Ireland.

Ireland in 1980 was in much worse shape than New Zealand. GDP was 65% of the UK’s per capita. Now, Ireland has overtaken the UK, even though Britain has had a good 20 years of growth.

How? Being in the European Community helped. The EC subsidies assisted. But the Irish Parliament believes that the ten per cent corporate tax for new investment was the key. Investment has poured in.

A ten per cent corporate tax rate would see New Zealand corporates coming home, bringing with them skilled New Zealanders. Making New Zealand a first world nation again is an achievable goal. It’s an exciting goal. It’s worthwhile.

Think about this. On the latest US dollar to Kiwi conversion the US poverty line is NZ$40,000. This means 86% of New Zealand taxpayers are now below the US poverty line.

There is no better way to help our fellow New Zealanders than to create a first world nation. That’s ACT’s vision – I invite you to share it.

ENDS

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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