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Those Who Criticise The 90s Have Forgotten The 80s


Dr Don Brash National MP

8 August 2002

Those who criticise the nineties have forgotten the eighties

To talk of 'the horrors of the 1990s' is to talk cattle manure", National Party MP Don Brash said today, referring to a recent editorial criticising the National Party's economic policies.

Dr Brash was speaking at a meeting in Auckland chaired by independent commentator Rod Oram.

"Those who talk of 'the failed policies of the past' are relying on the fact that many of us simply do not remember how inefficient and frustrating things were back before the mid-eighties.

"Most of the policies of the late eighties and early nineties have contributed to current prosperity. The Labour Government knows it, and hasn't reversed any of the major policy changes of that period.

"In the 10 years to 2002, the growth of the New Zealand economy averaged 3.3 per cent per annum, the same average growth as achieved by the US economy over the same period.

"But there remains a huge task ahead of us. In 1960, GDP per capita in New Zealand was closely similar to that in Australia. By 2000, Australia's GDP per capita was about one-third greater than that in New Zealand.

"On the basis of present policies, the New Zealand economy is expected to continue under-performing the Australian economy for as far ahead as the eye can see. And if that happens, the kind of society which we all want for New Zealand simply will not survive."

"Constantly adding to the costs and risks facing small businesses, or retaining the highest company tax rate in the Asia-Pacific region, will not increase New Zealand's growth rate.

"Rather, we have to improve the quality of the education system, have a tax system which encourages investment and the acquisition of skill, ensure that the transport infrastructure does not cause needless costs and delays and prevent the Resource Management Act from stifling investment.

"These are the things which a National-led Government could have delivered - essential policies if we are to lift our growth rate. Sadly, there is not much evidence that a Labour-led Government will do so," said Dr Brash.

Ends

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