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Slip in competitiveness worrying - Brash

Don Brash National Finance Spokesman

12 November 2002

Slip in competitiveness worrying - Brash

News that New Zealand's competitiveness ranking has slipped in the last year means it will be even harder for New Zealand to achieve sustainably higher growth, says National's Finance spokesman Don Brash

This year's Global Competitiveness Report ranks New Zealand 16th out of 80 countries for growth competitiveness, a decline of six places from our ranking last year.

"What is of serious concern in the Report is our decline from 14th to 17th place in macroeconomic environment, due largely to high Government spending and poor national savings. New Zealand also ranked poorly in technology, falling from 11th to 27th.

"This is worrying for a Government that prides itself on being supportive of growth and innovation. Considering the list of legislation currently before the House and measures in the pipeline - such as OSH, the Local Government Bill, the Holidays Act - New Zealand's competitiveness is only likely to fall further.

"If New Zealand is to achieve higher sustainable growth and move back to the top half of the OECD, Michael Cullen must focus on the things that matter - the amount and quality of government spending, the poor quality of government investment, the tax burden and the regulatory environment.

"Only when he's got these things fixed, should he bother wasting time forming compacts with the unions," says Don Brash.

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