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Anderton's Enews 2005 General Election Special

15 September 2005

Anderton's Enews 2005 General Election Special

In this election I urge you, as someone interested in economic development, to take a step back from the election and take time to think about what is good for New Zealand as a nation.

After six years of putting New Zealand's economic and social infrastructure back on track - we now face the prospect of it being torn down again by National's short sighted tax cuts based on borrowing. Of course, one of the key reasons that we have had to set the economy to rights was because of the Muldoon National Government's borrowing to start with.

It would be a major tragedy if all this work has been for nothing.

I take a pragmatic approach on most things and try to find the most constructive policy path. If you take a serious look at the evidence you'll find that the work the Labour Progressive Coalition has been doing over the past 6 years has made a great contribution to improving our prospects for the future.

If New Zealand is to move ahead, lift living standards and compete in the international trading arena, we must stay on track.

For two years in a row we have won first place in the World Bank's 'ease of doing business' index. We came first of 155 countries. We have also got the lowest unemployment in the developed world at 3.4 per cent. That means tens of thousands of families now have hope for the future. Hope that they didn't have in the 1980s and 1990s when tax cuts led to major cuts in services, job losses, increased inequality, and increased levels of poverty.

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The work of the Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) have been the keys to lifting economic growth and creating jobs by focusing on critical industry sectors, as well as skills, investment, international connections and market development.

This work has ensured our key empowering sectors of Information and Communications Technology, Biotechnology and the Creative industries (including design and screen production) are well developed. MED and NZTE have provided essential support for our regions, lifting the economic growth of all regions around the country for 24 consecutive quarters. They have also worked in partnership with our industry sectors and individual businesses to improve their prospects for the future.

It should be remembered that National did not support my policy of setting up a Ministry of Economic Development, nor New Zealand Trade and Enterprise nor Investment New Zealand. I even had to convince my Labour colleagues of the value of these policies. Now they have been successful, National has taken on board some of these policies - although, they have admitted that they will be cut back.

With tax cuts based on borrowing, there will have to be major cuts to services for businesses and regions - more than National is suggesting. The interest costs alone for the increased borrowing will ensure that continuous cuts to these services are made.

I urge those of you concerned about economic development issues - to at least consider the evidence, if nothing else. If you do that, I am sure you will know which way to vote.

Yours sincerely
Jim Anderton
MP for Wigram
Progressive Party Leader

ENDS

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