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New Zealand One Of The APEC Success Stories

Treasurer Bill English said today President Clinton's positive comments about growth amongst APEC economies applied as much to New Zealand as anywhere else in the region.

"In his remarks to the APEC CEO Summit breakfast yesterday, President Clinton commented that it was a much happier APEC meeting than a year ago. Economies that were going downhill then now seemed to be on the road to recovery.

"Those comments most certainly apply to New Zealand. A year ago we were facing a recession, but we have bounced back much faster than anyone was predicting.

"Right now the economy appears soft, but over the past few weeks we have seen increasingly positive views emerging about the economy and where it's heading. We are now seeing concrete forecasts from the likes of National Bank and Deutsche Bank of a pick-up in exports and a continuing improvement in tourism pushing us up to 4% growth next year.

"This would see us growing faster than the US and Australia. Unemployment could be down to 6% by the end of next year.

"In light of what we were facing this time last year collapsing log and tourism markets, drought knocking around $500 million from farm-gate returns, and plummeting confidence - New Zealand and New Zealand business has done well.

"That is the measure of the worth of the changes that have been made since 1984.

"The Asian Crisis and a severe drought cost us two quarters of negative growth, and not much more.

"The growth being predicted for New Zealand must be supported by policies for more pay and more jobs - lower taxes, lower costs for business such as the ACC changes, modern industrial relations, and encouragement for innovators and risk takers.

"It is also important that the Government uses the momentum generated by APEC and the renewed interest in free trade to continue our successful push for access to other markets for New Zealand producers," said Mr English.

Ends

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