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Business Assistance Programmes Addressing Barriers

December 6 2005

Business Assistance Programmes Addressing Barriers

A stocktake of government policies and programmes for industry and regional development shows they are addressing barriers to business performance, Economic Development Ministry Deputy Secretary Lewis Holden said today.

The stocktake is part of an evaluation process by the Ministry of Economic Development designed to determine if the government’s business assistance programmes delivered by New Zealand Trade and Enterprise are effective, said Mr Holden.

Its key conclusions are:

- Policy settings developed over the last three years are largely appropriate as a basis for moving forward

- Programmes are addressing barriers to business performance and beginning to lay the foundations for productivity improvements

- There is an objective review and improvement process in place.

“Many of the programmes being evaluated are piloting approaches not previously used in New Zealand, so we have a lot to learn about what works and what doesn’t. This evaluation process is a crucial part of ensuring we are getting the best possible mix of programmes and policies to encourage economic growth,” Lewis Holden said.

“One of the questions the stocktake raises is do we want to be funding a programme that is just okay, or would the money be better spent on programmes that are really good? We want to encourage industry and regional development, but we also need to ensure we are getting value for money.

"It is too early to say what changes will be made as a result of the stocktake. The stocktake is a broad overview of the whole range of programmes over the last five years. Further evaluations of individual programmes over the next six months will give us a more detailed insight and help determine future polices and programmes.”

Mr Holden said that New Zealand spent relatively less on such programmes compared to other countries, so it was necessary to direct our efforts at what would have the most impact.

“That makes it particularly important to continue to evaluate these programmes. Any changes to existing policy settings and programmes will be firmly based on what we have learnt from our past experiences, based on these ongoing reviews.”

A copy of the report, Review of Economic, Industry and Regional Development Policies and Programmes, is at www.med.govt.nz/irdev/econ dev.html

ENDS

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