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Jobs Summit Must Look At The Big Issues

Jobs Summit Must Look At The Big Issues
Hon Sir Roger Douglas, ACT New Zealand

Thursday February 26 2009

The problem with the upcoming job summit is that it is likely to be a distraction that concentrates more on minor issues - that is cents, at a time when New Zealand needs to look at the dollars, ACT New Zealand Finance Spokesman Sir Roger Douglas said today.

"While the summit will take a micro-look at how we might produce a few jobs in the short term, it will not address the fundamental issues we must address if we are to expand the number of well-paying jobs over the longer term," Sir Roger said.

"What we need is an overall strategy to place the country at the forefront of productivity growth among the developed countries. This would primarily require:

* Concentrate on big issues, rather than the inconsequential.

* Stop wasteful expenditure.

* Reduced tax to restore incentives to work and save - by ending wasteful government expenditure.

* Improve productivity in government services via the introduction of competition, both private and public.

* Remove central planning and political interference on major infrastructural areas.

* Remove the disincentive that currently exists in the New Zealand income transfer systems - ie high effective marginal tax rates for low-income families

* Continue the wind-back of excessive regulation.

* Put in place constitutional laws to help ensure economic progress is achieved – eg expenditure limits.

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"As they look to government departments for innovation, National and Finance Minister Bill English must realise that long-term growth won't be achieved without a dramatic increase in productivity. This will not happen on the back of a substantial increase of both public and private sector debt.

"Some of the ideas that will be laid out by various interest groups at this summit may as well be from Mars - while they might help individual companies, they won’t help New Zealand.

"If the Government chooses to pick winners, rather than allowing the markets to decide, it will find itself on the slippery slope to disaster. Rather than Mr English choosing a policy of permanent restraint in our monopolised and taxpayer-funded State sectors, we need to be innovative. This means turning more decisions over to the average New Zealander.

"Future innovation will come from the introduction of competition in the State sector - which is where much of the waste lies. Competition is the main ingredient needed to achieve the sought-after objectives of the job summit. Introducing real incentives and competition throughout the economy will undoubtedly achieve the outcome sought by the summit's promoters," Sir Roger said.


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