INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cullen’s Fourth Budget Deserves High Marks

Published: Thu 15 May 2003 04:09 PM
Cullen’s Fourth Budget Deserves High Marks
“Overall, we welcome the new spending directions set out in today’s Budget” said Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce CEO Philip Lewin today.
“Through a combination of good luck and prudent fiscal management, the Government finds itself in a strong position with regard to the domestic economy”.
“Chambers of Commerce nationwide have recently called for improvements to our innovation system; getting better market access for New Zealand exporters; fixing transport infrastructure nationwide; lifting our nation’s basic literacy and numeracy skills; and constraining the rate of growth in Government expenditure as a percentage of GDP”
“Several of the new measures announced today resonate – at least in part - with these objectives” said Mr Lewin.
“For example, there will be better incentives to commercialise public R & D, and to achieve a higher private sector investment in this direction. This is in line with recommendations in the Chambers’ recent “Innovation” strategy booklet.
“New Zealand needs to keep on closing the 30% gap with Australia – and increasing our productivity is key” Mr Lewin added.
“In tandem with other business groups, we have already praised the extra $84 million for industry training “
“Also, the moves towards subsidising the cost of payroll compliance for SMEs are obviously a step in the right direction – even though these don’t go to the root cause of the compliance cost problem”.
“Service industries broadly defined have been the recent export success story for New Zealand” Mr Lewin continued. “We fully support the Government’s efforts to foster our Smart service industries and get better access for our services exporters offshore”.
“As we all know, the broader external outlook is rather more complicated. This means we have maximize our competitveness across the whole policy spectrum. For this reason, we still want the Government to look hard at reducing and harmonising business and personal tax rates” concluded Mr Lewin.
“But overall, we think this is a good effort. We support Dr Cullen’s desire to balance the Budget across the economic cycle”.

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