INDEPENDENT NEWS

Govt Acts For Business While National Blathers

Published: Wed 25 Oct 2000 04:42 PM
Govt Acts For Business While National Blathers - 10 Months Action Contrast With 9 Years Inaction
Prime Minister Helen Clark said today the positive reaction to the business-government forum would add momentum to moves to deal with issues that National in government ignored.
"During ten and a half months in office the government has embarked on a range of initiatives aimed at creating a more modern and dynamic economy. The input from business people at yesterday's forum will fuel that process.
"In contrast National had nine years in government but failed to address many of the business sector's concerns and failed to organise anything along the lines of yesterday's partnership-building forum.
"National put in place the failed Employment Contracts Act and then stood back and took a hands-off approach. This government is getting stuck in and dealing with the issues the previous government would not touch.
"For example:
 A new takeovers code to ensure investors, large and small, get fair treatment in takeovers has just been gazetted and warmly welcomed by business.
 A four-pronged programme, Simplicity 2000, for tackling compliance costs has been announced – another area our predecessors dithered over for years.
 Decisions have been made on improvements to competition law.
 The Fletcher inquiry into telecommunications has been completed, and policy decisions are pending.
 A package of reforms for the electricity industry inquiry has been announced.
 Government spending on research and development rose by 10 per cent in our first budget, with significant extra funding for the private sector.
 The cost of ACC to employers as a whole is lower.
 Industry New Zealand has been set up to ensure good ideas for business get off the ground, both through enterprise awards and advice on how to match investors with local opportunities for business growth.
 Trade NZ and Industry NZ are beginning to work proactively on attracting foreign direct investment.
 Proposals to create more certainty around the tax treatment for research and development have been announced.
 Work on an export credit guarantee scheme to support small and medium sized exporters is now well advanced.
 Improvements are being made to migration approval processes and immigration criteria will be revamped to support industry attracting in skills in short supply in New Zealand.
 Tertiary fees are being contained and the cost of student loans lowered to raise the level of participation. Now work must be done on how best to attract students into areas of shortage.
 The Modern Apprenticeship Programme and increased funding for industry training are aimed at reducing skills shortages.
 The government's superannuation proposals are finding significant business support.
 Moodys has just confirmed its confidence in the government's fiscal management.
"National has been caught open-mouthed and flat-footed as this Labour-Alliance government deals with the issues that it ignored or messed up throughout its nine years in office," Helen Clark said.
Ends

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