Former Treasury Secretary highlights key issue

Published: Thu 15 Sep 2005 04:05 PM
Former Treasury Secretary highlights key election issue
Dr Graham Scott
Thursday, 15 September 2005
Press Releases - Economy
In an open letter to business leaders today former Treasury Secretary and Health Funding Authority Chairman, and current ACT list (no 5) candidate Dr Graham Scott said the major issue behind this election is at serious risk of being obscured in the heat of the campaign. He said the critical issue facing New Zealand today and one that runs much deeper than whether tax cuts are affordable, is how to have both a strong economy andfair and affordable policies for health, education, housing, and adequate incomes for all over their lifetimes. He said David Lange's government blew apart over this difficult issue and that he had no confidence that National had either the will or the ability to address it.
"National governments have ruled New Zealand for the lion's share of the last half century, and time and again they let historic opportunities to make real progress on this critical issue slip by," he said.
Dr Scott, whose work experience includes the Reserve Bank Act, GST, the State Owned Enterprises Act, the Public Finance Act and Fiscal Responsibility Act, said quality policies were crucial to getting the role of government right and to balancing the possibilities of government failures alongside market failures.
"Labour's approach to this issue has been to take an expanding share of the growth in the economy in taxes, target income support to groups of its choice, absorb the middle classes into the welfare state and monopolise and control the provision of essential services, with a strong bias against involving the private sector.
"Labour's economic philosophy is captured in Helen Clark's statement that 'the government's role is whatever the government defines it to be'. This view of a burgeoning state is dangerously close to the philosophy of the National government that led us into the 1984 economic crisis."
Dr Scott, who has been advising governments around the world for the past 12 years, said he believed ACT could make a major and immediate contribution on these important issues.
"History has shown that both Labour and National governments have imposed statist policies on New Zealand and we can have no confidence that a Brash-led government on its own will be strong enough to achieve anything different.
"I believe the experience, capability and horsepower that ACT would bring to a National government would have a profoundly positive impact, particularly in providing an enduring solution to the problem of integrating economic and social policies.
"That's why I have written to New Zealand business people today to urge them to weigh up these issues. The only way to achieve high quality public policy is if ACT is part of the next government. So I am asking New Zealanders to support ACT with their Party Vote."
In the letter, sent today to 4000 business people, Dr Scott said he decided to stand for ACT because he is impressed with its liberal philosophy and with its people.
"I have worked closely with the former ministers who founded ACT and who continue to provide great wisdom and depth of experience. I am impressed with its Parliamentary team and its vigorous and intelligent young candidates," Dr Scott said.

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