Bill English Speech To NZCCI Conference

I had expected there to be media reporting on yesterday’s speech by Dreputy Prime Minister Bill English to the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce annual conference in Rotorua, but I caan’t find any on line.  So here is my summary:

  • The Government will proceed with plans to cut taxes again on 1 April and will pass necessary legisaltion before Christmas;
  • Government spending is a hige issue.  The books look worse than expected and there are some huge liability issues – eg ACC where liabilities outweigh invested funds;  The focus of reviews will be on the effectiveness of Government spending not on slashing;  There will be no cutting of safety net services;
  • There will be a general focus on productivity, including on productivity growth in the public sector;
  • Local Government needs reform and Rodney Hide will be active in that space;
  • There will be a review of regulation – to remove red tape and to improve the effectiveness of regulation.  RMA will be a priority – expect legislation in February – but the Building Act and the operation of the various acts around land transport and local Government will also be tidied up;
  • Rodney Hide ios also Minister of Regulatory Reform and will work with Bill English on this;
  • Infrastructure will be a priority.  There will be aa short term focus on those things that can be done quickly – the health, education and housing sectors will benefit short term and this will help soak up surplus labour and equipment from the construction sector.  Roading priorities will be part of a more long term strategy and will take longer to prepare but will benefit from the streamlining of regulation;  The Government plans to set up an infrastructure unit to coordinate activity in this space;
  • Bill stressed that there is no silver bullet there to solve our economic problems, rather the Government needs to focus on doing something like 100 tasks better.  Bill stressed the importance of the business community signalling to Government its priorities for those talks that need to be done better. 

Overall there was remarkable consistency between Bill’s vision and the NZCCI policy prescription.  Now we have to focus on getting the vision delivered.

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