Bill English NZCCI Speech

The NZ Herald is carrying a report of the speech Bill English gave to the NZ Chambers Conference in Rotorua on Friday.  We reported our recollection over teh weekend.

Productivity and efficient spending at all levels are vital to riding out the recession, says Deputy Prime Minister Bill English.

Mr English, who is also the Minister of Finance and Infrastructure, was the final speaker at the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce conference hosted in Rotorua, attended by chamber presidents and chief executives from around the country.

He said: “We think 2009 is going to be a pretty tough year.

“A short, sharp recession people can endure. Longer, deeper ones are a bit more difficult.”

He said it would become increasingly hard for employers to keep staff numbers up and he expected unemployment to rise “quite significantly”.

While he said there was no silver bullet to solve the problems, Mr English believed New Zealand needed to shift the focus of government and businesses from a wealth based on borrowed money to one centred on greater productivity and a more competitive export industry.

“The markets buying our products are hitting the wall. We cannot control that, so there is little point worrying about it. We have to focus on doing what we can to get us through the recession in a way that is going to get us ready for when the economy picks up.”

Improved productivity and more efficient spending were the two main things Mr English said were needed at an individual, business and national level, and he stressed the need to look at long-term solutions rather than short-term, quick fixes.

Act leader Rodney Hide, as Minister of Regulatory Reform, is expected to play a significant part in this process.

Mr English said the Government needed to lead the way by improving its infrastructure and speeding Government services and procedures. Further tax cuts will inject an estimated $7 billion into the economy during the next two years.

“It will put cash in people’s pockets – and they will have to decide whether they will save it, spend it or pay off debts.”

Mr English said he wanted to know from organisations like the Chambers of Commerce if they felt the Government was not getting it right.

He encouraged a good working relationship between chambers and their local MPs to ensure regular feedback.


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