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NZ gov't highlights policy target areas for sustainable growth

(Xinhua)

14:13, March 13, 2012

WELLINGTON, March 13 (Xinhua) -- The New Zealand government Tuesday highlighted six key areas it said were essential to build a more productive and competitive economy over the next three years.

Sustainable economic growth that created permanent worthwhile jobs would be best achieved by building a competitive economy that allowed business to trade successfully with the rest of the world, Finance Minister Bill English and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce said in a joint statement.

Building a more competitive economy was one of four main priorities Prime Minister John Key had outlined for the government in its second term, which began after the general election in November last year.

"The government has put together a business growth plan that would ensure ministers and departments were focused on the six important inputs businesses need to access to be internationally competitive," said English and Joyce in the statement.

The six key areas for business growth were capital markets; innovation and ideas; skilled and safe workplaces; natural resources; infrastructure (including electricity, broadband, transport); and export markets.

English and Joyce would co-ordinate informal groups of ministers in each area to drive the growth plan forward and new polices would be added to each of these areas over the next three years.

The government would produce progress reports in the second half of this year on each of the six areas starting June.

The Economic Development Ministry would also produce a report this year on the GDP contribution of each major industry, discussing the challenges and opportunities they faced.

"Throughout the 2000s the competitiveness of the New Zealand economy suffered as new costs were heaped on business and government spending grew out of control," English said in the statement.

"Over the past three years we've taken significant steps to make our economy more competitive and having a clear focus on these areas will help drive that forward."

Lifting overall productivity and competitiveness of the economy was critical to business growth, to creating more jobs and higher wages, said Joyce in the statement.

"The reality is that if we want more and better jobs for New Zealanders we need to encourage more businesses to be based here.

"Nothing creates sustainable jobs and boosts our standard of living better than business confidence and growth."

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