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English: New Zealand Can Do Better Than Muddle Through

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Bill English
Bill English

The real risk for New Zealand as it emerges from recession is that it reverts to the mediocre economic performance that has marked much of its recent past, Finance Minister Bill English said today.

"Over the next year or so, I hope we have a very robust economic debate - about whether, as a country, we want to do better than just muddle through," he told the Cullen Law Breakfast Club in Wellington.

"By muddling through, I mean an economy that grows a bit here and there, which stops and starts. It's the kind of economy we have had before.

"In that time, our incomes fell relative to other countries and we drifted. That's the risk we have now, as we prepare to come out of recession."

Mr English believes New Zealand can do better than that.

"That's why this Government has set out a comprehensive programme that will start to rebalance the economy around exports and investment.

"We recognise that this will not happen by allowing government spending to run out of control as the previous Labour government did.

"To climb back up the world income ladder, we need businesses to have the confidence to invest and create jobs. The Government's role is to make that as easy for them as possible - particularly with the New Zealand dollar at current high levels."

As New Zealand moves out of recession, it is important to tackle these medium and long-term challenges head on, after a decade of lost opportunity, Mr English says.

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