10 Questions About Labour's Industry Policy

  • Bill English

Finance Minister Bill English said today there would be a number of questions around Labour's industry policy, due to be announced tomorrow.

"Question one: How will industry benefit when Labour plans to pull $400 million out of the productive parts of the economy in increased taxes, and allocate $100 million back to industry through a business fund?

"Question two: Why would Labour spend more than 50% of the fund in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch?

"Question three: Why are development grants for only some businesses better than tax reductions that everyone gets?

"Question four: Why does Labour call this fund venture capital in Auckland and regional development in Southland?

"Question five: Will Labour's business fund be in addition to the $109.5 million the Government already spends on industry assistance, or instead of it?

"Question six: Why is Labour bothering to announce its industry policy when Helen Clark says that Jim Anderton would be running regional development in a Labour/Alliance coalition?

"Question seven: Will Labour's business assistance handouts be required to bail out businesses forced back to a monopoly ACC organisation and 1980s industrial relations?

"Question eight: How will the retired university lecturers and former public servants running the Labour Party pick the right industry winners to give the regional development grants to?

"Question nine: Will a business applying for money need to know a Labour crony to beat all the other applicants?

"Question ten: If Michael Cullen think "there are regions in New Zealand where you do just scratch your head" (Listener 20/2/99), then why should anyone believe Labour has a serious answer to regional development?

"A backward industry policy from Labour, which ties businesses up in more red tape, more control from Wellington, higher taxes and stronger unions, is not the way to get our regional economies humming. Economic growth is the best way to boost the regions," said Mr English.