1 Nov 2011

Business group calls for action on training

6:42 pm on 1 November 2011

Business NZ says no political party seems prepared to address the need for greater skills.

A survey of business owners has found most are unclear on what National's plan for the economy is, but Business NZ, which commissioned the poll, says firms are not impressed with many Labour policies either.


Chief executive Phil O'Reilly says New Zealand has far too many people leaving school without basic literacy and numeracy.

"The number one thing that businesses say gets in the way of growth is lack of skills, so this is a cry from the heart from the business community. Could anybody help us here please?"

Mr O'Reilly says there is too little connection between the business community and schools, and insufficient support for apprenticeships.

The Deloitte-Business NZ survey of 1000 firms found that 28% of owners questioned believed the Government had no plan to raise the country's economic performance and 38% were unsure that there was a plan.

About a third, or 34%, were convinced the Government had a plan.

Mr O'Reilly told Morning Report that while Labour is taking a good stand on the retirement age, other policies will be unpopular, such as those requiring employers to pay a lot more for compulsory KiwiSaver over the next 10-15 years.

National's finance spokesperson, Bill English, says his party does have a plan, which takes a systematic approach to raising the performance of the entire economy rather than creating what he calls "rinky dinky" schemes that benefit some high-profile sectors.

Mr English says the plan involves better regulation and cutting costs for businesses, which will increase productivity and incomes for all New Zealanders over the long term.

Labour's finance spokesperson David Cunliffe says the survey is a damning commentary on National's economic under-performance.

He says the business community wants to see key economic issues addressed in a way that can take New Zealand forward.