5 Dec 2012

Accord needed to lift productivity - Bagrie

7:49 am on 5 December 2012

An economist is calling for an accord between different sectors and the Government to lift productivity and counter the undesirable effect of the high New Zealand dollar.

Last week's ANZ Bank's monthly survey of sentiment found firms were feeling more confident, despite a patchy economic recovery, with more companies signalling their intention to hire and invest.

But it also found export confidence was low as the strong currency continuing to hurt exporters.

ANZ chief economist Cameron Bagrie says New Zealand needs a lower currency to help drive export led growth.

"We've got an economic model that's too spending-centric and we need to fire up the export machine."

Mr Bagrie says the only way to get realignment of the New Zealand dollar with local competitiveness is to focus on lifting productivity across the country.

"New Zealand by and large needs a concrete plan to drive it up by 10% because that's how mismatched the New Zealand dollar is with our local competitiveness."

While he says the strategy should be Government-led, there should also be contributions from unions, banks, businesses, and local authorities. Otherwise he says job losses will continue and all those sectors will lose.