14 Nov 2014

NZ economy praised ahead of G20

7:54 pm on 14 November 2014

New Zealand has been held up by an Australian business leader at the G20 meeting in Brisbane as an example of what other countries need to do to boost economic growth.

Chair of the G20 business group Richard Goyder said the group had recommended to leaders that they needed to deregulate their economies to get more growth.

Mr Goyder told a news conference that countries which freed up their economies and removed barriers to trade did well.

"I'd give New Zealand as a very good example of a country that has lowered barriers, trade barriers, has allowed immigration to happen, has engaged in fiscal reform and that economy is showing the benefits of that political leadership right now."

Leaders of the world's twenty biggest economies will consider the business group's recommendations over the weekend as they try to agree on a strategy to lift world growth higher than forecast over the next five years.

But a group representing civil society organisations said more needed to be done to ensure the bottom 20 percent of income earners benefited most from economic growth.

The so-called C20 said growth in itself was not enough if it just boosted the incomes of the richest people.

Its chairperson Tim Costello said the group wanted the G20 leaders to focus on fairness

"The real acid test is does growth flow through to the bottom 20 percent of households in every G20 country?" Mr Costello said.

He said if income growth was shared more evenly that would lift the incomes of a billion people.

The C20 says 600 million young people across the world were not in work, training or education. and something had to be done to help them.

Mr Costello says the world's 85 richest people hold wealth equivalent to that owned by the poorest 3.5 billion.

Mr Goyder said business leaders also worried about inequality and believed their recommendations to deregulate economies would benefit everyone.

"If the G20 implements the policy recommendations that would flow through to developing economies and countries that aren't part of the G20 and in fact will flow through to unemployed and other underprivileged parts of society."

Mr Goyder said removing protections in labour laws and introducing more flexibility would help get more people into work.

But the C20 was not so sure and criticised the Australian Government's moves to restrict access to dole payments for young people.

It said more, not less, government help was needed to support people who were out of work.

The C20 also wanted the G20 leaders to act decisively to clamp down on tax avoidance by large corporations and rich individuals.

It said that alone could help pay for stimulus packages around the world to boost economic activity and create jobs.

The business leaders group, the B20, said its recommendations to deregulate economies and make investment in infrastructure easier would lift growth rates and create hundreds of millions of jobs around the world.

Both groups agreed that whatever statement the G20 leaders agree on, it was what each individual country did which will determined whether anything changed.

According to Mr Goyder New Zealand was already one step ahead.

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