Future economy must be diverse and sustainable

The New Zealand economy has been overwhelmingly reliant on commodities in the past and we now must complement these sectors if future generations of Kiwis are to have decent work and wages, Future of Work Commission chair Grant Robertson says.

“A narrow approach to economic development will not be sustainable, is unfair to some sectors and is not fit for purpose in our changing world.

“Today I am releasing the third of the Commission’s discussion papers – on Economic Development and Sustainability – which examines how in the rapidly changing world of work we can use economic development and innovation to create decent work with secure income.

“The lead authors for the paper, MPs David Clark and Jacinda Ardern, have identified that a broad-based and low carbon economy is vital to creating new and better jobs, fairer sustainable wages and higher-value skills.

“The paper also raises the need to take another look at how we measure success in the economy and how we can better manage our resources through environmental standards.”

David Clark says the key challenges for businesses – such as building capacity, time and capital – may not be new. But there are solutions that warrant closer investigation. These include networks of expertise, assistance for micro-business, crowd-funding, tax reform, business clusters and Government partnerships with iwi.

“Roadblocks to innovation need to be removed so opportunities can be generated for businesses to adopt new models that promote sustainable growth. There must be more research and development and the Government must shift its focus to back sectors rather than “picking winners” by funding specific companies,” David Clark says.

Jacinda Ardern says outdated regulation should be tackled and government procurement targeted to help New Zealand companies.

“There may be gains from specifically supporting small businesses, which are often the real innovators in an economy. Streamlining government interactions and moving to online compliance could make a real difference to a fledgling company,” she says.

The Economic Development and Sustainability issues paper can be found here.

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