BUSINESS

Productivity focus needed for 2014

Thursday 19 December 2013, 1:54PM
By Business NZ
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Increased productivity is vital for improved wealth and living standards in the future and everyone has a part to play to achieve it, says BusinessNZ.

Research by the Productivity Commission shows New Zealand’s productivity is still lagging behind Australia’s.  Labour productivity is nearly a third lower and multi-factor productivity including productive use of capital is nearly a quarter lower than in Australia.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said many factors were responsible for the gap.

“Businesses must consider how they can make better use of resources – improving governance, innovating, investing capital, upskilling staff, updating equipment and technology, and using natural and other resources more efficiently and sustainably.

“Many businesses are addressing these issues, for example with recent improvements in capital expenditure.  The ExportNZ survey released today also shows businesses focusing on productivity to overcome exchange rate pressures.

“Employers, employees and their representatives need to consider the need for ongoing skill development, higher productivity targets and positive contribution to company goals.

“And the Government has a crucial role in creating the conditions for improved productivity.  It needs to actively consider whether its policies are allowing the private sector to achieve at a high enough level.  Policies that encourage investment and competition, safeguard property rights and provide for productive workplaces are fundamental, and more work is required in several of these areas. 

“Laws and regulations are themselves important, since key laws such as the Resource Management Act and others are actually harming productivity growth – a regulatory responsibility act that ensures fewer, better quality laws is needed.

“The Productivity Commission is performing a valuable task in bringing productivity issues to national attention.  Our best response would be to work on improving productivity outcomes in 2014,” Mr O’Reilly said.