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OECD brands New Zealand as a 'red tape country'

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Wellington, July 11 (IANS) New Zealand is a country full of regulatory barriers, said a survey released by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Thursday.

New Zealand Minister for Regulation David Seymour stressed the need for New Zealand's regulatory reform, citing areas that are found to be particularly overregulated including barriers to foreign direct investment, acquiring licences and permits, and administrative and regulatory burden.

"It is too difficult to invest, and Kiwis have their productivity sapped because of the time spent complying with edicts from Wellington," Seymour said.

The result from the five-yearly OECD Product Market Regulation Indicators should end any and all doubt that the government must go to war on red tape and regulation, he said.

The quality of regulation in New Zealand is in freefall, from being ranked second in 1998 to twentieth in this year's survey, he said, adding that it is no coincidence that New Zealand experienced strong productivity growth in the 1990s but has fallen behind since.

The Ministry for Regulation aims to cut existing red tape with sector reviews, to improve the scrutiny of new laws, and to improve the capability of the regulatory workforce.

"The culture of lawmaking needs real change, so Kiwis spend less time complying, and more time doing. The end result is higher wages and lower living costs," the minister said.

The OECD survey, of about 1,000 questions, assesses the degree to which policies and regulations promote or inhibit competition in product markets.



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