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Treasury Productivity Papers

Page updated 7 Jul 2011

This series of Treasury Papers focuses on New Zealand's productivity performance and policy. Six papers were released in 2008, one paper in 2009 and one paper in 2010.

Productivity is the biggest long-run determinant of wages and living standards. Our capacity to raise our standard of living depends on our ability to raise output per worker – the amount of goods and services each worker produces and the value they add. However, long-term productivity growth is not yet meeting our aspirations, which means many of our aspirations for a better quality of life are going unmet. New Zealand's low productivity growth is a long-term problem that has been an issue across a timeframe of generations, not general elections.

Raising our productivity performance is the biggest economic challenge facing New Zealand, and will require a sustained effort on a number of fronts. Treasury is publishing its work on productivity performance and what matters for productivity in order to broaden and deepen public discussion on this important topic.

The Productivity Challenge for New Zealand

Productivity is New Zealand's biggest economic challenge

Productivity and labour force participation are the key drivers of economic performance, higher wages and higher living standards. With an unemployment rate that is around the lowest in the world the biggest gains in New Zealand’s future economic performance will to have to come from productivity growth.

For more information, see the speech Putting Productivity First.

Low productivity growth is a long-term problem

The speech and papers address the issue of New Zealand’s long-term productivity performance failing to meet our living standards aspirations. Productivity performance has been an issue going back to the 1970s, as shown by the chart below.

 

Real output per hour ($US Purchasing Power Parities)


Raising productivity performance requires sustained long-term effort on a number of fronts (for more information see the paper Putting Productivity First).

This work highlights evidence that raising productivity performance requires sustained long-term effort on a number of fronts, and is why Treasury is publishing this work to support the public debate. This work also acknowledges that it is the decisions of firms and individuals that drive productivity and that the role of government to provide a favorable environment for that to occur.

For more information see the paper New Zealand's Productivity Performance.

The Treasury's Work on Productivity

Treasury is publishing its work on productivity performance and what matters for productivity in order to broaden and deepen public discussion.

On 3 April 2008 John Whitehead gave a Putting Productivity First speech, which focused on three factors that are essential for raising long-term productivity performance:

  • Investment - cost of capital and financial market underdevelopment.
  • Skills - better supporting the long-tail of under achievers.
  • International connections - supporting productivity through New Zealand’s place in the world.

Papers in the Treasury Productivity Papers Series

The papers so far in the series are as follows:

Contact for Enquiries

 

 

Media enquiries on these papers should be directed, in the first instance, to

Chris Ritchie | Senior Communications Advisor, Communications
Tel: +64 4 917 6268
Email: chris.ritchie@treasury.govt.nz
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