Labour productivity is well below leading OECD countries, restraining living standards and well-being. Productivity is held back by a lack of international connections and agglomeration, high rates of qualification and skills mismatches, muted competitive pressures, as well as low rates of capital investment and research and development activity. Reforms to enhance skills development, health care and housing affordability as well as those to remove barriers to product-market competition have the potential to both increase productivity and reduce inequalities.
- Reduce barriers to FDI by progressively narrowing foreign investment screening.
- Undertake a tax review that considers corporate and personal income tax settings and potential new tax bases to increase investment.
- Reform housing and infrastructure policies to facilitate agglomeration economies, reduce skills mismatches and make housing more affordable.
- Improve information provision to students on career opportunities and strengthen mathematics teaching quality in primary and intermediate schools to enable more young people to enter higher-skilled fields of work in demand.
- Review the merits of refocusing competition law on the effects of potentially anti-competitive conduct, as opposed to its intent. Provide the Commerce Commission with the power and resources to undertake market studies.
- Increase fiscal support for business research and development. Maintain or increase long-term support for successful collaboration between research institutions and industry.
- Raise public health-sector efficiency, especially in hospitals, and reduce outcome inequalities
Source: OECD May 2017 Economic Outlook database.
Productivity - enhancing institutions
The main productivity-enhancing institution is the Productivity Commission of New Zealand. It works with other government agencies through the Productivity Hub to co-ordinate and inform research choices on productivity and advance collaborative research projects.