Australia, NZ could improve ties: productivity commissions

14 Dec 2012 – AAP –


The success of economic ties between Australia and New Zealand could be improved through more services trade and investment, the productivity commissions of the two countries say in a report.

Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of Closer Economics Relations (CER) between the two countries, under which trade restrictions have been greatly reduced and people now move freely “across the ditch”.

“CER has been a very successful venture, with initiatives that would not have been possible with any third country,” New Zealand Productivity Commission chair Murray Sherwin said in a statement accompanying the report.

But he said there was more to be achieved to the benefit of both Australia and New Zealand.

Australia’s Productivity Commission chair Gary Banks said a single economic market would be a desirable “direction of travel”.

“But how far policy initiatives go will emerge from good public policy processes focused on achieving net benefits,” Mr Banks said.

The report was handed to prime ministers Julia Gillard and John Key on Thursday.

It identifies more than 30 initiatives to promote beneficial integration, mostly addressing regulatory barriers to services trade and commercial presence and some remaining impediments to integration in goods, capital and labour markets.

The report says that the relationship should remain “outward-looking” and not impede trade opportunities with other partners, while complementing domestic policy improvement.