Business survey gives National a poke in the chest
Business New Zealand's pre election survey has some unpalatable messages for National.
Well over three quarters - 80% - of the group's members believe the government should be lifting the pension age from its present level of 65.
The pension age is emerging as a major election issue after Labour joined the Act Party in proposing to gradually raise the pension age from 2020, from 65 to 67.
Prime Minister John Key told the Business New Zealand/Deloitte pre-election conference this afternoon he had no intention of changing his party's stance on keeping the age at 65, and said that if New Zealand follows his party's economic plan, there would be no need to raise the age.
However, that same conference was told it is not at all clear that there is a plan.
A survey by Business New Zealand of its members showed nearly two thirds of businesses either do not think National has a plan for the economy or are not sure there is one.
"Despite the prime minister saying this morning he has confidence in his party's plan, a lot of people in this room are not sure there is one," Deloitte New Zealand chief executive Murray Jack told conference this afternoon.
Of particular concern is a lack of investment in skills and productivity measures - nearly three quarters say not enough is being done to support apprenticeships or formal industry training.
There is big support among Business New Zealand members, however, for the government's plan to open up to 49% of four government owned companies to private investment - more than 80% are in favour.
The survey does not give much succour to the main opposition party.
There is particular opposition to Labour's plan to return New Zealand to a quasi-award system.
The survey comments noted that Labour's policy in this area signals "a return to regimes that have been tired and failed in the past."