Single transtasman market closer - English

Important progress has been made on work towards a single economic market between New Zealand and Australia, Finance Minister Bill English said this morning, following a meeting with his Australian counterpart, Treasurer Wayne Swan.

Important progress has been made on work towards a single economic market between New Zealand and Australia, Finance Minister Bill English said this morning, following a meeting with his Australian counterpart, Treasurer Wayne Swan.

After the meeting, Mr English released a stock take of progress towards a single market that he said showed good progress on converging accounting and financial standards, aligning regulatory regimes and co-ordinating the enforcement of consumer laws between the two countries.

He said both countries were committed to a single market to stimulate business activity, drive job creation and improve the environment for doing business on both sides of the Tasman.

A seamless transtasman economy would benefit consumers and businesses in both countries, he said.

Linking both countries' ETS schemes was also likely in the future, Mr Swan said, despite differences in the present respective schemes and the price of carbon in each country.

Linking the schemes did not mean each scheme had to be the same, he said, but doing so would provide more certainty to those businesses that operated on both sides of the Tasman, Mr Swan said.

However, he could not provide specifics as to how that would happen, although as part of their meeting the two men also met with Climate Change Minister Nick Smith to see how the two schemes could be integrated.

A senior officials' working group has been charged with taking the idea further.

The ministers also updated each other on progress toward implementing arrangements between the two countries on transtasman retirement savings portability.

Australia would continue to work towards enacting the legislation necessary for the new regime and will work closely with New Zealand officials to finalise the establishment of the scheme, Mr Swan said.

The talks concluded with a discussion with a small group of business leaders, where they shared views on the future direction the transtasman relationship.

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