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The coalition Government is showing itself unwilling to listen to suggestions on improving the performance of regulators including the Commerce Commission, National Party Commerce and Consumer Affairs Spokesperson Brett Hudson says.

“The New Zealand Initiative has released a thoughtful report ‘Who Guards the Guards?’ based on responses from businesses. This follows on from recent Productivity Commission work on the same subject,” Mr Hudson says.

“The least Commerce Minister Kris Faafoi could do is read and consider the New Zealand Initiative’s work, rather than ignoring it as he has done.

“It questions whether or not the structure and governance of our large regulators are appropriate for the business environment of today, and includes a comprehensive survey of businesses and proposed changes.

“Instead of receiving the report as a constructive critique, Kris Faafoi in a recent interview has dismissed it out of hand.

“This need not be a highly partisan political subject. We are all interested in improving these organisations. Why is Mr Faafoi being so closed to positive change?

“Our regulators have important roles in protecting our markets, competition and consumers’ interests.

“How they are perceived to exercise their powers is important to their effectiveness and the performance of our markets.

“A Government focused on supporting the creation of jobs and lifting incomes would welcome feedback from all quarters, including businesses, on how to make our economy work more productively and how to support the economic growth that delivers jobs and incomes.

“It is unsurprising that business confidence is struggling in an environment where the Commerce Minister dismisses the ideas of business leaders as self-serving and unworthy of listening to.

“This is not the response of a Government which views businesses as partners in lifting jobs, incomes and prospects for New Zealanders. It is the response of a Government with a closed mind.”

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