1 Apr 2011

Govt accused of stacking Productivity Commission

8:00 am on 1 April 2011

The Labour Party says the Government has stacked the Productivity Commission with right-wing ideologues.

The three-member commission formally begins its work today, 1 April. Its first inquiries will be into housing affordability and international freight transport services.

Labour's finance spokesperson David Cunliffe says the commission's role is potentially an important one, but the Government has spoiled it by appointing former ACT Party candidate Graham Scott as one of the commissioners.

Mr Cunliffe says that while it is clear that Dr Scott is very smart, his economic views are very right-wing.

But ACT Party leader Rodney Hide does not accept the criticism.

He says Dr Scott has been sought internationally from governments of all stripes and persuasions for the quality of his analysis.

Mr Hide is adamant the commission will produce quality work, which he says is why the Government was so keen to get the best people for the job.

He says he worked with Mr Cunliffe in setting the Productivity Commission up.

But Mr Cunliffe says while Labour was notified that Dr Scott was to be appointed, it was a done deal by that stage.

He says Labour now has no option but to accept the commission as it stands.

Murray Sherwin is the founding chairman of the commission. The other commissioner is Sally Davenport.