The New Zealand Herald

SCOTLAND LOOKS TO NZ FOR ECONOMIC BLUEPRINT

- — Liam Dann

The Scottish National Party (SNP) is looking to New Zealand as it seeks to remake the economic case for independen­ce from the UK, Scotland’s Sunday Herald reports.

The newspaper has reported that David Skilling, founding chief executive of the New Zealand Institute (now the NZ Initiative) has been employed as a key consultant on a highly anticipate­d report on Scotland’s economic future.

Skilling, who runs Singapore-based economic consultanc­y Landfall Strategy, declined to comment on the report.

The Scottish Herald reports that the SNP has traditiona­lly focused on Norway and Ireland as models for an independen­t Scotland but that its Growth Commission will use New Zealand “as a model for cutting the deficit through economic growth and sound governance”.

The paper’s investigat­ions editor Paul Hutcheon suggests the move reflects a political shift to more rightleani­ng, market-based economic policy within the SNP. That could be cause for division given its traditiona­l left-of-centre political base.

The SNP is the dominant political party in Scotland with 59 seats in the Scottish Parliament, compared with the Conservati­ve party’s seven and Labour’s three.

The Growth Commission was set up in September 2016 by SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon to bolster the case for economic independen­ce in the wake of the UK Brexit vote.

Scotland voted overwhelmi­ngly to remain within Europe in the Brexit vote, igniting talk of another referendum on independen­ce.

The Commission is due to report in the next few weeks.

Hutcheon writes that it is “understood” that New Zealand’s solid GDP growth rate and success in addressing its fiscal deficit are reasons for the focus.

 ?? Picture: 123rf ?? A Scottish independen­ce supporter on the day of the referendum, 2014
Picture: 123rf A Scottish independen­ce supporter on the day of the referendum, 2014

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