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Compliance Cost Cutting Regime A Brave Initiative

Compliance Cost Cutting Regime - A Brave Initiative

Commerce Minister Paul Swain's serious tilt at cutting government's compliance costs is both refreshing and brave, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

The Minister is casting himself as the referee between business, desperate to reduce compliance costs, and the bureaucracy of his Wellington officials whose empire building depends on their ability to make more regulations for business to comply with, said Bruce Goldsworthy, Director of EMA's Manufacturers Division.

"Considering the entrenched interests at stake, this is a brave initiative," Mr Goldsworthy said. "It's easy to be skeptical when governments have for years promised to cut compliance costs but never did much about it; this time there are good reasons to think the Minister may make some progress.

"The main one is that he is putting business people on compliance panels to tell him what must be done to cut the costs of complying with existing regulations. In tandem with that is a panel to judge whether new regulations will actually work. The EMA has put forward nominations for these panels.

"Another novel idea is making public the mandatory compliance cost statements to accompany each new regulation so business can see what progress is being made, if any.

"But the Minister should also take heed of his own E-Commerce Summit recently. One of the strongest messages from it was that the best thing Government could do to assist business take up e-commerce would be for itself to get fully online urgently.

"When businesses can lodge all their returns to Government online for requirements such as Statistics, the Labour Department, ACC, and IRD then their compliance costs would be drastically lower.

"This approach would also accelerate the uptake of e-commerce by business as they sought to take advantage of the speedier processes available online.

"We congratulate the Minister on the Electronic Transactions Bill and on setting up the e-government task force in the State Services Commission, which are important and necessary first steps.

"But mostly EMA congratulates the Minister for his refreshing willingness to place business people where his own officials will be obliged to listen to them."

Further comments: Bruce Goldsworthy tel 09 367 0948


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