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Cuts To Red Tape Positive

Cuts To Red Tape Positive; Long Rolls Of It Yet To Unravel

Business will be mollified by today's announcements on the steps taken to cut compliance costs, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says, but not convinced the war on red tape is being won.

"The few worthwhile moves to cut red tape in today's announcements should help persuade business that Government is serious in trying to streamline business costs," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"The Dunn Panel on Business Compliance Costs made a total of 162 recommendations on releasing its report in July. Given the new laws announced subsequently on such as the Health and Safety Amendment Bill no doubt it could have since added a dozen more.

"No one is being fooled. On the one hand the Deputy Prime Minister yesterday announced a further tranche of grants to boost business growth while on the other Government has recently introduced more business penalties with additional OSH requirements, piecemeal and back to front reforms to local government, huge costs for low risk substances represented in the HSNO Act, and the big risks associated with Kyoto.

"Of the 39 recommendations made by the Dunn Panel directly concerning the costs and delays represented by the Resource Management Act, today's announcements by Ministers Paul Swain and Marian Hobbs tackle up to about half of them.

"That should be enough to take the heat off Government in the meantime, but not enough to inspire confidence that business compliance will stay in the forefront of Government concerns.

"Particularly welcome are RMA training schemes for councillors, the establishment of guidelines and iwi databases, and the establishment of best practice programmes for councils.

"The changes to the RMA Amendment Bill, though useful, don't go nearly far enough.

"In our submission to the Dunn Panel we said the best thing Government could do to help reduce compliance costs would be to rapidly accelerate its own efforts to get itself online.

"We are heartened by Minister Swains' acknowledgement of the opportunity represented by increase Government's own ICT functionality. Much more could still be done.

"A recent survey of EMA manufacturers found SME's use e-business largely for accounting and tax purposes whereas the ability to respond online for most purposes could quickly build capability while removing the duplication of management operations and cutting compliance time."

Ends

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