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Business hits a Christmas week jackpot

Media Release Friday, December 21st, 2001

Business hits a Christmas week jackpot

Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton and Auckland's Mayor John Banks may make strange bedfellows though their commitment in both cases to celebrating success in business, as for other spheres of activity, is itself a cause for celebration, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"Jim Anderton is to be warmly congratulated for establishing the $3.4 million fund to promote business enterprise and entrepreneurialism in education and the community," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"We applaud the emphasis Mr Anderton is giving business education in schools which mirrors the work of Business New Zealand and ourselves over past months.

"Our business organizations have for years urged successive governments to pick up this opportunity and it is laudable to see Mr Anderton stamping his mark very firmly as a patron of the "added value sector. Our association will do whatever it can to contribute toward progressing this initiative.

"However business attitudes are somewhat torn between giving him a resounding cheer on the one hand, and asking on the other why spending the money is needed.

"If Government ministers and other members of Parliament always talked up the vital role of entrepreneurs as heroes in all their utterances, the $3.4 million could quickly become unnecessary.

"It's just as important to business for Government to be seen walking the talk as patronising popular causes.

"Judging by their knowledge of business, many Government and Opposition MP's appear completely ignorant of how New Zealand sustains our modest standards of living.

"Recent Government changes fly in the face of other Government initiatives to create a culture of enterprise.

"These include those proposed to health and safety in the workplace, ACC, Kyoto, limited willingness to address the shortcomings of the Resource Management Act, and the introduction of the HSNO Act especially for low risk substances.

"The Cost of Compliance Report by the Institute of Economic Research released today by Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton is a further damning indictment of the costs of HSNO on agricultural chemicals and remedies.

"We have heard other accounts of research and innovation work ceasing because of the impact of the HSNO Act. It's endangering innovation.

"Government seems to be saying, 'We want you to be successful but we're going to make it extremely difficult for you'.

"The announcement of Mr Anderton's fund to promote entrepreneurialism is therefore a bit like winning lotto and the losing a close friend in the same week."

Comments: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911 (b)

09 303 3951 (h)

025 982 024

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