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Raft of new costs about to hit business


Raft of new costs about to hit business

New costs to business from the Holidays Bill, the OH&S Act, higher petrol levies to fund ACC, rates increases and higher electricity costs are just some of the reasons locally for the slump in business confidence, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) suggests.

"The effect on business of trade news from overseas is being unnecessarily compounded by the poor timing of new law changes and price shocks on the local scene," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"The war, SARS and unpredictable trade conditions internationally are only part of the explanation for the slide in business and investor confidence.

"Government appears unwilling or unable to adjust its legislative timetable to ensure business can try to sustain modest growth while adapting to this period of major change.

"Government is also failing to integrate moves that will increase costs with anything that may help compensate for them.

"Expected cost increase about to hit include:

* Petrol prices about to rise by a further 2.78 cents a litre to fund ACC compensation for vehicle accidents;

* Workplace Safety Amendment Act coming into force on May 5th with fines increased five fold, with insurance against them prohibited, and more compliance costs;

* the Holidays Bill before Parliament makes mandatory payment of time and a half for work required on public holidays plus increased sick leave entitlements, which are provisions taking no account of the scale of New Zealand businesses;

* Power prices are expected to rise imminently, especially for businesses coming off contract.

* Local Government rates rises partly to fund long overdue transport infrastructure.

"On the horizon we have the extra costs heralded by the establishment of a new, and unnecessary, supreme court.

"Disheartening also is the lack of real change to the RMA. The RMA was responsible for about a third of all submissions heard by, and recommendations made by Government's Ministerial Panel of Business Compliance - only two or three of the recommendations are being addressed.

"For exporters only Australia appears in relatively good shape - other markets are in limbo waiting for the war to be resolved."


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