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Small Business Charm Offensive Back Firing

Tamihere's Small Business Charm Offensive Back Firing

Media statement Friday, February 13th, 2004

Tamihere's small business charm offensive back firing

Small business minister John Tamihere's much touted 'taking the pulse' offensive is backfiring, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

Mr Tamihere is finding small businesses are telling him exactly the same as they've been telling us, their business organisations, said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"Mr Tamihere is in no position to do anything about what he's hearing," Mr Thompson said.

"He'll soon be calling for help from Michael Cullen or the PM to bail him out of the hole he's dug.

"For example, Mr Tamihere yesterday dismissed small business concerns over the Holidays Act in one misleading sentence. Paying out for four weeks holiday is 'a fact of life' he said, ignoring the extensive other extra costs the new Act loads onto small business.

"Next, he says outright that 'cutting business tax rates is not on this Government's agenda'. That goes beyond the position of Finance Minister Michael Cullen who said this week that cutting the company tax rate is being monitored and would come up for review if Australia cut its company tax rate further.

"On reducing business compliance costs the Minister claimed Government was doing better than other countries. We acknowledge some useful work is underway in this area but the Minister didn't mention the stream of new compliance costs the Government is loading onto business.

"Some of the new costs include the $20 million border security tax, new costs for HSNO applications, higher costs and delays for resource consents, local body rates rising at double inflation, ongoing delays in establishing a competitive electricity market, new compliance and costs of the workplace safety law of last year, new costs of the Holidays Act, and the string of restrictions and compliance issues arising from the Employment Relations law reform bill.

"Though we give him a point for trying to highlight the importance of business, he should take the message first to his Government colleagues, especially given the risks facing our exporters.

"Owners and managers of small businesses can see through tax funded attempts like these to woo them."

ENDS

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