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Play the Ball, Minister

13 February 2004

Play the Ball, Minister

Minister for small business John Tamihere should play the ball not the man when debating business sector views, Roger Kerr, executive director of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, said today.

Mr Kerr was responding to the minister's criticisms of the Business Roundtable and Business New Zealand at the launch of the Small Business Days series.

"Mr Tamihere knows full well that the Business Roundtable approaches any issue on the basis of an analysis of the general public interest, not the interests of business and, still less, large businesses. Usually in an economic context the public interest is synonymous with the interests of consumers - the role of businesses is to supply the goods and services that consumers want.

"By all means attack the analysis if you have an argument that it's wrong, but stop the inaccurate innuendoes."

Mr Kerr said that Mr Tamihere's implication that large and small businesses had generally different interests was in any case wrong. Large businesses are usually just small businesses that have grown. The small business sector isn't the only one that matters: businesses employing 50 or more people employ 40 percent of all workers. Comments on government policies from across the business sector are remarkably similar. Mr Tamihere's own small business advisory group told him that the government's proposed employment law changes are daft.

"In a week in which Mr Tamihere has rightly been critical of name-calling, he would do well to stick to the issues", Mr Kerr concluded.


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