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Red Tape Equals Stress City For NZ Businesses

Red Tape Equals Stress City For NZ Businesses

New Zealand business owners are among the less stressed when compared with international counterparts; but if something is going to get them going it is the old bogey of regulation and red tape.

Results from the latest Grant Thornton International Business Owners Survey (IBOS) released today show that business owners internationally are more stressed that just one year ago.

However, business owners in New Zealand fall in the "high growth, low stress increase" bracket along with those in Australia, the United States and Canada, in a category regarded as having the best of both worlds.

Generally, this group experiences most stress through pressure on cashflow and profits and more demanding customer expectations.

But in the specific case of New Zealand, the big stress-driver cited by business owners was regulation / red tape, followed by a shortage of time for family, friends or leisure.

The good news was that internationally in 2004, New Zealand, with 32%, was among those countries with the lowest stress increases.

Said Grant Thornton New Zealand chairman Peter Sherwin: "It is great to see New Zealand among those countries whose economic performance has improved over the past three years. Business owners here seem to know how to cope with success without becoming too stressed by it.

"But, once again, we see that old bogey of regulation and red tape bugging New Zealand businesses."

Business owners in every country reported stress levels up in 2004. Research with more than 6,000 business owners in 24 countries canvassed in the Grant Thornton survey showed that stress levels had rocketed by more than a third internationally. The fieldwork was carried out before the Indian Ocean tsunamis hit.

Top of the stress table are business owners in Taiwan, where a staggering 69% (more than two out of three) of those questioned said their stress levels had increased or increased significantly in just one year. Other countries where half or more said their stress levels had gone up were Hong Kong (54%), Turkey (54%), Mexico (54%), India (53%), the Philippines (53%), Japan (51%), Russia (51%) and South Africa (50%).

Those least affected were in Sweden, where 23% of business owners claimed their stress levels had gone up, the Netherlands (25%) and Canada (26%). Business owners in Mexico (30%) are most likely to seek medical advice for stress while those in Sweden (4%) are least likely.

Said Peter Sherwin: "Wherever you're doing business in the world, you are feeling the strain much more this year. Business is a big factor in how stressed people feel. But if we scratch beneath the surface, business owners can feel stressed by success as much as by failure."

Grant Thornton International has plotted the stress results* against the growth in turnover experienced by these companies over the last three years. The results show five clear categories, where the degree of stress is caused for quite different reasons.

* For this analysis, the figure is the percentage balance of the respondents who have experienced an increase in their stress levels and those who have experienced a decrease in their stress levels.


About Grant Thornton

Grant Thornton is a leading international accounting and consulting group, comprised of independently owned and operated member firms, providing assurance, tax and specialist advice to independent businesses. Grant Thornton operates in 110 countries, bringing together 21,500 people in over 585 offices worldwide. In New Zealand, there are Grant Thornton offices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Whangarei.

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