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Poll: Business backs KiwiSaver moves, fuel tax

23 June 2007

Media Release

Poll: Business backs compulsory KiwiSaver moves, fuel tax, and thinks Budget will leave country better off

The first poll of business decision makers on last week's Budget shows the majority support moves to require employers to match staff contributions to KiwiSaver.

They also support the new 10 cents a litre regional fuel tax, and don't favour immediate personal tax cuts, specially if they lift interest rates. However, they don't think it will close the gap between personal incomes in Australia and New Zealand.

The nationwide ShapeNZ poll of 228 business managers, proprietors and self employed shows 68% agree (28% strongly) with the policy which will see employers required, over a four year period, to match employees' contributions, up to 4% of salary. 25% disagree with the policy (11% strongly).

Their support for this policy is higher than for the 954 people who responded overall.

The poll covers a nationally representative population sample and results are weighted on age, gender, personal income and party vote in the 2005 general election. Overall results are accurate to within + or – 2%. The interim result is for the period 4pm May 17 to 7.30am 21 May, 2007. The rolling survey continues at until 31 May.

Within the business decision maker sub-group of respondents:

• 77% agree with the cut in company tax rates from 33c to 30c (compared with 61% support from the total sample)

• 26% say they'll plough the tax cut gain back into their businesses, 13% will use it to increase dividends, 17% to invest and increase dividends, 20% to invest in more research and development. Only 2% will use it to lower prices.

• 84% support the introduction of tax credits for contributions to retirement savings through KiwiSaver( compared with 75% for the total sample)

• 64% will probably or definitely put money into KiwiSaver (54% for the total sample)

• 54% believe that matching their employee's KiwiSaver contributions will help them keep staff

Personal tax cuts:
On personal tax cuts, the business people are evenly split when asked if they would prefer the Government to spend money on KiwiSaver credits or personal tax cuts (45% for each option). The general population sample shows 52% would prefer personal tax cuts this year instead of KiwiSaver credits (36%).

However, business people say they would prefer personal tax cuts to be introduced over time (44%), compared with having them immediately (37%).

Further questioned on what they would like if personal tax cuts caused an interest rate rise, support for a personal tax cut this year fell to 30%, a cut over time to 36% and no tax cut rose to 31%.

Regional fuel tax:
Unlike the general population, the business people support the regional fuel tax of up to 10 cents a litre to advance transport projects.

54% support it (24% strongly), while 36% oppose and 9% neither support nor oppose.

This compares with 48% opposition (25% strong) and 40% support (14% strong) among the overall sample.

The New Zealand-Australia income gap:
The decision makers, however, don't believe the Budget will help close the gap in personal incomes between Australia and New Zealand.
Only 12% agree it is likely to close the gap, 61% stay it will stay the same and 19% say it will get worse.

Overall Budget impact:
While only 19% of decision makers believe the Budget will make their household better off (59% say it will stay the same), 53% say it will make New Zealand better long term.

ShapeNZ is an independent online survey panel run by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development to give the public a say in policy development and advice.

Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says the results might come as a surprise to those who think Budgets are all about immediate impact on the hip pocket.

"Business and the general public recognise the difference between what will help New Zealand long term and what might have an immediate impact on the household," he says.

The Business Council's 56 member companies' annual sales equate to about 30% of gross domestic product. Results of the decision maker Budget response are available at


See... Poll results (PDF)

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