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Government Tackles Compliance Costs

Commerce Minister Paul Swain says the government is serious about tackling compliance costs for business.

Compliance costs have been one of the key issues that business has expressed frustration about over many years.

"Businesses feel that as the government passes more and more legislation the costs of complying with that legislation has been passed more and more on to them," Paul Swain said.

"They are frustrated by the lack of transparency, by the lack of understanding about the impact of these costs and by the lack of opportunity for them to have an input into ways of reducing them.

"These announcements today are the first step in addressing those real concerns from New Zealanders," Paul Swain said.

"Past governments have talked about reducing these costs, but little has been acheived.

"We have produced a four pronged approach which will be run under the banner of "Simplicity 2002". That four pronged approach is:

Establishing a Business Compliance Cost Panel.

"This panel will be comprised of private sector people – particularly from small to medium enterprises - to identify and make recommendations to reduce compliance costs out of existing regulations.

"That panel will report to me and my colleague the Finance Minister, Michael Cullen. The makeup of the panel and how it operates will be discussed with business over the next few months and the full panel will be appointed by July 1 2001.

1998 Recommendations of the Commerce Select Committee

"I have instructed officials to report to me on the implementation of that committee's recommendations by the end of November. In line with one of the reocommendations, the government will establish an officials committee that will deal with the issues from the Business Panel, and oversee the compliance cost reduction programme within government.

Industry specific test panels

"We will establish industry test panels, where necessary, made up of industry specific business representatives to audit the likely compliance costs and workability of any proposed new regulations on their industry. I expect to have an implementation plan for the panels by the end of November.

Business Compliance Cost Statements

"This is a vital part of the strategy. The government will publish a new business compliance cost statement as part of all new legislation. This way government will be clear about the compliance costs it is imposing on business and will give business the opportunity to have a say on those costs as part of the select committee process.

"This is a major change in the way government works and is designed to put the real costs of government legislation out in the open.

"Our ultimate aim is to lower compliance costs over time so that business people can spend their time and money doing what they do best – running their business. "This work will fit in neatly with the announcements earlier this week from the Minister of Finance on moves to reduce the tax compliance costs for business.

"Compliances costs are a critical issue for businesses, it is an issue which is raised with me every time I am in a business audience and the government is now indicating it is tackling this issue," Paul Swain said.

Ends

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