Response To The Business Compliance Cost Report
Government’s Response To The Business Compliance Cost Report
Commerce Minister Paul Swain today released the government’s response to the Business Compliance Cost Panel’s Report.
“In October 2000 this government made a commitment to reducing compliance
costs and as part of this commitment convened the Ministerial Panel on Business Compliance Costs,” he said.
“The Panel, chaired by Alan Dunn, was tasked with informing the government how business thought compliance costs could be reduced.
“The Panel delivered a substantial report to the government in July. That report, with 162 recommendations ranged across central and local government and identified ways to improve the making and implementation of regulations and laws.
“Our response today - Striking the Balance - aims to strike an appropriate balance between achieving government’s policy objectives and reducing unnecessary costs to business.
Striking the Balance, focuses on four key themes from the Panel’s report.
- Improving information
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) are helping to significantly reduce compliance costs for business. Providing greater information through an enhanced BIZ info portal is an example. This is part of our e-government goal that by 2004 the Internet will be the dominant means of enabling ready access to government information, services and processes. Already many key business dealings with government can be carried out electronically, including customs processes, tax returns, personal property security registrations and company registrations.
- Making compliance easier
Examples include integrating the billing for ACC levies into one invoice from one source from 1 April 2002 and improving the ACC 45 form - the form filled out at the doctor’s when an ACC claim is made. This can now be lodged electronically, reducing errors and lowering compliance costs.
- Working with local government
Central government will work local government to help improve the quality and implementation of regulations. An accredited council scheme is being progressed.
- Better regulation.
The panel has recommended that business be involved earlier in the policy development process, in the overseeing of the implementation phase of legislation and be included in the review of the policy outcomes. This will help to produce better quality regulation. In order to progress this the government has established the Business Compliance Cost Unit within the Ministry of Economic Development. Test panels will be used when necessary to advise on the practical implications of legislation. Improved Regulatory Impact Statements on new regulation have been introduced and Business Compliance Cost Statements (BCCS) are now mandatory for all new legislation. A good example of this was the Motor Vehicle Sales Bill BCCS.
Paul Swain said for years governments have talked and promised to do something about reducing compliance costs and there has been very little action.
“Striking that balance is not going to be achieved by quick fixes or big bang solutions but by small changes over time. It will be through improvements in the quality of regulation and its implementation and better and more available information on those regulations.
“Striking the Balance marks the beginning of a process for improvement. It identifies things government departments can do to deal with the panel’s concerns. In most cases the recommendations have been taken on board. In others the need for action has been accepted but more work needs to be done.
“The government has already implemented or agreed to a number of the Panel’s recommendations. Some of these include changes in the environmental area including the Resource Management Act which are being announced today.
“The government is considering funding a compliance cost work programme in the next budget to implement some of the recommendations better and faster.
“Complementary to all of this is the Government's very wide tax simplification programme. Legislation for some of the proposals in More Time for Business, aimed at reducing compliance costs for small businesses, and those improving the lot of taxpayers facing debt and hardship were introduced early this month.
“Other proposals such as pooling provisional tax to reduce interest costs, matching income tax payments and cash flows, and reducing costs for employers who use payroll firms are being considered and evaluated for possible legislation next year.
“This government is committed to action on compliance costs, and we’ll be instigating a process for monitoring and reporting back on progress.
“Unlike other compliance cost studies the government will follow up to ensure that the things promised were done and to check they made a difference to compliance costs. A progress report will be released in June 2003,” he said.