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Compliance cost perceptions survey helpful

25 August 2003 Media Statement

Compliance cost perceptions survey helpful, positive

A new Government-sponsored survey of business perceptions of compliance costs is positive and helpful, Minister for Small Business John Tamihere says.

The survey of 500 firms,The Impact of Business Compliance: Perceptions of New Zealand Firms, was commissioned by the Ministry for Economic Development and Treasury and conducted by the New Zealand Centre for Small and Medium Enterprise Research at Massey University.

The survey found business concerns with tax related compliance requirements were minimal and declining.

Overall most businesses were coping fairly comfortably with their share of regulatory compliance costs. The majority of firms indicated they "deal readily" with compliance requirements.

”The survey shows that the government’s efforts in reducing compliance costs are making a difference," Mr Tamihere said.

"In particular, our ongoing tax simplification programme, along with the efforts of IRD to make information more accessible, are clearly having real impact,” he said.

The survey found that employment-related regulation (including accident insurance and occupational health and safety) was ‘top of mind’ for business.

“That’s not surprising. This government has made considerable changes in the area of employment relations, and you would expect there to be a natural period of adjustment to the new requirements," Mr Tamihere said.

He said the survey’s findings would provide further direction to the government’s extensive compliance cost reduction programme.

They would be used, alongside other New Zealand and international research, in order to ‘pin down’ the most pressing compliance cost issues and identify where most gains could be achieved.

Mr Tamihere said the government would continue to tackle compliance costs in a number of ways.

These included greater use of Test Panels (such as the Panel that provided advice during implementation of the Health and Safety in Employment Amendment Act 2002), education campaigns, and increased availability of information on regulatory requirements and regulatory change.

The one-stop business portal (www.biz.govt.nz) was an important step forward in this area and would be expanded, Mr Tamihere said.

The portal, which provides business with one-stop web-based information on a number of Government agencies, such as IRD, ACC and the Department of Labour, has been well received by business, and was favourably reviewed as "New Zealand Site of the Month" by NZ NetGuide magazine.

Other initiatives to reduce compliance costs include a soon-to-be-released discussion document on tax simplification; the Department of Labour’s SME “Good Regulation” Project and Small Business Assistance Active Pilot.

The creation of a SME Directorate within the Ministry of Economic Development, and the imminent appointment of the Small Business Advisory Group would ensure the Government was listening to the advice of small-medium businesses- including their views on how compliance costs could best be reduced, Mr Tamihere said.

He said the Government had already implemented more than 80 per cent of the recommendations it accepted from the Ministerial Panel on Business Compliance Costs, and was committed to further reducing compliance costs.

Increased funding of the Environment Court, which has significantly reduced backlogs and delays; the Business Law Reform Bill, and the Electronic Transactions Bill would also have a strong impact on compliance costs, Mr Tamihere said.

In addition, the process for ensuring compliance costs were considered as part of any regulatory change has been refined to encourage more robust analysis and greater transparency of the consequences of regulation.

A copy of the Business Compliance Cost Survey is available at the Ministry of Economic Development website – www.med.govt.nz


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