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Small Business steams ahead

3 October 2003 Media Statement

Small Business steams ahead

Minister for Small Business John Tamihere today welcomed new figures which show small business growth outperformed the rest of the economy in a healthy June quarter for the sector.

The figures, published in the National Bank's Small Business Monitor today, show that the small business sector grew 1.4 per cent in the three months to June 30, taking year-on-year growth to 5.5 per cent.

That compares to growth in the economy as a whole of 0.2 per cent and growth for the year of 2.7 per cent.

A key feature of the June quarter was strong growth across all areas of small business. Manufacturing, construction, wholesale and retail sales and the service industry all recorded solid growth. Growth was strongest in the retail and housing sectors.

According to National Bank Chief Economist John McDermott, "small businesses have been busy keeping our economy afloat," and their growth reflected "wonderful performance."

Mr Tamihere said it was great to see small businesses performing so well, as their performance was crucial to the economy as a whole.

"Small-medium enterprises make a vital contribution to the economy – 97 per cent of New Zealand firms have fewer than 20 employees; and 87 per cent have five or fewer employees. We need to make sure we create the best environment for small business to thrive."

Mr Tamihere said a comprehensive package of Government initiatives, including the recently released discussion document on tax simplification, the Small Business Advisory Group to be appointed shortly, and the SME Summit in February 2004, would all help small-medium enterprises do even better.

ENDS

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