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Budget 2004: Toward a more productive economy

Hon Paul Swain
Minister of Labour

Toward a more productive economy

Budget 2004 allocates more than $30 million over the next four years to practical measures to help businesses run more smoothly and productively.

"Getting the right information or support at the right time and at least cost lets business get on with what it is good at," said Labour Minister Paul Swain.

"Government support to encourage good business practices in workplace relations, recruitment and essential research, will help businesses succeed and improve the quality of people's working lives.

"We recognise that small and medium enterprises face special challenges in dealing with these matters so that is where we are putting most of our effort."

Initiatives [figures over four years] are:

$11.8 million to fund expert teams to work directly with small and medium enterprises on how to manage workplace issues;

$7.6 million for a workplace support contact centre to provide rapid access to workplace information and advice;

$3.1 million to fund the National Occupational Health and Safety Advisory Committee's work programme and research aimed at preventing work-related injuries and illnesses;

$8.2 million for a linked data collection system with Statistics New Zealand to provide better statistical data on business growth and productivity to assist policy and business planning.

"We have also set aside funding to carry out the recommendations of the Workplace Productivity Working Group. This will advise on further ways to encourage firms to adopt good business practices which see staff as an asset rather than a cost and which lead to higher value products.

"Improving the productivity of workplaces and the quality of jobs helps New Zealand toward higher living standards and better opportunities for all," Mr Swain said.

ENDS



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