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Beehive Bulletin - Friday, 29 April 2005

Beehive Bulletin
Friday, 29 April 2005

Tax changes for small business announced - and more to come

The costs of doing business in New Zealand will be reduced through a series of tax changes proposed by the government. Revenue Minister Michael Cullen says the three payment dates for provisional tax will be aligned with the GST due dates, to reduce the number of payment dates. Small businesses that want to pay provisional tax more frequently may choose to make six payments a year. A complementary change will give GST-registered businesses the option of basing their provisional tax payments on a percentage of their GST turnover. A new subsidy is also to be introduced for small businesses employing up to five employees and using payroll agencies. Michael Cullen says these measures will be complemented by a further - larger - tax package to assist business and economic growth in the May budget. He also announced this week that from 1 April next year, employers will be able to calculate motor vehicle fringe benefit based on a vehicle's tax book value as an alternative to using the vehicle's cost price.

Paid parental leave to extend to self-employed

Legislation to extend New Zealand's paid parental leave scheme to the self-employed will be introduced to Parliament this year. Associate Labour Minister Ruth Dyson says since the Labour-Progressive Government introduced paid parental leave in 2002, 45,000 people have accessed the scheme. Fourteen weeks paid parental leave will be available to self-employed mothers who have been working an average of 10 hours per week during the six months before the birth or date of adoption of a child (with the same right to transfer this to their partners as applies for employees.) Payment is up to a maximum that is currently $346.63 per week. Ruth Dyson says it's estimated 2173 self-employed people would take paid parental leave each year.

Berryman case referred to Solicitor-General

Attorney-General Michael Cullen has asked the Solicitor-General to report on whether grounds exist to apply to the High Court for a new inquest into the death of Kenneth Richards on the property of Keith and Margaret Berryman in 1994. The Solicitor-General alone has the statutory responsibility to determine whether such an application should be made. Michael Cullen says given the recent public controversy, he's asked the Solicitor-General to advise whether he considers there are sufficient grounds to apply for a new inquest. Dr Cullen noted that ministers are constrained from what they can say on this issue, and that therefore it is proving very difficult for the public to gain a balanced view.

Nominations sought for new recreational fishing forums

Nominations are being sought from recreational fishers who want to be part of new regional recreational fishing forums being established by the Ministry of Fisheries. Fisheries Minister David Benson-Pope says this initiative will give recreational fishers greater input into fisheries decision-making, and recognises the importance of recreational fishing to New Zealand society. It is likely the forums will consider such issues as fisheries management, sustainability, compliance and research. The new regional forums will be based in Nelson/Marlborough, Gisborne/Napier, Wellington, Auckland, Auckland to Tauranga, Whangarei/Paihia. Further information and application forms can be found on the Ministry of Fisheries website at Applications must be received by 27 May.

New service to help children affected by family violence

A $12 million investment in services for children who witness family violence is a key part of the government's commitment to eliminating violence within families. Child Youth and Family Minister Ruth Dyson says the new service will focus on ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children who witness violence within families. Up to 45 child advocates will placed in community organisations around the country. Child advocates will work with children who receive family violence services. Their role will include education and awareness of the effects of family violence on children and ensuring all agencies respond to the needs of the child.

Extra funding for business incubators

The business incubator sector has been given a combined $2.75 million funding boost. Associate Minister for Industry and Regional Development Pete Hodgson says the Incubator Support Programme, launched in 2001, is proving extremely successful. The 39 companies that have successfully graduated from the incubator network to date recorded an average annual turnover growth rate of 135 per cent during incubation; employee number growth averaged 375 per cent. Incubators typically provide workspace, support, intensive mentoring and access to capital for entrepreneurs and businesses at early stages of development. The latest money will be used to cover operating costs at incubators in Auckland, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.


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