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Power hikes – killer for small business

Chris Tremain MP
National Party Associate Small Business Spokesman

5 December 2006

Power hikes – killer for small business

The National Party’s Associate spokesman for Small Business, Chris Tremain, says relentless year-on-year energy price rises are killing the small and medium enterprises that our economy is built on.

“Labour’s policy vacuum in the energy sector is particularly damaging for small businesses in the export sector.”

Mr Tremain says just yesterday he heard from a group of timber exporters seeking to add value to logs before exporting them overseas.

“They specifically expressed concern at three issues: the high dollar, the difficulty in obtaining labour, and the high cost of energy. The latest energy price announcement rubs salt into already open wounds.”

Mr Tremain says timber mills are already struggling and some are forecasting worse to come.

“High demand for export logs means forest owners are exporting felled timber direct. It’s a criminal waste that under Labour’s so-called ‘economic transformation’ there is no room to add value to these raw materials.

“One mill owner tells me he has already set up a value-added ‘veneer’ business in Indonesia to overcome the problem of high energy and high labour costs. His Napier operation is now at risk.”

Mr Tremain says the balance of payments is the worst it has been in decades, but Labour just keeps piling more and more costs onto small businesses.

“Labour, through both its action and inaction, is effectively pricing them out of the export market.”


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