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Minister welcomes report from business community

Hon Clayton Cosgrove
Minister for Small Business

15 April 2008 Media Statement
Minister welcomes report from business community

Minister for Small Business, Clayton Cosgrove has welcomed the 2008 report “Growing Competitive SMEs” that he received from the Small Business Advisory Group (SBAG) today.

SBAG was established to advise the government about the potential and actual impact of policies on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This report is the third produced by SBAG and the first by the current members who were appointed in 2007.

This latest report contains 16 recommendations that fall within three specific areas;

- delivering a more competitive environment for business;

- creating smarter business owners, and

- ensuring businesses benefit from sustainable business opportunities

Mr Cosgrove said, as is standard practice, he will be producing a considered response to the SBAG report once it has been fully analysed. But he said he is pleased to note the report makes special mention of the good progress being made as a result of the improved communication between the government and small businesses through SBAG.

“The Government has already delivered on 75 per cent of SBAG’s recommendations in its previous reports. This ongoing dialogue ensures that SMEs – which comprise the vast majority of New Zealand businesses – are listened to and become as internationally competitive as possible in the government’s drive for economic transformation,” he said.

The 2008 SBAG report highlights the work of the Companies Office in providing SMEs with inexpensive and world-leading services; the incorporation of business enterprise and entrepreneurial skills into the core Education curriculum; the Workplace Productivity Tool kit to improve business productivity; and the Pacific Economic Development Strategy.

Mr Cosgrove said other government initiatives now in place to assist SMEs include:

- www.business.govt.nz - a comprehensive online source of information and tools to help businesses start-up, grow and manage day-to-day challenges

- the Employment Agreement Builder on the Department of Labour’s website which helps employers and employees draft employment agreements

- subsidised funding via NZ Trade and Enterprise for SMEs to set up advisory boards to help grow their businesses

- the Holidays Act online tool for working out holiday pay/leave entitlements

- the Business Compliance Cost Calculator which aims to minimise business compliance costs

- Co-operation between the Companies Office and IRD means start-up businesses can be given their GST number at the same time as registering a company online. Three years ago it took 11 days to register a new company and get a GST number, now it takes less than an hour

Mr Cosgrove said he is proud of the government’s progress in making New Zealand one of the best places in the world to do business, with New Zealand currently ranked second in the World Bank “Ease of Doing Business Survey”. However, he says, there is always room for improvement, so he welcomes the new ideas that will come out of the SBAG report.

The new report (and the previous reports and responses) can be downloaded from the website www.med.govt.nz. SBAG is an independent advisory group that meets monthly to provide a “voice” for small businesses on government initiatives. It currently consists of 12 business owners.


ENDS

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