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Hughes: GoStats Seminar


Darren Hughes

9 July, 2008
GoStats Seminar

Speech notes for Minister of Statistics Darren Hughes' address to the GoStats Seminar in Taupo

Thanks for coming along. I know that for all the businesses who have come this evening it means you have given up precious business time or time away from your families. We will be doing our best to make that sacrifice worthwhile.

Thanks too to Ms Chris Dolman, from the Taupo Chamber of Commerce. Without the support of the Taupo Chamber of Commerce we would not have been able to put on this event.

Statistics, properly used, are an important way forward as part of the government’s commitment to economic transformation and its focus on supporting the growth and prosperity of small businesses.

No major decision is made in New Zealand without using statistics.

I know you will have heard it many times but I say it again:

* Small businesses are the backbone of our economy – let’s use some statistics to illustrate that:
* Small business enterprises account for 97% of all New Zealand firms. 97 per cent!
* They employ 31 percent of our workforce.
* They drive our innovation.
* They play a key role in developing and spreading knowledge.
* They create jobs and wealth and they represent huge potential for growth.

In Taupo, SMEs accounted for 8,320 employees (February 2007). That is nearly 60 percent of Taupo’s employees.

The number of employees in SMEs grew by 24 percent between February 2000 and February 2007.

The employment growth in SMEs In the Taupo area was 1,630 employees in net terms between February 2000 and February 2007.

Two out of every three new jobs in this district were created within a small business.

That, interestingly enough, is much higher than the national average of 39 percent of net job growth accounted for by SMEs.

However, to get SMEs to reach their full potential New Zealand needs a business environment that encourages SMEs to grow.

In fact New Zealand has one of the best business environments in the world. We retained our second-place ranking in the World Bank Ease of Doing Business Survey last year. This year we are in a strong position to compete for the top spot.

I am also here this evening to show you that the government is firmly focussed on supporting the growth and prosperity of small businesses.

Running your own business, making the key decisions and being in charge of your own future is exceptionally challenging and rewarding. And I believe that Kiwis, as born innovators and entrepreneurs, are great at running their own businesses.

But I also acknowledge that it isn’t easy. It can get tough at times - especially when there’s no-one else who will pay the wages and the bills if things go wrong.

One initiative that I’m particularly proud to be associated with is Statistics New Zealand’s Go Stats programme.

GoStats – of which these seminars are a popular component – was launched 18 months ago and aims to encourage small-to-medium sized enterprises to use statistical information to grow their business.

There were 11 Go Stats seminars last year, two seminars have taken place in 2008 and a further six have been planned for this year.

Out of this programme came the Government’s “Making Information Freely Available” initiative which was launched in May last year.

Since its launch, more than $28.3 million worth of statistical information products have been made available, free of charge.

More products will be rolled out by the end of this year.

This initiative has created a huge resource for New Zealand businesses, community organisations and individuals.

The department is also involved in a range of other activities that support business growth in New Zealand.

No major decision is made in New Zealand without using statistics

Statistics New Zealand is aware of the importance of ensuring that the people who have provided them with the information about our country and the range of activities that are undertaken, people like you, are able to access these resources.

This is why they are involved in working actively in a range of public and private sector initiatives to ensure you get the information you need, when you need it.

This is supported by a toll free information service 0508 525 525 where a number of Statistics New Zealand analysts are available to assist with statistical enquires.

On behalf of the department, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for the information that you provide and assure you that together we are actively seeking ways to look at reducing the time spent by small business in completing survey forms.

Another issue that has also been highlighted is that many small businesses are unaware of the wide range of services and assistance available to help them start, manage, and grow their businesses.

The aim of these events is to answer your questions, solve problems and to outline the many ways that statistics can help you. We have experienced Statistics NZ officials who can explain how statistics can help you solve the real day-to-day problems that you face as business people as well as how to best utilise information for future-proofing your business.

This evening is about you and the needs of your business. It is about how statistics and Statistics New Zealand can help you now and for the future of your business.

So grab the opportunities presented here today. Take what you learn here and put it to good use in your businesses.

Whether you are just starting out, thinking about new ways to manage your company or wanting to expand. I think you’ll find some value from this evening’s event. My best wishes to you all for a prosperous future.

ENDS

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