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Recognition of business tops Budget wish list

Government will never have enough money to go around, and will be a one term affair unless it focuses on business growth, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

“The Budget will be irrelevant unless Government recognises where its money comes from - small and medium sized businesses,” said Alasdair Thompson, the association’s chief executive.

“We are a nation of traders with over two thirds of New Zealand’s total workforce employed in small enterprises of less than 100 people in each, and we are all heavily dependent on long distance exporting overseas.

“The small scale of our businesses, together with the commodity nature of much of our production, makes us extremely vulnerable, especially to protectionism and subsidies paid in overseas markets.

“Less than a third of our workforce is employed in enterprises with over 100 people, many of which are locally owned. Even by the wildest stretch of the imagination very few of our businesses could be termed transnational corporate empires.

“But, judging by the extra costs Government is happy to impose, the Government thinks of its tax base as equally big and affluent.

“The previous Government lost the plot on New Zealand business priorities too; this one has continued the decline with a vengeance; Dr Cullen seems expected to build bridges to the business sector on his own.

“The big issues of direct interest to business have already been well telegraphed, except the size of Government’s projected surplus which, thankfully, is reported to be reasonable and intact.

“$100 million for Industry New Zealand will re-introduce a business culture of consultants attuned to applying for hand outs rather than lifting management expertise.

“Reneging on full tax deductibility for r&d business costs, but introducing more grants for science risks further distortion towards primary production rather than the high reward, high tech areas.

“The export credit scheme many exporters are seeking is on hold until re-insurance issues are settled, while millions more dollars for Trade New Zealand will greatly assist the building of its bureaucracy.

“On a positive note we are looking forward to seeing new initiatives to encourage the development of skills to spur along the transition to an innovation driven economy.

“We hope there are other pleasant surprises in store for business in the Budget, but the best we want is a change of heart by Government across the board, with genuine initiatives made to build bridges to the business community.”

Comments: Alasdair Thompson tel 09 367 0911 (bus)
09 303 3951 (hme)
025 982 024 (mob)

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