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Minister Tamihere Is Heading For Quicksand

Minister Is Heading For Quicksand

"Minister for Small Business John Tamihere is heading for quicksand in stating that 'The needs of small business are absolutely different to the requirements of big business' ", Roger Kerr, the executive director of the New Zealand Business Roundtable, said today.

He was commenting on Mr Tamihere's speech to the Wellington Maori Business Network, on 22 July 2003. The minister had gone on to say that "When it comes to advocating for business, the Business Roundtable and Business NZ may not necessarily be singing from the same songsheet as small business."

Mr Kerr said, "The fundamental role of businesses, whether they are big or small, is to produce goods and services that their customers want and value. The perspective of the Business Roundtable is the overall national interest, which in this context is essentially the interests of consumers, not the interests of businesses of any particular size.

"It is the government's role to establish and maintain the regulatory framework within which business operates. There are no sound reasons for it to differ significantly depending on the size of the business. After all, large businesses are typically just small businesses that have succeeded and grown.

"Contrary to conventional wisdom, the study Firm Foundations published by the Ministry of Economic Development last year found that the relative costs of complying with government regulation are just as great for large businesses as small ones", Mr Kerr said.

Mr Tamihere suggested that small businesses favour the budget proposal to align the payment date for provisional tax with that for GST whereas big business would prefer to delay such payments until the due date.

"His example does not demonstrate that big and small business 'think totally differently', as Mr Tamihere suggests", Mr Kerr said.

"All that is happening is that business people are weighing up the interest payable on their money and value of their time. Different businesses may come to contrasting judgments about what is best for them.

"We are yet to see to what extent small business will take up the opportunity to pay tax earlier than otherwise. Many small businesses are short of cash and they may not be willing to part with what they have to avoid making a separate payment to IRD at a later date", Mr Kerr concluded.


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