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Broad support for TPP from SMEs

Broad support for TPP from SMEs

Boost for free trade supporters on eve of legislative debate with SMEs also favouring more trade agreements

With debate on legislation to enable the Trans-Pacific partnership due to kick off in parliament tomorrow, a new survey released by accounting software developer MYOB shows a majority of businesses in New Zealand support the 12-nation trade deal.

In an additional boost to the backers of free trade, 45 per cent of business operators said they favour New Zealand pursuing more free trade agreements (FTAs) with international trading partners.

The latest MYOB Business Monitor research of more than 1,000 SMEs across New Zealand, conducted for MYOB by Colmar Brunton, showed that more than one third of local businesses (36 per cent) said they favoured staying in the TPP. Just a quarter of business owners said New Zealand should pull out of the deal, while 39 per cent said it would not affect their vote.

MYOB New Zealand General Manager James Scollay says local SMEs clearly see that the benefits of international trade opportunities outweigh the opposition that has surrounded the TPP.

“Overall, we see strong support in the survey for the Government continuing to pursue free trade agreements internationally,” says James Scollay.

“At the same time, while the progress of the TPP agreement has been sometimes mired in controversy, there’s little support amongst the small business community for New Zealand to pull out of the deal.”

The sectors where the trade deal has the strongest support are manufacturing and wholesale (49 per cent), finance and insurance (48 per cent), and business and professional services (43 per cent). Opposition to the TPP is highest amongst the logistics sector (32 per cent) and the trades industries (31 per cent).

Just 20 per cent of exporters would like to see New Zealand out of the TPP, while 39 per cent support it. Importing businesses are similarly supportive, with 23 per cent wanting New Zealand removed from the agreement and 46 per cent in favour of confirming the deal.

Support and opposition to the TPP is most balanced in businesses operating outside of the main centres, with 24 per cent of respondents in the provinces saying New Zealand should not complete the deal, while 32 per cent want to see it ratified. In Auckland, 27 per cent of businesses want out of the TPP, and 38 per cent think New Zealand should stay in, while in Wellington opposition to the deal is at 28 per cent, while 40 per cent favour it. In Christchurch, just 17 per cent would like to see New Zealand removed from the TPP, while 41 per cent would oppose any moves to scupper the trade deal.

There is broad support for additional trade agreements across most industries. Strongest support comes from the primary sector (60 per cent), manufacturers (55 per cent) and the finance and insurance industry (55 per cent).

“New Zealand is a trading nation, and whether it’s for our agricultural produce or home-grown technology, we depend on forming trade agreements to provide access to key markets,” says Mr Scollay.

“Businesses of all kinds across the country, even if they are not directly involved in exporting, see that the success of our economy is largely underpinned by how effective we are at trading with the world – and that depends on the opportunities free trade agreements provide.”


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