Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Business is not totally left out of the Wellbeing Budget

30 May 2019

The Wellbeing Budget was never going to be primarily about business, but businesses were not totally left out, said Peter Vial New Zealand Country Head of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

“Ultimately employers will benefit from the Government’s broader wellbeing initiatives directed at improving health and wellbeing outcomes and lifting people out of poverty,” he said.

“Those most in need are the big winners and nobody is quibbling about that. It is no surprise that this Budget is full of initiatives, policies and spending on mental health, child poverty reduction and lifting outcomes for Maori and Pasifika.”

Vial said if all those initiatives and policies deliver on the promises, “the long-term benefits for the country and businesses will be significant, and so they should be given the size of the spending.”

How does the Budget address the needs and concerns of businesses? How does it anticipate the Government partnering with business to improve productivity, to facilitate access to capital, to be more innovative and to grow exports?

“The most important question for business is about the economic fundamentals,” Vial said. “They look to be in reasonable shape despite global headwinds.”

Mental health and the workforce

“Healthier and happier workforces and safer workplaces are good for business.”

The Government cites mental illness as costing the economy $12 billion (5% of GDP) in 2014. “Currently employers bear much of the upfront and ongoing costs of supporting their staff through mental health, addiction, domestic violence and other societal problems often linked to poverty.

“Better resources, more investment and wrap around services will alleviate some but not all of the costs borne by employers.

“However, the Government needs to keep its eye on the costs faced by businesses here and provide support,” Vial said.

Skill shortages

“Across the country businesses are concerned about shortages of skilled staff and productivity. There is some support in the Budget for apprenticeships: a $50 million boost for the Mana in Mahi programme to expand its reach from 150 to 2,000 participants.

“The underspend on the first year tertiary Fees Free programme is redirected to implementing changes to vocational training to address the shortage of tradespeople. Higher quality, better coordinated and more effective vocational training is good for business.”

Vial said, “The details here are scant, but it is good to see the Government emphasising the need for it to work with industry groups and businesses to achieve better vocational outcomes.”

Infrastructure

“Businesses – and communities too – need this Government to up the ante on infrastructure investment.” The Budget includes a $1 billion boost in funding for KiwiRail for new trains, improved tracks and ultimately new Inter-islander ferries, plus money to complete Auckland’s City Rail Link.

“However, there is need for more investment.”

The Budget includes a new $300 million venture capital fund. “The funding is intended to take start-up businesses “to the next level”. Will it fill the “capital gap”? It’s a start.”

Specific measures to support exporters are not immediately obvious.

Innovation investment is largely in initiatives (a $106 million spend) to support transition to a low carbon future. Most Kiwis support this direction of travel, but businesses would have liked more support for investment in innovation more generally.


ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 


Serious Fraud Office: Commences Enquiries Into Allegations Of COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Fraud
The Serious Fraud Office has commenced a number of enquiries into alleged abuse of the Government’s COVID-19 Wage Subsidy. Director Julie Read said the allegations relate to multiple complex cases of potential fraud that have been referred to the agency following extensive investigations ... More>>



Environment: Preliminary Environmental Data On New Zealand’s Air Quality Released Today

The Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ have published the Our air 2021: preliminary data release today. We are currently working to revise the Our air 2021 report to incorporate analysis of the World Health Organization (WHO) 2021 air quality guidelines that were released on 23 September 2021... More>>


Statistics: Food Prices Rise For Sixth Consecutive Month
Food prices rose 0.5 percent in September 2021 compared with August 2021, mainly influenced by higher prices for grocery food and meat, poultry, and fish, Stats NZ said today. September’s movement is the sixth consecutive monthly rise. After adjusting for seasonality, prices rose 0.9 percent... More>>



Reserve Bank: Robust Balance Sheets Yield Faster Economic Recovery

Stronger balance sheets for households, businesses, financial institutions and the government going into the pandemic contributed towards maintaining a sound financial system and yielding a faster economic recovery than following previous deep recessions... More>>


Transpower: Releases Independent Report Into Events Of August 9
Transpower’s Chief Executive Alison Andrew has today released an independent report into the grid emergency of August 9 when insufficient generation was available to meet demand, leading to some customers being disconnected... More>>

Bayleys: Latest Lockdown Adds Further Fuel To Industrial Property Market

The recent construction shutdown resulting from Auckland’s Covid 19’s lockdown restrictions has put additional pressure on an industrial property market that is already struggling to keep pace with demand... More>>