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Government Well Ahead for Business

Government Well Ahead for Business

• Businesses will vote for policy to cut red tape, tax

• Businesses opposed to State asset sales

• Over half support the removal of GST from essential goods and services

The Government is well ahead in the voting preferences of Kiwi business owners, although some of the policies it could float in the run up to the election would cost votes, according to the latest MYOB Business Monitor special report.

The survey of the policy and voting preferences of over 1000 business owners from around the country found that, if the election was held today, 62% of business owners would vote National, 10% Labour and 3% Act, 2% for the Greens and 1% for the Maori Party, with 21% undecided.

Support for the Government is slightly higher among female business owners (63%), and the owners of larger and more established businesses, although the ACT Party enjoys considerable favour with the owners of medium sized businesses (20 – 199 employees), garnering 8% of the vote with this group. Labour found the strongest support among younger business owners, aged between 18 – 39 years, with 17% likely to vote for the party, 54% for National and 3% for the Maori Party – although a larger number of young business voters are undecided, at 24%.

Support for National is slightly weaker in Wellington (57%) and support for Labour slightly stronger (13%) compared with other areas in New Zealand.

The Government is most popular with business owners in the finance and insurance sector (75% National, 4% Labour, 10% Act) and the Agriculture sector (71% National, 8% Labour, 3% Maori), while Labour enjoys the most favour with business voters in the retail and hospitality sector (17% Labour, 62% National, 4% Greens) and the transport industry (11% Labour, 58% National, 2% Greens).

MYOB general manager Julian Smith says, based on the performance of all parties over the last six months, businesses are firmly in favour of the Government being returned at the next election.

“National is the clear choice for Kiwi business, according to this survey, which looks both at policy and party preferences of New Zealand business owners,” says Julian Smith.

“However, several of the key policies likely to be in contention in the next election, may well see National lose some votes.”

In particular, says Mr Smith, the partial sale of state assets is one of the most unpopular policies with business.

“One of the likely key areas of policy debate for this election, which the Government has signalled it will consider as a plank of its election campaign, hasn’t found a lot of favour with the business community,” says Julian Smith.

“44% of business owners would vote against state asset sales, while only 27% would vote for the policy according to the MYOB Business Monitor survey.”

Julian Smith says what businesses are looking for – from any party – is a way to cut red tape and the cost of compliance.

“The number one policy that would win support of Kiwi business owners is the simplification of provisional tax rules and processes to make it easier for businesses to meet tax obligations, which 76% would vote for,” says Julian Smith.

Other policies popular with business owners are additional tax cuts, which 63% would vote for, Government-sponsored initiatives to reward innovation and success (61% support) and the creation of a single flat personal and company tax (53% support).

“Interestingly, businesses are also focused on policies that would benefit their employees and the broader community,” says Julian Smith.

Removing GST from selected essential goods and services, such as fresh food and doctors’ visits, would be supported by 57% of the business community, with just 23% voting against. Business owners also supported Mondayising public holidays (45% vote for, 22% against), and the introduction of compulsory Kiwisaver, provided at least 50% are invested in New Zealand (41% vote for, 25% against).

“The latest MYOB Business Monitor special report clearly shows the Government enjoys a considerable advantage with New Zealand business owners,” says Julian Smith.

“However, when it comes to key battleground areas in policy, things are not as clear cut. The policies businesses are most likely to support are those designed to make it easier to do business in this country by cutting through red tape.”

“Businesses are also in favour of a number of policy areas that could fall within the remit of either major party – such as compulsory Kiwisaver and removing GST on essential goods and services.”


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