New Conservative is concerned at our government’s continuing lack of support for small businesses. Small businesses in
New Zealand employ 650,000 people (at Feb 2019) and contribute about 25% of GDP.
At the start of Waitangi celebrations, another public holiday was announced celebrating Matariki. Although this sounds a
great idea, it will add another financial burden on employers who are already struggling. Staff on four weeks leave
currently get 36 days (including sick and public holidays) paid leave. Adding in the proposed Matariki day and the
planned five days additional sick leave means the number of days an employer must be prepared to cover will increase to
42 ( two months real time), an increase of 16% in costs for employers.
For the Matariki holiday it would have been better to replace an existing public holiday like the day after New Year’s
day or Labour Day. This would have achieved the recognition of Maori heritage without additional burden to employers.
The most recent announcement by Minister Sepuloni that employers will now be paid $350 for staff forced off work due to
isolation requirements while waiting for test results, is a step in the right direction, but does not recognise the full
costs to the employer. At the average wage rate of $26.50/hour this equates to 13 hours or less than 2 days wages. Test
results take about 3 days plus the time taken waiting for the actual test, means the employer will still have extra
costs to meet.
Let us all remember that small businesses are the engine room of the economy. In these unusual times we should be
encouraging and supporting employers, not increasing their costs. It is vital that all businesses can continue to grow
and develop to continue to employ our people. New Conservative calls on the government to support small businesses by
reducing costs, not adding to them.