INDEPENDENT NEWS

Small business says government on right track

Published: Wed 20 Dec 2006 02:09 PM
20 December 2006
Small business says government on right track
Small business approval of government efforts to improve policy relating to small and medium enterprises has gone up, Minister for Small Business, Lianne Dalziel announced today.
"When I released the government's response to the Small Business Advisory Group's first report last year, the group gave our response a rating of 5.3 out 10. This year, our response to the group's second report achieved a rating of 5.8 out of 10. That improvement shows the government's commitment to working with small business is being recognised."
The Small Business Advisory Group comprises nine members, all of whom own small businesses. The group advises the government on issues and policy affecting small and medium companies.
Since its inception in 2003, the Small Business Advisory Group has produced two reports to the government, containing recommendations on how the business environment for small and medium enterprises can be improved. For each report, the government has published a response, which the Small Business Advisory Group rates out of 10.
Lianne Dalziel said the government's higher rating in 2006 was indicative of its greater recognition of issues affecting small businesses.
"In this respect, the Small Business Advisory Group has been invaluable in bringing the views of business owners to our attention. With small and medium enterprises comprising almost 97 per cent of New Zealand businesses, it's imperative we're aware of what matters to this key sector of the economy."
The group particularly commended the government for:
· improving the regulatory impact analysis regime; · efforts by ACC and IRD to better handle minor misdemeanours; · improving ACC invoices; · changes to Fringe Benefit Tax; and · alerting businesses to regional visits by the Ombudsman.
Lianne Dalziel said the government had responded to the Small Business Advisory Group in October, eight months after it had released its second report – nearly half the time it took to respond to the group's first report.
"This means we have not yet been rated on decisions that we have taken but which are yet to be implemented so I am confident that the advisory group's satisfaction will increase further," Lianne Dalziel said.
"The government is committed to enacting real change for small and medium enterprises and has achieved a formidable amount of work in a short space of time. However, I know, and my officials know, that there is much more yet to be done to address all the Small Business Advisory Group's recommendations."
Chief among the Small Business Advisory Group's concerns are the Holidays Act, personal grievance-free employment periods, the HSNO Act and the Local Government Act 2002.
"There are a number of ways in which we can address these issues, and officials are working to improve legislation in ways beneficial to business owners, employees and others involved in the small business sector," Lianne Dalziel said.
"I thank the Small Business Advisory Group for their recommendations and their honest and thoughtful assessments of our work over the past three years. By working together, we are achieving real, positive changes for New Zealand's small and medium enterprises."
Background – PDF of letter from SBAG to Minister accompanies this release. See attachment.
SBAG Letter
ENDS

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