"My undertaking to the owners of small businesses in New Zealand is that the incoming Labour Government will take them
seriously," Labour finance spokesperson Michael Cullen said today at the launch of the party's 10-point plan for small
"You would expect they could take that for granted, especially when one considers what a huge contribution they make to
the economy: 92 percent of New Zealand firms are small, employing fewer than ten people, but collectively they provide
almost a third of our jobs.
"Yet small business is the "Cinderella" of New Zealand policy - often overlooked. This is particularly so since the
National Government's short-sighted decision last year to scrap the Business Development Boards and replace them with
the much more limited BIZ scheme.
"Labour will give small business higher priority and greater influence within government. We will follow the Australian
and British example and establish a Small Business portfolio.
"We will also establish an Office of Small Business within Industry New Zealand - the organisation Labour will be set up
to act as the delivery arm for our industry development strategy.
"That strategy - with its emphasis on assisting innovative new enterprises to access capital and to develop new products
and markets - has a lot to offer the small business sector.
"A small, smart and timely intervention from a Government prepared to play a leadership role can spell the difference
between success and failure for a promising new business or between modest success and extraordinary success.
"Labour looks forward to making that difference," Dr Cullen said.