Jacqui Dean: Summer of discontent looms for small business

Opinion 11/10/2019

By Jacqui Dean, National Party Spokesperson for Small Business, Waitaki MP.

Poor policy direction and meaningless rhetoric from the Government has led to a haemorrhaging of confidence from the small business sector that shows no sign of improvement. Right across the country, operators are telling me the same thing time and time again. They are sick of this Government’s words and want action that encourages growth and allows them to prosper.

Small businesses are working hard and the owners I talk to are ambitious and want to succeed.

But when the economy is declining, GDP is slowing and they are bound by layers of bureaucracy and red tape, it’s nigh on impossible for them to look forward with any sense of optimism.

We need to regularly test whether regulations are still needed, remove barriers to new businesses entering markets and streamline unnecessarily slow and expensive bureaucratic procedures. National will ensure future Governments and regulatory agencies undertake at least one regulatory simplification process every three years that looks at reducing the complexity and number of regulations.

National wants to find ways to ease the stress for small business owners and ensure healthier cash flows. We believe the Government should lead by example, instead of punishing others into compliance.

Skilled workers are nearly impossible to find, immigration is sitting on a mountain of work visa applications and all small business owners see is a Government that has passed the buck in appointing a working group to come up with a strategy aimed at them. A strategy that has recommendations yet to be made public, several months after its delivery to the Minister.  

National knows that small business is a big deal and has already made commitments to the sector.

Once elected, we will repeal 100 regulations in our first six months in office and will require all Government departments and agencies to pay contractors on time and within 30 days.

We will introduce an initiative to get large businesses and not-for profits to pay small businesses on time and will prioritise a tax relief package to put money back in the hands of workers and business.

Small business is the backbone of our economy. Saying it’s a priority is one thing, but creating an environment of certainty conducive to their success, has proved too great a task for this Government.

Jacqui Dean is the National Party's Spokesperson for Small Business and MP for Waitaki.