Business wish-list targets tax and controversial law
Gyms, cafes and cinemas owned by local councils could be closed if politicians elected in September agree with a new business-sector wish-list.
The list – released today in the Business New Zealand election manifesto – outlines seven priorities business wants the next Government to act on.
The lobby group did not express a view on which party or parties should form the next Government.
But local government is firmly in the firing line, accused of subsidising its own enterprises in competition with local firms.
Councils that ‘‘encroach’’ on local businesses should be made to stick to core functions like infrastructure, the manifesto said.
It was generated from a survey of 575 businesses throughout the country.
The Resource Management Act (RMA) came in for the strongest criticism with 95 per cent of respondents calling for the new government to ‘‘fix it or flick it’’.
‘‘There’s a strong view that the RMA is holding the country back,’’ Business NZ chief executive Kirk Hope said, adding it was seen as lacking in guidance to councils on district plans, meaning many made decisions that business felt ended up affecting property rights, business development and regional growth.
Taxes, skills gaps, free trade, infrastructure, innovation and regional growth were the other priorities.
‘‘Business wants to see a tax cut for all categories of taxpayer early in the first term of the new Government, and no new taxes of any kind,’’ Hope said.
Employers in many sectors were also worried about being unable to fill job vacancies, and wanted action on skills.
‘‘They are unhappy with the level of skills coming out of the education system and want those skill gaps fixed by education and, if necessary, immigration.
‘‘They want employees with better technical skills to help to grow more innovative and sustainable businesses.’’
Hope said business wanted a Government that continued negotiating free-trade agreements to reduce the tariff burden on New Zealand exporters.
A large majority support the new TPP-11 and want trade agreements with the US, UK and EU.
‘‘These seven priorities, if enacted by a new Government, would improve the environment for enterprise and help business to create jobs and prosperity in local communities all over New Zealand.’’