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SMEs want more from govt

JAMES SCOLLAY
Last updated 05:00 11/04/2013

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OPINION: Our SMEs aren’t happy with the government.

The latest MYOB Business Monitor results indicate this year will be one of the better years for small and medium businesses in recent history, with revenue trending up and a share of wealth extending into some sectors that have done it tough over the course of the economic recovery.

Despite this, the latest results show the level satisfaction with the government has fallen by four percentage points. 

Only 22% of SMEs are satisfied with the government’s support for businesses.

Behind the numbers is a sense that the government is failing to provide support in the key areas. This isn’t a call for tax breaks or handouts by small business owners and operators. Instead these owners and operators are asking the government to make it easier to run a business in New Zealand.

This country prides itself on having one of the most open and unencumbered business environments in the developed world. But smaller businesses in particular are held back by the regulations they must comply with in the day-to-day running of their operations.

Small business owners want the government to focus on simplicity to reduce the burden and make it easier for them to understand meet their obligations in three key areas: provisional tax, PAYE and health and safety.

SMEs recognise regulation is necessary and are happy to pay their share to support the country. But they need legislation that’s simple to follow and easier to implement. By making this possible, the government will be paving the way for more productive and effective businesses.

Small businesses deserve fair assistance as they contribute almost one third of all local employment.

Despite this, these business operators are often undervalued. They want initiatives that help them become more productive and better equipped to compete both locally and internationally.

The Minimum Wage Amendment Bill and the accompanying starting-out wage are steps in the right direction. Business owners are now asking for more positive steps like these.

James Scollay is the general manager of MYOB New Zealand's business division.

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