Businesses fear red tape choking recovery

RICHARD MEADOWS
Last updated 05:00 02/06/2012

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Kiwi business owners are feeling good about the future but are worried the recovery from the global financial crisis may be "hamstrung" by excessive red tape.

The findings come from ANZ's annual Privately-Owned Business Barometer, which canvasses the opinions of 4870 business owners.

"The GFC [global financial crisis] really put Kiwi businesses through the mill," ANZ commercial and agri managing director Graham Turley said. "Most have come out the other side leaner, tighter and more focused."

The bank's survey found 88 per cent of business owners were expecting positive growth in the year ahead, and 96 per cent during the next three years.

While the GFC had tempered profit expectations, Turley said businesses had adapted to "the new normal" with sustainable, more realistic expectations.

The Barometer also found big problems affecting private businesses included finding skilled staff, balancing family and work, and "the bane of business owners' lives" – red tape.

One respondent described having to deal with various government departments every 11 days, which often included sending the same information to multiple agencies.

"This takes an enormous amount of time and effort and is very frustrating," the respondent said.

Turley said the issue was particularly salient for small businesses, which were at risk of being "hamstrung" by red tape when their time was needed elsewhere.

Succession was also a worry, with one in 10 saying it was a "big issue" and more than half of business owners concerned about it. Fairfax NZ

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