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What Business Central wants from the Budget

Issue date

Simon Arcus, Chief Executive of Business Central says, “Businesses are facing a range of challenges including high inflation, rising interest rates and difficulties in attracting and retaining skilled and motivated staff. It’s critical that Thursday’s Budget sets out what the government intends to do about it and, ultimately, makes a tangible difference.

“At Business Central we represent businesses in regions that are reeling from the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle and are working with high levels of uncertainty in the medium term. Our members want to see a Budget that delivers decisive and effective support to those impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle, sets a clear plan to address the historic infrastructure deficit across our region, and takes steps to implement policies, such as accelerated depreciation, that will enable businesses to make real and immediate productivity gains.

“Let’s look at initiatives that help improve business productivity and capability, and let’s recognise that business prosperity is intrinsically part of our society being prosperous. The Advanced Manufacturing Industry Transformation Plan, published earlier this year, rightly identified that accelerated depreciation would have a positive impact in terms of business investment, but no plan to introduce this measure has yet followed. The Budget provides a clear opportunity for the Government to move from theory to practice.

Business Central’s most recent Business Confidence Survey revealed that workforce availability and affordability were the single biggest concern of business for the 12 months ahead. Mr Arcus says:

“Time and time again we’re told by members that attracting and retaining skilled and motivated staff is one of the greatest challenges their businesses face.

“While pragmatic immigration policy is part of the solution, we’re increasingly hearing from members that New Zealanders joining the workforce aren’t ‘work ready’. As a result, many businesses are having to spend time and resource on teaching new starters skills that should be a given – posing serious questions of our education system. I’m pleased to see that the Budget will include $400m of spending on school infrastructure; as this resource gets deployed, it will be essential for the Government, and educators, to work with employers to ensure that our education system is fit for purpose”.

Business Central will continue to call for the Government to use all available levers to enhance productivity and enable New Zealand to be more competitive internationally. In the run up to the election, we look forward to working with all political parties to ensure they share this focus

For more information, please contact Ed Gibbs, Policy & Corporate Affairs Manager ( / 027 280 3622)

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