SMEs prefer National

Research released by research released today by MYOB,  shows the National Government enjoys the trust of the majority of SMEs when it comes to the economy and it’s the preferred party of a significant majority.

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The MYOB Business Monitor Report found 60% of the 1000+ SME business operators surveyed trust National the most to manage the economy, while only 10% trust Labour the most, 3% trust New Zealand First and 2% trust the Greens. 18% of operators don’t trust any party more than the other to manage the economy.

When it comes to policy management, the clear vote-winning initiatives are those focused on making it easier to meet the numerous compliance needs of running a business. 74% of operators said that in an election they would vote for the party who proposed to simplify taxation rules and red tape, with this ranking at the top of the list. 56% would vote for the party who proposed to simplify PAYE rules and processes, with this ranking second.

MYOB NZ General Manager, Business Division, James Scollay says the new research clearly highlights increasing confidence in an improving economy accompanied by a desire for government to reduce barriers to productivity.

“SMEs’ economic sentiment is clearly good news for the Government and is translating into trust in their current handling of the economy,” he says. “There is still improvement to be made, though, with almost one fifth of all SME operators saying they don’t trust any party over another to manage New Zealand’s economic future.

Most businesses in New Zealand are small to medium ones.

They are the ones least able to absorb the costs of compliance costs and deal with unnecessary regulations.

“Our research findings give clear evidence that SMEs are imploring government to reassess the need for particular regulations and processes involved with operating a business in New Zealand. They want their compliance load reduced wherever possible. This will no doubt assist in increasing their confidence in and satisfaction with Government. While there is of course a need to play by the rules, business owners don’t become their own boss to spend hours each month doing paperwork and ensuring they tick every box in the many compliance checklists.

“We urge Government to consider the impact of making business life a little easier, via reducing red tape, on local business owners’ ability to invest more time in planning, innovating and up-skilling themselves and their teams.”

The government’s Ausiness Growth Agenda is addressing many of the issues which concern SMEs.

LabourGreen policies including less flexible employment laws, more and higher taxes will make it much tougher for SMEs to operate and will be a disincentive to business growth.

Back to the survey:

Issues around the management of the Christchurch rebuild, which have been very public over the last three years, have not dented business operators’ confidence in the Government. National enjoys its strongest level of SME support in the city, with 66% of business operators signalling their trust in the Government on the economy. The Greens also has its highest level of support in the city, on 5%. Labour, on the other hand, has its lowest, also on 5%.

It will be interesting to see if this is reflected in the Christchurch east by-election.

The odds are against a National win. It ought to be a safe Labour seat and a sitting government has never taken a seat in a by-election. But this survey shows stronger support in the city for National which has a local candidate while Labour has parachuted in someone from Auckland.

In Wellington, Labour enjoys its best performance, with 17% of Wellington SMEs most confident in the party’s economic management. 58% in the Capital hold the most trust in National, and 3% do so with the Greens. In our largest population centre, Auckland, 59% trust National the most, as do 11% Labour, 2% Greens and 2% New Zealand First.

In the sectors, National enjoys its highest level of confidence among manufacturing businesses (68%), possibly reflecting the strong revenue results and expectations of the industry, also uncovered by the research. Nationals’ lowest level of support is amongst transport and warehousing businesses (48%). Labour has its highest level of trust in handling the economy among ‘other’ industries (17%), and lowest in the finance and insurance sector (5%).

The higher level of support for National among manufacturing businesses suggests they’re not buying into the opposition’s manufactured manufacturing crisis.

. . . The top three vote-winning initiatives were weighted towards SMEs’ desire to reduce the compliance load:
1. Simplification of provisional tax rules and processes – 74% would vote for the party proposing this
2. Simplification of the PAYE rules and processes – 56%
3. Development of one-stop online access to all government advice and support for business – 55%

The top three vote-losing initiatives were related to significant tax policy and superannuation:
1. Introduction of a Capital Gains Tax – 64% would vote against the party proposing this
2. Moves to raise the superannuation entitlement age – 52%
3. Extension of the fringe benefit tax to productivity tools such as mobile communication devices like mobile phones, tablets and laptops – 46%

Other policy favourites included tighter controls on foreign purchases of New Zealand land and infrastructure, which was supported by 54% and opposed by 14%, and Government-backed loans for small business start-ups, which was supported by 52% and opposed by just 6%.

“New Zealand’s business community is clearly keen for money that’s made in the country to stay in the country where possible, and for more funding to be provided to support the newest members of the business community,” says James Scollay.

The left like to portray themselves as champions of workers.

Their policies too often show they don’t understand the value and concern of the businesses which employ them, especially the SMEs which have less capacity to absorb compliance costs and deal with red tape.

This survey clearly shows that National’s policies are better for business, and the staff they employ, and the LabourGreen policies would not be.

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