Business backs National

November 6, 2011

A survey by MYOB shows that National is a sure thing for business voters.

Despite some unpopular policies and a slight fall off in popularity, National will still capture the vast majority of the business vote according to the latest MYOB Business Monitor.

The MYOB Business Monitor survey of over 1000 business owners around the country shows that National is most likely to get the vote of 59% of business owners in the November election, down slightly from the previous Monitor survey in March when the Government polled 62%, but still well ahead of Labour on 11%. . .

MYOB general manager Julian Smith says, a month out from the election, business owners have signalled a clear choice for a continuation of the fifth National Government.

“Although the MYOB Business Monitor surveys a wide range of business owners right around the country – from sole traders to those running larger enterprises – Kiwi business owners across the board have been consistent in their support for National,” says Julian Smith

Support for the Government is even higher among small business owners (71%) and those with a turnover of between $1-5million (72%). By sector, National is most popular with business owners in the Finance and Insurance sector (67%) and in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing sector (65%). Labour finds its strongest support amongst Transport and Warehousing business owners, with 22% of them saying that they will vote Labour, compared with 49% of them likely to vote National.

That is stating the obvious for anyone who has compared the policies we’re likely to get under a National-led government with those we’re likely to get under a Labour-led one.

National’s policies are designed to promote economic growth and show the party understands the important role that businesses play in doing that.

Labour’s policies would add costs and complexities to doing business and employing people.

The capital gains tax, other tax increases, changes to ACC, the increase in the minimum wage and the 1970s employment policy will add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of doing business and increase both the cost and risk of employing people.

In addition, farmers will face extra costs through the early entry tot he ETS, changes to the RMA and water allocation.

The survey found a small majority of businesses were in favour of asset sales and the policy they opposed most strongly was the CGT.

It also found that businesses can be socialist when other people’s money might come their way:

Businesses would clearly like to see the Government direct more investment into the economy, with things like funding for R&D (popular with 58%), a ‘Buy Kiwi-made’ policy for all Central and Local Government agencies (51%), and more investment in key transport infrastructure (51%).”

More investment in infrastructure is sensible but a buying Kiwi-made policy is getting dangerously close to subsidising businesses which can’t compete on their own.

“However, the one policy that is far and away the most popular for business is the simplification of provisional tax rules, supported by nearly three-quarters (74%) of all businesses,” says Julian Smith.

“This particular policy isn’t on any party’s radar at the moment, but what it emphasises is how complex and time consuming businesses find the current tax regime, and how much any party would stand to gain by making a concerted effort to make life easier for business.”

Good tax might be an oxymoron but simple taxes are better. Time and energy wasted complying with complex tax law, and any other regulatory requirements, are time and money not spent getting on the the businesses which create jobs and contribute to economic growth.


All the news and just the news

April 7, 2011

When I started working for a newspaper continuous feeds from the New Zealand Press Association kept us up with what was going on in New Zealand and around the world.

They gave us the news – just the news without comment or bias -and all the news. If it happened and mattered, NZPA reported it and it was up to newsrooms all over the country to use it as it was or give it a local angle, or not,  as we chose.

The decision by Fairfax Media to withdraw from NZPA is concerning.

Kiwiblog says: 

I think the decision is a disaster for parliamentary reporting, and bad for the overall news industry.

NZPA are the one news agency in Parliament that cover every bill before the House. When other media are safely home in bed, there will be a NZPA reporter noting what time the House rose, and what bill was being debated at the time. Likewise on select committees, they are often the only news agency there (apart from the excellent Select Committee News, which is subscription only).

What I also liked about NZPA is they complement the other press gallery agencies. The other agencies naturally focus on stories which sell – which will make for good television, can run on a front page etc. But NZPA are not about “sexy” stories. They just faithfully produce concise factual and relevant stories about what happened – reporters in the old fashioned sense.  And not just about Parliament, also from the courts and elsewhere. . .

Dim Post says:

It seems to have been standard practise in news rooms for time immemorial, for journalists and news editors to take a PA story and stick their own by-line on it and publish it, so PAs footprint on the media landscape is even larger than it may have seemed; even the media executives who closed it down after a hundred and thirty years probably don’t realise quite what they’ve destroyed.

 He also notes that NZPA is the only news outlet which isn’t dependent on advertising and  Peter Griffin says the closure of NZPA would hurt science:

The death of NZPA is really the end of an era in New Zealand journalism. NZPA for over one hundred years has been the agency of record for breaking news stories. Newspapers might write more fulsome and colourful accounts than NZPA produces, but the agency can be counted on for serving up short, concise, timely and generally accurate news alerts on a wide range of subjects – from general news and politics, to business sport and science.

A few weeks back I sat in NZPA editor Kevin Norquay’s office to talk about that last topic – science. NZPA is a bastion of decent coverage of science-related issues in New Zealand and that is largely down to one individual – NZPA veteran reporter Kent Atkinson. Part of the reason for my visit was to thank NZPA for its commitment to covering science issues and giving Kent the leeway to pursue a round he loves. . .

The great thing about NZPA is its reach. A decent science story, or any story for that matter, can run in numerous daily metropolitan and regional newspapers. While Stuff and the Herald Online will pile in to cover the populist stories – Darren Hughes’ night time exploits, the plastic waka etc , often with rolling coverage during the day, NZPA can be relied on to fill in the blind spots, with dispassionate reports. That safety net of coverage will soon be gone for our major mainstream news organisations. . .

But where some see a threat others see an opportunity:

In response, Fairfax’s main rival, APN, announced it would establish a new national news service to “counter the Fairfax move”, its chief executive Martin Simons said.

“We will have discussions with key NZPA staff and work with New Zealand’s independent publishers to tailor a news service to meet the nation’s content needs.”

The Otago Daily Times already shares content with APN titles such as The New Zealand Herald. This alliance was important to strengthen the company’s South Island bases in Christchurch and Oamaru, Mr Simons said.

Until 2006, New Zealand newspapers shared stories through NZPA, but commercial tension between Fairfax and APN forced NZPA to become an independent news source.

Allied Press managing director Julian Smith said, depending on the review, it was likely Allied Press, which publishes the Otago Daily Times, owns numerous southern community newspapers and has an interest in the Greymouth Star, would join the APN-led service.

The new service would be more like NZPA’s original model of newspapers sharing all content and could lead to an improvement in quality, he said.

I hope he’s right.

The internet gives us access to more news than ever before but unlike NZPA it isn’t always just the news which we can trust to be factual and unbiased.

Without an organisation like NZPA it won’t be all the news either.

UPDATE: Karl du Fresne calls it a seriously retrograde step and says:

Even more worrying is that the existing “black holes” in news coverage will become wider and blacker still. Under the old co-operative model, NZPA had the entire country covered . . .

The net result is that New Zealanders will know less about themselves. Parts of the country that have already faded from view since 2005 because of attenuated news coverage may become damned-near invisible, other than when a catastrophe occurs (as at Pike River).

Try as I might, I can’t see this as anything other than a seriously retrograde step. If the creation of NZPA in 1880 helped bind the country together, then its demise is likely to have the reverse effect. . .

Already sparse national coverage of provincial and rural news will become sparser.

The media is one of the bridges over the urban-rural divide and the death of NZPA will tear up several of its planks.


Susan’s got talent – updated

May 31, 2009

There’s no shame in being the second best talent in Britain and Susan Boyle was gracious in defeat.

In last night’s final she sang I Dreamed a Dream, the song she’d sung in her audition.

She has not only dreamed a dream, she’s helped other people dream too.

And while she hasn’t won Britain’s Got Talent, she has launched her own career.

A video of her final performance is here.

The winner was Diversity.

Saxaphonist Julian Smith came third.

Upadte: Youtube has the video:


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