Resource law: ‘scrap it or change it’, New Zealand businesses urge

New Zealand businesses are urging the Government to change or scrap the current resource regulations, following the elections.

The BusinessNZ-Deloitte Election survey, conducted in May, surveyed 575 New Zealand businesses, including small businesses. BusinessNZ represents New Zealand industries, including exporting, manufacturing, digital and services.

Of the 575 surveyed, 95% say the elected Government should change or replace the Resource Management Act (RMA) because, as well as inhibiting housing construction, it is also preventing business development, according to the survey.

“In some areas, councils encroach on business, setting up cafes, gyms, cinemas, event hire businesses, farms, golf courses and other trading enterprises in competition with local firms,” the survey report states.

Businesses want the Government to change the act, so councils “stick to core functions, like providing infrastructure.”

Infrastructure key for regional business

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New Zealand businesses are also calling on the Government to put more focus on developing infrastructure to support regional enterprises.

Businesses in New Zealand regions need an economic development strategy, particularly through infrastructure to service local tourism, according to the survey responses.

“Regional businesses – including tourism and export businesses – earn a great deal of revenue and wealth for New Zealand.

“Infrastructure servicing regional tourism is needed – roads, parks, parking, utilities, sanitation, public toilets and so on,” the survey says.

Hold fire on raising taxes, say NZ businesses

The age-old tax issue is also dominant in the business survey.

Of those surveyed, 75% do not want any tax increases.

“Businesses would like to see the Government keep taxes under control, and don’t want higher tax rates or new taxes.

“Business would like a tax cut for all categories of taxpayers as a priority early in the first term of the new Government,” according to the business survey.

Currently, businesses pay corporate tax of 28% and many small business owners pay tax at a personal rate of 33%.

On top of this, businesses pay ACC levies, fuel tax, fringe benefit tax, and employer superannuation contribution tax.

“High taxes take away funds that could be used to invest and grow businesses,” the report says.

Seven areas New Zealand businesses want the Government to focus on post-election:

  1. Keep taxes under control – 75% do not want any tax increases.
  2. Fix skills gaps – 61% are unhappy with the skills of young people coming out of the education system.
  3. Support trade – 72% want trade agreements with the US, UK, EU and TPP.
  4. Help business innovate – 52% want practical help to innovate, including through research and development support.
  5. Build infrastructure – 60% say more money needs to be spent on infrastructure.
  6. Improve planning and local government – 95% say the Government should change or replace the Resource Management Act.
  7. Grow the regions – 77% want a regional, economic development plan.

New Zealand’s general election is on 23 September.

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