Setting strong expectations for an incoming government to support sustainable development, address the current skills gaps, reduce red tape compliance, and regionalise policy solutions are key planks of the Business Election Manifesto released today by the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce (NZCCI).
As part of NZCCI’s collective advocacy mandate, it commissioned a report in April to understand business needs across New Zealand ahead of the general election. More than 990 businesses across New Zealand were surveyed, and they identified the following expectations of the government post-election September 23:
- Be overtly supportive of sustainable business development.
- Recognise and support the link between strong businesses and strong communities.
- Address skill shortages through education reform, skills development and online support of targeted migration
- Reduce compliance costs across business in areas such as health and safety, resource management and taxes.
“Solution-based thinking is exactly what we need right now,” says Michael Barnett, Auckland Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive. “In Auckland, especially if the council and Government continue to be unwilling to lift the pace and investment needed to solve congestion and other transport issues Auckland has, it won’t just be our transport crisis that will continue to get worse, but the city’s employment and other problems exacerbated by the cost and frustration of moving around the city.”
Wellington Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive John Milford says the survey found that there was a real consensus that government has to continue to get the platform right for business. “This isn’t a ‘nice to have’ wish list – these expectations are fundamental to New Zealand’s economic growth and success.”
Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Peter Townsend says it’s critical that an incoming government recognises that different regions require different inputs from central government. “For example, there is an undisputed need for continued strong migration in Canterbury. A one-size-fits-all approach on this issue, to address a perceived problem in Auckland, across the country will simply not work.”
Otago Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Dougal McGowan says local and central government partnerships are essential to maintaining and growing infrastructure in order to cope with growth throughout the country. “It’s essential for business across many sectors that the right scale of investment is made to ensure productivity is not compromised.”
Key recommendations in NZCCI’s manifesto to the incoming government include:
- Make a deliberate effort to ensure better collaboration across government platforms so that we can get better whole-of-government solutions and opportunities. Businesses want to see better collaboration and communication across government ministries, and further identified the need for central and local government to work much better together.
- Bring focus and strength to regional development. The need to regionalise economic development and policy was also high on businesses’ mind, believing that there is a need for government to respond on a regionally specific basis.
- Provide democratic comprehensive support for policy settings that will encourage and promote sustainable business growth. There was also a view that the incoming government should make further investment in quality infrastructure, with the goal to make it easier to do business.
Each Chamber of Commerce will be advocating on behalf of their chamber members locally ahead of the election.