Minister of Small Business Stuart Nash has set up a small business council but its aim is not to bolster sluggish business confidence numbers, an issue he admits he is concerned about

Minister of Small Business Stuart Nash says he is concerned about low business confidence levels and says the Government needs to work harder to alleviate these issues.

But he says a new 13-member Small Business Council was not set up in response to business’ plummeting levels of optimism.

On Friday, Nash announced the appointment of the council which will help the Government develop a strategy to “drive improvement and innovation in the small business sector.”

“It will play an important role in lifting the performance of New Zealand’s many small enterprises.”

Members of the group include representatives from Xero, the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, Fonterra and the Bankers’ Association.

Nash says the group is an alternative to the Small Business Development Group, set up by the previous Government, which “was not as effective as it could be.”

He says the group was not specifically designed to help improve business confidence but to give smaller businesses, which make up 97% of businesses in the country, a voice in Government.

But he does see business confidence, which has fallen to the lowest levels since the Global Financial Crisis, as an issue for the Government.

“I will be honest with you, as the Minister of Small Business, but also as the Minister of Revenue, it does concern me that business confidence is as low as it is.

“There is a challenge to our Government to work harder and to get close to businesses to understand what the issues are and how we can help alleviate some of those issues.”

The Small Business Council is not the first time the Government has reached out to the business community.

Before the Budget, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern formed the Future of Work Tripartite Forum which brings together businesses, unions and government to “future proof” the economy.

In fact, in a round of interviews she did upon her return to work after maternity leave, Ardern made sorting out business confidence one of her top priorities.

Nash says there are a number of factors that affect business confidence that the Government cannot control, such as international trade war tensions.

But he echoes the Prime Minister’s sentiment in wanting to sort out the issue.

“What I’m keen to do is engage with businesses in a meaningful way that allows the Government to put in place processes and policies that allow businesses to take advantage of 21st century opportunities.”

He says one of the ways the Government will achieve this is through the new Small Business Council.

He says it will take a birds-eye look at the issues and opportunities for small business and provide insights and recommendations for a government strategy.

Terry Baucher: Director of Baucher Consulting Ltd
· Rachel Brown: CEO/Founder of Sustainable Business Network
· Anthony Buick-Constable: Deputy Chief Executive and General Counsel of NZ Bankers Association
· Nicole Buisson: Small Business Director, Xero
· Jim Gordon: Director of Jim Gordon Tax Ltd
· Andy Hamilton: CEO The Icehouse Ltd, Director of FaceMe Limited
· Jerry He: Chairman of Asia Pacific MSMEs Trade Coalition
· Allison Lawton: Chief Executive of Rotorua Chamber of Commerce
· Tenby Powell: Director of Hunter Powell Investment Partners
· Alison Brewer Shearer: General Manager, Fonterra Shareholders' Council
· Dr Deborah Shepherd: Senior Lecturer - University of Auckland Business School, Facilitator at the Icehouse
· Tania Siladi: Co-Owner/Director of Dragonfly Hospitality Group Limited, Co-Owner/Director of Asian Food Republic
· Leeann Watson: Chief Executive of Canterbury Employer’s Chamber of Commerce

Powell is chairman and Shepherd deputy chairman.

And here's the Council's terms of reference.

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31 Comments

that's ts ladies and gentlemen let me bend you all over nicely and when it comes you'll hardly feel a thing !

Apparently thats what he told the waiter when he drilled him up the shitter.

Aunty Helen was the last of the bohicans...bend over here I come again.

Blah blah blah........

give us back the 90 trails --- NO
give us access to skilled labours -- NO
give us less tax burdens -- NO
give us more customers -- NO

What can you give us then?

Righteous and hollow talks.

Blah, blah, blah.......

90 day trials only affects 3% of businesses - https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/100868759/90-day-trials-to-b...

Upped the R&D tax incentives - https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/103239950/businesses-mull-rd-tax-breaks... - invest in your business to receive tax rebates.

Skilled labourers - there's still skilled immigration available where shortages are known, there's also this - https://www.business.govt.nz/hiring-and-managing/getting-the-best-from-p...

Is it the Governments job to give companies more customers?

Do you own a biz, make products, employ ppl, fill out tax forms, meet suppliers/distributors regularly?

What do you do?

@xing , not to mention paid leave for victims of domestic violence

Talk about making someone else's problems mine !!!!!!!!!!!!

A fuel levy that hits their own supporters the hardest .

A belief that money just falls into businesses hands.

This Government is turning out to be an utter and disastrous failure .

Skill shortages in NZ are in cybersecurity, tech development, different fields of engineering, data sciences and building trades. I am sure the government's training in basic literary and numeracy skills, and NZQA Level 2 & 3 courses through ITO will plug these skill gaps perfectly.
If not, WINZ certainly has a bunch of out of job workers with advanced degrees in math, engineering and technology who could help. Thanks for sharing the links!

a) Quite possibly not such a bad idea.
b) It isnt the Govn's job to provide skilled labour. Sure the Govn can help but businesses either have to train their staff or provide good enough pay that ppl take on training.
c) tax burden is actually quite low.
d) The only way Govn can do that is in-directly by spending into the economy and the same ppl who whine are the same ppl taht object to Govn spending.

"hollow talks" frankly for too long no one has listened or acted as the organisation fronting for SME's. Only big business mouth pieces like the roundtable seem to be out there but are they were obviously far right politically drivel and only fronted for large businesses.

I thought it would take 2 terms for the COL to destroy business confidence. To have confidence plummet in 9 months is unprecedented.

One day the experts will reflect on the defining moment which I believe was the ban on oil exploration, that essentially wrote off the future of an entire region, the removal of the 90 day trial and thirdly the yet to be announced employment relations changes.

Yes, the destruction of the oil and gas industry's future was pretty damning. It confirmed everyone's suspicions that ideology comes before people.

The oil and gas industry had no future anyway. output was declining, little prospect of new economic finds and the damage it was doing is unacceptable. However the existing industry has a delay in the in-inevitable. Meanwhile when you look at the renewable industry its creating jobs.

You are likely correct however the ban announcement was idealist virtue signalling without a hint of economic strategy.

What the hell is 'virtue signalling'?

Lots of exploration has been done already and the big boys left, that should be telling you it wasnt worth staying for.

Confidence? you assume that an anti-govn vested interest can give a fair assessment and that in fact there was no inevitable decline which seemed certain anyway.

lol, since everything was certain then why Ban future oil development ? to please the Greens or piss off anyone who intends to invest again?....

If the decline in confidence was inevitable why twist the knife and rub salt in the wound and tell business to suck it ?, we will do what we like and your opinion doesn't really count !!

Everything seems to be inevitable in your view, let me add that the departure of these noobs ( aka CoLs) in 2020 will be inevitable too ..

Xero, the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce, Fonterra and the Bankers’ Association, few tax accountants, and Academia are going to represent SMEs ? really ? ...

I suggest everyone gets a new pair of gumboots, the amount of BS thrown around is beyond the joke.

The drama continues -- and these noobs have overstayed their welcome early in the piece .. they will be the laughing stock for generations to come.

Well this is what happens when you unilaterally ban whole sectors of the economy without even a hint of any form of consultation whatsoever .

The OIL AND GAS exploration sector was really very important in our economic mix.

Oil and Gas itself is very important............ New Plymouth has the highest per capita income of ANY provincial town .

Taxing fuel was another big mistake , which is hammering the poor

Now we have seen how irresponsible these fools are , its no wonder that business confidence has slumped

Yesterday I put diesel into my car on my practice fuel card , and could not help but be blown away when I glanced over at at the price of petrol at over $2,50 for premuim

$2,50/ l ................. now a 70 litre Holden will cost around $780 a month in petrol alone assuming a tank a week

Thats nearly 2 weeks take-home pay for someone on the minimum wage ...........

Petrol was going up anyway, rising from $50 ish a year ago to $70ish today in what looks like an irresistable trend and that should be telling you that a large holden is plain silly to keep.

Meawhile someone has to pay for the "better"roads and it should be the users, I mean what ever happened to the right wing mantra of "user pays?

Oil and gas is going, meanwhile the renewable jobs and growing.

I realise Steven you probably have plenty of time to walk down to your local and self righteously fill your reusable bags with the weeks groceries. While you are doing it consider that those groceries have to get to the store in trucks. We send produce all over the country daily and from my desk I can tell you exactly where the money needs to be spent on roading. Hint: Its not in the places where rail would help. Across city freight is getting herder an harder. Any freight needing to cross the Auckland Harbour takes as long as inter-island no exaggeration. Go stand in a freight company office and see the stress and frustration boiling over. To your point that road users should pay for better users, you are indirectly a road user and you will pay. The point where transport companies and local business will no longer be able to bear the costs of logistical challenges is very close. Inflation could well surprise on the upside from where I sit.

Indeed , well put, $120/b oil seemed only yestreday when havic hit the transport and cartage industry and all the way down to the consumer.

The oil and gas sector is booming in Australia. Check out the share price of Santos and Beach. Look at the drilling results of Carnavon. Thats where capital and labour will be invested. So any Taranaki folk should start booking their ticket to Australia. Kiwi's leaving the country have quadrupled this quarter - so the Great Labour Exodus is already underway. By 2020 there should be no actual taxpayers left in the country, just welfare beneficiaries and over paid Government workers.

Quadrant Energy also reportedly struck oil in WA. BTW the government of NZ won't be running out of taxpayers any time soon with the help of the mass migration programme.

https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/major-oil-discovery-could-re...

We all know that the mass migration programme is a big joke now. Perhaps the intentions are good - supposedly to alleviate the small and medium businesses burden of not being able get qualified and reliable workers. But with the changes and issues that keep on hitting the programme which of course trickles down to the SMBs - only the unbelievably (or ridiculously) optimistic ones are willing to stay and continue to be in the workforce and become actual taxpayers. On the other hand, there is no denying that a lot of people out there who are strong enough to work but seem to have all the reasons you can think of just so they don't have to. Is our government doing something about it?

So small business minister Nash is concerned about the same business confidence survey results that trade minister Parker says are just emotive crap. Confused ? - I am.

Labour party mask is off and their negative countdown has started.

Working Group # (what are we up to now?). Optics over Performance: standard MO, quelle surprise.

Predicted outcome for SME's: immeasurable!

When oh when can we have an early election no matter what political position you have the damage being done to our economy is real, they have already lost the trust of business, without trust and confidence we have an economy in deep trouble. NZ has had our Brixit/Trump moment how long will it be before a vote of no confidence in the COL can happen.

"On Friday, Nash announced the appointment of the council which will help the Government develop a strategy to “drive improvement and innovation in the small business sector.”

Problem with any of this is that they are long term issues being contemplated by, mostly if not all, people who have no "skin" in the game (and possibly never had) reporting to someone (also without having had skin in the game) who thinks short term for the next election.
A council of 8 of which 6 are people who have been there and proven themselves, plus a lawyer and a tax advisor, may get somewhere.
People who laid awake all night thinking about where the money is coming from to pay the bank this month, who are thinking every waking moment about how to improve their business, who think nothing of working 80 hours a week for years on end to make it work. People who can't go to WINZ for a Family First Package when the income drops below the minimum wage for the year but who keep going anyway. People who need to take a paycut every time they employ an extra person until the business has increased sufficiently but then they soon need another person again. People who understand that cash in the bank does not mean that they can spend it on themselves. People who finally succeed and manage to build the business strong enough to survive the inevitable storms.
Stack the council with those people, think long term, and who knows something good may come out of it to "drive improvement and innovation.

The ships leaning to port but there's no port there. Nine years of internal squabbling is showing up big time. No leadership, no ideas, no clues even. Not even a sign post. Helen Clarke gave John Key a hospital pass in 2008. Now it's the reverse. I thought Key & the Nats tried hard. Let's see what's on offer in 2018-20. If they get that far. The honeymoon's over Jacinda. Time for work.

Exactly how many 'WORKING GROUPS " and other investigative forums has this Government set up in 9 short months ?

This is not Governing .

This is showing signs of being "caught in the headlights" and not knowing what to do next .

Any fool can launch an investigation into something they don't like or is not in line with their preconceived ideas .

Just dont use our hard-earned money to do it .

Exactly how many 'WORKING GROUPS " and other investigative forums has this Government set up in 9 short months ?

This is not Governing .

About the same number as National did upon coming in to power. Perhaps you did not realise that?