Small businesses are the backbone of many of our communities. And they play an important part in boosting New Zealand’s overall economic performance. The National-led Government is committed to putting in place the right conditions to give small business owners the confidence to grow, invest, and take on new staff. And we’ve already made a number of changes that help small businesses. We want to see the economic benefits…… that flow into our communities, when small businesses succeed.
We’ve built a more competitive tax system that incentivises savings and investment. And in our first term in office we cut the business tax rate to 28 per cent to help local firms. We put more into the back pockets of hardworking kiwis and more money into household budgets when it was really needed. Our changes to labour laws have enabled small and medium sized businesses to take on more staff. The successful 90-day trial for new employees has been taken up by 60 per cent of employers to hire new staff. We’ve taken some of the risk out of hiring a new staff member and its worked. 40 per cent of employers who hired someone on a trial period would not have taken that person on without it.
Good businesses grow with investment in infrastructure. Our economy relies on the State Highway network – when traffic isn’t moving, neither is the country and neither is business. Last week, the Government announced that we will invest $12.3 billion over the next three years into developing key transport corridors around the country, expanding public transport systems and creating new and improved road, walking, and cycling infrastructure. These are just some of the initiatives that the Government is implementing to create better conditions for Kiwis to do business.
Last week I attended the Pacific Islands Forum in Rarotonga. This was a great opportunity to catch up with regional leaders and discuss some of the issues that we’re facing. It was great that the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was able to attend the last day of the forum too. And I held a very successful meeting with my counterpart in Australia, Julia Gillard. Next week I will be busy out and about across New Zealand as Parliament is in recess.