Small businesses are the backbone of the New Zealand economy. That’s why we’re focused on helping small businesses get ahead and saving them even more time and money. Earlier this year I delivered a pre-Budget speech in Wellington where I announced some important tax changes that will be positive for businesses, particularly smaller ones. The aim is to reduce compliance costs and make tax simpler. One of the key changes is reforming provisional tax so that up to 110,000 small businesses will be able to use a new pay-as-you-go option.
It’s important small businesses succeed because that boosts our economy and helps to create more jobs and higher wages for New Zealanders. This is just the latest initiative we’ve introduced to help small businesses. Others include cutting ACC levies by around $2 billion a year since 2011. This is putting more money back into workers, businesses, and motor vehicle owners’ pockets and is about the equivalent of a sizeable tax cut. We’re making easier to…. connect business to the rest of New Zealand and world by rolling out faster broadband across the country, with over 1,000,000 households, businesses, schools, and hospitals across the country now able to access or connect to Ultra-Fast Broadband. Building a more productive and competitive economy is one of the National-led Government’s priorities for this term. These initiatives show how we’re supporting that.
Our work programme is helping to ensure New Zealand remains one of the better performing developed economies in the world – with growth of around 3.4 per cent predicted for the next few years– which is giving businesses the confidence to invest and grow. One area of the economy that is continuing to perform is our thriving tourism industry. With more visitors coming, staying longer and spending more, tourism is becoming an increasingly significant part of our economy. It’s now our second biggest export earner, and a major employer of New Zealanders. That’s why the National-led Government is committed to supporting this industry and ensuring all our regions benefit from it.
The latest Monthly Regional Tourism Estimates released last week showing domestic and international visitors spent over $1.7 billion last month, and every region had an increase in tourist expenditure for the year to July 2016. As Tourism Minister, it’s fantastic to see these results as they reinforce what I see when I travel around the country – smart, innovative people providing outstanding local experiences for visitors from other parts of New Zealand and abroad. The National-led Government will continue to focus on helping small businesses and the tourism sector continue to grow and performing order to help the economy deliver more jobs and higher wages for Kiwis and their families.