Business Left With Crumbs From "Bread and Butter" Budget

The headline of this year’s Budget is “support for today – building for tomorrow”. Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Leeann Watson says “it is businesses that will drive building for tomorrow, so we were pretty surprised to see that they were barely mentioned in the budget at all."

“The budget is an opportunity for Government to signal to business that it recognises their role in our economy, and at this point I can’t see how this Budget has done that.

“While we recognise there are very real cost-of-living pressures facing families, the same pressures are also facing businesses who provide the livelihoods in our communities.

“The cost of doing business is up 8% with wage growth following closely behind. Interest rates are at once in a generation levels, and a barrage of compliance costs are adding up for businesses in Canterbury – with SMEs reporting an additional $240 a month in compliance costs on top of an additional $1,500 a month for other overheads like rent and electricity.

“Businesses also tell us that infrastructure remains a barrier to investment in growth and productivity, so it is good to see a Budget allocation of $71b which will assist in responding to our chronic infrastructure deficit. 

“Christchurch is New Zealand’s second largest city and Canterbury is a powerhouse of primary sector, manufacturing, and export businesses which our country relies on. Infrastructure such as the Ashburton bridge, reliable Cook Strait crossings, and continued investment in our roading and transport are essential, and we hope to see this investment included in the National Resilience Plan. 

“While the Budget has recognised the importance of R&D with the announcement of Wellington-based science and innovation hubs, simple measures that we have long been advocating for like accelerated depreciation would allow sectors like manufacturing to invest right now.   

“It is good to see the focus on education and skills with initiatives including funding for more apprenticeships and the increased funding for early childhood, enabling more people into work which will help address labour market shortages that are currently hamstringing business growth.”

Businesses are best at making decisions about their growth – it is the Government’s role to provide an environment to enable this and we haven’t seen it in this budget.