SMEs power to the economy

Columns
Thursday, April 21, 2016


Small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone of our communities. You only have to look around our local areas to realise this. They are crucial to our local economy and well-being. 

Most people in our neighbourhoods either work for a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME), or own and operate one. 
 
They are an essential fabric in the New Zealand way of life, environments in which a family business atmosphere is engendered, where people are treated with respect, honesty, and fairly. 
 
It boosts productivity and pride in work. 
 
Many of our local people work in the Greater East Tamaki Business Association’s catchment area, for some of its 2000 businesses, most of which are SMEs. 
 
East Tamaki is a very significant manufacturing and distribution zone, generating $3 billion for the national economy each year. 
 
It has jobs for 30,000 people and that number is predicted to increase to 45,000 once the full development of the highly successful Highbrook Business Park is completed. 
 
That won’t be far away, I believe, as East Tamaki has higher growth rates than most in the Auckland region. 
 
It’s telling when you realise that 97 per cent of all NZ enterprises employ 20 or fewer people. 
 
That’s why we’re always looking for ways to reduce the financial and time burdens faced by SMEs. 
 
Prime Minister John Key says our Budget 2016 will include a positive tax package that aims to make business easier for SME operators. 
 
It will make paying tax easier and more certain; reduce the burden of interest and penalties; and assist smaller businesses to better tailor payments to their own circumstances. 
 
Provisional tax is being reformed with a new pay-as-you-go option, giving smaller businesses a way to pay tax as they earn income from April 1, 2018. 
 
Use-of-money interest will also be eliminated or reduced for the vast majority. 
 
Contractors will be able to choose a withholding tax rate that suits their needs, while the ongoing 1 per cent monthly penalty will be scrapped from April 1, 2017, for new debt. 
 
As we enter the lead-up period to next month’s Budget, we want business owners, employers and employees to know our priority is to see them succeed. 
 
We want them to be focusing their energies on building their enterprises, not having to navigate red tape. 
 
 
Jami-Lee Ross
Member of Parliament for Botany