Small businesses are at the centre of Labour’s plan for economic recovery with a raft of further measures to support SMEs to respond, recover and rebuild from the global impact of COVID-19.
“We took decisive action to cushion the blow of the pandemic with a strong health response. Supporting small businesses remains a central principle in our five-point plan to keep New Zealand moving,” said Labour Small Business spokesperson Stuart Nash.
“Our track record of support for SMEs demonstrates we are prepared to respond quickly to keep the engine room of our economy humming. We are now moving to the next phase to help small and medium enterprises adapt and innovate to the new business landscape.
“Improved cash flow support, new ways to drive digital transformation, and lowering costs and regulatory impacts are at the heart of our plans to help business bounce back faster.
“Our message to small businesses is that we have got your back.”
Labour has outlined the proposed next steps in its plan to support businesses and jobs. Key elements include:
- Interest-free loans more widely available, zero-interest period extended
- Tighter regulation of merchant service fees charged to retailers
- More support for digital transformation of SMEs
- Promotion of digital commerce like e-invoicing and other innovative processes
- Government funding for tailored business advice
- Mitigate compliance costs to keep our number one spot for ease of doing business
- Overhaul the Accounting Income Method (AIM) tax regime to make it easier for SMEs to move to a ‘pay as you earn’ model throughout the year
“SMEs have already responded enthusiastically to schemes like the wage subsidy, interest-free loans, tax refunds, a more flexible approach to tax, and access to professional advice.
“Labour will expand the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme. It will be available for a further three years. The second year of the loan will be interest-free. We will also investigate more permanent sources of finance for SMEs.
“We will tighten regulations around merchant service fees charged by banks to retailers. Retailers are estimated to pay on average $13,000 more than their Australian counterparts each year on merchant service fees. This needs to change.
“The point where customers transact with businesses is a source of both health and economic concern. Contact-less payments give customers and businesses greater peace of mind as we all work to eliminate the virus.
“Central government regulations are also in the frame as we undertake to put small businesses at the heart of decision-making. A dedicated cross-government unit will be tasked with ensuring all proposed new regulations are considered from the perspective of SMEs.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy and will continue to be at the centre of our policies. We will keep up the momentum of recovery,” said Mr Nash.