17 May 2013

Pass mark from Duke, but 'more grunt' needed

3:54 pm on 17 May 2013

The head of one of New Zealand's leading retailers says the Budget was good as a mid-term solution, but he hopes next year's one is more grunty.

Rod Duke, managing director of the Briscoes Group, says he looked in vain for big, bold initiatives in terms of employment.

He says it is hard to be negative about the Budget, though, when it is addressing issues that are high in the mind of the community - such as housing, education and health.

Mr Duke says addressing those issues will be good for business.

He says that next year he'd like to see more money spent on skill-based training in an effort to do something about the 7% unemployment rate.

Another businessman, Bhav Dhillion, says the Budget has not eased anxiety about the ability of businesses to hire new staff, and he's disappointed there was no strong theme of job creation.

Mr Dhillon, director of the concrete products company Cemix, says he would like the next Budget to address unemployment and serious skills shortages in various sectors; the focus should be on creating pathways into jobs for young people.

He says Finance Minister Bill English seems to believe slow and steady wins the race but something more radical, particularly for small businesses, would have been welcome.