31 Jul 2017

Education, RMA emerge as election issues for Business NZ

10:21 am on 31 July 2017

Business leaders are calling for better skills training, environment law reform, and tax cuts.

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Business New Zealand chief executive Kirk Hope Photo: RNZ

Business New Zealand has surveyed employers on what they want to see following the 2017 general election.

Its chief executive, Kirk Hope told Morning Report that New Zealand has one of the highest tax rates for businesses in the OECD.

He said New Zealand's business tax rate was 28 percent, while in Australia politicians were looking at making the rate 26 percent.

The difference with other countries was greater because of special exemptions, however.

"In other jurisdictions their headline rate is higher but they have a range of exemption that lowers their rate much lower than ours."

Mr Hope said employers in many sectors were worried about being able to fill job vacancies and wanted more action on skills training.

"What the biggest challenge is, is that there is that our education system is not producing the types of skills that business needs to continue to grow at the moment.

"There are mismatches in terms of skills and what business is telling us about their ability to access some of the skills they need, as opposed to what's being generated by the education system," he said.

"As a result we're having to rely on immigration to fill some of those skills gaps."

Mr Hope said another concern was the Resource Management Act because it took too long to develop infrustructure, limiting economic growth in the regions.

"It requires a lot longer to develop local infrastructure to enable communities to grow and for businesses to grow within those communities

"That's why we say that the RMA is a real problem, if you fix that you'll help generate economic growth in regional New Zealand."

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