Government not 'very pro-business at all' - Luxon

Source: 1News

National leader Christopher Luxon says he doesn't think the Government "is very pro-business at all".

He told Breakfast the Government is passing a "tremendous" amount of cost and complexity onto businesses, singling out its proposed income insurance scheme.

The scheme could see people receive 80% of their salary for up to seven months if they're made redundant, laid off, or stop working due to a health condition or disability.

Luxon's comments after the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research's (NZIER) latest quarterly survey of business opinion revealed business confidence is at its weakest since March 2020.

It reported 62% of businesses expect a deterioration in general economic conditions over the coming months, a rise on the 34% last quarter.

With businesses facing higher costs, NZIER said more will be passing this on to consumers by raising fees and prices.

National's finance spokesperson Nicola Willis said on Tuesday the survey's results should serve as a "wake-up call" to the Government.

"This data shows [businesses] are running on empty, crying out for workers and drowning under increasing costs. Their struggle is bad news for all New Zealanders and points to more troubles ahead for our economy," she said in a statement.

Willis called on the Government to "fix" immigration settings, scrap plans for fair pay agreements, "restore discipline" to its spending, dump plans to introduce a "jobs-tax" and halt "unnecessary new regulations".

"National would boost New Zealand's prosperity by listening to business concerns, responding with effective government policy and backing everyday employers, entrepreneurs and innovators to succeed," she remarked.

Luxon had similar thoughts, singling out immigration settings.

National's immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford has said businesses across New Zealand are "staring down the barrel of critical labour shortages".

The party is running a campaign to try and get migrant nurses and midwives a fast-tracked pathway to residency.

"They are big bottlenecks that are constraining businesses from growing and being able to seize opportunities, which then creates more opportunity for their employees," Luxon remarked.

He described businesses as the country's "lifeblood" and said the Government could be doing a lot more to encourage business in New Zealand to take a risk, particularly on the global scale.

The June business outlook survey by ANZ said business confidence had fallen seven points to -63%. The bank remarked firms are "increasingly pessimistic" about the outlook for activity and profitability.