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National Leader Simon Bridges today launched National’s 2020 election policy development process, beginning with the ‘Have your say’ listening campaign for small businesses.

“We want to hear from New Zealanders about what matters to them and their ideas for this country’s future,” Mr Bridges says.

“Today I’m launching our process to develop policies for the 2020 election. This is about listening because New Zealanders care about this country and they know what works for them. We’ll use that to develop discussion documents next year, and to put forward final policies in 2020.

“We’re beginning with small businesses, the engine room of the economy. They create $80 billion of wealth each year and employ some 600,000 Kiwis. This Government is not listening to them but National will.

“National wants to hear about the biggest issues affecting them and their growth, what Government policies they’re most concerned about and the laws and regulations that could be improved. That’s never been more important than it is now.

“Two years ago New Zealand had the second-highest business confidence in the developed world. Now we’ve plummeted to fourth-to-last on the back of this Government’s anti-growth policies such as union-friendly labour law reform.

“I’ve already heard from frustrated small business owners who feel the Government is out of touch and lacks real-world experience. They don’t know about the stresses and strains of working in and on a business while trying to keep on top of paperwork and grow.

“National believes they deserve better. Every large company in New Zealand began as a small business. The world-beaters of tomorrow are hidden among the ranks of our hard-working small businesses today. We need the right policies to help them thrive.

“Small businesses deserve to be heard, so we’ve launched a portal, national.org.nz/haveyoursay, to give them an easy way to share their views. National MPs will also be out in their regions talking directly to business owners.

“We’re doing the work now because we don’t want to be like the current Government, which didn’t do the work in Opposition and has now set up more than 160 reviews and working groups costing $170 million so far to figure out what to do. That was lazy and that uncertainty is what’s behind plummeting business confidence.

“Together we can develop a plan to deliver on the things that are important to New Zealanders. We’ll do that work and we’ll be ready with plans and proposals in 2020.”

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