The Government must stop ignoring the evidence that small businesses are being hurt by its policies and that in turn is undermining New Zealand’s economic growth, National’s Small Business spokesperson Jacqui Dean says.

“MYOB’s latest survey indicates more than half of New Zealand’s small and medium-sized businesses expect the economy to decline over the next 12 months compared with just 23 per cent prior to the election last year.

“The survey doesn’t just poll sentiment. It asks what’s actually happening in the firms it polls. The results show 26 per cent of business owners saw their own revenue fall in the past 12 months – the first time actual, revenue has been negative since 2011.

“About half of those surveyed blame the Government for the slump in confidence and almost three-quarters cited rising fuel costs.

“The survey is in tune with National’s own survey and the feedback National MPs are getting from talking to business owners on the ground every day. The Government can’t continue to dismiss the slump in confidence as some sort of aberration because it doesn’t fit its narrative.

“The impact on the economy and on our communities is being felt now. Small businesses are reluctant to take on apprentices or hire more workers. They’re holding off on making investments.

“Unlike this Government, National is listening because we respect small business owners and we recognise their contribution to New Zealand.”

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