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Small business owners are still waiting for the Government’s Small Business Council to do something for a sector struggling with rising costs and prescriptive labour law changes, National’s Small Business spokesperson Jacqui Dean says.

“It has been five months since the Council was formed and after four meetings, including one in November, there has been no tangible improvements for small business.

“In fact, despite the Council stating, almost eight weeks ago, that it would increase its focus on how it could “better support” small business, nothing has been forthcoming.

“Negative sentiment still abounds in business with a recent NZIER Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion finding that 18 per cent of businesses expect a worsening in economic conditions over the next few months.

“This sustained negativity is well founded because the Government has done nothing for businesses, with its union-friendly employment law changes and hikes to the minimum wage only adding to their woes.

“Surely better support for small businesses should have been the goal for this council, and indeed for the Labour-led Government, from the outset.

“Smaller operators make up 97 per cent of all businesses in this country and employ over 600,000 people, it's not good enough that the Government and this Council continue to sit back and watch them struggle, while they claim to be doing something about it.”

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