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Advocacy for business by the BusinessNZ Network

Firms close to the edge

EMA’s Member Briefings have shown many firms are close to the edge.  CEO Brett O’Riley says manufacturers are facing supply chain blockages, aged care facilities can’t get nurses, even with visas, into the country, and many other firms are losing their skilled international workers.  “Those firms need more certainty around future planning for border restrictions, alert level management, vaccines, testing and tracing.  A plan for the future is critical to the survival of many of these businesses.”   


Nearly half intend to raise prices

Firms are experiencing increased costs, and many intend to pass costs on in higher prices, according to the latest ANZ Business Outlook.  74% of firms surveyed expect higher costs to come, and 49% of firms expect to increase prices this year.  Inflation expectations are accordingly higher, and business confidence is flat, ANZ says.  Positives include firms reporting increases in capacity utilisation, export intentions, and employment intentions.

Threat of market power

The Commerce Amendment Bill was introduced to Parliament this week.  The Bill would change the definition of anticompetitive behaviour so that large firms acting responsibly could still be accused of misusing market power.  Large firms could also be prevented from enforcing IP protections if this was deemed to result in lessened competition in a market.  BusinessNZ says simply being a large company doesn’t mean misuse of market power and the proposed changes would have a chilling effect on the market.  


Overseas Investment improvements

This week’s select committee report shows the Overseas Investment Amendment Bill (No 3)  improved by reducing requirements for overseas investors to get extra consent for any increase in their ownership stake, now requiring extra consent only if increases pass OIO thresholds.  It also removes the national interest test applying to investors whose investment has no impact on NZ’s security or national interest.  BusinessNZ says the changes are consistent with its advice to the select committee, and says overseas investment is critical for NZ’s Covid recovery.


Health & safety survey

Safeguard magazine  is surveying businesses' health & safety practices in 2021.  The annual survey tracks trends in perceptions of health & safety over time, and business practices including use of health & safety committees  The results of the survey are used by policy-makers, the wider H&S community and by businesses requiring H&S-related services. Your views as a business owner or executive are valued - please take the two-minute survey here


Advocacy spot:  people and water

People and water are key issues for horticulture this year.  With the borders closed because of Covid-19,  backpackers from overseas can’t get in to help with this year’s harvest.   That’s  making labour shortages an acute issue, Horticulture NZ’s Mike Chapman says.  Access to water is another challenge: with climate change affecting crops, more dams and water storage facilities are needed to safeguard the horticulture industry into the future.  An overhaul of the Resource Management Act is needed to allow more consents for water storage, Mike says.  


Coming up

AdvocacyUpdate is an update on recent activity & advocacy by the BusinessNZ Network