Tauranga Chamber welcomes Budget policies

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce today welcomed the projected return to surplus by 2014-15 and bringing net core Crown debt down to no higher than 20 per cent of GDP by 2020.

CEO Max Mason said businesses would be delighted to reduce their ACC levy rates by 40 per cent although it would take some time to implement.

He welcomed the new initiatives and policies to boost economic performance, particularly the $100 million-a-year internationally-focused growth and innovation package that increases funding for business R&D, scientific research, tourism marketing and international education.

"These are all areas that impact on performance of growing businesses in the Bay, and should have the effect of creating more jobs, and higher incomes," he said.

"Tax changes to allow loss-making start-up businesses to claim tax losses on R&D is very positive and will encourage more investment in innovation."

He said it was prudent there will be new rules to prevent banks from excessive lending in the housing sector, however he hoped this did not impact on the local housing market which was gaining strength and momentum.

He was pleased to see $130m for tertiary education over four years, including just over $27m for engineering and science. "I just hope we get a slice of that for our tertiary institutions, and the growing emphasis from employers on Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects shows the need for a larger tertiary presence in the Bay.

Tauranga has a housing affordability problem and he welcomed the housing package to increase affordability and access for Housing New Zealand properties

Mr Mason was dubious about the initiative where Government reserves the right to intervene in the consent process in areas of severe housing unaffordability where it cannot reach a deal with councils.

"There is insufficient information to really comment on this today, but we wouldn't want to see any sort of heavy handed approach."

The extra $2b towards the Christchurch rebuild was welcomed both for the people of that city but also for the trickle down effect for the many suppliers that are based in Tauranga.

Mr Mason said he would like to know more about the new tools for the Reserve Bank to use to protect the economy and the financial system from boom and bust cycles, before he commented.

Mr Mason agreed with cracking down on multi-national companies paying their fair share of tax.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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