Todd McClay: Partnership the key to progress and growth

By Todd McClay

Small businesses are a crucial part of Rotorua. They play a vital role in supporting and boosting not only the local economy but also in New Zealand's overall economic performance.

Our city is home to a number of thriving locally-owned small and medium enterprises. In particular our small tourism businesses make up a significant component of the overall sector in New Zealand.

Operators like the Agrodome, Agroventures and the Polynesian Spa are at the forefront of what we have to offer. The experience that they give tourists is integral to their overall experience of New Zealand, and how much they then invest into our economies while they're here.

These businesses all share the same strong commitment to and focus on customer service and client satisfaction. This is what makes them stand apart from larger companies and why Rotorua is making a name for itself on a national and international scale.

Supporting small and medium enterprises like these to grow, invest, employ more staff, and compete successfully in a global marketplace is an important part of the Government's economic programme.

The Government wants to make sure that we put the right policy settings in place to help small businesses succeed. This means cutting a lot of the red tape and making it easier for these businesses to operate.

A major part of this is improving the way businesses interact with the government.

Currently we are looking to create a single customer number for business to use when dealing with agencies _ meaning streamlined and seamless service for business no matter which agency they are dealing with. We've set the ambitious target to reduce business costs by 25 per cent by 2017.

Further, the Government's Business Growth Agenda (BGA) will put in place the right tools to enable Kiwi companies to grow and compete on the world stage.

The BGA is about ensuring businesses have access to the six key ingredients they need to grow, create jobs and be successful. They include access to markets, innovation, skills, capital markets, infrastructure, and resources.

Making access to these six key elements easier to give all businesses the platform they need to become internationally competitive is key. Already industries in Rotorua are making leaps and bounds in offshore exporting.

SCION are doing great things in the region and are continuing to look at ways of taking up opportunities using low carbon, clean technology and high energy industries which are on our doorstep.

The electorate is also leading the way in geothermal energy extraction and usage, from Taupo through to Kawerau.

This gives us a leading edge in attracting new investment in our town and increased employment opportunities.

Many local businesses are doing a great job by remaining committed to local industry.

This is important not only for the Rotorua economy but for our communities as well.

A good example of this is Central Transport Ltd, based in Reporoa. Owners Brendan and Abi Cane started the business with five trucks _ they now have 40 and employ 60 people from the community.

On Saturday the Canes invited me to open their new workplace.

I am especially impressed by their commitment to the industry and the community by continuing to grow the business and stay in Reporoa.

Only a strong economy can provide financial security for families and real opportunities for young people.

The Government's responsible economic management, which will give small business confidence in their future, is part of our plan to put the economy on a strong and stable footing.

I'll continue to play my part in this by working alongside business leaders and industries and be the voice for local business in Parliament.


- Rotorua Daily Post

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