Small businesses are fundamental to the strength of the economy, with the sector contributing more than a quarter of GDP and employing 30 per cent of the workforce. But now, business owners say the raft of legislative changes implemented in the past six months are harming their livelihoods - and they only expect things to get worse.

Every week, small business owner Lizzi Whaley, says she spends at least three hours complying with rules and regulations.

As owner and chief executive of Auckland design company Spaceworks, Whaley employs 19 fulltime staff. Recent changes to employment law mean the business now

Data vacuum

Falling business confidence

Changes to employment law in past six months

Proposed changes