The Act Party has pedalled back on its vow to lower the minimum wage, instead promising to freeze it for three years.
It also wants to drop GST to 10 per cent for a year, bring back 90-days trials, accelerate assets' depreciation, pour money into apprenticeships and streamline immigration for skilled workers.
The party this afternoon released its small business policy and said seven of its 10 top candidates were business owners so it understood the pressures they were facing.
As part of its small and medium enterprise (SME) package, it would:
• Put a three-year moratorium on increasing the minimum wage.
• Reinstate 90-day trials for all businesses.
• Streamline the employee personal grievance process.
Act's previous policy was to lower the minimum wage after it was increased to $18.90 in April but it has instead now committed to freezing it for three years.
"Increasing the minimum wage while the economy is in recession will put a handbrake on business growth and the creation of new jobs," Act's SME spokesperson Chris Baillie said.
"It's the last thing we need while we're in a recession."
He said reinstating 90-day trials would reduce the risk for employers and allow them to take a chance on workers, creating more jobs.
"Young or low-skilled workers, or people who have been out work, have the most to gain from being employed on a trial basis."
Act would also seek to ensure employees were "responsible for their actions" under the Health and Safety at Work Act "rather than placing all the onus on the employer".
As well, Act wants:
• A simplified personal grievance process with more free or cheap advice for SME owners on responsibilities under the Employment Act.
• To direct a larger portion of apprenticeships funding for businesses.
• To prioritise and streamline the immigration process for skilled workers.
• To move NZ Trade and Enterprise into the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Baillie said Act believed New Zealand should choose a low-tax, low-debt, high-growth strategy led by private companies to get through the fallout of Covid-19.