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Advocacy Update

July August 2018

WORKING FOR BUSINESS IN NZ

Employment relations featured heavily in our advocacy work for July and August, which was also a particularly busy period for the export and trade area


Advocacy Snapshot

July August 2018

Activity This Report

383

Media Mentions

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01

Member Surveys and Research programmes

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10

Government Advisory Group Meetings

5

Policy Submissions

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02

Events


Advocacy

July August 2018

Economy


Issue For Business
Tax Working Group - Interim Report
Advocacy Activity
After receiving 6700 submissions, the Tax Working Group (TWG) has released its interim report, with the final report to be released early 2019. Although submissions have not been called for on the report, BusinessNZ will still take the opportunity to submit on it so that our views on the various recommendations are clearly understood by the TWG.
(Steve Summers ssummers@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
BusinessNZ will respond to the interim report of the TWG.

Issue For Business
R&D Tax Credit Scheme - Introduction of Bill
Advocacy Activity
After taking into account the views of submitters, the Government will be releasing a standalone Bill on the R&D Tax Credit Scheme around October, which BusinessNZ will submit on.
(Steve Summers ssummers@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
BusinessNZ will submit on the Bill.

Issue For Business
Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill
Advocacy Activity
This Bill essentially does two things. First, it reinstates the promotion of social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing into the statutory purpose of Local Government. Second, it expands the ability of local councils to collect development contributions. Both of these proposals could have significant implications for costs on the business community, particularly given the widespread but inappropriate use of business rating differentials.
(John Pask jpask@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
A submission was drafted, sent out for member feedback and the final submission lodged on 24th May. We have been heard by Select Committee. Awaiting report back of Bill.

Issue For Business
Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Monetary Policy) Amendment Bill
Advocacy Activity
This Bill has two main objectives:
(a) Amend current monetary policy objectives to require consideration of maximum sustainable employment alongside price stability in monetary policy decisionmaking; and
(b) Institute a monetary policy committee (MPC) to make decisions on monetary policy. BusinessNZ has been a strong advocate of the Reserve Bank’s overriding objective of price stability and independent decisionmaking, with responsibility for monetary policy decisions resting with the Governor of the Reserve Bank.
(John Pask jpask@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
Submission drafted, sent out for member feedback and submitted to the Finance and Expenditure Committee on 7th September. Awaiting Select Committee hearing.

Resources and Environment


Issue For Business
Transitioning to a Low-Emissions Economy
Advocacy Activity
BusinessNZ is advocating for a system that allows new low-emissions businesses to flourish, while also allowing high-emissions businesses that are economic and emissions efficient (e.g. dairy products, aluminium) to continue.
(John Carnegie jcarnegie@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
Met with Minister for Climate Change twice to discuss his economic transition plans, with a third meeting arranged. Submissions made on the Productivity Commission’s Low Emissions Economy report, and the Zero Carbon Bill.

Issue For Business
Electricity Pricing Review
Advocacy Activity
The Electricity Price Review report has been released. Submissions are due on 23 October. The Chair of the Review, Miriam Dean, is briefing members of the BusinessNZ Energy Council in September.
(John Carnegie jcarnegie@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
The BusinessNZ Energy Council submitted on the draft terms of reference for an Electricity Price Review. We are now in the process of commissioning a report from Sapere Research Group to inform our submission. We have also met with the Minister of Energy and Resources.

Issue For Business
The Future of NZs Energy Sector
Advocacy Activity
The BusinessNZ Energy Council has commenced its investor-led BEC2060 Energy Scenarios refresh. This work will be underpinned by the development of the TIMES model currently being built by the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.
(John Carnegie jcarnegie@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
This work will help inform the future of NZs energy sector and has strong engagement across both the private and public sectors as co-funders of the TIMES model build.

Issue For Business
Lifting the capability of the Ministry for the Environment
Advocacy Activity
BusinessNZ is working with the Ministry for the Environment on the design and implementation of the Zero Carbon Bill and the ETS review.
(John Pask jpask@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
Ongoing advice as required to MFE.

Issue For Business
Forum attended
Advocacy Activity
Asia Pacific Carbon Forum 2018, Singapore.

Employer Issues


Issue For Business
Employment Relations Amendment Bill
Advocacy Activity
The amending bill largely removes the previous Government’s ERA changes so when passed, the Act will be much as it was prior to those changes but with certain additions:
  • Collective agreements must be  concluded unless there is a genuine reason not to.
  • Collective agreements must include rates of wages or salary.
  • New employees are covered by any applicable collective agreement for the first 30 days of employment.
  • Unions have the first right to initiate bargaining.
  • Unions need not request access to an employer’s premises.
  • Union delegates must be given reasonable paid time to represent employees.
  • Unions can give employers information about their role and function to pass on to their employees.
  • Employers must share new employee information with a union unless the employee objects.
  • Union members enjoy greater protection from  discrimination on the basis of their union membership.
  • Employers with fewer than 20 employees are not exempt from contracting out/sale of business requirements.
  • The period in which to make a decision to transfer to a new employer is extended.
  • Statutory rest and meal break provisions apply but with a limited exception for an essential service ‘critical to the public interest’.
  • Reinstatement is the primary remedy for unjustified dismissal.
  • 90-day trial periods may be used only by employers with fewer than 20 employees.

(Paul Mackay pmackay@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
The Bill has now been reported back from the Select Committee. It contains no substantive changes, and it may be considered that the Government has chosen to ignore employer concerns. Our efforts are now concentrated on lobbying Government, including coalition partners, over our most important concerns, including the requirement to settle a collective agreement, the repeal of the ability to opt out of a MECA, 90-day trial periods, and free access to workplaces for union officials.

Issue For Business
The Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Bill has been drawn from the private members ballot. The Bill seeks to allow contract workers to join a collective agreement and to allow them to take personal grievance action against their employer/contractor
Advocacy Activity
BusinessNZ's advocacy will highlight the fact that this Bill would blur the line between a contractor and an employee, requiring expensive litigation in court to sort out the difference; and that it would impose restrictions on contracting, making it less economic.
(Paul Mackay pmackay@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
Submissions are now being heard by the Select Committee which is due to report back to Parliament by the end of November 2018.

Issue For Business
Legislation is expected to introduce Fair Pay Agreements setting out minimum conditions across an entire industry. Minimum industry-wide conditions would include for example wages, allowances, weekend rates, night rates, hours of work etc
Advocacy Activity
Our advocacy is focused on the impact on businesses of such industry-wide regulations eg small business may find it costly to comply.
(Paul Mackay pmackay@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
BusinessNZ is represented on the Government’s Fair Pay Working Group. It is due to make an interim report to Government in November, at which time it will be more obvious what changes and their attendant impacts may occur. The Prime Minister has indicated that, should FPAs in fact be introduced, there will be only one or 2 FPAs negotiated during this term of government.

Issue For Business
Establishment of a Film Industry Working Group re 'Hobbit' contracting issues. BusinessNZ is represented on this working group, which has been asked to find a way to give collective bargaining rights to film production contractors
Advocacy Activity
BusinessNZ was a member of this group and advocated a solution that will not harm the competitiveness of the NZ film industry.
(Paul Mackay pmackay@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
The Film Industry Working Group has completed its work and has reached a consensus on the recommendations to be made to the Government. These should be presented to the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety by the end of October. It is unclear when the Government expects to make its decision on the recommendations.

Issue For Business
Reinstatement of Pay Equity Working Group
Advocacy Activity
The reconvened group, originally set up by the previous Government, has completed its work and made unanimous recommendations to the Government.
(Paul Mackay pmackay@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
The Working Group’s recommendations have been accepted and legislation amending the Equal Pay Act is imminent.

Issue For Business
Forum attended
Advocacy Activity
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment BusinessNZ monthly meeting - focuses on employment relations, skills, and immigration.
Action & Outcome
Paul Mackay and Carrie Murdoch attended. This allows discussion of current issues and updates on new developments. Important for ongoing relationship with MBIE and BusNZ’s ability to contribute to policy development.

Issue For Business
Forum attended
Advocacy Activity
Aging Workforce Working Group - focuses on the issues and opportunities for businesses in adapting to an aging workforce.
Action & Outcome
Carrie Murdoch and Paul Mackay attended. This is ongoing and is contributing to the policy discussion on dealing with an aging workforce. Its work has been commended by Government.

Issue For Business
Forum attended
Advocacy Activity
Seminar of “Access to Justice” run by AUT and attended by Employment Court judges, Employment Relations Authority members, senior academics, and unions.
Action & Outcome
Paul Mackay attended this invitation-only event.

Exporting & Trade


Issue For Business
Zero Carbon Bill
Advocacy Activity
While NZ needs to do our part, we also need to ensure we remain internationally competitive. Moving in step with other countries rather than ahead of them will be important given there is considerable economic cost to getting to carbon neutrality. The bill will hit the export sector particularly hard given it will aim to reduce the carbon footprint of agriculture and transport. A lot of our exports sit in the food and beverage sector – by adding costs to the supply chain, these measures will affect their ability to compete globally if they can’t keep their costs reasonable.
(Catherine Beard cbeard@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
ExportNZ submitted on the discussion document for the Zero Carbon Bill and will be meeting with David Prentice, Chairman of the Interim Committee for Climate Change.

Issue For Business
FTA negotiations between NZ and the EU have been launched
Advocacy Activity
ExportNZ regions are hosting MFAT meetings on the EU FTA in order to receive exporter feedback and inform trade negotiators of any issues that could be resolved through a good-quality FTA.
(Catherine Beard cbeard@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
ExportNZ will submit when the time comes, and will support this FTA publicly.

Issue For Business
R&D Tax Credits
Advocacy Activity
ExportNZ/ManufacturingNZ are holding another meeting on the tax credits in Auckland with the MCG Chief Technology Officers Group. The thinking on scheme design has changed since the discussion paper, and this will be an opportunity to gain better clarification of how the scheme will work.
(Catherine Beard cbeard@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
A submission was circulated for input and the final version submitted to Officials. Anecdotal feedback indicates that Officials have listened to views from industry and that changes to the scheme design have been made. We will know the detail soon.

Issue For Business
Issues around procurement
Advocacy Activity
Further to our letter to Minister David Parker on procurement issues and the suggestion of setting up a system that lets suppliers rate agencies on how they perform when it comes to procurement, MBIE has agreed to undertake a more detailed survey of suppliers of 50 of the largest agencies and tenders they have let. We have also fed this back to the Auditor-General’s office as part of its request for feedback on its draft annual plan.
(Catherine Beard cbeard@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
MBIE is currently testing the confidential supplier feedback tool and it will be launched very soon. We will publicise this widely when it does go live, as it will be a great way to improved the way that Government works with suppliers when it comes to procurement.

Issue For Business
Watching brief on US trade tariffs
Advocacy Activity
We are currently watching developments in the trade space from the US, particularly around increased tariffs. We have been briefed by relevant parties and will keep everyone apprised. We have a trade panel of experts speaking on this at our annual Conference Go Global on 27 September in Auckland.
(Catherine Beard cbeard@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
For more detail on Go Global: www.goglobal.nz A good result with the USA was the passage of the KIWI Act - which gives business visas (E1 and E2) to NZ businesspeople, making business travel to the USA easier. This has been many years in the making, so a big thanks to go to MFAT for good work in this space.

Issue For Business
Progressive and Inclusive Trade Agenda
Advocacy Activity
ExportNZ is helping to promote MFAT workshops on the progressive and inclusive trade agenda. There is a desire by this Government to be as transparent as possible on the free trade agenda and to answer any questions of the general public as well as business about the benefits of trade. It is also seeking feedback on what people would like to see in these agreements. There will also be a Trade for All Advisory Board that will represent a spectrum of views on trade, and we expect ExportNZ/BusinessNZ will be represented.
(Catherine Beard cbeard@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
The outcome hoped for is that more New Zealanders will appreciate the need for free trade deals and will feel that they benefit from them. Already having most political parties support CPTPP (the Greens are the exception) has been reassuring for the general public.

Issue For Business
Australia-NZ Standards are being disjointed due to lack of funding, because Standards Australia has introduced a participation fee. NZ businesses now have to pay in order to keep Australia-NZ standards joined and the fees can be substantial.
Advocacy Activity
ManufacturingNZ and BusinessNZ wrote to Hon David Parker, Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Export Growth and Hon Kris Faafoi, suggesting exploring government funding options for continuing to support joint standards and standards development. The letter was undersigned by the NZ Building Industry Federation, Metals New Zealand, Water New Zealand, the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association, the Manufacturers Network, Plastics NZ, Concrete NZ, Electricity Engineers’ Association, EMA, Business Central and the Wellington Chamber of Commerce, Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce, and Otago-Southland Employers’ Association.
(Catherine Beard cbeard@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
BusinessNZ is expecting a report from MBIE shortly with a recommendation as to how this problem can be solved. We have not seen the report, but understand it will be recommending an approach that will be an improvement on the situation we have at present. The report will be seeking industry feedback prior to recommendations going to the Minister.

Issue For Business
Forum attended
Advocacy Activity
NZ Customs Stakeholder Reference Group meetings
Action & Outcome
Cost recovery stakeholder reference group. This is early days of the consultation, but we are talking about cost recovery methodology.

Issue For Business
Forum attended
Advocacy Activity
NZ US Council Advisory Board meeting
Action & Outcome
The focus is on keeping a good relationship between NZ business and government and the USA, given the importance of the trade relationship. A new ED appointed to run the NZ US Council, Jordan Small, is based at BusinessNZ.

Issue For Business
Forum attended
Advocacy Activity
CAPES Advisory Board meeting (Centre for Asia Pacific Excellence). There are 3 CAPEs focused on North Asia, South East Asia and Latin America. The goal is to increase the pipeline of talent coming out of the education system with better language and cultural skills in these regions, and to educate NZ business on cultural and language tips for these markets.
Action & Outcome
ExportNZ is partnering with CAPES to ensure the outputs are relevant and helpful to business, and to help promote the workshops.

Issue For Business
Forum attended
Advocacy Activity
Procurement - Business Reference Group
Action & Outcome
We are on this reference group to give feedback to MBIE Officials on improvements that can be made to Government procurement. We have made some good inroads in getting the supplier voice heard and changes made for the benefit of NZ businesses.

Skills & Migration


Issue For Business
New BusinessNZ Manager for Education, Skills and Immigration
Advocacy Activity
BusinessNZ has appointed Rachel Simpson to the role of Manager - Education, Skills and Immigration following Carrie Murdoch’s departure.
Rachel can be contacted on rsimpson@businessnz.org.nz or 027 222 7234.

Issue For Business
ImmigrationNZ visa processing
Advocacy Activity
Issues around visa processing processes have been identified by a number of employers especially around timeliness, quality and consistency of decision making. The first co-hosted meeting between BusinessNZ and Immigration NZ to take a customer-centred approach to processing from start to end of the service design and implementation is taking place in mid-September.
(Rachel Simpson rsimpson@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
Issued raised and have agreement to make improvements in this area. First meeting with employers taking place in mid-September.

Issue For Business
Future of Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology
Advocacy Activity
BusinessNZ is working with the Tertiary Education Commission and others on the future of Polytechnics and Institutes of Technology.
(Rachel Simpson rsimpson@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
Ongoing input and advice as required.

Issue For Business
Improving access to upskilling and reskilling for the existing workforce so that they are able to develop and move to new and productive positions in the labour market, and contribute to NZ’s economic growth
Advocacy Activity
BusinessNZ is working with the Tertiary Education Commission on the design of future-focused workforce upskilling and reskilling.
(Rachel Simpson rsimpson@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
Ongoing input and advice as required.

Issue For Business
Ensure new workers entering the workforce have the skills, capabilities and behaviours they need to be fully equipped for the changing labour market and contribute to NZ’s economic growth
Advocacy Activity
BusinessNZ is working with government agencies on the reviews of the NCEA, Tomorrow Schools, and Vocational Education and Training.
(Rachel Simpson rsimpson@businessnz.org.nz)
Action & Outcome
Ongoing input and advice as required.

Legal

BuyNZ


Issue For Business
Brand recognition for New Zealand Made
Advocacy Activity
Media coverage: Q&A Feature with Corin Dann “NZ Made Market Origin Advantage and book launch”. NBR with Hamish Coleman-Ross “On Business Fear of Failure”. Farmer’s Weekly with Tim Fulton “Kiwi Made set for tech polish”. Scoop “New Book An Insight Into Business”
Action & Outcome
58 new licence applications over the last quarter, trending at 24% CAGR on forecast target of 300 new licence holders for 18/19.

Action to run fee-based NZ Made branding workshops in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

Issue For Business
Lack of public awareness of New Zealand’s manufacturing capability
Advocacy Activity
Create broad portfolio of business interviews under ‘Making It New Zealand’ banner featuring New Zealand Made licence holders.
Action & Outcome
20 of 30 episodes (2-4 minutes each) complete. 25,200 minutes collectively watched by audience. Follow up to investigate appetite for production of episodes as paid for service at $1,900-$2,800+GST per episode.

Issue For Business
Upskilling New Zealand businesses to work on their business.
Advocacy Activity
Publication of ‘100% Kiwi Business’ book. 100% Kiwi Business book launch with group of 60 business owners.
Action & Outcome
Action to use Crush-worthy branding chapter as basis for NZ Made branding workshops at $160+GST per head.

Issue For Business
Kiwi Trademark Compliance
Advocacy Activity
Tightened up on non compliance with Commerce Commission engagement and agreed 2% audit rate of base.
Action & Outcome
Non compliance resulting in $5,000+GST collection for trademark.

Issue For Business
Improving NZ Made Exporter Capability
Advocacy Activity
Invitation to Go Global event. One table reserved for NZ Made licence holders
Action & Outcome
Over-subscribed, two tables booked netting ExportNZ $3,600+GST.

Major Companies Group and Gold


Issue For Business
Corporate Affairs and AIG meetings
Advocacy Activity
Upcoming Corporate Affairs Meeting Wednesday 26 September with Climate Change Commission Chair David Prentice on the progress of the committee and its priorities. Deputy Leader of NZ First Fletcher Tabuteau will also speak on his Regional Economic Development portfolio and as Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs. AIG Meeting Thursday 27 September - Presentation by John Morris, Eleisha Hawkins and Denise Brown from StatsNZ. StatsNZ is developing a set of indicators to show how NZ is tracking within a broad view of wellbeing and sustainable development that goes well beyond the fundamental economic issues. The aim is to use a comprehensive set of environmental, social, cultural and economic indicators on an ongoing basis. More information about Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand - Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa and Stats in consultation is available here. The consultation ends on 30 September 2018.

Issue For Business
Forums held
Advocacy Activity
Meet and Greet with National Party Caucus and staffers in Wellington on 6 August. We had an overwhelming response from companies, with about 130 attendees including a strong National Party contingent.

Issue For Business
Upcoming forums
Advocacy Activity
Employment Relations discussion Friday 13 September held in Auckland at Fonterra with Clayton Mitchell, NZ Spokesperson for employment and Deputy Leader Fletcher Tabuteau. Business Leaders’ dinner with the Prime Minister sponsored by Christchurch International Airport and Johnson and Johnson. Senior Ministers Hon David Parker, Hon Phil Twyford, and Hon Grant Robertson will be in attendance along with government officials too. A number of private dinners with Ministers Robertson and Twyford plus MBIE CE Carolyn Tremain have been held around the country.