“Businesses have been decimated by Covid-19, so Labour has decided to dump more costs on them – that’s completely nuts”, say ACT Leader David Seymour and Small Business spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Yet another minimum wage hike shows Labour only knows how to divide the economic pie – we need to grow it”, says Mr Baillie.

“Small businesses have been decimated by Covid-19. For the first time in almost a decade, businesses are closing at a faster rate than they’re opening. Labour’s response has been to pile on more costs and more rules.

“Since 2017, Labour has increased the minimum wage by 36 per cent, but productivity gains to pay for it have been meagre.

“The new Matariki public holiday and five extra days of sick leave will collectively add almost $1.5 billion in costs to businesses and will be passed on to customers. As a small business owner, I know that a return to centralised wage bargaining (so-called “Fair Pay” Agreements) and the watering down of 90-day trial changes will mean more compliance and less production.

“The only way to sustainably raise wages is to raise worker productivity. Labour doesn’t have any serious solutions on that front.

“ACT MPs understand the pressures businesses are under and we have practical policies to support them. ACT would pause minimum wage hikes so small business owners can take a breather.”

“Fundamentally, Labour doesn’t know where wealth comes from”, says Mr Seymour.

“Jacinda and company know about the 80s reforms, but they don’t know how bad the situation was beforehand. So-called ‘Fair Pay Agreements’ would take us back to compulsory, one-size-fits-all contracts. It’s nuts, but it makes sense if your world starts in 1984.

“Forcing every business to pay for extra holidays, sick pay, and time off would take us back to a world before Sir Roger Douglas made the economy rational again.

“We need a major reset in thinking about wealth. It’s not a zero-sum game. One person’s gain isn’t always, or even usually, someone else’s loss. New Zealand is filled with innovative people who get more out of less through shear ingenuity.”

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