Small and medium-sized exporters are deeply concerned about the Government’s approach to labour law and this will lead to fewer New Zealanders in employment, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

In a survey of 400 exporters by ExportNZ, firms’ biggest concerns were impending changes to labour laws and increases in the minimum wage.

“Some firms face the prospect of having to pay up to $800,000 in additional wages every year as a result of a higher minimum wage.

“New industry-wide collective agreements will increase compliance costs for smaller exporters.

“Many exporters are unable to increase their prices in response to these changes because it would make them uncompetitive in world markets.

“This means they are likely to take on fewer staff in order to reduce their wage bill.

“Another major concern for exporters was the removal of ACT’s policy of 90-day trials for businesses with more than 20 employees.

“Firms said that they would be less likely to take a chance on young, unskilled workers without a track record.

“A country can’t regulate its way to prosperity. Governments must create an environment in which businesses invest in capital and new technology, leading to greater productivity and higher wages in a sustainable way.

“The Government’s economic approach is deeply concerning at a time of global economic uncertainty and when one in ten New Zealanders is already on welfare.

“ACT would cut the company tax rate to 25 per cent, and reduce red tape and compliance costs, so that businesses can grow and create jobs.”