Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) Northern - What Business wants from Government

What Business wants from Government

06 Jul 2017
With the countdown now on until the General Election on September 23, the EMA has released its key recommendations for the incoming Government.

The EMA Election Policy Manifesto 2017 outlines the policies and recommended solutions the organisation is advocating for to deliver a better overall business environment.

“The manifesto is driven by what our members say is important for them and what they want the new Government to take heed of. We’ve focussed on four key areas supported by the top 10 policy initiatives to address these areas,” says Kim Campbell, CEO, EMA. 

The four key areas are:

-         Enabling growth and development
-         Skills and education
-         Employment law
​-         Export growth

The challenges of enabling growth and development for business across the country are well documented. EMA has focussed on how this relates to infrastructure investment, transport and the resource management system in particular.

“We need critical national infrastructure to enable the uplifts in economic and social wellbeing that New Zealanders expect. For too long, we’ve commissioned reports and reviews on this issue. We need to take some bold steps to truly address what is becoming an infrastructure shortfall which will ultimately hold New Zealand back,” says Mr Campbell.

“We need to look at whether our resource management system helps or hinders in this process, and how we can modify it for the needs of New Zealand in the 21st century.

“One of the keys to unlocking this is how local and central government intersect. It is becoming obvious that the current model does not provide the necessary structure, governance, funding and strategic oversight that these nation-building initiatives need,” he says.

Another of the key issues the manifesto addresses is skills development, education and training as this is a growing issue for employers across a range of sectors and a range of roles.

Regular surveys by EMA show this is a growing concern for employers. In 2015 67% of employers were struggling to recruit for skilled positions and in 2016 that had risen to 72.8%. This is further exacerbated with 65% saying there is, or soon will be, a skills shortage in their industry sector.

The EMA manifesto also looks at the wider employment environment and those matters which impact employers’ daily management of their workforce. Two areas have been highlighted to the incoming Government in particular.

These are the Holidays Act and incoming legislation for pay equity. The growing trend of New Zealand’s ageing population and the subsequent impact of this on the workforce and the workplace is also highlighted.

“In terms of the specific pieces of legislation, we want to ensure the principles and framework developed to address pay equity are enshrined in the new legislation.

“We know that the Holidays Act in its current form is not working for many employers currently. We believe a working group approach (similar to the approach used for pay equity) should be applied to find a more workable solution.

“Of course, export growth has got to be part of any business manifesto. External trade is the lifeblood of our economy. This is a huge piece of work. We are extremely supportive, via ExportNZ, of all initiatives which give our exporters better market access and break down the barriers to trade,” says Mr Campbell.

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