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Govt promises reduction in compliance costs for business

But Finance Minister Bill English says it will be difficult to achieve "because governments are not organised in a business-friendly way".

Rob Hosking
Mon, 25 Jun 2012

UPDATED: Finance Minister Bill English says plans to reduce the cost of government red tape for business will be difficult to achieve "because governments are not organised in a business-friendly way".

The comments came at a post-Cabinet press conference today where Mr English and Prime Minister John Key announced more details of the government's previously announced public sector targets. 

A key one for business is a 25% reduction in the cost of red tape by moving more interaction with government agencies online, by way of a "one-stop shop".

Asked by NBR ONLINE why this would be different to previous governments who have announced the intention to use a "one-stop shop" Mr English said this time the goals are clearer, as are the lines of accountability. 

"The difference this time is that, like with a lot of these results, the clarity of what we are trying to achieve, and also the clarity around accountability for achieving it....

"In that case it's the new business ministry that's being set up, and the minister, and the chief executives are named, and that's the first time that has happened.

"That one is going to be particularly challenging, because governments are not organised in a business-friendly way."


5.30pm: By 2017 it will cost business 25% less to interact with government agencies than it does now if an ambitious plan outlined by ministers today comes off.

Prime Minister John Key today fleshed out a few more specific details of his 10 key result areas of the public sector in his post-Cabinet press conference this afternoon. 

For business, the main area is a far greater use of online services to interact with government agencies, and a promised 25% reduction in the cost of those interactions.

This means  a "one-stop shop"  for government services – an idea which successive governments have talked about since the mid-1990s.

As well as the 25% lower costs target, government-to-business services will have performance ratings, similar to large private sector firms, and businesses will be able to contribute to this via an online feedback system by July next year.

More broadly than business, the government wants to have 70% of New Zealanders' most common transactions with government agencies to be carried out online.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce – who is, with Internal Affairs Minister Chris Tremain, one of the two lead ministers in this area – says the targets are ambitious.

"About three million interactions occur between agencies and small-to-medium sized enterprises every four months… The one-stop online shop will deliver faster online services, better integration of services and services dinged for business."

Other targets being fleshed out by Mr Key later today are a 30% reduction, by 2017, of people of working age receiving welfare benefits; 98% of children starting school having taken part in early childhood education; a two-thirds reduction in the incidence of childhood rheumatic fever; 85% of 18 year olds having attained NCEA level two or the equivalent; 55% of 25-34 year olds with a qualification of level four or above; a 25% reduction in re-offending; and a 15% reduction in crime by 2017.

Ministers are to outline "action plans" for all these areas over the coming few weeks.

Rob Hosking
Mon, 25 Jun 2012
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Govt promises reduction in compliance costs for business