Small businesses signal election priorities

25 Oct 2016

National backed by 57 per cent of SME owners while Labour receives 10 per cent support in Business Monitor survey

With around a year to go before the General Election, the National Party enjoys overwhelming support from New Zealand’s small business owners according to a survey from accounting software provider MYOB.

The MYOB Colmar Brunton Business Monitor surveyed 1,012 small business owners from around New Zealand on their attitudes to the political parties and what policies they support.

When asked what political party is best for helping their business succeed, National came out in front with 57 per cent saying it is best for them while Labour had just 10 per cent support. New Zealand First had 4 per cent, the Greens 3 per cent and ACT 2 per cent. No other parties registered and the rest were either ‘don’t know’ or ‘none of them’.

“It’s obviously a good result for the Government. People do trust John Key and Bill English’s economic management. There is a strong sense in the small business community that the country is on the right track,” says MYOB Head of Small Business Ingrid Cronin-Knight.

“MYOB’s Business Monitor also found 42 per cent of business owners expect their revenue to increase in the next year, while just 11 per cent expect it to decline – so obviously the strong economy is playing well for National.

“For Labour and the other opposition parties, the survey shows they have a bit of work to do to connect with small business owners in the lead up to the election. Labour especially will need to bring out new policies that are attractive to business owners and build its credibility as a credible manager of the economy.

“However, the good news for Labour is that when you look at specific policies of interest to small businesses, in many cases the owners favour Labour’s position. For instance, when we asked whether they supported Labour’s policy of research and development tax credits or National’s Callaghan Innovation grants scheme, of those that expressed a preference, 29 per cent supported the tax credit, while just 7 per cent supported the grants scheme.”

“Looking at other policies, then one of the most important issue for small business owners is simplification of the tax rules and processes to make it easier for businesses to meet their tax obligations. More than 91 per cent of business owners support this.

“The good news is that there is legislation in front of parliament to simplify provisional taxation. The changes will make it a pay-as-you-go system and will mean business tax can be calculated through your MYOB accounting software and paid directly to Inland Revenue. The clear message from small business is that they want whoever is in power after the election ensure this reform remains a priority.”

Other findings:

  • 63 per cent want to retain the 90 trial period for new employees, verse 18 per cent who oppose it.
  • 93 per cent of small businesses think the Government needs to ensure multinational companies pay tax on profits earned in New Zealand.
  • Two-thirds of small business owners believe in assigning a proportion of Government procurement contracts to small businesses.
  • There is a split on whether the age of superannuation entitlement should be raised to 67, with 47 per cent opposed to lifting the age, while 37 per cent support it. There was also a split on pulling out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade deal – with one third supporting the deal and 29 per cent wanting New Zealand to pull out.

“There are two key policies that political parties could pick up before the election that have a lot of support from small business owners. Three-quarters of small business owners would like the Holiday’s Act simplified, while almost 60 per cent would like the Government to introduce an instant write-off scheme for depreciation of new assets,” says Ms Cronin-Knight.

“There are approximately 490,000 businesses in New Zealand with fewer than 20 employees, making them a substantial constituency in the election. Political parties need to show that they back these people and understand the pressures that go with running a small business.
“Those 490,000 business owners are focused on cashflow, attracting good staff, keeping costs down and increasing sales. They want their politicians in Wellington to support policies that help small businesses to succeed.”


For further comment or other information please contact:

Rebecca Huang, MYOB NZ Public Relations Consultant

P: 09 925 3505 / M: 021 1122 720/ E:

Gerard Blank, The Agency Communications Limited Director

P: 03 341 5841 / M: 0275 243 629 / E:


About MYOB

MYOB (ASX: MYO) is a leading cloud based business management solutions provider. It makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and in 2015 was awarded the BRW award for the most innovative large company for 500+ employees and placed 2nd in BRW’s Most Innovative Companies Award list across all categories nationally.  For more information, visit or follow @MYOB on Twitter.

About the MYOB Business Monitor

The MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of 1,000+ New Zealand small and medium business owners and managers, from sole traders to mid-sized companies, representing the major industry sectors. It has run since 2009, commissioned to independent market research firm Colmar Brunton. This most recent survey ran in July/August 2015. The Monitor researches business performance and attitudes in areas such as profitability, cash flow, pipeline, technology usage and the government. The weighting of respondents by both geographical location and sector is based on overall market proportions as established by Statistics New Zealand and is drawn from an independent survey group, which includes both MYOB clients and non-clients.