Multinationals in the crosshairs as NZ small businesses look to budget

24th May, 2017

Ninety-one percent of New Zealand small businesses want to see large multinationals pay their fair share in tax.

The insight comers from MYOB’s latest Business Monitor survey, which gathered the opinions of 1015 small businesses in New Zealand ahead of the National-led government handing down the budget this week.

Small business owners were asked about a raft of policy and political issues affecting their business, as well as queried on several measures which had worked out on the other side of the Tasman.

High on the policy wishlist for NZ small businesses was a graduated company tax reduction policy, with 63 percent being in favour.

Australia recently passed a bill to lower the company tax rate for businesses with turnover of less than $10 million down to 27.5 percent – with a longer term aim of reducing company tax for companies of all sizes down to 25 percent.

“We think there is a case to me made for supporting small and start-up businesses with a lower rate and gradually extending the rate to cover all businesses,” said MYOB New Zealand General Manager, Carolyn Luey.

“Leaving them with more cash means they’re more likely to invest in new staff, new equipment and growth. “New Zealand small businesses need to remain competitive, especially those who are trading with the world. We’d like to see the government signal moves to reduce company tax to give these businesses the best chance of success.”

NZ small businesses also liked the look of the instant asset write-off scheme Australian businesses enjoy – where certain assets under $20,000 in value can be written off immediately rather than gradually.

“We found 68 percent of business owners would like the government to introduce an instant asset write off scheme to spur investment,” said Luey.

“Introducing a similar scheme here would be hugely welcomed by business owners.”

However, by far the most popular theoretical measure was a crackdown on large multinational corporations not paying their fair share of tax in NZ.

A whopping 91 percent of small businesses would support such a move if it were to be outlined by Bill English’s government, leading Luey to urge the government to “be bold” in how it tackles the issue.

Meanwhile, 62 percent of respondents were keen to see the government assign a proportion of its contracts to small business while 68 percent wanted to see simplification in the Holidays Act on how entitlements are calculated.

“MYOB has been working alongside New Zealand businesses for more than 25 years and these two issues have consistently rate highly on their policy wish list during that time,” said Luey.

National Party in a strong position

Ahead of the budget tomorrow and upcoming general election, The National Party would be buoyed by the strong support shown by the small business sector.

MYOB found that 61 percent said the National Party was in a good position to assist small businesses. In comparison, just 10 percent said the Labour Party was considered the best for small businesses.

Luey said the strong position was built on the back of popular measures including a 90-day trial period for new employees, and a pay-as-you-earn alternative to provisional tax.

However, she urged the National Party not to drop the ball.

“The Government is to be commended for getting the books into a state where we now have choices about where to invest next. That achievement is reflected in strong support for National from small business owners,” she said.

“Given that support, we strongly encourage the Government to bold in its thinking about how to best support business growth in our country in this week’s budget,” says Ms Luey.


Questions on the upcoming election


Which of the following best describes your opinion regarding the next election?

It is time for a change 24%
The current Government deserves to be re-elected 53%
It doesn’t make any difference to me which party is in power 15%
Don’t know 8%


Which of the major political parties do you consider best for helping businesses like yours succeed?

National Party 61%
Labour Party 10%
Green Party 3%
New Zealand First 5%
Maori Party *
ACT 1%
United Future *
Other 1%
None of them 8%
Don’t know 12%