Sector keen to see how new funds will work

Execution will be key.

That is what business leaders had to say about yesterday’s Budget.

Queenstown Chamber of Commerce chief executive Ruth Stokes said she was looking forward to how the Government’s new $54.2million innovation programme for tourism recovery would "actually play out".

Tourism Minister Stuart Nash said the new programme, subject to "further detailed design work", would prioritise innovation and low-emissions projects, and support tourism recovery.

"We have a strategic priority to reset and rebuild tourism on a more sustainable footing," Mr Nash said.

"We will work alongside tourism businesses to develop new, innovative ideas that improve sustainability and productivity of eligible businesses."

The Government would also reallocate funds from previous tourism support programmes which had not been drawn down by eligible businesses, he said.

Ms Stokes said there were many state funds which had not been fully subscribed, including the controversial strategic tourism asset protection programme, the shovel-ready and regional strategic partnerships funds and the small business loan scheme.

The Government also announced yesterday it was teaming up with retail banks to create a new fund that will invest in small and medium-sized enterprises.

It will invest $100million, alongside the banks, in a new Business Growth Fund.

The Crown will have a minority shareholding in the fund, which will be "privately operated" and "independently managed".

BusinessNZ welcomed yesterday’s Budget saying execution would be key.

Chief executive Kirk Hope said the fund for small businesses was excellent, but he questioned how it would operate.

Southland Chamber of Commerce president Neil McAra said there was not a great deal in the Budget for businesses.

While the Budget focused on short-term inflationary pressures, it did not focus on the underlying cost pressures business were facing, he said.

Mr McAra was pleased to see $380million for research and development in agriculture.

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce chief executive Leeann Watson said some of the initiatives announced would go some way towards helping business.

However, the chamber would have liked to see more emphasis on initiatives that would help with long-term economic recovery, she said.

 

In Budget for business

 

  • A new Business Growth Fund to support small and medium-sized business to grow.
  • Full funding of the Regional Strategic Partnership Fund to help regional economic development.
  • A tourism innovation programme to promote sustainable recovery from Covid-19.
  • Eight industry transformation plans progresses to work with industries, workers and iwi to transition to a high-wage, low-emissions economy.

 

 

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