Comment permalink

National says it will offer businesses a $10,000 cash payment for taking on more staff if it wins the election.

The Opposition's new leader Todd Muller also promised not to get rid of 90-day trials and said there would be "regular, incremental" increases in the minimum wage.

At a speech in Auckland today, Muller announced what it called the "JobStart scheme".

It is the first piece of policy National has announced since Muller deposed Simon Bridges as leader on May 22, promising a focus on how the economy affected people.

"JobStart will give small business owners greater confidence to hire new people," Muller told members of the Rosebank Business Association.

"Small business owners who create jobs will be the heroes of this economic crisis, in the way that our nurses, doctors and all five million of us who stayed home were the heroes of the health crisis."

Todd Muller. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly
Todd Muller. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly
National said the scheme would start on November 1 and run until the end of March 2021, in the hope of creating 50,000 new jobs.

The party said to be eligible, businesses "will need to prove that the new hire is an additional full time equivalent over and above their existing labour force".

The scheme will be capped at 10 employees, or $100,000, per company.

The cost of the scheme is capped at $500m.

"If you, as small business owners, give just one of your newly unemployed neighbours a job before Christmas, you will be the heroes of the economic crisis, the way that our nurses and doctors and all five million of us who stayed at home and washed our hands were the heroes of the health crisis," Muller said.

He said that while he had experience with larger businesses in New Zealand, small businesses were the "backbone" of the economy and had the potential to grow much faster.

"My economy is the economy of you and your family" Muller said, not Wellington "statisticians and policy analysts".

The first step in the recovery was maintaining the broad macroeconomic framework of an open economy, an independent Reserve Bank and flexible labour laws.

National believed that all parts of the economy should be open if they were safe to do so, and a transtasman bubble should be allowed as soon as it was safe to do so.

National did not believe the solution was raising taxes, Muller said.

He also promised not to remove 90-day trials.

"The 90-day trial period is crucial to give a four-person business the confidence to hire that fifth person during these difficult times, or anytime. Under National it will stay."

He promised that there would be "regular, incremental" increases in the minimum wage.

When Muller said New Zealand did not need three more years of Phil Twyford as a minister, the audience broke into applause.

"We have no more confidence in the ability to deliver trades training, then we did for them to deliver Kiwibuild," he said of the Government.

Muller said when John Key took up the tourism portfolio as Prime Minister, tourism boomed, while under Jacinda Ardern, who took a portfolio related to child poverty, measures worsened. He had taken the small business portfolio.

Paul Goldsmith, National's finance spokesman businesses were starved for revenue during lockdown and many were struggling under level two restrictions.

Goldsmith said "thousands" of small businesses across New Zealand were starved of revenue during the lockdown and many are still struggling under level two restrictions.

"They are desperate for cash flow and this payment could alleviate some of the pressure they're facing while also supporting growth," Goldsmith said in a statement."

Later this afternoon Muller is due to present to BusinessNZ and answer questions on an online presentation.


Admit the Free Market is finished.

A future where every aspect of our lives is decided by the top 3 ranked Labour MPs doesn't inspire me.

The Free Market is a macro structural ideology. Governments of all stripes now intervene to regulate economies.


Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter