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A Small Business Consultation with Hon Jacqui Dean

I was pleased to introduce Minister for Small Business Jacqui Dean to a group of small business owners and representatives in Papakura last month. The meeting was held in the Sir Edmund Hillary library’s very pleasant meeting room and I thank the library staff, Papakura Business Association and the small business owners for their help and support.

Minister Dean was launching the very comprehensive “New Zealand’s Support for Small Business” brochure designed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It aims to help new small businesses and established ones, gain easy access to various government agencies that provide information on running a small business and tools for improving efficiency, lowering costs and increasing profits.

Ms Dean told us that, small businesses are a very important part of New Zealand’s economy as they make up 29 per cent of New Zealand’s GDP.

MBIE helps business owners to navigate the support, information and tools available to them for many tasks needed for running a business. One of the most used is the Employment Agreement Builder (EAB) that helped create over 127,000 employment agreements to date.

The EAB is available online and allows people to create agreements to provide the basis for a good employment relationship between employer and employee while keeping costs low.

MBIE has also developed a Digital Journey assessment tool that allows businesses to assess the effectiveness of their online presence and whether their use of technology is improving their efficiency and reducing business costs. The Digital Journey Assessment tool is available on the website: techweekbusinessgovt.digitaljourney.nz

Exports are booming

On a wider scale, New Zealand’s merchandise exports rose to their highest point ever in April. Exports rose 9.8 per cent to $4.75 billion according to Statistics NZ’s latest reports.

Dairy exports in April jumped 35 per cent to $1.11 billion driven by higher prices as exported quantities were slightly down.

As well, meat exports rose 1 per cent, wood exports gained 18 per cent to a new record high, fruit exports advanced 3.4 per cent and wine exports increased by 20 per cent. 

Statistics NZ also reports the level of imported goods rose to $4.176 billion mostly due to increased imports of petroleum, mobile phones, portable computers and tractors. This also has set a new record high.

Overall this has led to a goods trade surplus of $578 million that is fantastic news for our economy especially as the trade deficit has reduced by $348 billion too. 

Kieran Read is returning to South Auckland

For sports fans including myself, it is exciting to learn that Kieran Read has returned to play rugby in south Auckland. The Opaheke School and Rosehill College old boy has signed a two-year contract with NZ Rugby, the Crusaders and Counties Manukau. Read made the announcement of his return at an assembly at Rosehill College last week much to the delight of the current students.

The double Rugby World Cup champion and 2013 World Player of the Year has played 97 Tests for the All Blacks since making his debut in 2008. He has played 22 tests as captain.  He is the most capped All Blacks number eight in history and the seventh most capped All Black of all time. Read made his Super debut in 2007 and has played more than 130 times for the Crusaders. 

There are some pretty exciting things coming up over the next few years, especially the Rugby World Cup at the end of 2019, that Read is looking forward to. 

He joins a number of All Blacks who have signed through to 2019 and beyond, including Sam Whitelock, All Blacks Vice-Captain Ben Smith, Anton Lienert-Brown, Owen Franks, Israel Dagg, Brodie Retallick, Aaron Smith, Julian Savea, Dane Coles, Sonny Bill Williams, Joe Moody, Patrick Tuipulotu, Liam Squire, Nathan Harris and Liam Coltman.

Progress on the Southern Motorway

I am sure I am not the only one enjoying the new widened southbound motorway between Hill Road and Pahurehure Inlet. The extra lane that opened at the end of April is making a huge difference to traffic flows south at peak times.

It is good to know that NZTA is continuing progress on the Southern Corridor with work well underway from Orams Road to Hill Road now.

The Orams Road bridge is closed to traffic while the eastern side is demolished and the road level is excavated by two metres. Lowering the road under the Alfriston Road bridge is also occurring as in both cases it will allow increased overhead clearance for large vehicles.

Meanwhile, at the Takanini interchange, work is beginning on constructing the new northbound on- ramp and safe work zones have been put in place along Great South Road to allow crews to upgrade the interchange bridges and build the new ramp in safety. New piling to support the new southbound lane over the railway has also started.

The southbound retaining walls and noise walls continue to be built as part of the motorway widening. The walls alongside residential areas from Hill Road to the Takanini interchange are almost completed and will make the environment much more pleasant for the residents.

It is great to see that the growing economy and the Government’s promises to improve infrastructure in cities and in the regions, is making a positive difference to all New Zealanders.

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