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PREPARE FOR THE EVOLUTION (Presentation (169)) (5)

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NZ Central Government


Canterbury businesses want to be part of shaping the future of New Zealand. Through advocacy, we help them do that.


We give business a seat at the government table.

There is strength in numbers, and with more than 2,700 members, Business Canterbury - formally the Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce - is a strong voice for business.

Our advocacy work programme ensures our members’ views are represented on policies and decisions at a local and national level, all with the aim of removing barriers and enabling an environment of innovation, growth and productivity.

Through robust submissions, engagement with officials and the media, and collaboration across New Zealand as part of the BusinessNZ Network we have been able to affect change for businesses of all sizes and in all sectors.

Vigorous and regular engagement with our members is essential for us to understand and advocate for solutions to the challenges that businesses face today.

That intelligence from the frontlines of business is also essential for us to anticipate and avert issues that are on the horizon, before they become the business barriers of tomorrow.

We are best informed to advocate for you when you are engaged in the process.  We invite you to be part of the conversation, get in touch.

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Our Key Areas of Focus

Like the rest of the country, and the world, Canterbury too is facing on-going disruption, change and uncertainty in almost every facet of business including digital and automation disruption, climate transition, geopolitical tensions and the increased costs of doing business. Now more than ever our business community needs fit-for-purpose policy settings that help increase innovation, growth and productivity. If we get this right our business communities thrive, our economy grows, and we have healthy communities that support a strong quality of life for the people of New Zealand. That's why advocacy is one of the most important things we do.

These are our current areas of focus -

1. Workforce, Immigration & Employment

Like the rest of the country, Canterbury faces challenges in accessing the right talent. Employers tell us that recent immigration settings have not positioned us well, and the lack of clarity and certainty on pathways to residency leave us as a country well down the list in comparison to markets such as Canada or even Australia,  making it harder for businesses to attract much needed talent. 

We are advocating for Government to:

  • Create immigration settings that are open, simple and predictable.
  • Develop a talent attraction strategy to reinforce New Zealand is open for business.
  • Reintroduce 90-day trials for all employers.
  • Depoliticise minimum wage rates and ensure they are stable and predictable. 

Canterbury is home to several world class universities and educational institutions, which contribute to a skilled and talented workforce. However, employers are concerned about the diminished skills and soft skills that high school and university graduates are entering the workforce with.

We are advocating for Government to:

  • Ensure the education system focusses on essential skills like reading, writing and maths, and provides a strong foundation for work-readiness skills like time management, communication, and critical thinking.
  • Collaborate with employers to better inform career pathways in emerging industries and technical careers like advanced manufacturing and continue to support the uptake of apprenticeships.
  • Invest in a vocational education system that is agile in responding to workforce needs, by putting employers and the people they want to employ at the core.
  • Support employers’ to navigate disruption and transition through upskilling their workforce for the future

New Zealand has long been seen as a good place to do business because of our predictable, stable and evidence-based regulatory environment. However, businesses tell us that they now see increasing regulatory uncertainty and risk as increasing the cost of doing business and negatively impacting business confidence and therefore their appetite to invest.  

We are advocating for Government to:

  • Review compliance cost drivers for business and ensure an 'all of Government' understanding of the impacts of regulatory compliance, and put in place a programme to reduce compliance where it does not add value.
  • Prioritise robust regulatory process to ensure Government is not placing counterproductive compliance costs on business.
  • Genuinely partner with business on amendments to the regulatory systems that impact them. 

Infrastructure investment and resilience matter deeply for business competitiveness as well as community prosperity. We have seen our infrastructure deficit increase and the building of new infrastructure has become incredibly costly and time consuming compared with international best practice. 

We are advocating for Government to:

  • Develop both a short- and long-term plan for key infrastructure in the region, to provide investment certainty, which considers the role of central and local government, alongside the business community.
  • Ensure when we are investing in core infrastructure that we are building for future growth, not just what we need today and engaging with the business community to understand what that future growth looks like. 

Canterbury has an innovative entrepreneurial culture and a supportive business community. This makes us an attractive home for startups and established businesses alike, but to remain competitive we need to prioritise stronger links between Government, scientists, researchers and business to enable the rapid uptake of new knowledge and innovation.   

We are advocating for Government to:

  • Build stronger links between science and business to support the development and uptake of innovative technologies.
  • Introduce accelerated depreciation on research and development.
  • Properly fund the activation of industry transformation plans. 
  • Engage with business to provide clear and easy to understand guidance and support to plan and execute their decarbonisation journey.
  • Prioritise investment in New Zealand’s freight and supply chain resilience and introduce more transparency around Government support for exporters.
  • Continue to pursue high quality, comprehensive free trade agreements, in order to assist in building new markets for New Zealand businesses and to provide improved resilience and choice around market access. 

SMEs play a foundational role in New Zealand’s economy, with 97% of businesses in New Zealand employing fewer than 20 staff. These businesses are particularly vulnerable to the state of the economy, disruption events, and global uncertainty. All these challenges impact their confidence and the increasing cost of doing business. 

We are advocating for Government to:

  • The Government needs to provide access to finance for small business.
  • Extend collaboration with existing networks to enhance the support provided to small and new exporters.
  • Implement a small business lens over compliance activity to genuinely understand the impact on small business. 
7. Crime & Antisocial Behaviour

Ram raids have taken most of the Government’s attention with respect to rising crime and violence. While a prevalent form of crime recently, businesses across our city, region, and country continue to have major issues with other antisocial and criminal activity including, for example, the theft of livestock in rural New Zealand, and ongoing theft in general which has not received much attention or assistance. This has come at a significant cost to business through losses caused by theft, but also in increased costs incurred through investment in additional security and prevention measures. Businesses would like to see the Government addressing rising crime and violence in general. 

We are advocating for Government to:

  • Commit to increased authority and resource to expedite and sufficiently deal with crime and antisocial behaviour. 

There needs to be a greater recognition by Government on the role that Canterbury plays in the national economy and that Canterbury is the economic hub of the South Island. Too often we see Government announcements and policy changes that are focused on Auckland and Wellington alone, neglecting Canterbury and the wider South Island.   

We are advocating for Government to:

  • Actively recognise the critical role Canterbury plays in the national economy and engage more with our local community to understand the opportunities it can provide for New Zealand. 

Briefing for the Incoming Government

Canterbury businesses are bold, courageous and have big aspirations for their future and for the future of the city, region, and country they choose to do business in.

Our briefing document, informed by in-depth discussions with Canterbury business leaders from a wide range of sectors and sizes, sets out a range of fit-for-purpose policy settings that will enhance the business environment in Canterbury. It also serves as a platform for our current advocacy priorities. 

PDF Download

Business expectations of Government

Canterbury businesses are bold, courageous and have high aspirations for their future and the city, region and country they choose to run their businesses from. 

This report was informed by in-depth discussions with Canterbury business leaders from a wide range of sectors across the region and serves as a platform for our current advocacy priorities.

Business Expectations of Government

What We've Been Doing

Read about our latest advocacy activities, media engagements and more.

Economic Strength

What are your expectations of the strength of the Canterbury economy over the next 12 months?

85% Expect a similar or stronger economy

Business Performance

What are your expectations of your own business's financial performance over the next 12 months?
85% Expect the same or stronger performance

Business Investment

Do you expect to invest in your business (property, plant & equipment) within the next 12 months?

Intro Title


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"When you head on out to the Moon, in very short order, and you get a chance to look back at the Earth, that horizon slowly curves around in upon himself, and all of sudden you are looking at something that is very strange, but yet is very, very familiar, because you are beginning to see the Earth evolve."
Gene CernanAstronaut, Apollo 17

We Want To Hear From You

Is government policy creating barriers for your business? We want to hear from you. We are best-informed to advocate for you when you are engaged in the process. 

Contact our communications and advocacy advisor, Tait Dench to ensure your voice is heard.




Tait Dench
Communications & Advocacy Advisor
phone: 027 548 3551