Government announces interim response to Business Compliance Cost Panel Report

  • Paul Swain

Commerce Minister Paul Swain says most of the recommendations by the Business Compliance Cost Panel are being actively considered by the Government and some have already been done.

Paul Swain said the government has taken the Panel’s report very seriously.

“The Panel's recommendations have fallen into four broad categories," he said.

"Nine per cent of the recommendations have already been done, 53 per cent are relatively straightforward and could be done quickly. 29 per cent require more work, but are generally supported, and of, 162 recommendations, just fewer than 10 per cent are outside the government’s policy parameters.

A third of the recommendations dealt with environmental issues and the Resource Management Act.

Paul Swain said responses to those recommendations would be included in a comprehensive package designed to improve the RMA’s workability. This is planned for release by Environment Minister Marian Hobbs in October.

Paul Swain said the first category, things already done, include establishing a test panel to look at proposals arising from the review of the Health and Safety in Employment Act. The Government has also already increased resourcing for the Environmental Court to provide an extra judge and a commissioner.

As an example of the second category, all of the Panel’s recommendations on the Building Act - including the issue of clarifying the distinction between 'building consent' and 'resource consents' - were incorporated into a recently released discussion document on the Building Act.

An example of the third category is ensuring that business input is made earlier in the policy development process. This, and other recommendations in this category, are complex and, while generally supported, will require further work.

“The small number of recommendations in the fourth category will not be implemented because they conflict with government policy," Paul Swain said.

"For example, levying the Fringe Benefit Tax at a single rate lower than the top marginal personal tax rate will allow high-income earners to avoid the top rate.

"The Government has announced a review of fringe benefit tax commencing early next year, and other fringe benefit tax issues raised by the Panel will be considered in the context of that review.

"Officials will be continuing their work on the panel’s report and a full response will be issued in early December," Paul Swain said.