New approach needed for economic recovery to begin, says EMA

New Zealand business needs a new approach from Government to regulation, projects and procurement if the economy is going to start to recover. EMA chief executive Brett O’Riley has called for a new recovery playbook by Government to give businesses the flexibility to recover and thrive and potentially increase their productivity.

“As we prepare for moving out of Alert Level 4 we have an opportunity for changes to be made that can ‘fast start’ existing businesses and potentially expand employment in key sectors. We understand the Government is up for change and our discussions with businesses point to some quick wins, with sectors like manufacturing and construction poised ready to go,” says O’Riley in a media release.

Key initiatives the EMA are advocating to be implemented as we come out of Alert Level 4 include:

  • Using fast track and streamlined RMA consenting for shovel-ready projects, with consenting led by the project entities.
  • Consent and bylaw changes to enable businesses and projects to operate 24 hours a day with multiple shifts, to speed up progress and to encourage businesses to hire more staff to fill the shifts.
  • Reintroduction of the 90-day trial period to enable businesses to trial staff seeking to enter new industries and roles.
  • Use the acclaimed SCIRT and NCTIR project delivery models, developed for the Christchurch and Kaikoura earthquake recoveries.
  • Allow open book procurement by Government enabling lead contractors to be appointed to major projects quickly.
  • Bring forward maintenance activity throughout New Zealand on roads, rail, hospital and schools, the latter while students are at home.
  • Re-purpose the Provincial Growth Fund to provide small local councils with the funding they need to kick-start those maintenance programmes.
  • Change foreign investment rules and fast track OIO approvals to encourage private sector investment into new projects and expanded production activity.

The EMA has also been working with businesses on developing standards for workplace practices for Alert Level 3 and 4.

“We had little time to prepare for Alert Levels 3 and 4 last month but everyone has had an opportunity to learn from the lockdown, and consider what workplace practices can be put in place to safely enable as many businesses as possible to operate. It is critical we get these guidelines finalised this week so we get businesses fully prepared to restart.”

O’Riley noted that essential businesses have been able to function well during Alert Level 4 but ensuring transport and logistics were in place was critical to maximising their productivity.

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