Election 2017

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With more than 27,000 retail businesses and 16,500 owner-operators, retail represents a sizable constituency. The issues facing the retail sector should be of interest of all New Zealanders.

In 2016 retail accounted for $83 billion in transactions, 5.4 per cent of all businesses and 10 per cent of filled jobs (209,100). Retail is the lifeblood of our town centres, attracting tourists, creating vibrant communities and generating employment, both in the regions and in the cities. It touches all New Zealanders every day, and a prosperous retail sector benefits everyone.

Retail NZ's 2017 election statement sets out our top priorities for the new Government. We've asked political parties to commit to these actions, and we will report back on their answers.



What did politicians think about our election wish list?

We've now heard back from most political parties in response to our election statement and the commitment's we're asking of the new Government. While we're disappointed that National and NZ First haven't answered our questions, there's plenty of food for thought before you head to the polling booth on the 23rd of September.

We have reproduced below commentary provided by the parties. "Our View" reflects our assessment of the comments provided against our proposal.


1. Consumer spending - income taxes and Council rates
Question Will you lower personal income tax rates via threshold adjustments to allow Kiwis to spend more of their own money? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - The Māori Party supports more money in the pockets of New Zealanders and that is why we strongly influenced the Government's Families Package announced in Budget 2017. We believe that across the board tax cuts should apply, especially for low and middle income earners, and that more families should have access to family tax credits. Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party TBC - We are yet to announce our tax package for this election. At the 2014 election, we proposed a tax free threshold at the bottom of the income scale. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
ACT Yes. Green Traffic Light 30x30
United Future No - Not via threshold adjustments. We would introduce income sharing tax controls to allow New Zealanders to have more control over their incomes. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
Labour No - Steven Joyce doesn't need a $1000 tax cut - especially when 41,000 Kiwis are homeless, half a million can't afford the GP, and thousands of consumer families live in poverty across New Zealand. We do need to invest in our regions to revitalize our city centres and deliver new jobs and higher incomes. Red Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First While New Zealand First generally favours lower personal tax, our priority is to inflation adjust income tax boundaries automatically in order to end fiscal drag. In 2017, we moved an amendment designed to achieve just that, which was voted down by the Government and all of its support parties. Green Traffic Light 30x30
National Has not responded to individual questions:

"We will be making a number of policy announcements in the weeks leading to the September 23 General Election. Ahead of that, we are not in a position to advise where we stand on retail issues - other than what is on the public record."
Red Traffic Light 30x30
Question Will you introduce greater control over local government rates hikes? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - The Māori Party supports greater control over local government rates hikes, and believes that central government should set more of the parameters for when and why rates should increase or decrease. Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party No - Rather than imposing arbitrary limits, we'd like to see the government enable local authorities whose finances are under pressure from growth to use more innovative funding options. Red Traffic Light 30x30
ACT ? - Act policy is for local government to stick to core services thus preventing rate hikes. Green Traffic Light 30x30
United Future Yes - We would prompt a review of alternatives to rates Orange Traffic Light 30x30
Labour No - Local government rates are set by elected representatives, who make decisions based upon their assessment of need. We all want local services run as efficiently as possible, but we would not wish to stop councils from being able delivering for their residents, or the important services they provide for local businesses. Red Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First Locals have the democratic right to have their community run the way they see fit. Some communities are firm about the amount they want spend on things like art, infrastructure, events, business development, social initiatives and housing. New Zealand First would help reduce the need to increase rates by returning royalties to regions and tourist GST to regions for them to use as they see fit Red Traffic Light 30x30
National Red Traffic Light 30x30
2. GST
Question Will you require foreign firms selling physical goods to Kiwis to be registered for GST; OR Will you establish a Commission to consider alternative taxes to replace GST? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - We support the notion that there should be a level playing field between foreign and NZ retailers and that taxes should be equally applied to all goods, including physical goods. Foreign firms selling physical goods should be registered for GST. N/A Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party Yes - We do not see good justification for National's decision to require GST registration for selling digital services but not physical goods. We support Labour's plan for a full review of the tax system. We opposed National's rise to GST. Green Traffic Light 30x30
ACT Yes. N/A Green Traffic Light 30x30
United Future Yes - Where possible without undermining customer choices. N/A Green Traffic Light 30x30
Labour Yes - Labour is committed to delivering a tax working group in office to deliver a thorough review of our taxation system - including the GST system. Labour will deliver a taxation system characterized by three features - one that tax is fair, simple, and collected - including for overseas companies operating in New Zealand. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First Yes - With a de minimis more in line with Australia's N/A Orange Traffic Light 30x30
National Red Traffic Light 30x30
3. Retail payment systems
Question Will you increase the transparency and oversight of merchant service fees? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - The Māori Party supports the need for greater transparency and oversight of merchant service fees and do not believe that the current system is fair, especially for smaller EFTPOS operators who face greater fees. Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party Yes - We support greater transparency so consumers know what's behind the costs they're paying. Green Traffic Light 30x30
ACT ? - Open to this Orange Traffic Light 30x30
United Future Yes. Green Traffic Light 30x30
Labour Yes - We welcome the investigation into an area of importance for both consumers and retailers. It is also an area that will help retailers become more productive in future. Should the current review identify priority areas for further activity these will be delivered in conjunction with all partners. Green Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First Yes Green Traffic Light 30x30
National Red Traffic Light 30x30
4. Law and Order - retail crime
Question Will you establish a Retail Crime Taskforce within the Police and set specific targets for retail crime reduction? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - The Māori Party agrees that an action plan to reduce retail crime is necessary. The setting of specific targets to reduce retail crime is also supported. Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party No - Retail crime is concerning and needs to be addressed. We would put more resource into neighbourhood and youth policing initiatives to enable police to spend more time preventing and resolving dishonesty offences. Red Traffic Light 30x30
ACT No - Police have operational independence Red Traffic Light 30x30
United Future Yes. Green Traffic Light 30x30
Labour Labour is open to considering these ideas. Our key commitment to reduce retail crime is to increase the number of Police Officers by 1,000 and focus on community policing. Labour will be releasing its law and order policy in the coming months. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First Further research into this would be required. New Zealand First believe that present level of resourcing for the police is seriously inadequate and numbers of front-line staff way too low, to provide adequate safety and security for law-abiding people. We would expect police to focus on acts of violence against those areas in the retail sector suffering under the current crime wave. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
National Red Traffic Light 30x30
Question Will you launch a social change programme to educate New Zealanders that crime is not acceptable? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - The Māori Party agrees that an action plan to reduce retail crime is necessary. The Māori Party supports the launch of a social change programme to educate New Zealanders that crime is not acceptable. Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party Yes - Why wouldn't you? These sorts of programmes have proven effective e.g. 'It's not Ok' anti-violence campaign; anti-drink driving messages that have changed attitudes. Green Traffic Light 30x30
ACT No - Enforce existing laws Red Traffic Light 30x30
United Future Yes - We have a long standing policy to promote civics education where this could be incorporated. Green Traffic Light 30x30
Labour Labour is open to considering these ideas. Our key commitment to reduce retail crime is to increase the number of Police Officers by 1,000 and focus on community policing. Labour will be releasing its law and order policy in the coming months. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First Effective social change programs through education will always be a part of our crime reduction mix. That said, New Zealand First believes that present level of resourcing for the police is insufficient and numbers of front-line staff too low, to provide adequate safety and security for law-abiding people. That is why we have committed to increasing frontline police numbers by 1800 Orange Traffic Light 30x30
National Red Traffic Light 30x30
Question Will you introduce an infringement style ticket for small scale theft? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - The Māori Party agrees that an action plan to reduce retail crime is necessary. The Māori Party supports the introduction of an infringement style ticket for small scale theft. Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party ? - This is worth considering if it frees up the justice system to deal with serious crime, and if appropriate protections are put in place. We would want to see small scale theft compensated through community service, for example, rather than fines for people who already have limited ability to pay. Fines would likely end up in the courts anyway. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
ACT Yes. Green Traffic Light 30x30
United Future Yes. Green Traffic Light 30x30
Labour Labour is open to considering these ideas. Our key commitment to reduce retail crime is to increase the number of Police Officers by 1,000 and focus on community policing. Labour will be releasing its law and order policy in the coming months. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First Not sure about that. Research might show that people who shoplift don't pay their fines and end up having them quashed or mitigated against community service. However, New Zealand First believe that present level of resourcing for the police is insufficient and numbers of front-line staff too low, to provide adequate safety and security for law-abiding people Red Traffic Light 30x30
National Red Traffic Light 30x30
5. Local Government
Question Will you promote national approach to national issues such as trading hours, the sale of alcohol, waste minimisation? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - We believe a national approach to issues such as trading hours, the sale of alcohol and waste minimisation should be encouraged. The reform of alcohol laws is a matter for urgent attention and we believe it should be a matter of priority. Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party Yes - We support nationwide approaches to shop trading hours (e.g. Easter) and regulation of plastic bags (waste minimization). Green Traffic Light 30x30
ACT No. Red Traffic Light 30x30
United Future No - United Future strongly endorses local communities making these decisions. Red Traffic Light 30x30
Labour Yes - Labour supports central government working in partnership with local government. Where an issue is genuinely national there should be a national approach to it however there does still need to be the autonomy for local government to make decisions about matters affecting their local community. Some issues such as the sale of alcohol do require some local decision making to control alcohol abuse in particular communities. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First Local Communities will decide democratically what they want. Red Traffic Light 30x30
National Red Traffic Light 30x30
Question Will you encourage councils to adopt generic rules wherever possible? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - We believe in streamlined, collaborative processes that encourage early, upfront engagement with communities and iwi. We also agree however that unnecessary bureaucratic red tape for the sake of it is not helpful and we would support councils to adopt generic rules wherever possible, so long as appropriate consultation with iwi and communities is undertaken. Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party Yes - Sometimes this is a great idea (e.g. plastic bag regulation) but, for example, a big city like Auckland might need different rules for some things than an area like the West Coast. Some issues do not have a one size fits all approach. Green Traffic Light 30x30
ACT Yes - To stick to core services Green Traffic Light 30x30
United Future Yes - Where possible we would see basic templates or files made available to local government. Green Traffic Light 30x30
Labour Yes - Wherever possible rules should be simple, clear, easy to understand, and easy to implement. Green Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First No - Local Communities have the democratic right to run their communities the way they see fit. Red Traffic Light 30x30
National Red Traffic Light 30x30
6. Sustainability
Question If the new Government wants to regulate the issuance of plastic bags, will you ensure that this at a national level and apply to all retailers? Our View
The Māori Party Yes - The Māori Party would definitely support the regulation of the issuance of plastic bags at a national level, and believe it is only fair that it applies to all retailers. Green Traffic Light 30x30
The Green Party Yes - We have led the political campaign for a nationwide charge on plastic bags, based on overseas evidence that this is effective to reduce their use. Green Traffic Light 30x30
ACT ? - Opposed to government regulation of plastic bags. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
United Future Yes. Green Traffic Light 30x30
Labour Yes - We have committed to a product stewardship standard for tyres. We are not campaigning on plastic bags. We support the discussion about this happening at a national level in partnership with councils and believe the UK model for this is a good one if plastic bags were to be regulated. Green Traffic Light 30x30
NZ First New Zealand First would prefer to see what legislation for the regulation of plastic bags is proposed before making a decision. Again this is also about public education getting public "buy in" and the retail sector could take a lead on this issue. Orange Traffic Light 30x30
National Red Traffic Light 30x30