National retains lead - but strong mood for change among SME decision makers
Surge in Support for NZ Labour from Business
While the two main parties are neck-and-neck in opinion polls, the governing National Party retains a lead amongst the country's small to medium-sized business owners according to the latest research by accounting software provider MYOB (ASX:MYO).
However, the opposition Labour Party has made up a lot of ground with 37-year old Jacinda Ardern taking over the party just 8 weeks ago.
The MYOB Colmar Brunton Business Snapshot survey of 400 SME operators sees support for Labour jump to 29 percent, up from just 10 percent at the same time last year, while National remains strong at 44 percent, although it is down 13 percentage points since September 2016.
Among the minor parties, support for New Zealand First has climbed from 4 percent to 7 percent over the last 12 months, while the Greens remain steady on 3 per cent and Act fell a percentage point to poll at just 1 percent. Support for The Opportunities Party is at 2 per cent in the MYOB Colmar Brunton Snapshot.
"Traditionally National has the small business owner vote locked up. The introduction of Labour's new leadership team has clearly changed things and turned this election on its head," says MYOB New Zealand General Manager Carolyn Luey.
"National retains its lead with SME owners, but Labour has definitely closed the gap."
Ms Luey says a greater concern for National is the fact that 42 per cent of SME operators believe it is "time for a change" verse just 37 percent who say "the current Government deserves to be re-elected".
The poll also reveals small business owners think not enough attention is being paid to the issues affecting them in the election campaign.
"SMEs are hugely important to our economy. However, many business owners feel like the issues that are important to them have largely been overlooked in this campaign," says Ms Luey.
Just 10 per cent of those surveyed in the MYOB Snapshot say sufficient attention has been paid to the issues affecting small business, while 83 per cent believe their issues have not received enough attention in this election campaign.
However, one of Labour's signature policies - restricting immigration - is also likely to have hit the mark with 46 percent of SME operators stating current immigration settings are too loose, while 34 per cent believe the country currently has the right immigration policies.
"As we head into the last fortnight of the election campaign, parties still have the opportunity to demonstrate their appeal to SME operators," says Carolyn Luey.
"SMEs have told us over many years that they want to see policies that simplify reporting and ease their compliance burden. They are also increasingly interested in seeing new approaches to areas like taxation - for example, nearly half would like to see a graduated tax structure introduced that progressively increased the proportion of tax a business paid as its revenue increased."
"There more than 500,000 businesses in New Zealand with fewer than 20 employees, making them a substantial voting constituency. Political parties need to show they understand the pressures that go with running a small business.
"Businesses need to have confidence in the future in order to invest in growth and employment. They want to see political parties open to dealing with the issues directly affecting their business. All parties have the opportunity to speak more directly to their aspirations."
MYOB has conducted the Business Monitor pre-election survey for the previous two elections. In 2014, support for National among SME operators sat at 63 percent while Labour was on just 8 percent, and in 2011 National sat at 62 percent with Labour on 10 percent.
The most recent poll was conducted from 4 to 8 September and has a margin of error of +/- 4.9 percent.
About the MYOB Colmar Brunton Business Monitor Snapshot
The MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of 400 New Zealand small and medium business decision makers, from sole traders to mid-sized companies, representing the major industry sectors. Commissioned to independent market research firm Colmar Brunton this survey ran from 5th-6th September 2016. The Monitor Snapshot provides insight into issues currently affecting New Zealand's SMEs, as well as information on performance and the economy profitability. The weighting of respondents by both geographical location and sector is based on overall market proportions as established by Statistics New Zealand and is drawn from an independent survey group, which includes both MYOB clients and non-clients.
About Myob Group Ltd
MYOB Group Ltd (ASX:MYO) is a leading provider of online business management solutions. It makes business life easier for approximately 1.2 million businesses and accountants across Australia and New Zealand by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB operates across three core segments – Clients and Partners (business solutions to SMEs and Advisers); Enterprise Solutions (larger businesses) and Payment Solutions. It provides ongoing support through client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly through its Connected Practice Strategy and through the development of the MYOB Platform. For more information, follow @MYOB on Twitter or visit http://investors.myob.com.au/Investors
Myob Group Ltd