Darren Richards
Darren Richards

Why Bother?

Well, why bother to have your own business and employ staff these days? I am starting to ask myself this question. I started mine at the age of twenty-two and slowly worked up to employing five people. I thought, naively — well, work hard and build up a business, make a good living and create some employment as well. A win-win all-round situation you would think. What I have found has sometimes amazed and sometimes bewildered me. It seems to me anyone in business in NZ is a prime target for an ever-increasing bunch of parasites.

There are Company Registration Fees every year, even for private companies that haven't changed make up in 20 years, plus accountants' fees to do it. Then there is collecting GST and PAYE etc. and the accountants' fees to do it, as you can't risk doing it yourself because the fines for making a mistake are nothing less than ludicrous, and now they even expect you to pay the postage. There are council rates on business property which in south Auckland and probably everywhere else are based on Government valuations that are 30% higher than the property can be sold for. Councils are like highway men that turn into drunken sailors when it comes to spending OPM and explain the rate hikes away as an "unfortunate anomaly" and that anyway Central Government tell us what to charge. Then there is Fringe Benefit Tax — if you drive your business vehicle home at night you are taxed! My longest finger is pointing skyward on this one.

Then there is ACC. What a rip-off and what a joke! In 20 years my company has claimed about $70.00 in doctors' fees and that's all — but we have paid out thousands and thousands. I want New Zealanders to start taking responsibility for themselves instead of relying on Nanny State who then screws the businesses who produce in this country. I also want the right to sue back again ASAP.

Then there are the employees, I think I have heard it all. "Boss can you pay the repo agent for me? I can't get to work without my motorbike." There are sick days you have to pay for, and of course they have to take them whether sick or not. I have had employees who were always broke but would not work overtime even if paid in cash. A while back the local Labour Department or whatever they are called this week approached me to take a few young people for work experience. I said, "OK, but one at a time, I'll teach them something while they are here."

"Oh we don't expect you to teach them anything," came the reply. "We just want them to get used to getting out of bed and turning up somewhere on time". One lasted two days and one turned up at 10am for an 8am start and lasted 4 hours. I flagged it away after that.

Many young people seem to have no work ethic today. Change is needed at school level with more practical economics and real life and less Treaty rubbish taught. It seems an increasing percentage of the population are growing up with a mind set that the Government should pay for every thing, which of course is you and I, the ever-dwindling pool of tax payers.

Now I hear that another group of people want me to pay for their breeding program — no not solo mothers, but any female who decides to stop work and start nesting. Well, they say "They pay you Belgium why not here?" Apparently 65% of New Zealanders want this. Do 65% of New Zealanders actually pay tax? Apparently it will be an across-the- board compulsory levy on all employers. These people should get a life. I will not in future consider employing a female on principle.

I have found by losing 4 staff and keeping one good one and choosing just the good work I can make the same living with way fewer hassles. The local area is $120,000 worse off and the IRD are $30,000 odd worse off. Two of them went into the cash economy, one left town and one went to Australia. I have discussed doing this with other self-employed people I know and have found it quite common. This trend can be no good for the economy or unemployment. There also seems to be a trend for skilled people to leave New Zealand, causing shortages in many areas, and with the current level of expenses facing many businesses they are unable to spend money or time on training new people.

I expected howls of protest after this maternity leave fiasco was floated but not a peep really. I wonder if it would be better to sell up everything and invest it all in an overseas tax haven and just muck around in NZ and spend the tax free interest with an overseas credit card or just bugger off altogether.

If you look toward the next election it is more of the same. Some of those idiots in waiting want to up tax even more than the current thieves. It seems to me taking a lot less tax would kick-start the economy and get things moving again and allow the private sector to invest in some expansion and training for the future.

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