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Business.govt.nz makes it easier for small businesses in New Zealand to understand and comply with government, and succeed. They do this by packaging content and advice from across government into tools and resources designed with small business in mind.

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Last updated 04 June 2020

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Date printed 26 May 2024

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Business capabilities

A business capability is what an organisation needs to deliver its business strategy and achieve its outcomes. Business capabilities encompass people, processes, information, and technology.

Another term for business capability is organisational capability. Business capabilities help agencies understand and structure what is needed to support their operating model and services.

Collectively, business capabilities are what an organisation needs to deliver its business strategy and achieve its outcomes.

Business capabilities realise business outcomes.

A business capability is what an organisation needs to deliver its business strategy and achieve its outcomes. Business capabilities encompass people (competencies), processes, information, and technology. Another term for business capability is organisation capability.

Principles for working with business capabilities

Principle 1: useful.

In general, we expect the business capabilities to be defined to a level which is useful to the stakeholders. The set of high level business capabilities for any organisation should clearly align with the purpose of the organisation, and what it needs to be able to fulfil that purpose. It helps to be able to distinguish core supporting capabilities from value producing and strategic capabilities.

Principle 2: Self-contained

It is helpful to think about business capabilities as self-contained pieces of a business that potentially could be sourced from another business unit or agency, or an external provider. Can they be logically separated and shifted? If not, we may be getting too detailed.

Sourcing of capabilities is something that is worth thinking about. Some questions to ask are:

  • Is this something that potentially could be out-sourced from the agency or is it core to the agency?
  • If something could be outsourced why would you do it? Is it because it is a commodity function that could be done more effectively by a specialist provider? Is it something you need to be able to do well but currently don’t have the right skill sets?

Principle 3: What and why

The ‘what?’ and the ‘why?’, not the ‘how?’, ‘who?’ or ‘where’. A business capability is about defining what needs to be delivered and why it needs to be delivered; it does not define how it will be delivered. Capability is conceptual, it is used to simplify.

For example, a small business owner with staff needs a “Pay staff capability”. The how is not part of the capability; the owner could implement it by pulling out their wallet and giving staff money, through to having an accounting and time-keeping software package that direct credits pay into staff accounts.

Principle 4: Categorised

Capabilities should be categorised to allow gaps and overlaps to be readily identified and any duplication avoided, or explained and justified. The government enterprise architecture reference taxonomies can be used for this purpose.

Business capabilities terms

1. capability gap.

A capability gap is the difference between the current capability and what the stakeholders want the capability to be. Once the gap has been agreed and defined, explore options to close the capability gap.

In some cases, the gap may be so big that a new capability is required to replace a current one.

2. Capability heat map

A capability heat map is a simple visual technique tool for highlighting where the focus areas are for an organisation. The capabilities on this should align with the focus areas of the stakeholders, using terms that are well understood. Often the heat map will show the current state on the left and a desired state by a target date on the right. More sophisticated heat maps may show the related capability increments needed to reach the desired state.

3. Capability increments

A capability increment is the result of some action taken to improve a capability. There may be a number of capability increments needed to get from the current capability to the desired capability. These will often be in the form of change programmes and related projects.

4. Capability maturity model/capability maturity assessment

The Capability maturity model (CMM) is an approach for assessing, measuring and tracking the evolution of a capability over time. It provides a framework for organising these evolutionary steps into 5 maturity levels that lay successive foundations for continuous process improvement.

CMM was developed and is promoted by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) . It was originally developed for software development but over time has come to be used for all aspects of organisations with many industry specific models now available.

CMM's five maturity levels

  • Initial level – processes are ad hoc. Success is based on individual efforts. It is not considered to be repeatable, as processes are not sufficiently defined and documented.
  • Repeatable level – basic project management techniques are established, and successes could be repeated. Supporting processes would have been established, defined and documented but are not necessarily followed.
  • Defined level – an organisation has developed its own standard software process through greater attention to documentation, standardisation and integration.
  • Managed level – an organisation monitors and controls its own processes through data collection and analysis.
  • Optimising level – continuous process improvement is enabled by quantitative feedback from the process and from piloting innovative ideas and technologies.

Depending upon the model, the definitions may vary but the concept is the same. Maturity levels are often “1” to “5”. In the generic government capability assessment tool “0” is used as a null value where there is no data.

5. Parent capability/child capability

Capabilities can be organised so that a capability has multiple sub-capabilities. This would normally be done when focus is needed on some aspects of the capability.

Related resources

Government business capability model.

The government business capability model provides a candidate set of business capabilities that could be found in a typical government agency as a quick start for agencies wanting to use business capabilities as a tool to link strategy to their resources and assets.

Government Business Capability Model

Generic capability maturity assessment tool

This tool is intended as generic tool for assessing the maturity of unique capabilities for which there may be no readily available maturity assessment tools.

Generic capability maturity assessment tool (ZIP 315KB)

Protective Security Requirements Capability Maturity Model

Provides a simple checklist to help your organisation's security leaders to review your organisation’s security capability.

The Open Group

The Open Group is a global consortium responsible for developing the TOGAF® (The Open Group Architecture Framework) standard, certification, and a range of free guides for enterprise architecture.

A related whitepapers is:

Capability-Based Planning: The Link Between Strategy and Enterprise Architecture

Reference: W16C

This White Paper describes how a Capability-Based Planning (CBP) method is a solution for the alignment between business strategy and Enterprise Architecture. It includes a detailed example using ArchiMate 3.0 notation.

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Last updated 11 November 2021

Date printed 26 May 2024

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  • Preparing your business plan

If you are applying for an Entrepreneur Work Visa, you need to provide a detailed business plan that meets our requirements.

Starting a business: Entrepreneur Work Visa

  • Points indicator for Entrepreneur Work Visa

What your business plan must include

Your business plan must include information about the business you will operate in New Zealand.

Business information

Business information must include:

  • the industry
  • the location
  • whether you will set up a new business or buy an existing one
  • details of any occupational registration you have, if you need it to run your business in New Zealand
  • details about the business environment and market you will work in, as you understand it
  • how your business will meet at least 1 of the business characteristics identified in the Entrepreneur Work policy objective.

Occupational registration

Entrepreneur Work policy objective

The Entrepreneur Work policy objective is to contribute to economic growth by helping experienced business people grow or establish high-growth and innovative businesses that have export potential.

Financial information

You must include financial information, including:

  • realistic financial forecasts
  • evidence you have enough money to finance your business, and support any family who come to New Zealand with you.

Optional business track record and character information

In your visa application you must include information about your business track record and character, including details of any:

  • past bankruptcy
  • business failure, fraud or financial wrongdoing.

You can also include this information in your business plan.

Supporting evidence for your business plan

You must also include evidence that:

  • supports any claims you made about your business in the Entrepreneur Work Visa points scale
  • you have business experience relevant to the proposed business
  • your business will meet at least 1 of the business characteristics identified in the Entrepreneur Work policy objective.

Points Scale for Entrepreneur Work Visa

If you are buying an existing business

If you are buying an existing business, your business plan must also include:

  • evidence of the value of the business, for example a sales and purchase agreement or independent valuation
  • evidence of the profitability of the business, for example profit and loss statements or audited accounts for the last 2 years
  • information about how many people the business currently employs
  • information about the benefit your business activity will provide New Zealand.

Our Entrepreneur Work Visa Guide has information about how to set out your business plan.

Entrepreneur Work Visa Guide (INZ 1221) PDF 284KB

5 Tips for Your New Zealand Business Plan

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By Dan Kim Associate

Updated on September 8, 2023 Reading time: 5 minutes

This article meets our strict editorial principles. Our lawyers, experienced writers and legally trained editorial team put every effort into ensuring the information published on our website is accurate. We encourage you to seek independent legal advice. Learn more .

What Is a Business Plan?

  • Keep It Relevant 
  • Keep It Concise – And Nail Your Pitch
  • Do Not Make Empty Claims 
  • Be Conservative 

Include Payout Options for Investors

  • Have Your Key Legal Documents in Place 
  • Key Takeaways 

Frequently Asked Questions

A good business plan guides you through each step of  setting up and managing your business . It can help you find a new direction for your business or test the financial viability of your idea. Every business is different, and therefore you should tailor your plan to your needs and audience. No matter how small your venture is, your plan should include, at a minimum key strategy points, crucial milestones and essential projections, sales, spending and cash flow analysis. You should prioritise substance and leave out any empty gimmicks or unrealistic financial projections or milestones. This article shares tips and best practices to help you write a thorough and accurate plan for a New Zealand business and win investors and other stakeholders. 

A business plan is a crucial document for your business. You should not start running your operations without a business plan as this will help you avoid common causes of failure, such as not having enough capital or an adequate market. Your business plan should explain: 

  • the nature of your business;
  • details of your offering, target market and competition;
  • sales and profits forecasts;
  • how much capital you require for startup or expansion and how you are planning to use it; 
  • your legal business structure, ownership details and key personnel; and
  • whether you have obtained any patents, prototypes, or essential contracts regarding product development or conducted any marketing tests.

If you are putting together a plan for the first time, it is essential to understand how to write and present your content effectively. You want to engage your readers early in the process and be able to communicate succinctly what you need and why. For example, you may need a loan to buy new equipment, so how will you repay this loan and over what term?

Keep It Relevant 

As with most content that you will produce throughout the life of your business, you need to write for your audience and therefore understand their needs. Your business plan’s target audience may include your potential investors, lenders, potential partners, employees, customers and suppliers. 

For example, if you are writing a version of your business plan for a  venture capital (VC) firm , you want to be concise, clear and convincing. VC investors are often busy, so your plan will likely only get a few minutes of their attention. You may want to use some visual representations of your data for impact, such as charts and graphs. If you are writing for an angel investor, prepare a brief, less formal plan to avoid sounding imposing. They are generally more informal and tend to trust their instincts over your pitch. Think like an investor, and write what they would want to see.

Keep It Concise – And Nail Your Pitch

When it comes to length, your business plan should convince your readers that you truly understand your market and have a strong execution strategy. Most business consultants agree on a minimum of 15 pages, and it should not take longer than 15 minutes to skim through. 

Your plan should start with a one-page pitch that summarises your business, the problem that you are solving, your target market, and financial highlights. A concise and punchy summary can help you get your reader’s attention early on in the document and pique their interest in your business.

The New Zealand business.govt.nz website provides a  free business plan template . Make sure you tailor it to the needs of your business and audience, and ask a consultant or mentor to review it before you present it to your investors.

Do Not Make Empty Claims 

Your prospective investors have likely read thousands of business plans and can easily recognise empty claims and gimmicks. If you state that your product has the potential to get 10% of the market in a specific timeframe, you have to support your assertion with carefully analysed data. Otherwise, prospective investors are likely to dismiss your business. For example, you should provide evidence of your customers’ acceptance of your product or service and the rate at which you can likely sell it.

Be Conservative 

Be conservative and realistic when making financial projections and forecasts in your business plan. You should include five-year profitability forecasts to help your investors decide how much they want to commit and at what price. You should avoid relying on over-optimistic figures, as investors can quickly see through these. Talk to your accountant if you need help preparing your financial forecasts and presenting them in a standard format. 

You should also be conservative when defining milestones. Being realistic will make your presentation more credible. Before you start, research and add a 15% buffer to your key milestones to avoid missing important deadlines.  

Your investors need to feel comfortable that they can make an adequate return or when and how they could cash out. As a general rule of thumb, many investors want to get their money back within three to seven years. Therefore, you should briefly describe your plans to pay them out.

Have Your Key Legal Documents in Place 

In conjunction with putting your plan in place, key legal documents such as documents recording your business structure, employment agreements with key staff members, contracts with third parties, terms and conditions of trade, and intellectual property must be properly recorded and registered in the background. Having these legal arrangements properly documented will minimise the risk for businesses. In the event of a dispute with other parties or customers, if there is no contract in place, this will create a lot of uncertainty for the business trying to navigate what process is to take place.

Additionally, if you are looking at approaching, for example, a VC firm, the VC will want to ensure that the key legal arrangements of the business have been properly recorded before making their investment. If the structure of the business and ownership of the business’s intellectual property is not legally sound, this can be a continual risk for the business and may dissuade a VC from investing. Although these legal documents do not need to be part of the plan itself, these arrangements must be properly documented so that your business plan is not subject to any unforeseen legal risks.   

Front page of publication

To protect your business, ensure supplier contracts meet your business’ needs. Our free Commercial Contracts Checklist will help.

Key Takeaways 

Your marketing, operational and financial issues are unique to your business. Therefore, your plan should be tailored to your business needs and focus on areas of concern to your audience. Your investors rely on your plan to understand your business objectives and the capabilities of your management team and determine whether they can earn an adequate return for their investment. Your investors will also want to see that the business has its key legal documents in place, which minimises the risk of the business and, in turn, their investment. Therefore, you should keep your business plan relevant, concise, realistic and conservative to win your investors and other stakeholders. 

If you need help defining your business’s regulatory environment or reviewing your business plan before presenting it to investors, our experienced  business lawyers  can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on 0800 005 570 or visit our  membership page .

Your plan should start with an executive summary that summarises your business, the problem that you are solving, your target market, and financial highlights. Think of it as a one-page pitch that will help your audience decide whether they want to continue reading or not. You should then go into more detail about your business, strategy, current and planned team, market and competitor analysis, strategy and budget, assets, financial plan, business continuity plan and legal and regulatory requirements. As a rule of thumb, your plan should not take longer than fifteen minutes to skim through.

You will use your business plan to test the commercial viability of your idea or to plan the next stage for your business. It will help you decide how much capital you need to fund your venture and whether you want to get funding from investors or a loan from a bank. Your plan can also help you attract talent for your management team or secure a deal with a new supplier.

From financing your operations to attracting talent, you will write your business plan to help you define and meet your goals. Therefore, your target audience will include investors, lenders, potential partners, employees, customers and suppliers.

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  • Go to the Work and Income home page

Got a smart business idea you want to turn into reality? Get help to plan and set up a successful business or be a self-employed contractor.

You may be able to get:

  • advice and tools to help you plan
  • support and funding to set up your business
  • help to find employees.

Advice, tools and funding

Business training and advice grant.

Help with developing a business plan, training in business skills, advice and project reports.

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Help with essential start-up costs, e.g. furniture or the first lot of stock.

Flexi-wage for self-employment

A subsidy to help with living costs while you’re getting started.

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Connected has Employment Liaison Advisors located across New Zealand who can help you find help in your area. Their website also has lists of help available nationally and regionally.

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We offer no-fee recruitment services to help you find the right candidate for your business.

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Business success at heart of Govt growth plan

  • Steven Joyce
  • Bill English

The Government will focus on six key areas over the next three years to help companies grow and to build a more productive and competitive economy, Finance Minister Bill English and Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce say.

Building a more competitive economy is one of four main priorities the Prime Minister has outlined for the Government in this term.

"Sustainable economic growth which creates permanent worthwhile jobs is best achieved by building a competitive economy that allows business to trade successfully with the rest of the world," the Ministers say.

"The Government has put together a business growth plan that will ensure ministers and departments are focused on the six important inputs businesses need to access to be internationally competitive."

The six key areas in the business growth agenda are:

  • Capital markets
  • Innovation and ideas
  • Skilled and safe workplaces
  • Natural resources
  • Infrastructure (including electricity, broadband, transport); and
  • Export markets

Ministers English and Joyce will co-ordinate informal groups of ministers in each of these policy areas to drive the growth plan forward and deliver on the Government’s 120-point action plan announced before the election. New polices will be added to each of these areas over the next three years.

The Government will produce progress reports in the second half of this year on each of the six areas to give greater visibility to the Government’s actions and progress. The six reports will be rolled out starting from June.

The Economic Development Ministry will also produce a report this year on the GDP contribution of each major industry, discussing the challenges and opportunities they face.

"Throughout the 2000s the competitiveness of the New Zealand economy suffered as new costs were heaped on business and government spending grew out of control," Mr English says.

"Over the past three years we've taken significant steps to make our economy more competitive and having a clear focus on these areas will help drive that forward."

Mr Joyce says the business growth agenda will ensure the Government is focused on what matters to business, and ensures companies can more easily access the advice and support they need.

"Lifting the overall productivity and competitiveness of the economy is critical to business growth, to creating more jobs and higher wages,” Mr Joyce says.

"The reality is that if we want more and better jobs for New Zealanders we need to encourage more businesses to be based here. To do that, the Government is focused on making it easier for businesses to access the six key areas they need to grow.

"Nothing creates sustainable jobs and boosts our standard of living better than business confidence and growth.”  

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Advice and tools to help with setting up in business.

See 11 types of support on this page

Starting a business.

Getting started — business.govt.nz

Business.govt.nz has a package page with resources for getting your business up and running. From tips to templates, you’ll find it all in one place.

Business.govt.nz has tips, tools, visual guides, and case studies to point you in the right direction when starting a business. Find information on planning, getting set up, funding and finance on the getting started package page to help you get started on the right foot.

These resources are for all New Zealanders in business. They’re built with small to medium business owners at front of mind. No matter your geographical location, or your industry, Business.govt.nz provides information to help you thrive.

Start your own business

Ministry of Social Development

Work and Income have a range of supports to help you if you’re starting your own business.

Supporting people to develop and start their own business.

You can get help with:

  • advice and training on how to start a business
  • help with essential start-up costs
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Each type of support has different criteria you need to meet, these are outlined on the Work and Income website.

Support for business

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Inland Revenue are here to support you with understanding your responsibilities around tax and social policy obligations, helping you get it right from the start.

The website holds key information that will help when you’re looking to start working for yourself.

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Anyone setting up a new business, support for those already in business and those wanting to close down an existing business. 

Help with costs while you set up your business

Flexi-wage — Ministry of Social Development

If you are out of work and want to start your own business but need some support, Work and Income may be able to help with Flexi-wage Self-employment.

If you’re out of work and want to start your own business, Flexi-wage Self-employment may be able to support you and help with costs while you get started.

You may be able to get Flexi-wage Self-employment if you’re:

  • within New Zealand’s working-age population
  • out of work
  • disadvantaged in the labour market (which means you have, or are expected to have, difficulty getting or keeping a job), and
  • at risk of long-term unemployment.

Flexi-wage Self-employment includes:

  • $600 a week over 28 weeks, totalling $16,800 (pro-rated for those pursuing self-employment part-time)
  • funding support through a Business, Training and Advice Grant, up to $5,000.

Employment New Zealand website

Employment New Zealand

The Employment New Zealand website provides a wide range of information and resources, to help employers and employees understand their rights and obligations. Employment New Zealand is part of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The website provides practical, operational, and best practice employment information to help employers and employees understand what they can do and how they should do it.

The website is free to use for any member of the public. This includes both employers and employees, but also any other individuals and organisations.

The information on the website aims to support positive relationships between employers and employees, and to promote safe, fair, and harmonious workplaces.

Employment Learning Modules

The Employment Learning Modules on the Employment New Zealand website are free to access. These will help you and your employees learn about your rights and responsibilities in the workplace.

The Employment Learning Modules are short online courses on a range of topics relating to employment – working arrangements, employment agreements, pay and wages, etc. The new module, ‘An Introduction to Your Employment Rights’, comes in 8 different languages, and also comes with a voice-over function.

The modules are free to access, use, and sign up for, by any member of the public. This includes both employers and employees, but also any other individuals and organisations.

You and your employees will gain a better understanding of your rights and responsibilities under New Zealand employment law.

Digital Boost

Business.govt.nz

Digital Boost provides access to free, self-paced training to assist small businesses in gaining digital skills.

Learn the digital skills to boost your business. Whatever stage you’re at, use digital to do business smarter. 

See how other Kiwi business owners are using digital to boost their business and work smarter. Access free, self-paced training and tools and gain skills to launch your business into the digital world. 

Business.govt.nz assisted in creating Digital Boost for all New Zealand small businesses, no matter what stage or business structure you’re in. Digital Boost is free to use.

Choose business structure

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Each different way to structure your business has different legal and financial obligations. Most businesses in New Zealand are sole traders, companies, or partnerships.

There are different ways to structure your business, depending on how you plan on running it.

Anyone thinking of starting a business

Answer three quick questions to see which structure is best suited for your business idea.

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Policies set out the rules for your workplace. They tell your workers what you expect from them, and what they can expect from you.

Workplace policies, together with employment agreements, are a great foundation for employment relationships.

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Build a workplace policy to let your workers know what to expect at work.

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Business.govt.nz is free to use by any member of the public. The content is designed with New Zealand small businesses front of mind.      

Employment Agreement Builder

Create tailored employment agreements for your staff. Employment agreements are a legal requirement and a great foundation for an employment relationship.

Employment agreements are a legal requirement for all employees.

Create tailored employment agreements for your staff.

Last modified: 19 February 2024

Related content

Find a range of employment advice and tools for businesses to support staff.

nz government business plan

'Back in business': Jones announces plan to double export earnings from mining

The Government has unveiled its plan to double New Zealand's billion-dollar mining industry.  

Resources Minister Shane Jones on Thursday launched a draft strategy for the minerals sector in New Zealand at a community meeting in Blackball on the West Coast. 

"Today, in the heart of mining country, I am telling Kiwis they are back in business," Jones said. 

"No longer will these communities with rich histories intertwined with mining be told they cannot utilise the rich mineral endowments contained in their land." 

The Draft Minerals Strategy for New Zealand to 2040, which is now open for consultation, proposes producing a critical minerals list for New Zealand and undertaking a detailed stock take of the country's known mineral potential. 

Jones said the strategy will include actions to clarify where mining can take place, adding schedule 4 land is off the table. 

"My vision is that we change the prevailing mantra about mining to one that doesn’t begin and end with extraction but one that focuses on our mineral needs, economic opportunities, and our ability to deliver on this while benefiting our environment and communities." 

Jones said his first focus area is growing New Zealand's wealth on the back of minerals. 

Currently, minerals generate export earnings of $1 billion annually, $21 million in royalties and more than 5000 direct jobs for New Zealanders, Jones said. He wants to double export value to $2 billion by 2035 and provide more than 7000 jobs. 

"This is not out of reach," Jones said. "The establishment of 10 significant mining operations, each having the potential to generate $100m per annum, can lead this growth pathway. 

"To unlock that potential, mining needs to happen in the right place, in the right way and in partnership with tangata whenua and local communities. But we don't have the right settings to allow this at present." 

Jones said the Coalition Government will "remove red tape" to allow efficient mining development. 

"Ultimately, we want to enable major projects by improving decision-making timeframes and giving greater investment certainty, with well-designed projects having a clear and fast path to consent. 

"The Fast-track Approvals Bill is already before Parliament but there is more work needed across all of the legislation and approvals required by miners when they are working outside the fast-track process." 

The key actions from this strategy that are already underway:

  • Implementing the Fast-track Approvals Bill
  • Producing a critical minerals list for New Zealand
  • Improving the efficiency of the permitting process under the Crown Minerals Act 1991 and clearing the minerals applications queue
  • Making amendments to the Resource Management Act 1991 and its national direction to improve consenting processes and ensure it provides an enabling and enduring framework for responsible minerals development 
  • Completing a detailed stocktake of New Zealand’s known mineral potential
  • Promoting investment opportunities to increase the scale and pace of development 

Jones said the mineral sector is critical to the economic prosperity of New Zealand. 

"It has been a transformative agent for our country in the past, and I expect it to play a transforming role into the future." 

Consultation on the draft minerals strategy closes on July 21, 2024. 

Resource Minister Shane Jones.

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Long-term Insights Briefing on the future of business for Aotearoa New Zealand

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is pleased to share with you our Long-term Insights Briefing: 'The future of business for Aotearoa New Zealand: An exploration of 2 trends influencing productivity and wellbeing – purpose-led business and use of blockchain technology'. Thank you to everyone who shared their knowledge and insights to inform the development of the Briefing.

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Tūhoe economic worldview: mapping to an orthodox framework

A report comparing Ngāi Tūhoe’s interpretation of the economy against orthodox economic frameworks, by economist Shamubeel Eaqub (of Sense Partners).

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https://www.mbie.govt.nz/business-and-employment/economic-development Please note: This content will change over time and can go out of date.

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To be eligible, the majority ownership of your business must identify as Māori. You must also have a business plan and have attended Inland Revenue’s Introduction to Business workshop.

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Māori Business Growth Support (external link) — Te Puni Kōkiri

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Read the 2017 Commercial Advisors Scheme: approved commercial advisors [PDF, 140KB] (external link)

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The programmes offer access to expert mentoring, advice, and an opportunity to learn from like-minded founders.

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Map out clear goals at the start to get the best out of your mentoring relationship.

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There are few government grants or funding schemes available to the self-employed and businesses just starting out. If you’re eligible, you might have to match any funding you get. Your Regional Business Partner will help you find suitable grants.

Here are two funding schemes specifically for new businesses.

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Deep Tech refers to advanced technologies that are based on significant scientific or engineering breakthroughs. These technologies often require extensive research and development, high levels of expertise, and significant investment.

The Deep Tech Incubator programme was created to fund and support New Zealand innovators with big ideas, to advance Aotearoa in the scientific and technological space.

Deep Tech Incubators (external link) — Callaghan Innovation 

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The Flexi-wage programme provides advice and some financial support. 

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Oranga Tamariki repeal saga threatens the separation of powers - Sasha Borissenko

Sasha Borissenko

Sasha Borissenko

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Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 is the primary legal mechanism that recognises the Crown’s Treaty of Waitangi duties in the country’s child protection system. Photo / RNZ

Sasha Borissenko is a freelance journalist who has reported extensively on the legal industry.

Division among the courts and government has been the plat du jour in recent months over the proposal to repeal section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act.

Last week, the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA Amendment Act) was introduced, and the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of an unprecedented summons to compel Karen Chhour - Minister for Children and for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence - to explain the proposed repeal during an urgent Waitangi Tribunal inquiry in April.

A bit of history

For context, Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989 is the primary legal mechanism that recognises the Crown’s Treaty of Waitangi duties in the country’s child protection system.

It came into force in 2019 after successive independent reports found Oranga Tamariki at fault in its ability to care for children, particularly Māori. Although far from perfect, the section arguably attempted to address deep-rooted prejudice towards Maori in what is otherwise a system that’s geared towards Pakeha.

The section imposed obligations on Oranga Tamariki, including reducing disparities between Māori and non-Māori children, forming partnerships with iwi, reporting requirements to limit bias in decision-making, and ensuring that tamariki Māori remain connected to their families and culture while in state care.

In February, the Ombudsman reported 109 “formal deficiencies” in Oranga Tamariki’s work between 2019 and 2023. Some could argue section 7AA gives the state too much power, but removing the section will leave Māori with no legal recourse to challenge said “deficiencies”.

In a statement released last week, Chhour said the section allows children and youth “as an identity first, and a person second”, creating a divisive system that negatively impacts caregivers.

Waitangi Tribunal urgent inquiry

Aside from the ‘I don’t see colour, just people’ rhetoric, efforts to remove the section prompted the Waitangi Tribunal to conduct an urgent inquiry, which was released in April.

Citing clear breaches of the Treaty, the Tribunal expressed concern the “rushed” and “arbitrary” repeal would “cause actual harm.” With Judge Michael Doogan leading the charge, the Tribunal said there was no evidential basis for the reforms other than anecdotal material.

“Crown counsel and Crown witnesses have confirmed that the government’s decision to repeal section 7AA is not based on an empirical public policy case,” the report read.

Essentially, the Tribunal said the repeal failed to consider alternative options or consult Māori, and promises made during coalition agreement negotiations didn’t cut the mustard.

Irrespective of the Tribunal’s outcome, the saga stems from Chhour’s failure to appear before the Tribunal. After declining to give evidence, she successfully challenged the Tribunal’s calls to give evidence via judicial review in April.

Crown Law - headed by solicitor general Una Jagose - argued in the High Court the summons was unlawful as the courts and government should act independently. Pointing to comity - the principle of mutual respect and restraint - Crown Law said the summons wasn’t necessary or relevant as Cabinet papers and supplementary evidence could be used in the alternative.

I think this is particularly ironic given that Shane Jones and David Seymour have both criticised the Waitangi Tribunal in recent months. In April, Jones likened the Tribunal to a “wannabe American star chamber pulp fiction gig” before threatening to review and potentially reform its status, for example.

“What gives the Waitangi Tribunal the belief that their power is greater than voting democratic power of Kiwis?”, Jones said.

As an aside, this could be seen as democratic fudging at best, seeing as NZ First garnered just 6 per cent of votes. Act saw 8.6 per cent.

Nevertheless, the Māori Law Society came out swinging over Jones’ comments, saying they were inappropriate and unconstitutional . Co-president Natalie Coates claimed the comments breached Cabinet Manual conventions against influencing or criticising the judiciary.

“The comments, which are paired with a threat of executive review of the function and purpose of the tribunal, could also have a chilling effect and reflect adversely on Waitangi Tribunal decisions going forward.”

Finally, some Court of Appeal sense

This brings me to the Court of Appeal’s decision, which provided a sense of calm to what has otherwise been months of rogue behaviour and complete chaos.

In his decision, Justice Mark Cooper said it was legitimate for the Tribunal to compel Chhour to provide more information, both relevant and necessary to the inquiry.

Not only did the Tribunal operate in a different context than the judiciary and legislative branches of government, the Treaty of Waitangi Act specifically identified when its jurisdiction was limited by parliamentary proceedings, the decision read.

“When issuing the summons, the Tribunal was also appropriately sensitive to relevant issues, including collective Cabinet responsibility, the confidentiality of Cabinet discussions, and legal privilege.”

With the Tribunal’s decision already out into the ether, the Court of Appeal’s decision gave rise to “issues of mootness”, Justice Cooper said. It’s now a case of whether the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA Amendment Act) can stand on its own two legs among the country’s representatives.

Then there’s the court of public opinion.

According to recent research by the University of Waikato, 38 per cent of Pākehā and 59 per cent of Māori survey respondents cited the Treaty of Waitangi as the most important event in New Zealand’s history.

Seventy per cent of respondents born between 2000 and 2006 pointed to the Treaty’s importance.

To rid New Zealand’s child care protection legislation of one of its foundational constitutional documents is a poor move on all counts, it seems.

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