What we've done

Making it easier for businesses to work with Government

Better for Business is a group of government agencies which joined together in 2012 to meet the Government’s commitment to deliver better public services to business customers – result 9 of its Better Public Services priorities.

Last year the World Bank named New Zealand the easiest country in the world to do business in, which is a clear sign of a strong relationship between business and government.

Here are a couple of snapshots of work under way to make life better for business:

Major improvements to GST introduced

The first stage of Inland Revenue’s Business Transformation went live in February 2017 with a technology platform transfer to GST. More than 111,000 users logged into the new service in just the first seven days. In addition, some 780,000 businesses are now able to use their New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) to identify themselves when they contact Inland Revenue.

One of the most significant benefits for customers is being able to file and pay their GST at the same time, rather than having to pay separately via internet banking after filing the return. The new system is easy and intuitive for customers. They can register for GST, register as a preparer of tax returns, amend their GST returns and accounts, file and pay GST at the same time, set up payment plans for GST debt, and track their GST payments and refunds – all online.

Other benefits include new migrants being able to apply online for an IRD number so they’re ready to work in New Zealand. And tax agents can ‘bulk file’ for their clients, saving time and cost. Improved GST services are designed to make it easier to get tax right from the start, and will further reduce the time businesses spend on tax compliance.

Further stages will streamline income tax and other business taxes and social policy administration. Inland Revenue estimates that compliance costs for small and medium businesses from the transformation programme, will reduce by a total of $1.2 - 2 billion by 2023/24, and these businesses should save between 18 and 26 hours a year.

Accelerating innovation

Government agencies are working with private sector entrepreneurs and staff from the public sector to develop products and services that make it easier for businesses and members of the public to interact with government agencies. We call this the R9 Accelerator.

R9 Accelerator 3+ started in early 2017. Selected teams go through an in-residence business accelerator. At the end of three months, the teams pitch to a community of public and private sector investors to get funding to develop their idea into a start-up business or government project.

A lot of government services are quite complex - meaning businesses find it takes more effort to deal with government than it should. The R9 Accelerator aims to solve some of these must-fix problems.

R9 Accelerator is one of the first programmes of its kind in the world that brings public and private sectors together to work on business-to-government problems. The R9 Accelerator is creating a radical evolution in the way government normally solves problems. Using an accelerator approach makes it easier and faster to solve major pain points in a low risk, low cost, yet innovative way.

Find out more: www.r9accelerator.co.nz

Here are a few of the things other Better for Business agencies are working on to reduce business effort:

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment


  • Immigration ONLINE receives over 3,500 applications each week. New online application processing is making it easier and faster for businesses to bring skilled workers and fill gaps in the labour market. Now, new migrants can get their IRD number with their visa application so they’re ready to work when they arrive.
  • Business.govt.nz: Business.govt.nz makes it easier for small business in New Zealand to understand and comply with government, by packaging content and advice from across government into tools and resources designed with small business in mind. In 2015/16 there were 1.9 million visits to the site, 52 percent up from the previous year.
  • New Zealand Business Number (NZBN): 865,000 businesses have been assigned a NZBN, the unique identifiers which will reduce the time and energy businesses spend providing government with the same information in different ways. In the future a change to NZBN information will change information on other databases. Private enterprises are using NZBNs in a variety of innovative ways. For example, Foodstuffs is using the NZBN to streamline their business processes and Air NZ is leveraging the NZBN for their Airpoints for Business programme.
  • Ultra-Fast Broadband: Helping businesses to grow and become more productive through access to Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) and faster broadband (outside of UFB areas) – over 90% of businesses in UFB areas are now able to connect to fibre.
  • The Intellectual Property Office of New Zealand (IPONZ): IPONZ has a 100 per cent online model which makes it simple and cost-effective for businesses to register and apply to protect their ideas.

New Zealand Customs Service


  • Reducing compliance: Making it easier for businesses to understand their compliance requirements so they have more time to concentrate on doing what they do best – business.
  • Trade Single Window: Working with the Ministry for Primary Industries to introduce a Trade Single Window, which allows traders to send shipment details electronically to one place, rather than to several government agencies, reducing duplication and effort for business.
  • Free Trade Agreements: Helping to establish and operate Free Trade Agreements with trading partners such as China, Korea and Malaysia.

Stats NZ


  • Improvements to surveys: Reducing the number of surveys businesses need to complete and making surveys faster to complete by asking few questions, and making surveys available online.
  • Useful Stats: Producing a range of tools using key statistics that let businesses benchmark their performance and find target markets.



  • Improving online experience: The upgraded ACC website and new self-service tool MyACC for Business is enabling business customers to update their own accounts, and manage and pay their levies online.
  • Workplace safety incentives: ACC is working in partnership with business customers to identify better ways to help them have healthy and safe workplaces. This work will result in a new range of products and services being rolled out from April 2019.
  • Extended contact centre hours: ACC contact centres hours have been extended to 7am-7pm Monday to Friday to improve accessibility.
  • Work and Motor Vehicle levies: The work levy paid by employers and self-employed people will be reduced by an average of 10% during the 2017-2019 levy period. From 1 July 2017, the average motor vehicle levy, which includes the annual license levy and petrol levy, will be reduced by 12.5%.

Inland Revenue


  • Simplified Inland Revenue website information for businesses, including ‘how to’ videos on tax, and improved search function.
  • The ability to set up a new myIR account online and activate it immediately via secure txt or SMS.
    • New migrants and organisations (trusts and societies) able to apply for an IRD number online and get it faster.
  • Registering for an IRD number and as an employer for PAYE at the same time as incorporating a company through the Companies Office.
  • Inland Revenue’s Business Transformation programme.

New Zealand Transport Agency


  • Enabling business to move more freight on fewer trucks due to Vehicle Dimensions and Mass reforms.
  • Reducing transaction times and costs for small and medium-sized enterprises.
  • An enhanced tolling service enabling business to more easily manage and pay toll charges.
  • Trialling weigh-in-motion technology to identify non-compliant heavy vehicles, allowing compliant vehicles to continue their journey.

Ministry for Primary Industries


  • The ‘Where Do I Fit’ online tool makes it easy for anyone involved in selling food to find out what rules they need to follow under the Food Act. Using a series of yes/no questions, a business can quickly determine the food safety requirements they need to follow.
  • The Ministry for Primary Industries has established a new team, the Exporter Regulatory Advice Service. This customer-centric initiative will help grow the primary sector by enabling exporting businesses to know and follow the export requirements which apply to them.
  • Businesses and the public can access key import and export information on www.mpi.govt.nz, a single modern website that’s replaced several legacy sites.

Callaghan Innovation


  • Improving the application process for research and development grants.
  • Changing operating model to focus on helping the growth of businesses in high-potential sectors.


  • Online guidance, tools and resources to help businesses understand how to manage work-related health and safety risks.

NZ Trade and Enterprise

  • Help businesses grow and succeed in international markets by giving access to support, services and expertise.

Achievements 2012 - 2016

Achievements over the period 2012 - 2016.

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