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New opportunity with NZ Business Number register

For the first time, Maori businesses can identify themselves as such on the New Zealand Business Number register.

By registering as a Maori business, they will benefit from the opportunities provided by the government-run NZBN register — which are promoted as doing business with confidence and certainty, connecting and interacting more easily and with more accuracy, and saving time and money.

For central government, Maori business registrations will mean it can better understand the contribution that Maori businesses make to the economy, make it easier for investment or collaboration, and help to better measure the effectiveness of government policies for Maori.

Government and non-government agencies will also no longer have to rely on surveys to get up-to-date information on Maori economic activity.

The Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says it has been difficult to accurately understand the needs and successes of small to medium-sized Maori businesses.

MBIE and Te Puni Kokiri have been working alongside the leaders of New Zealand Maori Tourism, Federation of Maori Authorities, Poutama and the Maori Women's Development Inc on this initiative.

“If government wants to successfully support Maori businesses, we need better data to better understand them,” says MBIE general manager of business and consumers Ross van der Schyff. “This is the first time that we can measure Maori business and economic activity in the government data system.”

“The old adage goes ‘you can't manage what you don't measure',” says NZ Maori Tourism chief executive Pania Tyson-Nathan.

“Without good, reliable Maori business data, it is difficult to properly give effect to Maori economic development. Identifying Maori businesses through the NZ Business Number register offers a simple, yet effective way to collect data about Maori commercial enterprise in Aotearoa New Zealand.

“For an organisation like NZ Maori Tourism, having good, reliable Maori business data will enable us to tailor and direct our support for the Maori tourism sector to where it is most needed.”

The New Zealand Business Number is a unique identifier for all businesses, big and small, with over 823,000 businesses already registered. It is designed to make it faster and easier to do business by holding core information on a digital register, meaning it doesn't need to be repeated each time a business completes a transaction with government agencies or other businesses.

Maori businesses that already have an NZBN will have a check-box field to complete on their existing digital NZBN registration to indicate if they identify as Maori. If a business does not already have an NZBN, it is easy to apply for one at www.nzbn.govt.nz

To ensure consistency with other agencies, such as Stats NZ, businesses will be able to self-identify as a Maori business based on a number of factors, such as ownership and directorship, staff members, philosophy and tikanga, management practices, branding and marketing, tangible assets such as land or fishing rights, or intangible assets like kaupapa Maori or cultural property.

MBIE says the more Maori businesses that register, the more informed policy advice and the better outcomes for Maori will be.

• Businesses can update their NZBN or register for the first time via www.nzbn.govt.nz