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Leaders advocate incentives, innovation and safety to promote businesses



Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern gestures to the Leader of the Opposition at the 13th Annual Indian Newslink Business Awards. Others in the picture are India’s High Commissioner Neeta Bhushan, National Party Deputy Leader Nicola Willis, Immigration, Workplace Relations and Safety and Transport Minister Michael Wood and Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Community and Voluntary Sectors and Youth Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan.

Venkat Raman
Auckland December 4, 2022

Enabling businesses to grow and reinvest through incentives, innovation and safety and security was the core theme of the 13th Annual Indian Newslink Business Awards held at the Trusts Arena in the West Auckland suburb of Henderson on Tuesday, November 29, 2022.

These were also emphasised in their speeches by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Leader of the Opposition Christopher Luxon, Immigration, Workplace Relations and Safety and Transport Minister Michael Wood, Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Community and Voluntary Sector and Youth Minister Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown, ACT Party Leader David Seymour, National Party Deputy Leader Nicola Willis and New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters.

Some of them made references to the murder of Janak Patel, a dairy worker in Sandringham and said that small retailers are being subject to increasing risks to their life and property. They advocated tougher laws to combat the rise in ram raids and similar acts of arson on the retail industry in Auckland, Hamilton and other parts of the country.

Jacinda Ardern

Ms Ardern said that the economy is in a strong position to grow, recovering from the adverse effects of the Covid-19 global pandemic and that her government was keen to ensure the growth of businesses with friendly policies and measures.

She said that she has been attending the Indian Newslink Business Awards more many years and acknowledged its role in motivating businesses to improve their performance year after year.

“Our Indian community has been at the forefront of entrepreneurship and we have always acknowledged their significant contributions to the growth of our economy. I am confident that they will continue to progress and compete in these Awards,” she said.

Ms Ardern also said that the safety of businesses was a priority for her government.

She had earlier said that Ministers are working on tightening laws around crime and punishment that will prevent horrific murders such as that of a diary worker in her Sandringham constituency on November 23, 2022.

Dairy worker Janak Patel was stabbed several times when he pursued a man who took away the cash till from the dairy. The murder has enraged members of the wider communities, with protest marches and candle vigils held in various parts of the country since the incident.

Acknowledging that recent rise in crime, Ms Ardern said that no New Zealander should operate under circumstances that make them feel unsafe.

“The government will do all that it can and partner with all those who have the ability to make a difference Prevention, intervention and responsibility remain our core focus. The Police are working with retailers on issues such as store layout, security systems and other measures to improve their safety,” she said.

Christopher Luxon

Mr Luxon mourned the death of Janak Patel and said that everyone in New Zealand has the right to feel safe and that such incidents should not be allowed to recur.

Paying tributes to the Indian business community for its resilience, he said that businesses should be encouraged to invest in themselves to drive faster technology adoption. Advocating for removing barriers that prevent small businesses from accessing capital and growing into larger ones, he said that he would welcome productive investment that gives New Zealanders the tools to work smarter, not harder.

In an earlier statement, Mr Luxon said that a government led by him will support the Police by giving them a range of new powers to disrupt and crack down on gang crime.

“New Zealanders do not feel safe in their own communities and gangs are recruiting faster than the Police and the government has voted down ten bills that we had proposed to keep New Zealanders and New Zealand businesses safe,” he said.

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters with Shane Jones, Mahesh Bindra, Prithi Pal Singh, Brian Henry and others at the 13th Annual Indian Newslink Business Awards

Michael Wood

Emphasising the importance of workplace safety, Mr Wood said the government is working with all stakeholders to improve the safety of workers.

He said that he has been working closely with the members of the Indian community and businesses owned by people of Indian origin in his Mt Roskill constituency and throughout the country. The Indian community is a major contributor to our economic growth, he said.

“Our government is working hard to improve the quality of life of our hardworking New Zealanders. We constantly listen to our people and implement measures to increase their well-being. We are also easing the pressure on Immigration to facilitate employers to recruit the staff they need to address the skills shortage,” he said.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan

Ms Radhakrishnan said that New Zealand is one of the most diverse nations in the world, ranking highly for a number of social cohesion outcomes by OECD standards. However, it is well-known that this is not experienced equally by all groups and there is more work to be done.

“The government is supporting more opportunities for communities to come together and build on the values that we share, strengthening New Zealand’s social cohesion,” she said.

Her Ministry recently released ‘Te Korowai Whetu,’ or Social Cohesion, including a Community Fund to support the initiatives that bring out the best of our communities.

“We are delivering on recommendations in the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the March 15 Mosque attacks, ensuring that New Zealand is a place where everyone feels connected, respected and safe,” Ms Radhakrishnan said.

New Staff at Indian Newslink introduced at the event- Digital Graphic Designer Nikita Patil, Audience Engagement Expert Daryll Garcia and Reporters Praneeta Mahajan (Hamilton) and Malini Yugendran (Auckland)

Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown, who appeared on the Indian Newslink platform for the first time since becoming the Mayor of Auckland on October 8, 2022, said that he has been working with small businesses in Auckland’s retail sector and that he is keen to improve their safety.

Welcoming the government’s announcement of a $2 million Support Fund for Auckland, he said that it will help with street lighting, CCTV cameras and planters.

“Every bit helps, and I thank the Prime Minister for making these new funds available,” he said.

Mr Brown said that he is addressing issues such as the cost-of-living crisis and is undertaking measures to cut down wasteful expenditure and promote sensible spending.

18 businesses and individuals were honoured for their business excellence in as many categories in addition to the Supreme Business of the Year. Nine prominent corporate heads and entrepreneurs were also honoured with Special Commemoration Awards.

Additional Reading about David Seymour, Winston Peters and other Stories in our Awards Special beginning on Page 10.

Photographs for Indian Newslink by Narendra Bedekar, Creative Eye Fotographics.

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