National Party leader Christopher Luxon has stood by his comment labelling New Zealand businesses “soft”.
Luxon made the remark last week during a policy speech at Policy Exchange, a thinktank based in London.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday in Auckland, the Opposition leader said it was in the context of the speech, which was about “unleashing enterprise”.
“It’s really tough to be a businessperson in New Zealand under this government at the moment,” Luxon said.
“It’s pretty heartbreaking because actually you hear a lot of businesses that are really struggling with costs and compliance and red tape.
“They’re not making those next steps of investment because it's just too hard.”
As part of the trip, the National leader also spent time in Dublin to gather policy ideas.
"What I spent a lot of time in Ireland understanding is how does Enterprise Ireland work and how do they attract foreign direct investment."
Luxon said there was “a lot” of work to do to support businesses growth in New Zealand, which he described as the country’s "lifeblood".
"It’s how we grow our economy, its how we crack higher wages and salaries, and that’s how we get more freedom of choice for our people."
On the impact of Covid-19 on businesses, Luxon said he would support introducing test-to-work rules.
This would allow household contacts isolating at home to go to work provided they return a negative rapid antigen test.
"That would help out workforce planning a little bit more, and put some workers into the workforce."