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It's taken 17 years to follow in the footsteps of Bangladesh, the first country to ban single-use plastic bags, but we're finally there! From 1 July 2019, single-use plastic bags cannot be sold or given away in New Zealand. It's all part of the Government's programme to reduce waste and build the foundations for our transition to a 'circular economy' where eventually waste will be designed out of the system.

So, what IS a single-use plastic shopping bag?

They're the plastic bags with handles (made of plastic up to 70 microns in thickness) found at supermarkets, takeaways, and other retailers.

The phase out also applies to heavier boutique-style shopping bags and the 'emergency' bags currently offered by some supermarkets as an alternative to a free single-use bag. It includes bags made of degradable plastic (ie, biodegradable, compostable and oxy-degradable) regardless of whether the plastic material is sourced from fossil-fuel, synthetic compounds or from biological sources such as plants.

Which plastic bags are still allowed?

Bin liners, bags for collecting pet waste and barrier bags used when buying meat, fruit and vegetables (unless they have handles).

What can we expect at the checkout?

Manufacturers and retailers have until 1 July to phase out single-use plastic bags completely, or face six-figure fines. Retailers are offering reusable bags, paper shopping bags or even cardboard boxes to help customers adjust.

What can people use instead?

There are loads of different reusable bags on the market, including bags made from heavier-duty plastic, hessian, lightweight nylon, cotton, recycled fabric or jute. Shoppers can also use wheeled trolley bags, backpacks and home-made bags. The trick now is to get into the habit of remembering to bring them!

Saving time and money

with your NZBN

The New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) is a unique identifier available to all NZ businesses, whether they be a sole trader, a charitable trust, or a large corporation. Your NZBN number links to your business information (known as Primary Business Data), such as your legal and trading names, BIC code, and contact details like addresses, phone number and email.

Anyone who deals with your business can access your Primary Business Data in the NZBN Register, meaning you won't need to keep repeating the same information each time you expand your business network. Likewise, you can obtain your suppliers' details using the NZBN Register.

Your NZBN number can help cut down repetitive data entry - online forms are able to connect to the NZBN Register and pre-populate form fields with your details.

Whenever information is updated on the Register, your business network is alerted of the changes. This ensures goods are always delivered to the right place, and invoices are emailed to the correct address.

Soon e-Invoicing will also become available, which allows for the direct exchange of invoices between suppliers' and buyers' financial systems, circumventing the need to post or email them.

Over time your NZBN will become your main business identifier and will facilitate interactions with Government, your suppliers, customers and other businesses. More than 675,000 Kiwi businesses already have their NZBN number – do you? Head to www.nzbn.govt.nz to get yours (p.s. it's free).

Keen to export?
The 10 questions
to answer

With exporting the stakes are high, so it's vital to do your homework before taking the plunge. Here's what you need to think about before hitting the (overseas) ground running:

  1. What's your value proposition? Having a short statement outlining what is unique about your product is not only a powerful selling tool, it helps you work out whether there's even an offshore market for it.

  2. Which markets will return the most profit? Unsure where to export? Ask yourself these questions: Can you enter the market? Is it a good place to do business? Is there a real opportunity for what you offer? Can you reach your customers easily?

  3. Know your market: Get on a plane, visit trade shows, expos and do some digging on your competitors, their pricing and distribution channels.

  4. Who will you partner with? Agents and distributors are the most common channel choice for Kiwi exporters but consider an overseas office, selling directly to customers online, licensing or franchising too.

  5. Can you handle global growth? Don't commit to exporting until you're armed with adequate financial resources, a committed management team and proof your product does well in New Zealand.

  6. Do a compliance checklist: Failing to comply with international requirements is risky. Look into product liability insurance, product safety and standards, packaging and labelling, barcodes and tracking, transport, and online compliance. Set aside a budget for these changes to avoid nasty surprises.

  7. Will you make a profit? The cost of exporting is different for every business. You'll need to complete a cash flow forecast and work out your break-even point to see if it's even viable.

  8. What's your pricing strategy? Work out your costs, ensuring a healthy profit in your final prices, then talk to the experts about which pricing strategy is on point for your business and market.

  9. How will you get your product overseas? Think hard about your product, its customer, and where your goods need to go. Then get advice from a professional freight company or customs broker.

  10. Can you afford to export? Even established businesses feel the financial strain of exporting. Seek good financial planning advice early on and consider debt funding (loans, leases, overdrafts, terms of trade) or equity funding to finance your offshore activity. Whichever way you go, put some fat in your budget to cover unexpected costs!

To explore the above in more detail visit www.nzte.govt.nz.

Contact Us

If you wish to discuss any of the matters raised in this issue of Dollars and Sense, please contact our office - a member of our friendly team will be happy to assist.

Kind Regards

The team
Ean Brown Partners Limited

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The information contained in this newsletter is of a general nature and should be used as a guide only.
A senior representative of Ean Brown Partners Ltd should be consulted for specific advice before any action is taken.

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