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September Business Quarterly

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September Business Quarterly

t in the district’s road network and a $6 million project to develop the summit of Titirangi/Kaiti Hill. There has also been an application for funding support for an upgrade to the Gisborne Airport terminal.

In support of these meetings, we run surveys to gauge business trends. Our most recent survey targeted business confidence and from over 1000 responses, almost half believed economic conditions would get worse by the end of the year. That’s a strong message.

Confidence among business people is at its lowest ebb in a decade, and although commentators suggest there is a risk of the business community’s narrative becoming self-fulfilling, it is far riskier to ignore what the numbers are saying — which is that business hates uncertainty and procrastination.

Yet these are two consequences of local and central government inaction that are being served up to bu

sinesses, which are also having to digest a barrage of wage demands, price hikes, special purpose taxes, compliance costs and policy decisions.

This survey result does not represent a pass/fail mark for the Government; however, 12 months is a long time to keep business in limbo.

Something this district is waiting on is further news from the billion-dollar-a-year Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), which was launched in Gisborne by the Hon Shane Jones back in February. That fuelled expectations for many in our community, including those seeking employment. However, six months on and we are still waiting for this expectation to hit the ground with sound employment opportunities.

It is reported that the Government has been overwhelmed with funding proposals from across New Zealand, hence the delay in hearing back regarding applications to the fund.

The council has two major applications in with the PGF, for $100 million of investmen

If central government backs these PGF projects for the region it would signal a significant pipeline of work to follow, creating employment as well as new infrastructure.

On the topic of roading investment, one hopes there will be an effort to address the ongoing issues with regard to slips in the Waioeka Gorge. As an isolated region, we need this major route open all the time.

Observing all the roading and underground service work taking place around our inner harbour does raise the question of how this busy location will function once the work is completed.

The council has approved the next stage of this $9 million redevelopment ($2.3m of which came from the PGF), including the addition of 24 extra carparks by opting for drive-in rather than parallel parks on the northern side of the Esplanade. Most parking is being consolidated at the Works and Soho carparks. An amenity block by the boat ramp is due for completion by November in time for the cruise ship season.

With the increase in cruise ship visits planned for summer, it is great to see the inner harbour redevelopment taking place. This coming summer let’s hope the weather is kind and we get as many cruise ship tourists into the city as possible.

Last week the chamber hosted an information evening which included updates from Activate Tairawhiti — on both economic development and tourism — and Air NZ. The evening included a presentation by guest speaker Stuart Trundle, CEO of Venture Taranaki.

Next week, via the Westpac Business Awards, we celebrate those businesses that have entered into these awards. All the finalists that invested in the time and energy it takes to present their businesses into these awards are already winners — from the chamber, good luck to all participants and congratulations in advance to the category winners.

There is a lot going on in our community at this time. A core function of the chamber is advocacy as an independent voice for the business community. We are located at 157 Grey Street, Gisborne. If you would like to know more about the chamber and our activities please contact me directly terry@gisborne.org.nz

Terry Sheldrake MNZM is chief executive of Gisborne Chamber of Commerce.

Posted: Wednesday 5 September 2018