From the Chair

September 2017, Chairman’s Annual Report

It is AGM time and time for a review of the past year. It has been almost 7 years under the single Auckland Council regime, and with a new mayor in place we are finally seeing serious talk around the major issues affecting the city, being transport and traffic congestion, infrastructure spending and housing affordability. Lack of forward planning over several decades has resulted in traffic congestion across Auckland now affecting all businesses, both in the movement of goods and people. GETBA has been a strong advocate for improvements to roading and public transport in our area.

After many years of vigorous lobbying by GETBA, commercial activity at the Greenmount Landfill came to an end at the end of last year. The 52-hectare site will become a fantastic public park for the enjoyment of all, with Auckland Council finally putting the many years of “tip fees” on the table for paying for the cost of the site-works over the next few years. This really is a unique opportunity where such a large green space is created, bordering the East Tamaki industrial precinct on one side, and the housing community on the other, and for the enjoyment of all.

You can see in the 2016/17 annual report (see Strategic Documents under About Us) a summary of GETBA activities over the past twelve months. It has been a very busy year for the GETBA team as we strive to best represent the interests and concerns of all our members.  Four submissions were made on your behalf, including the Auckland Council draft budget.

Business Breakfasts have been well attended, with speakers including Mayor Phil Goff and Minister of Transport Hon Simon Bridges. Regular, easy to access communication with all our members is a key priority and we have done this via regular emails, the quarterly Focus Magazine and the GETBA website which is regularly updated.

Our Business Owner’s Forums have continued and are targeted at particular sectors with experienced speakers providing sound advice on specialist topics.

Business security has always been a top priority and initiatives including the ANPR cameras, security alerts and audits, crime prevention resources and a close working relationship with the local Ormiston-based Police and the security managers network have contributed to a 70% reduction in business burglaries over the past 11 years with burglary frequency continuing to fall.

We are very conscious of the fact that the primary role of GETBA is to best serve the business community we represent whether you are a property owner, business owner or working in the area and that you see value for your investment. The annual report enables you to see where your investment is channelled and what the results are, referenced under the four key strategies. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the business community and to ensure that East Tamaki really is “a great place to do business”.

I would like to thank the GETBA sponsors for their ongoing contribution which has enabled the range of initiatives and activates to continue without any increase in funding from our members. Their additional funding contribution demonstrates their commitment to the East Tamaki business precinct.

I would also like to thank the GETBA Committee members for their voluntary time and input in steering our competent GETBA team who have achieved a lot over the past year.

Richard Poole

July 2017

As we count down the days to the September election, the main economic fundamentals remain pretty much unchanged, which means that the NZ economy will remain in good shape for some time yet.   With Auckland growing at what some consider an alarming rate, the major issues of transport, infrastructure and housing affordability are affecting every business.

It is a real concern that there is no big picture plan, only tinkering.  It is nearly 60 years since the harbour bridge opening, with no plan for a second harbour crossing.   We need a rail system that can move large numbers in and out of Auckland central, and the airport as many other cities have, with an efficient rail network linking Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. Continued reliance on an improved road network is not a long-term solution on its own, but it will certainly help. The recent very high immigration has rapidly highlighted the many years of underspend on transport and infrastructure and catch-up is going to be very expensive and take considerable time.

On a more positive note, New Zealand business is at the forefront of being digitally engaged, with IT being an essential component of every business nowadays, big or small.   Whilst this rapid adoption of new technologies provides many obvious benefits to the business, it does at the same time make us totally reliant on technology and the required expertise around that, and we need the support and back-up when the system ‘goes down’.

Make sure you check out the latest GETBA FOCUS magazine which is themed around Business Resilience, highlighting the necessity for business interruption planning and corresponding communication when critical technology or other infrastructure services suddenly stop functioning.

Earlier this year GETBA became aware that twenty businesses in lower Lady Ruby Drive were suffering from ongoing power outages. We advocated on behalf of these businesses and Vector recently installed a replacement cable and new network link pillar. Contact GETBA if you’re experiencing issues with Council or your infrastructure provider and would like us to troubleshoot on your behalf.

Richard Poole

March 2017

Well, 2017 is going to be an interesting year on several fronts.   From an economic perspective, New Zealand economy continues in much the same shape as 2016, with GDP growth of around 3.5% driven mainly by construction and high immigration.  Inflation has risen to a little over one percent and interest rates remain stable with no expectation of a lift in the OCR at this stage.  We have a new Prime Minister in the seat and an election this year, and unlike the past two elections, the result is somewhat uncertain.  On a global stage, concerns for New Zealand are the economies of Europe, China and the USA, where the Trump factor has introduced a level of anxiety and uncertainty in many areas.

On the home front, we had our new Auckland mayor, Phil Goff at a recent GEBTA breakfast, where he jumped straight into voicing his concerns around the 3 big issues facing Auckland, being transport, infrastructure and housing affordability.   He was rightly critical of past leaders and planners for allowing these issues to get to this critical stage, and explained the need for a huge influx funding at a time where the AC are not able to increase borrowing.   The Annual Budget 2017/18 Mayoral Proposal on Items for Public Consultation has been circulated and is available on the GETBA website.  Over the next 3 decades, an estimated $20b is required for new infrastructure with $6.7b needed in the next decade.   The Mayor proposes target rating be adopted to fund this in preference to rate increases, with general rates held at 2.5% increase in 2017/18.  Obviously central government funding is required and the example of the new Mill Road Highway being government funded and owned has been muted.   GEBTA has made a submission on the Annual Budget and this is available on the website.

Keep an eye out for our ongoing training and upskilling programmes too, as I am sure you will find courses which your staff can benefit from, and as always, check in regularly with the GETBA website so you don’t miss out on anything.

Richard Poole

December 2016

There seems no doubt that the Christmas period and year-end comes around quicker than ever, and 2016 is no exception.  

It’s been a good year for the NZ economy, and business in general.  Many businesses in our GETBA precinct are busy indeed, with staff looking forward to a well-deserved break.   With the unexpected change in Prime Minister, followed by the quick reshuffle, we expect it will be business as usual with a steady pair of hands at the helm.  Being election year next year, don’t expect any dramatic changes, as the current government looks to make it back for a fourth term.  

At GETBA, it has been another very busy year, with the highlights and achievements summarised in the Annual Report.  One worth mentioning, as it has been ongoing over several years, is the lobbying of Auckland Council and previously Manukau City, for the completion and plan for the Greenmount Landfill.  Finally, the sum of $9m has been identified by Auckland Council as funding for the creation of a public park and reserve on the 52 hectare site, 83 years after Mrs Lushington donated the land.  It was her wish for the land to become a park, and this will now be realised and be a great facility for all of us here in the East Tamaki business sector and the surrounding residential area.   The 360˚ view from the top of the 80m cone is superb indeed and with the grassed areas on the eastern side, wildlife is already appearing.

We will keep you up to date on progress of the park development, which is expected to take up to three years. On behalf of the GETBA team, Have an enjoyable Christmas and New Year.

Richard Poole

October 2016

As a leading economist recently put it, our economy is in uncharted waters at present, with no precedent to help determine the way forward. He was referring to very low interest rates, very low inflation, consistent GDP growth, a high New Zealand dollar and rapidly increasing asset values. This has not happened before – at least not all at the same time, hence predicting future outcomes is difficult.

The result is a very buoyant economy and, in Auckland, we are experiencing unprecedented growth, driven by high immigration, with both residential and commercial construction leading the charge. Many of our members are experiencing a high level of activity right across the export, services and manufacturing sectors, and this is set to continue for some time yet.

GETBA’s AGM was held on 29 September. The 2015-2016 Annual Report and audited financial statements were presented and adopted, as were the 2016-2017 Business Plan and Budget, and 2017-2018 Indicative Budget. Notably there is no increase planned in the targeted rate income. The GETBA Committee remains in place with the seven existing members re-elected. I would like to thank the committee for their voluntary efforts steering the Association over the past year.

I’m also pleased to announce that all ten inaugural Association sponsors have renewed their commitment for the 2016-2017 year. We very much appreciate their contribution and encourage you to support them where you can.

Richard Poole

June 2016

Our mild summer has finally given way to winter. It’s great to see Fieldays continue to go from strength to strength drowning out talk of the agripocalypse.

The economy is ticking along at a relatively steady 2.8% growth rate, with construction and tourism booming. One major concern however, is the ever increasing amount of debt, not so much government debt but private debt, much of this fuelled by borrowing in the farming and housing sectors. The main concern is the fallout from a sudden rise in interest rates.

A number of our GETBA businesses are reporting high sales volumes, particularly those aligned with the construction and services sectors, and this high level of activity is expected to continue for some time yet.

Health and safety has been a key issue for many with the new HSWA coming into force on 4th April.   Our next Business Owners Forum will highlight Critical Risk Analysis for plant and equipment which is a major component of the new regulations, but one which can often be overlooked.

GETBA provided feedback on the Auckland Council Annual Budget in March, stressing the need to keep the business component of the Interim Transport Levy at the current $183 rate and the fixed component of general rates (Uniform Annual General Charge) at or close to the current rate.  You will be pleased to see that both these remain unchanged. Businesses already pay more in rates via the rating differential and pay their transport share through road user charges and petrol taxes.

Crime prevention remains a top priority and year to date reported burglaries in our business precinct are down 38% on the same period last year. The ANPR cameras are a very effective deterrent and two additional cameras have been installed.

Richard Poole

March 2016

The year has kicked off with the economy in much the same shape as last year, with the main indicators of moderate GDP growth, low interest rates and low inflation pretty much unchanged. This sets the scene for what should be another good year for business, with the only downside being the large drop in income for the dairy sector.

We have been very active on your behalf on several fronts. These include feedback to Auckland Council’s annual budget opposing the changes to the distribution of the interim transport levy to collect more from business, and recommending only a marginal increase to the Uniform Annual General Charge to $450 given that a higher UAGC increases the burden on lower value properties/small businesses.

Meetings have been held with various parties regarding the Greenmount Landfill resource consent extension where we have been lobbying for more surety around the final ‘Park’ completion date and as well as the surrounding roading upgrade work that is urgently required.

Our first Breakfast this year was very well attended, with Mayoral candidates Phil Goff and Vic Crone given the opportunity to outline their vision for Auckland City. It is most important that we have a business friendly mayor who will champion business friendly policies, given that it is business that provides employment and investment.

Richard Poole

December 2015

As 2015 draws to a close, one can take a moment to reflect on the main points and what next year might look like.

On the political front, it has been a conservative year with the drivers for change being primarily offshore and economic. The stubborn NZ dollar finally receded, providing some welcome respite for exporters, having peaked in July 2014. Our low interest rates, coupled with very low inflation is expected to continue for some time yet, with growth expectations at 2.4% over the next period.

Here at GETBA, it has been a very busy year. We kicked it off with the Prime Minister’s lunch followed by bi-monthly speakers including the Auckland Transport C.E.O.  We have advocated on your behalf on a range of Auckland Council plans and proposals, and appeared at Unitary Plan hearings.

On the education front, the SME Leadership programme was well received and we are planning to run a refined programme next year. The Business Owners Forums were well attended and will be continued in 2016.  We’re pleased to announce the new People Essentials series which replaces the previous Management Bites seminars.

Crime Prevention remains a top priority with the use of the latest technology and partnership with NZ Police and security companies working well.  East Tamaki business burglary statistics over the last few months are down on the same period last year.

2016 should be a good year for most of our GETBA businesses.  Construction activity will be very high, exporters will see favourable conditions, and the services sector is expected to enjoy a level of high activity. Interest rates are expected to remain low and this should keep the NZ$ in check.

On behalf of the GETBA Committee, and from the GETBA team, we wish you a very enjoyable Christmas and New Year and we look forward to doing our best to help you and your business in 2016.

Richard Poole

October 2015

GETBA’s AGM was held on the 22nd of September. The 2014/2015 Annual Report and audited Financial Statements were presented and adopted, as were the 2015/2016 Business Plan and Budget, and indicative budget for the 2016/2017 year. The GETBA Committee were re-elected, and I’d like to thank members of the Committee for their efforts in steering the Association over the past year.

I’m pleased to announce that we now have ten Association sponsors and it is only with their contribution that we are able to continue with all the services to members, including crime prevention initiatives, following the end of the Ministry of Justice grant, without increasing the targeted rate. Our sponsors are profiled here.

It is hard to believe we are back into daylight saving already, and into the last quarter of 2015 with Christmas just around the corner. Don’t forget to read the Spring issue of the GETBA magazine and check the website regularly for upcoming events and latest news, as well as useful resources for your business.

Richard Poole

23 June 2015

Thanks to those of you who responded to our recent member survey. The response confirmed the main local issues for business owners were traffic congestion and difficulty finding quality staff nearby. The main issues for property owners were crime, infrastructure provision/costs and problems dealing with Auckland Council. Responses also affirmed that GETBA should continue to have a wide area of focus providing a range of services and support.

GETBA advocacy on local issues and proposed Council plans on your behalf was also highlighted as very important to you. In the past year we have made 10 submissions on proposed changes impacting on East Tamaki businesses.

In addition to ongoing Unitary Plan Hearings, and transport and roading advocacy, we are currently working on the review by Local Boards of the alcohol bans in our area. To keep an alcohol ban in place, it is a legislative requirement to have documented evidence of alcohol-related crime or disorder. East Tamaki has a high number of affected streets, as it’s not too many years ago when alcohol related crime was an issue in this area. Incidences have reduced since the bans were created, so it’s important that we retain these bans and protect this precinct as a great place to do business and to work. If you have seen historic or recent evidence of alcohol related disorder please document it and submit it to Council by 17 July 2015.

We have been fortunate to receive Ministry of Justice crime prevention funding for nearly a decade, which has enabled GETBA to develop a comprehensive crime prevention programme and associated resources in collaboration with key partners including the Police. This funding will no longer be available to us in the future. We will however continue to offer crime prevention services to our members and seek alternative funding for specific projects.

It has been a solid first six months for the New Zealand economy with continuing strength in construction as well as a gain in retail spending. Coupled with low interest rates, low inflation and high immigration, the economy has continued to grow at around 3%, and this is expected to continue for the remainder of this year and through next year.

Richard Poole