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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2015 looks like being another good year for the NZ economy, and NZ businesses in general. The list of positives includes GDP growth of around 3%, strong employment growth, high business confidence levels, inflation less than 1%, and continuing low interest rates.
There are some negatives as always, being the high NZ/Aus dollar which is likely to remain the case for some time. Also our largest trading partner, China, is moving into more difficult times with GDP down and excess capacity in many manufacturing areas, along with vacant buildings signalling an end to the property boom.
The ANZ Truckometer is pointing to plenty of momentum in the domestic economy. With construction, the Christchurch rebuild and primary produce exports spearheading economic activity and growth, along with a buoyant services sector, and of course a stable third term government, 2015 is looking pretty good indeed.
On the GETBA front, I encourage you to explore our improved website and take advantage of some of the new features and services available to East Tamaki businesses. These include a member Notice Board, Jobs Board, and a For Sale and Lease section where you can find all East Tamaki commercial industrial sales and leasing opportunities in one place. You can quickly check out on the home page the latest local news, what’s on, and there are also quick links to the numerous inside pages with information and resources of value to local businesses. Do take a look!
While it may not have lived up to predicted rock star status, the economy has been relatively kind to business. Business New Zealand’s Performance Manufacturing Index has shown continued growth since mid-2014, and the recently released results of the 2014 Exporters Survey undertaken by Export NZ shows exporters planning for growth, which augurs well for 2015.
So from the business perspective 2015 is shaping up to be another good year with low inflation, falling petrol prices, interest rates held at the current historically low level, GDP growth forecast at around 3% and the NZ dollar finally back below the 80c mark. However there is always a flip side and that is the large drop in the price of milk based export products and the revenue that this will take out of the economy.
It has been another busy year for the GETBA team and a special one in that it is 20 years since the Association was incorporated in 1994. I would like to pay tribute to Henry Jansen, GETBA co-founder and Association Secretary for all of those 20 years. His service to the East Tamaki business community has been unstinting and much appreciated.
On behalf of the GETBA Committee, I’d also like to take the opportunity to wish GETBA members a Merry Christmas, safe holidays and a prosperous 2015.
With the election now behind us the path of the economy over the next period is clearer and business can get on with the job, with sustained GDP growth of around 3.5%. The OCR rate is held fast for the time being at 3.5% and inflation is under control. The 45% drop in dairy earnings is being felt throughout the country, although beef prices are hitting record highs and log export prices are on the increase. The housing market continues to be a major driver of the economy, particularly the housing shortage in Auckland and the Christchurch rebuild.
The recent NZ Transport Agency announcement will see priority go to the very congested Penrose Onehunga area and link between SH20 and SH1, but does not address connectivity from East Tamaki to Penrose and Onehunga. GETBA will continue to lobby hard for this vital East West connectivity to be provided for.
Our Spring 2014 Focus Magazine focuses on skills and employment and what is being done in our region to ensure that the current skills shortage is being addressed. Some excellent articles will bring you up to date and show how you can help. There is an outline of a purpose built leadership programme for middle managers which will be run next year.
OHS is seeing big changes with the HSEA Act being amended and Worksafe now in charge. There is the introduction the term PCBU and much higher fines for breaching the act. An article on affordable health and safety for small businesses will be of interest to many as the changes come in to effect in April next year.
As always, the GETBA website is the source for What’s On and other useful information, so please visit this regularly to keep up to date. There is plenty happening in East Tamaki!