From the Chair

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

11 March 2015

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!

Richard Poole

15 December 2014

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.

Richard Poole

 

20 October 2014

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!

Richard Poole

29 August 2014

The economy is still in good shape with GDP running at slightly below 4% and forecast to continue at that pace next year.  We have seen a halt to interest rate increases for the time being and inflation is under control.  The RBNZ notion that the economy is incapable of growing any faster due to supply constraints is one that is not shared by many business owners. Our all-important primary export produce pricing has taken a hit on the dairy side and log pricing and volumes are well down due to oversupply and competition from other sources.

 

We are now 4 years into the one Auckland Council regime, and it has become very clear that the city simply cannot afford the major capital spending that is required, without large rate increases or heavy borrowing, resulting in projects being deferred.  It is good to see the rating differential being addressed with business rates being reduced over time to be more in line with residential rates.  GETBA have been beating the drum on this one for several years. Auckland’s transport problems are top of the agenda with various options being considered for funding the major projects – the new Harbour crossing, the East-West link, the AMETI project and the Ports to Onehunga connection.  GETBA has been a strong voice on AMETI and the East-West link.

 

I attended a recent Business Owners Forum and have sent staff along to Management Bites seminars – both extremely worthwhile series. I would encourage you or your staff to get along to take advantage of these. The Waste Minimisation Initiative is up and running and we are seeing examples of very worthwhile savings being made by companies, along with a shift toward sustainable business practice.

 

As always, the GETBA website is the source for What’s On and other useful information, so please visit this regularly to get up to date.  There is plenty happening in East Tamaki!

Richard Poole

20 May 2014

There were no real surprises in the budget, rather a steadying of the ship, with a couple of additional sweeteners for business in the form of R&D support and treatment of losses for start- up companies.  Healthy GDP growth is predicted of the next 3 years and the achievement of an operating surplus after several years of government deficits shows that the economy is on the right track.

 

Many businesses in our East Tamaki business precinct are reporting growth, be it in the services sector, manufacturing or export.  The construction industry is particularly active, especially in Auckland, driven by a shortage of houses.  The services sector is also very active as people and businesses are spending again, with delayed projects now taking place.

 

We held our inaugural Business Connections Expo on 15 and 16 May, at Waipuna Conference Suites Highbrook and were delighted with the 70 exhibitor companies that took part. ‘Let’s talk local business’ was the theme and there was plenty of activity over the two days which included 10 free seminars in the adjacent ANZ building, on a range of topics from changes to health and safety legislation to ways to help your business succeed online, and other relevant topics.

 

All in all with the election later this year, our economy being in much better shape than our Aussie neighbours, and immigration at very high levels, we can look forward to a buoyant second half of the year.

 

Richard Poole

1 April 2014

A stellar economy is the way our leading economists describe the NZ economy in 2014, and certainly many leading indicators all point in the right direction. GDP is nudging 4%, the Terms of Trade are the highest since 1973, we have a Christchurch rebuild, and Auckland catch-up house construction. In addition, there is accelerating world growth, and net migration is now over 20,000 p.a, with business and consumer spending on the rise. The only dampener is that interest rates are on the rise and likely to result in the OCR being 5% by the end of 2015.

 

The high exchange rate remains an issue for many exporters, and unfortunately it is likely to remain high for an indefinite period, with the interest rate rise being part of the problem.

 

However it is good to see the government will in the coming budget provide $69 million funding to NZTE over the next four years to assist exporters break into the growing markets of China, South America and the Middle East. According to BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly this will enable them to raise the number of exporters that they work intensively with from 500 to 700.

 

We have a very wide variety of businesses in GETBA and most are seeing a lift in activity, with a positive outlook ahead, something we haven’t seen in recent years. Being an election year certainly helps too.

 

At GETBA we have a very busy calendar for 2014. In addition to our regular programme of informative events, forums and seminars, we have our first East Tamaki Business Connections EXPO on the 15th and 16th of May at Waipuna Conference Suites Highbrook. Make the most of this opportunity to either take a stand and raise the profile of your business, or come along and see the range of innovative local businesses on show. There will also be free seminars on topical subjects running alongside the EXPO.

 

We have been very busy with submissions on the annual plan and the all-important and very large Unitary Plan. Our input and comments are from the business perspective, one being the need for sufficient industrial land to service the needs of Auckland in decades to come. The East/West link consultations are continuing. Action is required now to solve the costly congestion problems occurring across the city on a daily basis.

 

As always, GETBA’s website getba.org.nz is the place to go for what’s happening and regular updates on such changes, so please visit this regularly.

 

Richard Poole

29 January 2014

I trust most of you had a well-deserved Christmas and New Year break and are looking forward to 2014.  For once the economists and commentators are pretty much in agreement that 2014 will be a great year for the NZ economy and business. GDP is expected to be around 3.5% growth, driven by primary product exports and the construction sector, and business confidence is the highest in many years. Net migration is very much in positive territory and we have enjoyed record low interest rates for some years, although these are now increasing as inflation creeps up closer to 2%. The NZ dollar seems to have found its level of comfort against the US dollar, however our high exchange rate with Australia is a concern for some exporters.

 

The challenge for all businesses is how to take the best advantage of the buoyant economy this year and beyond.  We are fortunate to have a very broad range of businesses in East Tamaki covering many sectors and it is this diversity which will ensure substantial growth and a major contribution to the Auckland and NZ economies over the next period. Construction, including civil, residential and commercial is expected to increase and remain at higher levels for at least 3 years and this along with other increased activity is feeding through to the economy in general with consumer confidence and spending on the increase.

 

At GETBA we have a very busy calendar for 2014. In addition to our regular programme of informative events and seminars, we are planning an EXPO for May. We are currently working on GETBA’s submissions to Auckland Council’s proposed Unitary Plan and Annual Plan, and will continue to lobby strongly on issues affecting local businesses to ensure that our members get “value for money”.

 

Our GETBA website is the central point where we keep you up to date with all these things and more, so please take the time to visit getba.org.nz on a regular basis.

 

A “stellar year for New Zealand” is how one respected commentator put it, and I trust that all GETBA members will find this to be the case.  I can assure you that our team will be doing everything they can to make this happen.

 

Richard Poole