From the Chair

September 2018, Chairman’s Annual Report

The past year has been a transition for the NZ economy from several years of relative stability in government and business certainty, to a new government and a gradual drop in business confidence. This has been brought about by international events such as changes taking place around trade tariffs as well as local policy changes to employment legislation and new government spending.   Growth forecast which was around 3% is now closer to the 2% mark.

It is now close to 8 years since the formation of the single Auckland Council unitary authority and we are seeing just what the cost of many years of underspending on infrastructure of the previous legacy councils is likely to be – and the costs are huge and will ultimately be funded by the community, both private and business. 

It has been another busy year here at GETBA, as we continue to best represent your interests in East Tamaki.   We have made submissions to Auckland Council on plans impacting the area including the Long Term Plan and 10 Year Budget 2018-2028, and the Regional Fuel Tax and Auckland Transports Regional Land Transport Plan. It’s pleasing to see that after several years of lobbying, funding has now been committed for the Smales Allens Road Widening and Intersection Upgrade, albeit in the last half of the decade.

Crime prevention will always remain a top priority with several initiatives in this area, and we are pleased to report a 33% reduction in business burglaries on the previous financial year, and a 79% reduction since 2006. 

We embarked on some new initiatives in the past year including a Small Business Interest Group which meets monthly with a focus on peer support by sharing information and ideas on how to tackle common issues.   This was started following last years’ member survey and is being piloted with a group of 12 small business owners. We also introduced subsidised St John First Aid courses locally that have been well subscribed and promoted the value and location of defibrillators in the area.   In November last year we launched the GETBA Facebook page to reach out to members on a more relaxed and organic platform to foster a sense of local community, which is building well.

We are very conscious that the primary role of GETBA is to serve the business community, 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 has been focussed and what has been achieved over the past 12 months, referenced against the four key strategies.  We look forward to continuing to work closely with our business community to ensure that East Tamaki remains ‘’a great place to do business’’.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our GETBA sponsors for their ongoing contribution which has enabled GETBA to continue to provide the broad range of initiatives and activities without any increase in funding for the members. I would also like to thank the committee members for their voluntary time and input in steering and supporting our very competent GETBA team, who have achieved much over the past year. 

Richard Poole

July 2018

On the economic front, it’s pretty much business as usual with the four main economic indicators forecast to remain stable for the remainder of 2018 and into 2019. There remains however a level of low business confidence, brought about by uncertainty around government policy and potential external risks as well as the effect of costs coming down the line from new government policies yet to come into effect. An example is the Zero Carbon Bill legislation due to come before Parliament in 2019.

At GETBA, we have been very busy representing your interests to Auckland Council. We made submissions on the Regional Fuel Tax, Regional Land Transport Plan and the Long Term Plan/10 Year Budget. We’re pleased to see the inclusion of funding specified for the long awaited Smales/Allens Road widening and intersection upgrade to address a major bottleneck in the precinct.

Crime prevention is an ongoing priority and while the year started well with a reduction in business burglaries, criminal activity has increased in the last couple of months.

Keep an eye out for our ‘What’s On’ in the training arena. There has been considerable demand for the St John First Aid courses that we’re subsiding for members this year, so much so that we are often wait-listing as soon as they are advertised. I have also had several staff attend People Essentials seminars, and as they are focused on practical tools to take away and apply in the workplace, as well as local, and a small group, they found them very worthwhile and great value for money.

We put GETBA Breakfasts on hold in the first half of the year with the Waipuna Conference Suites Highbrook being closed due to the Quest expansion, but it is scheduled to re-open in September so keep an eye out for the next GETBA Breakfast!

Richard Poole

March 2018

Already the first quarter is behind us and 2018 is shaping up to be another good year for our economy. Domestic growth remains steady with GDP holding at around 3%, inflation remains historically low at 1.5% and the OCR looking like staying at 1.75% for some time yet. Exports are around 17% up on last year and commodity prices are favourable, however the NZ dollar remains stubbornly above the 70c mark.  With unemployment at the lowest level for many years at 4.6%, some members are finding it difficult to find staff.

The new coalition government is six months old and some of the negative business sentiment which began at the end of last year appears to be waning. We have yet to see the true cost of the major initiatives and I suspect when these set in this will have an effect on the economy. 

We are pleased to report 2017 reported business burglaries were down 43% on 2016 with more police patrolling in the area and our ANPR cameras directly alerting the Police District Command Centre of stolen vehicles. The number plate recognition cameras have proven to be a very effective crime prevention and resolution tool.

There is a lot of development activity happening at Highbrook currently. At a recent GETBA Business Showcase hosted by Goodman, CEO John Dakin highlighted how sustained economic growth is driving demand for industrial space and vacancy rates are very low. Currently under development are seven build-to-lease warehouses, seven smaller warehouse units, two showroom warehouses, a new commercial building at the Crossing, and Quest Highbrook is also doubling in size above the Waipuna Conference Suites.  Highbrook Business Park is now 80% complete and will be 90% complete within two years. This world class development can only be good for the East Tamaki industrial precinct as a whole.

We have made a submission on Auckland Council’s Long Term Plan/10 Year Budget with key messages on Council’s approach to rating and raising funds for infrastructure improvements, and the importance of making internal cost savings and efficiencies. Check out the Advocacy section of the website for the submission in full.

And don’t forget to visit our facebook page!

Richard Poole

 

 

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