Quarterly Business Confidence Survey

Compliance remains a top concern for local businesses in the latest Business Wairarapa quarterly
Confidence Survey, alongside the rising cost of doing business and attracting both skilled and unskilled
labour to the region.

The increasing cost of compliance and the increases in the minimum wage appears to be a major issue
of concern for business, with members stating that compliance regulations are causing costly over
reporting, onerous admin and increasing HR expenses, including too much compliance uncertainty and
too much red tape.

This has added to the continued overall decline in outlook for the national economy, with 47.37% of
respondents expecting the New Zealand economy to become moderately worse in 12 months’ time.
However, 42.11% of respondents felt the regional economy will stay the same in 12 months’ time,
resulting in a net positive of 11%, compared to a net positive of 31% in March.

The other main barriers to business for the region appear to be staffing issues, financing and local
government policy / direction / leadership. Some of the projects members would like to see prioritised
by local government are youth training into primary industries, affordable housing, accommodation for
tourists, and sensible plans and sensible spending on the Masterton Town Centre upgrade.
They stressed that local priorities should also include a roundabout at the intersection of SH2 and
Ngaumatawa Road and improvements in rail links and rail passenger services.

With only a few weeks left before the start of local body election campaigns, members were also polled
on how well their local council performed over its current term. Unfortunately the poll was unable to
differentiate between the three councils, but 45.71% said their local council had an average
performance, with 2.86% saying they were outstanding. On a regional level, 40% of members felt that
Greater Wellington Regional Council had performed below average over its current term.
Local mayors rated much better, with only 22.86% performing less than average and with 11.43%
members believing their local mayor’s performance had been outstanding.

Business Wairarapa members were also asked whether the recent Budget delivered for their business.
An overwhelming 70% said no. Respondents would have liked to have seen more support for small
business, further help for entrepreneurs, tax breaks and a reduction in income tax, as well as a clearer
housing strategy, more access to funding for NGO’s, and more provision for equity in healthcare.
“Wairarapa businesses are generally quite buoyant in their overall outlook, especially when it comes to
our region,” explained Business Wairarapa General Manager Catherine Rossiter-Stead. “However,
there are clearly some important issues that need addressing urgently, in particular transport
infrastructure, which remains a serious barrier and is holding back Wairarapa.

“It’s vital that we continue to support the Wairarapa Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan,
and ensure that our regional leaders are making the right decisions for growth in Wairarapa. We would
urge members over the next quarter to take an interest in the local body elections and exercise their
right to vote.”