15 October 2019
Regional businesses are finding it hard to get workers and feel uncertain about Government policies, according to the Mood of the Boardroom survey.
The Mood of the Boardroom is an annual survey of business views conducted by BusinessNZ and the NZ Herald.
This year’s survey was of 157 large corporates and organisations, many based in Auckland, and 153 businesses in regional towns and cities, including Otago and Southland.
Regional businesses share many concerns with Auckland corporates, says BusinessNZ Chief Executive Kirk Hope.
“There are common concerns about staffing, infrastructure and uncertainty, but regional businesses also expressed strong views about tax and local growth."
“With many exporters located in the regions, views about currency and trade deals also figured highly in this year’s responses.”
Regional businesses have found it hard to fill staff vacancies over the last year (57%), with some finding it hard to retain workers due to unavailability of affordable housing (34%).
Regional businesses said uncertainty from Government policies was the biggest factor impacting on business confidence - general confidence (46%) as well as confidence for their own business (39%).
(In comparison, Auckland corporates said Auckland congestion most impacted general business confidence while labour shortages most impacted their own business. Uncertainty from Government policies ranked 4th as an impact on general business confidence and 2nd on their own confidence.)
Regional businesses as well as those headquartered in Auckland said infrastructure constraints were affecting business confidence.
Other issues that came through strongly for regional business included constraints on exporting, tax levels, and concerns for local growth:
Many export businesses are located in regional New Zealand, and Mood of the Boardroom asked what would help them remain internationally competitive. Currency stability and more work towards free trade agreements, especially with the UK and EU, were the top answers.
51% of regional respondents said New Zealand’s headline corporate tax rate was not sufficiently competitive to attract foreign investment, and 69% said it should be reduced to match Australia’s rate.
67% of regional respondents said their local council has been unimpressive in facilitating local growth and development, while 7% said it has been impressive.
72% of regional respondents said the Resource Management Act has been unimpressive in facilitating local growth and development, while 15% said it has been impressive.
Kirk Hope | Chief Executive | BusinessNZ | www.businessnz.org.nz