Over 200 local business owners have so far taken part in the DWC business opinion survey, which is being conducted to gauge what issues, concerns and opportunities are top of mind for the community. DWC chief executive Chris Mackenzie says analysis of the survey so far is starting to paint a detailed picture for DWC.
“I’m really pleased to see so many people taking the time to share their views and I am grateful people have made the effort. The survey is still running and I hope many more will also take part.”
“We need to engage with the local business community so that we can gain an accurate understanding of the issues, concerns and opportunities facing the West Coast,” he says.
The ongoing engagement will enable DWC to work more effectively to promote sustainable employment and economic benefits for the region. Based on initial analysis of the responses from local businesses to date, confidence in the region is high. A net 31% of West Coast businesses expect the
general business situation to improve over the coming year - welcome news given the economic downturn of the last five years.
Business confidence varies widely across the West Coast. The survey indicates Franz Josef and Fox Glacier businesses are the most optimistic with a net 64% expecting the situation to improve over the coming year. Greymouth businesses were a lot more cautious with only a net 7% expecting the situation to improve.
Overall, business confidence on the West Coast at present is dramatically higher than for New Zealand as a whole. According to the latest ANZ business confidence survey, a net 19% of New Zealand businesses are expecting the general situation will actually deteriorate over the next 12 months. Mr Mackenzie says he is not surprised to see the difference between the Coast and the rest of New Zealand.
“The West Coast economy has been in an economic downturn over the last five years due to changes in the coal mining industry, the closure of Holcim and Oceania Gold, and changes in commodity prices that affect returns to the farming community. Businesses have been forced to adapt to meet these changes and appear to be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Our geographic challenges mean we have always had to be robust and innovative in order to ensure business success.”
DWC’s 2018–25 Strategy sets an ambitious target of 20,000 jobs on the West Coast by 2025. Preliminary findings of the survey indicate the region is heading in the right direction to meet this goal.
A net 22% of West Coast businesses are expecting to employ more staff over the coming year, and Mr Mackenzie says DWC wants to make sure that current optimism becomes a reality, putting the region on track to prosperity.
“We look forward to hearing from more business owners and managers and sharing the final results with the public. And we look forward to working together to help address the issues highlighted in the survey,” he says.
“This will also include working closely with Tai Poutini Polytechnic and other education providers, and with Central Government on initiatives which will help businesses on the Coast develop and flourish.”
Attention West Coast business owners and managers!
DWC needs your input to help us better understand the issues facing West Coast businesses. We are running a survey to gather as many insights as possible to help us gain a clear picture of the issues, concerns and opportunities facing your business. But we need more voices. In fact, the more local business owners/managers we hear from, the better we will be able to support the region’s continued economic growth.