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Business Survey Shows Support For Initiatives

NEWS RELEASE
from Hutt City Council

20 August 2004

BUSINESS SURVEY SHOWS SUPPORT FOR COUNCIL INITIATIVES

A recent survey of Hutt City's businesses undertaken by Hutt City Council provides useful information on which to base business retention and attraction strategies, said Kim Kelly, General Manager Strategic Development.

"This is the first time Council has formally sought the opinions of business and provides a useful benchmark for future economic development initiatives," said Kim Kelly.

"For example, 35 per cent of business respondents indicated they would need more business space in Hutt City within the next 5 years.

"Given the relative shortage of land available for new industrial development, that finding gives some impetus to the need to find land suitable for development.

The survey also found that nearly 60 per cent of business respondents indicated they had plans to hire more staff in the coming year and nearly 62% had plans to hire more staff in the coming five years.

"That bodes well for future employment opportunities within the city."

When asked about the likelihood of moving in the next five years, 86 per cent indicated they would either remain on the same site or move elsewhere in Hutt City, six per cent stated they would move outside Hutt City and the remainder did not know.

"For the first two years of the Economic Development Strategy, Council has focused on retaining existing businesses. We now want to develop strategies to proactively attract new businesses," said Kim Kelly.

"That would involve incentives, such as the rates remissions policy, but also a range of other activities aimed at attracting specific types of businesses.

In the survey, businesses were asked what preferred new business type would be beneficial to their business to locate in Hutt City - the top five business types were light manufacturing, engineering design/development, construction, professional support services and telecommunications services.

"This information will enable us to go out and find businesses where there is already an identified need for their services, and where additional benefit can be added to existing businesses," said Kim Kelly.

Other findings from the research were:

· Over 55 per cent of business respondents have been operating in Hutt City for more than 10 years, nearly 75 per cent have been operating in Hutt City for over six years.

· Perceived greatest obstacles to the future development of business in Hutt City - top five were - level of rates for commercial property, lack of parking, lack of customer base/population, skill shortages and lack of good access roads

· Business respondents indicated they wanted more activity by Council on business attraction

· 56 per cent of respondents said Council is supportive or very supportive of local businesses, 30 per cent were neutral

"Business results in 2003 showed a net increase of 514 FTEs and 176 new businesses created. These were seen as encouraging results after years of static results and more positive results are expected when 2004 figures are released later this year," said Kim Kelly

In the next 12-15 months 1500 new jobs are expected to be created in Hutt City. Around $250 million in new developments have already been announced in the central city area alone.

ENDS

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