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Survey reflects business confidence in Waitakere

29 June 2005

Survey reflects business confidence in Waitakere City

The majority of business owners in Waitakere rate the city as a “good” or “very good” place to do business, according to a just released survey.

The Waitakere City Business Survey Report is published every two years and explores the relationship between the business community and the City Council.

This year around 500 small, medium and large enterprises were surveyed, with 73% giving Waitakere City and its economic activities the thumbs up.

“Developing a strong, innovative, economy is a key objective” says Mayor Bob Harvey.

“This survey gives an indication of how the city is performing, particularly in areas of accessibility and support of business and the results are hugely encouraging.” Bryan Mogridge Chairman of Enterprise Waitakere, the city’s business development agency, says that the survey shows that the city is on the right track and backs up the Waitakere City Business and Economy 2004 report (see attached).

“The document released recently is a positive signal. In Waitakere we have all the ingredients for an upbeat business climate – there is plenty of passion, enthusiasm and innovation out west, as shown at the recent Waitakere Business Awards,” says Mr Mogridge.

Other key findings from the Waitakere City Business Survey Report 2005:

Most businesses in Waitakere use the internet, with half using broadband. About a third believe that the Council is “very” or “somewhat supportive” of business, with the remainder tending toward neutral rather than negative. Over 80% are interested in future developments at the Whenuapai and the Hobsonville airbases.

Half are aware of Council’s current projects: Henderson’s development as a city centre, rail station upgrades, expansion of Unitec and Waitakere Central Library, town centre upgrades, investment in and promotion of public transport and the future development of the Westgate town centre.

When quizzed on their current environmental practices, 83% of businesses say they use at least one environmental practice as part of their core business activity with 69% saying they recycle. A majority of businesses (61% ) have 75% or more of their employees living in Waitakere. Waitakere has predominantly small businesses.

Of those, two thirds have fewer than 10 employees. A quarter say that the Eco-City direction contributes “significantly” or “somewhat” to their business. Of all employees, about 85% are full time, 10% part-time (15-28 hours a week) and 5% more occasional (less than 15 hours a week).

The Waitakere City Business Survey Report 2005 can be found on the Council’s website www.waitakere.govt.nz.

Background releases

Summary from Waitakere Business and Economy 2004 Waitakere City’s economic performance in 2004 was strong. It recorded growth in employment (5%), the number of business units (10.3%), real gross domestic product – GDP (4.8%) and population (1.9%). It outperformed New Zealand on all these key performance indicators and the Auckland region on employment growth, business growth and real GDP growth. The population growth in the Auckland region was marginally higher than in Waitakere City.

The housing market was also buoyant in Waitakere. In the year to June 2004, growth in house prices (22.4%) and house sales (14.5%) has outpaced the Auckland region and New Zealand. Growth in tourism (represented by total guest nights) for the year ended November 2004 slowed down to 1.1 percent - lower than both the Auckland region (3.1%) and New Zealand (5.1%). Overall, Waitakere City ranked 13th out of 73 Territorial Authorities (TAs) in 2004, placing it in the top 20% of all TAs.

Out of the Auckland region TAs, Waitakere outranked North Shore City (15th), Auckland City (32nd), Papakura (39th) and Franklin (40th). It trailed both Rodney District (2nd) and Manukau City (6th). Waitakere City improved its rankings in employment growth (19th) and GDP growth (24th). Over the long term (ten year period 1994-2004) Waitakere City has also performed well, generally outperforming the New Zealand economy although slightly trailing the Auckland region. It has maintained an annual average economic growth of 4 percent, well in excess of the population growth of 2.7 percent. Employment grew at an annual average rate of 2.8 percent, while the number of business units increased by 5.4 per cent per annum during the ten year period. A closer analysis of the sectors and industries in Waitakere City suggests that the economy is by and large locally oriented, driven primarily by its population.

While the growth patterns are geared toward service sectors and construction that serve the local residents, the average business size in terms of the number of full time equivalent employees (FTEs) is relatively small and contracting at a faster rate than regionally and nationally. Manufacturing industries do not fi gure highly in the top ten rankings for size and growth of FTEs and value added. A good example is that in the ten largest industries by value added (GDP), the top four are Property Services, Business Services, Construction Trade Services, and Education.

Manufacturing is still a major sector accounting for 20 percent of the total employment in the City in 2004. However, its relative importance is slowly eroding – in 1994 it accounted for 25 percent of total employment. There are some pockets of non-population related growth industries such as Non-metallic Mineral Product Manufacturing, Machinery & Equipment Manufacturing, Petroleum, Coal, Chemical & Associated Product Manufacturing and Printing, Publishing & Recorded Media.

See the full 12-page report on www.waitakere.govt.nz

$7 million film studio for Waitakere - The Waitakere City Council has agreed to enter into a joint venture to develop a major new film studio in Henderson, using private sector investment funds. The new $7 million studio will be built on vacant land at the existing Henderson Valley Studios, which the Council purchased in 2002.

The Council will sell the current studio complex for $6 million to a joint venture company, which it takes a 40% investment in. The company will then be responsible for raising the funds in order for the development to proceed. The Council will also own 40% of the management company that will run the studio complex.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise has approved a $1 million grant towards the costs of the new studio (also subject to confirmation of the private sector investment), as part of a Major Regional Initiative through the industry body, Film Auckland.

Plans see work on the new studio, which at around 2000 square metres will be one of the largest in the country, begin at the end of the year be completed by June 2006.

Waitakere has a long record as a film and television production base. The industry is estimated to inject $64 million dollars into the local economy annually. Mayor Bob Harvey says the industry is one of the largest employers in the city and the new facility will enable more national and international productions to be based in the Auckland region.

“Not only will this bring jobs and economic benefit to this city and the region, but it means we will be able to attract truly international productions,” says Mayor Bob Harvey. “It cements Waitakere’s position as the Hollywood of the South Pacific. Recently the multi-million dollar The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Disney) was shot almost entirely in the city. State of the art new studios and sound stages mean we will be able to attract more projects like that.”


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