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Chamber Election Report Outlines The Issues For Wellington Businesses

The Wellington Chamber of Commerce has released its 2020 Election Report ahead of the upcoming election, outlining the main issues facing the Wellington business community.

The report summarises the key issues under four overarching areas to ‘prepare’ for, namely; Preparing for Recovery, Preparing for Growth, Preparing for the Big One, and Preparing for the Future. The views included in the report were drawn from the results of the Chamber’s August Business Confidence survey.

"Our report looks at four key areas that Wellington’s business community are concerned about," says John Milford, Wellington Chamber Chief Executive.

"The next year will be difficult for businesses, there is no doubt about that. But it is also about getting the recovery settings in our city and region right to enable economic growth - and that largely revolves around new investment in transport, water, and housing infrastructure.

Mr Milford says that Wellington has largely been neglected by a succession of governments, with much of the attention and investment going to Auckland and Christchurch.

"You might say that Wellington is a victim of its own success - we’ve not seen the same level of investment as the other major and minor cities in New Zealand.

"Most recently, the Government’s Covid-response fund and the shovel ready project list, allocated just $185 million of the $3 billion fund to the Wellington and Wairarapa region. This is a minuscule amount for the country’s largest regional economy after Auckland.

"Furthermore, while the rest of the country has benefited from the Provincial Growth Fund, the Wellington region has been excluded. While Auckland and Canterbury have both had significant investment, Wellington’s gone without. And when it comes to the ‘Let’s Get Wellington Moving’ deal, Wellington got the raw end of it - the funding split between Central and Local Government actually shifts more costs unfairly onto Wellington, and onto ratepayers who right now can’t afford any rates increases.

"Looking at the issues we discuss in the report - Wellington continues to have a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the region, with a large seismic event anticipated in the coming decades. Already, commercial and residential property owners are battling to secure affordable insurance. Key emergency transport corridors and buildings are also still at risk in the event of a natural disaster. Solving these problems should be high on the priority list for the next representatives of the city.

"Businesses are also looking for policy solutions beyond the immediate Covid-19 recovery response. Economic issues, such as the lack of skilled workforce and insufficient immigration numbers have been prevalent issues for several years. Businesses are also looking to transition to more sustainable businesses practices and cultures, this needs to continue to be supported by successive governments. Businesses also want to see more emphasis and investment in sustainable research and development.

"The Chamber will be hosting local candidates our Wellington Election 2020 Debate, in partnership with JacksonStone & Partners. With the move down to alert level one, the event will go ahead in person, and Wellingtonians are welcome to join us live or via our live-stream.

"There are plenty of issues, and with renowned moderator and Sunday Star-Times’ editor, Tracy Watkins running the debate, it will make for an interesting event."

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