In this first Business News column penned in 2022, I’d like to take the opportunity to thank everyone in the business community for their patience and applaud you all for your fortitude.
2021 was a difficult year, to put it mildly. The ongoing impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic were felt around the region and country and I know many of you have been struggling with its affects on your businesses, particularly those in the tourism, hospitality and accommodation sectors.
Added to that, the supply chain issues arising from export and import shipping delays have been and continue to be frustrating and costly. I hope the worst is over and we start to see freight begin to move more efficiently and freight costs return to something like normal.
The Tauranga City Council commissioners greatly appreciate the support we have had from the business sector and we acknowledge that the increase in the business differential rate in the 2021/22 year has made life more difficult for some.
However, as we all know, the city has many pressing problems and given our limited governance tenure, we simply have to get on with the job of remedying our infrastructure and community facility deficits.
Getting in line
The change in the commercial differential rate is starting to bring us more into line with other major NZ centres and the increased business contribution is allowing us to move forward on many vital transport, three waters and community projects, with capital expenditure of some $4.6 billion earmarked in our 2021-31 long-term plan.
Businesses will see the benefits of these initiatives as they come to fruition, and again, we acknowledge the solid support of the sector for our efforts to get the city moving.
2022 will be a big year for the Council and the Commission, as the plans we put in place last year begin to take effect on the ground. The most obvious example is the work now underway on Cameron Road, which is a key part of the urban transformation of the Te Papa peninsula, but there will be other projects initiated as we work to address the city’s housing shortfall and transport woes.
We’ll also see a start made to some other important initiatives, such as the new central library and community hub in the Civic Precinct, following the demolition of the existing council building and library. A start will also be made on the new leased civic administration building at 90 Devonport Road and in combination with private sector initiatives, we can look forward to a progressive rejuvenation of the CBD, and its eventual transformation into the region’s cultural, community and business heart.
2022 will be a big year for the Council and the Commission, as the plans we put in place last year begin to take effect on the ground.
Like all businesses, we face pressures from increased costs and staff shortages in some key skills areas. However, with the exciting programme we have in front of us, we’re starting to attract people with ‘the right stuff’ to add their expertise to the resource provided by our extraordinarily committed and hardworking council team.
On behalf of the Council, I offer best wishes for a prosperous year. We look forward to working with you to get the city we all love back on track.
Nga mihi nui