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Secure / maintain and develope the infrastructure required for Economic Growth

See what the job summit came up with here

Skills / Training and Education

Ensuring the workforce meets the labor market demands

See what the Job Summit came up with here and here

Community Wellbeing

Minimising social impacts of the recession

See what the Job Summit came up with here and here

Business Support

Focussing on the role of business as a key driver to recovery

See what the Job Summit came up with here and here

Sector Growth

Seeking opportunities for new innovation

See what the Job Summit came up with here and here

Submission to the Wanganui District Councils 10 Year Plan 2009-2019
The Wanganui Chamber of Commerce would like the Wanganui District Council to make changes to its plans which will relieve pressure on a business community that is experiencing some of the most difficult trading conditions in the past two decades with little real prospect of things improving in the short term.
1 Keep the Council funding allocation across farming, residential and commercial ratepayers for funding the Cooks Gardens activity the same as it is this year. Ref: Page 18 of 202. The Council plans to adjust the allocation of rates to 75% commercial, 5% farming and 20% residential.
The Chamber has provided detailed information to its members (Ref Appendix 1) and requested feedback on this proposed change. We survey our members and received 42 responses: 39 said they disagreed with the Policy change, 3 said they agreed (1 of those was the Director of Finance at the Council). The survey results are at appendix 2.
2 To remove a proposal to charge a $50 levy to commercial properties (per separately used or inhabited part of a rating unit and $5 to all residential and farming properties to raise $180,000 to promote and market Wanganui.
We put this to our members in an email (Ref appendix 3) to request feedback on this proposal. 47 members responded: 30 said they did not support this proposal and 17 said they did. (1 of these being a member of the promotions committee). There were some very strong comments made against this proposal. The Chamber does not support this proposal for the fact that over the past 3 years the District Council has failed in its marketing of the District. The other major concern is that we have not been given a copy of the $40,000 Visitor Strategy Document so we can make an informed decision on the best way forward. This is intolerable given we were asked for and took the time to provide input into it. The regions track record in Marketing is poor with a recent cheap and nasty rebranding effort for the District coupled with a failed amalgamation of Destination Wanganui and Enterprise Wanganui. We have a reputable Tourism operator reporting to us their revenue is down up to 15% on two years ago. This is a disgrace. Before any more money is rated from the commercial sector there needs to be transparency and quality engagement with the commercial ratepayers. Chamber requested in its submission to the annual plan last year that a full breakdown of the economic development expenditure be revealed in the plan. (Ref: Appendix 4)
The response we received is tabled at Appendix 4 and does not provide a satisfactory response to this question. How can the Commercial sector engage or have any confidence in this Council if information is being withheld. Let’s face it resorting to the use of the Official information Act is hardly promoting good relations between the Council and the Wanganui Business community. This type of behavior promotes weak economic policy and ultimately a weak local economy at a time when Wanganui is struggling. At no time in its history does Wanganui need to be working together more. We need to get rid of egos and create an environment of Trust and cooperation where ideas flow and there is a positive energy for building a future for the District.
3 The borrowing of $1.03 Million dollars to relocate an information center.
The Chamber does not support this borrowing until more information is provided to the Commercial ratepayers about how this money will be spent. The information age is changing with more tourists available through mobile phones and other electronic devices. Whilst some form of shop front for information provision and assistance is still relevant the size and scope of any revamp or relocation needs to be capped to reflect the current state of the Councils budget. The building of a new information centre will not create any more wealth for Wanganui’s commercial ratepayers. It will simply provide a more convenient and comfortable place for visitors to pick up brochures, get advice on where to go and go to the lavatory. The current information at its current site has recently won numerous awards and our augment is, if it isn’t broke don’t fix it.
4 Economic Development Activity: Pages 118-125.
We request that before any further money is spent in this area that the details of current expenditure in this activity and what is proposed are properly detailed to the business community. The plan shows $1.683 million of ratepayer’s money, 75% of which will come from the commercial ratepayers without providing a clear view of how this money is to be invested. Again this is a disgrace. There are salaries and wages in the economic development activity of $446,000 and we haven’t a clue as to what these people are doing. And a proposed operating budget of $941,000. The Chamber feels investment in growing the economy is vital but it needs to be done in partnership with business and not in isolation. Wanganui Chamber of Commerce
Suubmission on the Draft Visitor Strategy
Wanganui Chamber of Commerce & Industry Inc (est. 1885)
PO Box 88, Wanganui
Ph: (06) 345 0080
Fax: (06) 345 1182
Email: info@wanganuichamber.co.nz
Website: www.wanganuichamber.co.nz
Proudly supported by:
August 31, 2009
Draft Visitor strategy
Wanganui District Council
P.O Box 637
Attachment: Submission on the Draft visitor strategy
The Wanganui Chamber of Commerce supports council initiatives to attract and retain visitors to the Wanganui District.
We agree with the opening statement in the introduction that Wanganui must improve its image – the population is declining and our tourism traffic is underperforming. Nothing new here at all, in fact many of these issues were raised in 2003, 2005 by Wanganui’s business community during WDC facilitated consultation meetings.
Its’ also no surprise to see the results of the perceptions survey, (Good data to have) which reveals that much of our problem is in a lack of investment of a coordinated marketing campaign promoting the natural landscape features incorporating the river and surround national park.
This strategy document promotes an understanding of the issues, consultation with stakeholders and contains some goals and plans supported by high level measures. However the accountability for the investment ratepayers are supposed to be making in this area is difficult to see.
A recent survey (Ref: Attachment) of our members supports the need for this document to contain as a minimum, a project plan detailing how the strategic vision and goals will be achieved. (See note below) We would also like to see the Chamber listed as a stakeholder on Page 7 and were disappointed to see it not listed.
*Project plan detail: As a minimum, would include a budget for 12 months showing, money being invested and where it comes from, and action plan detailing who is going to do what by when, when each milestone will be completed and how it will be measured.
We also feel that a big issue (Not even touched on in this draft strategy) with visitor marketing in Wanganui failing, is in the track record of the Wanganui District Council executing on the strategy’s for which it creates.
In the Tourism example, the amalgamation of Destination Wanganui and Enterprise Wanganui into the super agency Wanganui Inc. which was going to solve all the marketing and agency coordination problems was a failure.
We would like to see a detailed plan that acknowledges past service delivery failings in the District marketing area, clearly identifies what went wrong and what will be done differently going forward to ensure any further money invested achieves the results the business community so desperately need.
The document shows an investment of $180,000 into the image building of Wanganui, good to see the investment, but what is the money being used for?
Napier and Wellington are quoted as examples of areas where they got results. The strategy does not show how much investment has been made by Wellington and Napier in marketing campaigns or details on how they got the results.
For the investment made in preparing this document of $40,000, Information such as this should have been included, to ensure the investments made are at least as substantial and our delivery is equally as effective.
Philip Shackleton
Chief Executive
Chamber advocates on Tourism strategy ...

The Wanganui District Councils investment of $40,000 on a Tourism strategy was challenged in a recent submission.
Having read the submission and sought feedback from the membership, concerns were raised by member businesses about the cost of the document and the lack of detail about how the strategy was going to be executed to ensure Tourism grows in the region.
We raised the issue that for an investment of $40,000 you might at least expect a detailed implantation plan  for the first year showing what further money being invested by the Council in this area will be used for and what value it will add going forward.
We also raised concern that the document did not have the Chamber of Commerce as a key stakeholder organisation for which it would consult going forward...
The Council has responded to our submission as follows;
“Your submission was accepted in part. The Chamber of Commerce was added as an example of a key stakeholder organisation on page seven of the strategy and it was noted that a project implementation plan is to be developed”.
You can view a copy of our submission on the visitor strategy by visiting www.wanganuichamber.co.nz


Trades Faciliator
Wanganui Chamber Of Commerce Trade Workshop was held on the 9th of November.  We were lucky to have Mayor Dale Williams from Otorohanga as our guest speaker.  Mayor Dale presented their proven success story of supporting the young people in their community, resulting in zero unemployed under the age of 25.  We had 57 people from a good cross section of our community present.  We agreed on the following vision statement “Working together towards sustainable youth employment”. 
To progress the vision requires understanding a multitude of issues and taking it one step at a time. Communication, partnerships and understanding all the issues is the key to making it work. 
It is important we provide solutions for our employers, assist our training providers, careers advisors and help promote all the trades to our schools and young people.
It is vitally important we gather as much information as possible, identify the mistakes other areas have made and capitalise on their successes before stepping forward.  We want the next step to be the most appropriate for our area and have the capabilities to expand into our region as well.
Good partnerships, committed stakeholders, robust connections and a buy in commitment from all the parties will be the key to benefiting our youth, our businesses and our city.
The shortage of Trades people has been a concern for some time and can only be fixed by more apprenticeships being made available, more apprenticeship funding would make a significant difference to the shortages we are experiencing.
Trades Facilitator

The Trades Facilitator role is evolving quite quickly, the primary focus is to promote the trades and improve communication between employers, schools, students, their parents or caregivers.  
We visited three established Facilitator operations with different demographics and needs in Otorohanga, Manawatu & Masterton.  All have been operating for some time and have benefited from trial and error, this helped identify the most effective way to deliver services to their areas.  
We wanted to know what they did, how they did it and how they settled on the best way to promote trades and employment in their area.  They all did something simple by going to the students and asked what they wanted more information on and the best way to deliver it.  Expo days, Graduation Evenings, site visits and trade training courses have formed the core of their deliveries.  They all incorporate other support services, one in particular supports school leavers without employment or not engaged in further tertiary education.
We are preparing a questionnaire with careers advisors for our Schools regarding their perception of trades as a career path.

The shortage of Trades people and their increasing age is well known, and was highlighted during our last period of economic growth and will continue to be an issue in the future.  New Zealand business needs to increase the amount of people training in trades just to maintain the present economy, let alone future economic growth.

Increased trade training will help relieve our growing dependence on overseas labour.  The available employment opportunities should where ever possible focused on our own young people.  Unfortunately this does not help our immediate shortage of qualified trade’s people.  New Zealand’s shortage of trained trade personnel makes the trades a very good career option for young New Zealanders.

Asking business to pick up the ball and employ more apprentices is a small part of the answer, we need to ask what employers require as pre trade apprenticeship skills.  A greater focus may need to be directed at these skills and train the young people accordingly.  While it is not possible to teach the students everything on the pre employment courses, it’s also unrealistic to expect them to know everything either, that is part of the apprenticeship and skill base of the trade itself.

Students need to understand higher academic standard are required to keep pace with rapidly changing technology in the trades.  Low English, mathematics and computer skills compound pressure on the apprentice, this reflects on their work attitude and performance or a worst case scenario an apprentice drops out.

The resulting youth employment growth in the areas we visited is proof, better communication between the parties increased understanding, improved common ground with positive results for all the parties using the existing system.

Business confidence is another key issue and absolutely vital for employers considering taking on apprentices in the first place.






Trade Facilitator Report - 17/08/2009

We have visited three different workplace training providers in the following areas:
Palmerston North (Tool for Schools)
Masterton (Wairarapa Workforce)
Otorohanga (Otorohanga Trade Centre) the project championed by their Mayor Dale Williams

All three surveyed the trades, workforces and schools in their areas, the differing demographics produced individual requirements.  This highlighted the need to develop area specific strategies for trade and youth employment. They developed their own specialised variations for trade promotion but quickly realised to be successful a much wider support network needed to be created.

The three main deliveries are:
Direct from ITO (Independent Training Organisation) to School presentations
Direct from School to Industry trips
Public Trade Expo days educating students and Parents

The providers we visited shared their successful and marginal programs, giving us the benefit of their mistakes without having to experience them, this information will help us fast track and develop our own individual Trade promotion program.

All three providers identified through their surveys another group desperately needing help, being the unsupported school leaving age group of 15 – 19 years who are not involved in further education, training or employment.  Supporting this group has resulted in positive flow on effects for the areas employment goals.


Coming Events

November 25th 2009 Business After Five Function: Hosted by Wanganui Chamber of Commerce.  Ian Ross the Chambers Trades facilitator will talk for 10min. about initiatives planned for improving the quality and supply of skilled Trades people in the Wanganui economy.
The evening will focus on networking with other members to create new contacts and prospects for growing your business.
RSVP bronnie@wanganuichamber.co.nz or phone 3450080

December 16th Board meeting: Chamber will have its final board meeting for 2009.
If members have any issues they wish to raise with the Board then please email these to us for tabling at the meeting. Please note attendance is for board members only.
Email your comments/issues to bronnie@wanganuichamber.co.nz

February 24th 2010 Business After Five Function:  Hosted by Otago Polytechnic.
RSVP bronnie@wanganuichamber.co.nz

February  26th 2010 Chambers annual GOLF tournament: The Wanganui Chamber hold this event annually to emphasise the importance of having fun when networking! .This tournament attracts a great prize table and we ensure you are well looked after on the day.
We will only have 20 Teams this year of 4 so you need to resister early to secure your place. Preference will be given to the regular entrants in this event.
Please forward your Team name and details to bronnie@wanganuichamber.co.nz by December 18th.

March 4th 2010 Whanganui Community Foundation Business Breakfast – Marketing your business through giving back to your community – New and innovative strategies.
Venue: Oggies café Time 7.00am
To register please email bronnie@wanganuichamber.co.nz or phone us on 3450080.

March 24th 2010 Business After five function

Business After five Functions Create new business relationships in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.  Contact us to discuss hosting your BA5 by phoning 3450080 or email bronnie@wanganuichamber.co.nz










New Zealand Retailers Association:

New Zealand Trade & Enterprise:

Statistics New Zealand:

Heritage House, Level 1, 136 St Hill St
P.O Box 88, Wanganui 4540
Phone: 06 3450080 - Fax: 3451182