The latest survey of Taranaki businesses has found that things are looking up.

The June 2019 Taranaki Business Survey, conducted by the region’s development agency Venture Taranaki, has found that things are looking up for business and industry, and a slight improvement is anticipated at national level.

View the survey results here

Businesses expecting nationwide economic conditions to improve in the year ahead outnumber those predicting things to get worse for the first time since the Labour-led coalition Government gained power in October 2017. The shift is slight however, with 22 percent of businesses anticipating things to improve and 20 percent expecting deterioration, a change from 18 percent and 24 percent respectively in the December 2018 survey. An unchanged 53 percent expect things to stay the same.

At industry level things were more positive, with those expecting improvement in industry conditions over the next year up from 24 percent last November to 35 percent in May. At individual business level 56 percent of respondents anticipated improvement over the next six months, the strongest level since June 2014.

“While one swallow doesn’t make a summer, the overall lifting in sentiment is a strongly positive sign that there is growing confidence and momentum in the region and its enterprises,” says Venture Taranaki Chief Executive Justine Gilliland.

“While the region has been through a period of some uncertainty as we explored the challenges and potential that came with the move to a low-emissions future, the results of this survey suggest we’re now looking beyond that to what we can do to leverage this change.”

“Regionally-led initiatives such as the Tapuae Roa economic development strategy and the Taranaki 2050 draft Roadmap have helped us shift the conversation to what we can do to maintain growth, while projects such as the $50 million Ballance/Hiringa green hydrogen development at Kapuni have indicated that there are concrete opportunities in our region’s future,” Justine says.

Corresponding with the increased optimism is an expectation that employee numbers are also on the rise. While 60 percent of the region’s businesses expect staff numbers to remain the same over the next six months, 31 percent expect numbers to increase, a sharp increase from 16 percent in November last year and the highest level since 2013.

39 percent of businesses reported having skill shortages or difficulty finding the staff they need.

The survey also polled enterprises on perceptions of the region held by their networks living outside Taranaki. Family, lifestyle and the region’s burgeoning ‘cool’ factor were seen as the strongest perceptions, while geographic isolation and dated views of the region where the biggest hurdles.

“There’s a challenge to everyone in Taranaki to tell a positive story about the region and everything that’s going on here. We need to work together to ensure the region’s stories are shared widely and we are seen as an attractive destination to invest, live and work.”

“We also need to maintain momentum on the SH3 north improvements to help improve how accessible we are and how our manufacturers and exporters can get their goods to a wider market.”

View the survey results here