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Business remains steady in the Waimakariri and Hurunui districts, despite a drop in business confidence across the country, according to the latest North Canterbury Business Opinion Survey.
The October 2017 report released last week by Enterprise North Canterbury and Research First shows that most businesses surveyed expect their sales to increase in the next six months, and almost half expect their profits to remain stable.
Despite the majority of businesses predicting stability, the report shows a negative shift in overall business confidence with 19% expecting the business situation in New Zealand to deteriorate in the next six months, up from 14% in the last survey. This shift in business confidence is in line with nationwide trends, with a similar change recorded in the latest New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) Quarterly Survey of Business Opinion.
NZIER puts the drop down to ‘pre-election jitters’, as the survey was conducted before the new Government was confirmed.
Local business operator Nick Deane – Director of PAWS Vets Woodend - also attributes the drop in business confidence to uncertainty surrounding the new Government.
“Central Government is enacting legislation to increase maternity leave and raise the minimum wage. They have conceded that they understand that these policies will affect small business, but offer no concrete support for small business. While raising the minimum wage is great, I feel it will be inflationary and likely to increase costs for my business both in wages and loan costs.
“I think our new Government needs to be more aware of where the money for taxes and jobs comes from and considering our needs as small business when setting policy,” he said.
The North Canterbury Business Opinion Survey also reported sales in the North Canterbury region are growing, but this is offset by higher operating and material costs.
Staffing is another issue highlighted in the survey, with most businesses finding it difficult to source skilled or semi-skilled staff. However, finding unskilled staff is becoming easier.