Getting to know… Shara from Ignite

Date posted: August 11, 2020

Associate at Ignite Architects, Shara Paulo, has been with the company since February 2015.

As an architect in their Tauranga studio, her work involves projects across the commercial, retail, residential, and aged care sectors, and seeing them from from inception through to completion onsite.

She’ll be taking us for a behind the scenes tour with Business Women’s Networking (on September 9), as part of the group’s Business Behind the Scene series, but we went behind the scenes to get to know Shara a bit better – including the challenges of work-life balance as a new mum and what it is like working in a male-dominated industry.


Photos: BA5 at Baycourt

Date posted: August 11, 2020

The wonderful team at Baycourt put on an awesome BA5 event, whisking us away to a tropical paradise for the night.

As they say: ‘Baycourt – The place that takes you places when you can’t get there!’

📷: Vanessa Laval-Glad from Laval Photo & Video. 

Canvas Careers Expo begins

Date posted: August 6, 2020

This weekend Durham Street will be transformed into the Canvas Careers Expo, with more than 50 exhibitors from across the region and New Zealand showcasing career and job opportunities for students and career changers alike.

Organised by Tauranga Rotary and Priority One, the expo runs from 10am – 2pm both days with local and national tertiary training providers on site.

“Canvas Careers Expo is a unique opportunity for students and those considering a career change or looking for a job to come and see a diverse range of career pathways and talk directly to training providers. We have Universities from across NZ joining us for the expo alongside the Pacific International Hotel Management School, Tertiary Institutes, Employ NZ, Beca, NZ Defence Force, Education USA and many, many more,” says organiser Sue Boyne.

Anchored by the University of Waikato and Toi Ohomai, the expo will showcase the huge diversity of career and job pathways available. Some of the highlights this year include the InZone Careers Coach – a dynamic multi-media bus that’s travelled from the South Island, features push out sides, and promises an unparalleled dynamic and interactive presentation that showcases New Zealand industry training organisations, tertiary institutions, and Defence Forces with some of their heavy vehicles and Freight Logistics with a few trucks. Meanwhile, the University of Waikato will have the Optojump and some bikes from their Adams High Performance Centre so the public can test their jump height and race each other.

On the Saturday morning the Young Enterprise Scheme Market day takes place on the street so the public can see some of the awesome businesses that have been created under YES Tauranga, browse a selection of products and walk away with some locally made creations. University of Waikato scientists will be dissecting a thresher shark at 12pm in the lane beside the University and the public can view a rare aningia fimbria, one of the largest squid species in the world that was recently caught off Whakaari/White Island.

The Canvas Careers Expo is free to attend. For more information, please visit the website.

– Article supplied

Thought Leadership: Digital Transformation

Date posted: August 6, 2020

For many businesses, COVID-19 was a shock to the system – their digital system, that is.

Traditional ways of working no longer suited and the need to store and share data, connect and collaborate, and even pivot their marketing approach via digital platforms was critical.

Now we’re back to our ‘new normal’, how can we take the learnings of lockdown and continue to evolve our digital thinking, to become more effective and innovative businesses?

As part of the Groundswell Festival of Innovation / TechWeek, we hosted a Thought Leadership session with Dan Waugh (General Manager ICT at Comvita), Georgia Meek ( Founder and Director at Babysitters Club) & David Bell (Director Business Growth at Xero) to discuss digital innovation and transformation, their own experiences and the lay of the land more generally.

You can watch the full 45-minute webinar here. READ MORE

How to: Social media with Outside Digital

Date posted: August 6, 2020

As more and more businesses adapt to a digital market, we’re seeing a huge number wanting to know more about social media – how to use it, how to make the most of it and even where to start!

Like any part of your business, it all starts with a plan and ensuring you can allocate your resources effectively to reach your customers.

We caught up with one of our newest members, Jason Curay from Outside Digital, to find out more.


Branding and marketing with The Artistry Online

Date posted: August 6, 2020

Knowing your brand and communicating it effectively can be the difference between a business that goes the distance and one that gets stuck in a short-term cycle of success and distress. In fact, studies show that long-term brand building is the most effective form of marketing as it establishes your business as the go-to in your field and increases preference with your customers.

We talk to Blake Ramage, creative director at The Artistry Online to discuss what is a brand and how can businesses start thinking (and focusing) on theirs.


Rangiuru Business Park gets significant funding

Date posted: August 6, 2020

Quayside Properties Limited was delighted to receive the government announcement supporting the Rangiuru Business Park.

At an announcement event in Te Puke on July 31, Regional Economic Development Parliamentary Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau confirmed the Provincial Growth Fund will contribute $18 million to the construction of a motorway interchange for Rangiuru Business Park on the Tauranga Eastern Link.

Rangiuru Business Park is the largest consented greenfield industrial zone in the Bay of Plenty.  When completed, it will offer up to 148 net hectares of industrial land, giving the Western Bay of Plenty two significant industrial zones, with Tauriko in the west and Rangiuru in the east.

Quayside Properties Limited first acquired land in the Rangiuru zone in 2004.  Quayside has since this time instigated three private plan changes, to firstly rezone the land as industrial and then to acknowledge the impact of the Tauranga Eastern Link, and water needs of the park.

Scott Hamilton, Chief Executive of Quayside Properties noted at the PGF announcement “This journey began over 15 years ago when the potential of this area was identified. Rangiuru is expected to create many new and diverse job opportunities for communities around Te Puke, Paengaroa, Maketu and further east”.

“Today’s announcement will create confidence for investment decisions and bring the development of Rangiuru Business Park forward, enabling small landowners and iwi landowners within the park to share in the development opportunities it creates.”

Mr Hamilton says Rangiuru Business Park will connect the “golden triangle” of Auckland / Hamilton / Tauranga – with the central and eastern Bay of Plenty, driving local economic growth and opportunities.

“It will provide businesses across the eastern and western Bay of Plenty unparalleled access to international markets through direct road and rail corridors to the Port of Tauranga.”

The Rangiuru interchange will be on the Tauranga Eastern Link, about 500 metres east of the toll gantry.

For more information on Rangiuru visit

– Article supplied. 

Supporting not-for-profit organisations in a meaningful way

Date posted: August 5, 2020

Asking for help isn’t always easy. Neither is responding to need in a meaningful way.

How to offer meaningful support is one of the themes former world discus champion Beatrice Faumuina will talk about at the upcoming Business Women’s Network event on Tuesday 11 August.

“Often everyone is just hands in, asking, ‘What can I do?’ but actually it’s the question people don’t want to hear because they have heard it so many times.

“So it’s about showing up and being respectful. Sometimes it’s about helping out, like doing the dishes or making a simple cup of tea. By nature, I think we all want to pitch in and help, but it’s about thinking how can you minimise an already stressful situation.”

The same can be said for how businesses engage and work with not-for-profit organisations that need support in a way that is meaningful and makes a difference. The August event will focus on how organisations can foster a culture of giving back to have a great impact for their company, staff engagement and community.

As someone who has been heavily involved in the not-for-profit sector, Beatrice believes the most effective way a business can engage with not-for-profits is to answer the call that is never seen or heard.

“Not-for-profits don’t take the time to breathe and think, ‘I wonder who else could help us?’ Often people who get involved want to help and find a way to help, and organisations are always looking for committed people who can utilise their business skill sets and help make a real difference.”

Most recently, the Gold medallist has taken her skill set, expertise and passion for her Pasifika community and joined the Pacific Business Trust, a not-for-profit organisation focused on building business capability in Pacific businesses by connecting owners to local service providers and other organisations that can help them get the support and knowledge they need.

When COVID-19 happened, the need was suddenly increased and the organisation responded accordingly.

“We worked alongside MSD to create a dedicated 0800 number to allow business owners to source what they needed over the phone, and set up a business assessment tool in partnership with Deloitte – I call it a fitness check for their business.”

Speaking of, fitness and keeping active is a still an integral part of Beatrice’s life. While she admits, “not to the level of the life that was, and I have made my peace with that”, she says it’s important to take the time to do a sensory check.

“When COVID-19 happened, we became very active and then found greater awareness of our own mental and physical health, but now we’re back to ‘normal’, we still need to ensure we prioritise that. You need private time and time to breathe.

“For me, keeping active gives me an opportunity to do a sensory check, and when you give yourself a mental break, you get clarity to think about ideas and solutions.”

Beatrice is a guest speaker at the Business Women’s Network Charity Behind the Scenes event for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Cancer Society on Tuesday, August 11. The event will also be attended by Shelley Campbell, chief executive for the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Cancer Society, as the charity prepares for the 30th anniversary of Daffodil Day. 

Please click here to register for this event.

General Election candidates to attend debate forum

Date posted: July 20, 2020

Bay of Plenty voters will have a chance to hear first-hand from local candidates standing in the General Election 2020 at the Forsyth Barr Tauranga and Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Parliamentary Election Candidates Forum.

Attendees include Simon Bridges (National, Tauranga), Jan Tinetti (Labour, Tauranga), Angie Warren-Clark (Labour, Bay of Plenty), Erika Harvey (NZ First, Tauranga) and Josh Cole (Green Party).

National MP for Bay of Plenty, Todd Muller, has been invited but has yet to confirm his attendance.

Event organiser Anne Pankhurst says this event will provide an opportunity for the Tauranga business community to hear first-hand from their local candidates before polling day and offer a forum in which they can put their questions to them.

“Given the political rollercoaster that we have seen play out since COVID-19 hit our shores, we’re excited to be co-hosting this event and expect a lively debate between the candidates.

“It’s rare to get an opportunity to get them together in one place and this is the only event of its kind, so we encourage you to come along, hear from the candidates and have your say as well.”


Member Profile: Ackermerc

Date posted: July 16, 2020

Ackermerc is a content creation company run by husband and wife duo Mercedes and Sam Ackerman.

Between them, the pair have more than three decades worth of experience in design, storytelling, written, audio and video contention creation, broadcasting, media training, MC work and strategic communications – quite the range of skills!

Mercedes has been responsible for award-winning design and brand development with organisations such as Givealittle, National Rugby League (NRL), the Telecom Foundation, Red Bull, Microsoft, Nickelodeon, Mediaworks, Canteen, Fletcher Building and many many more. She is also highly sought after as a social media advisor and content creator, with a proven track record of increasing engagement and finding the right tone for each organisation.

Meanwhile Sam may be a familiar face for some in his past role with MediaWorks / Newshub as a sports journalist / producer. An experienced and empathetic storyteller, with almost two decades in broadcasting on TV and radio, Sam has been involved with media training for high-profile local and national organisations, and is experienced in media management, strategic communications and crisis management.

“We are proud of what Tauranga businesses achieve and know they have engaging stories to tell their customers – both locally and around Aotearoa,” says Mercedes.

“We’re not an overstaffed organisation, we’re a team that talks with our clients directly and gets to understand their goals before helping them achieve them.

“We can’t wait to work closely with them to help deliver their message and vision in ways they didn’t know possible.”


Building capability and confidence in business

Date posted: July 16, 2020

Having a strong, profitable business starts with a plan. Not only will it help you set goals and mark milestones, but it enables you to create a pathway for your staff as well.

Tipu Ngapo from Verve Elevate offers professional training, facilitation and coaching services to help people in business build a greater sense of confidence and capability, and help them have a long-term vision and a ‘growth mindset’.

We caught up with him to find out how business owners can start building a clear plan and focus to ensure profitability, and how effective leadership plays a key role.






Focus on finance: All Things Accounting

Date posted: July 16, 2020

We asked Richard Crabb from All Things Accounting to provide us with some insights around tax and finances, to help business owners prepare for the coming months.


Westpac Tauranga Business Awards to continue in 2020

Date posted: July 15, 2020

Salina Galvan Photography

The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s annual awards celebration will be returning for 2020 – with a twist.

The Westpac Tauranga Business Awards 2020 is an opportunity to acknowledge, support and celebrate businesses that have performed well across all facets, including financial, sustainability, customer service and staff.

Given the impacts of COVID-19 on both the events sector and the business community generally, Event Organiser Anne Pankhurst says now, more than ever, an event of this kind is needed.

“It’s not about winning. It’s about bringing the business community together, to acknowledge those who have done it tough, those who have been resilient and pushed through, and to celebrate in the company of their peers.

“Since lockdown, we have been advocating for a Love Local approach that highlights the skills, experience and expertise within our business community, and the Awards are an extension of this ethos.”

With a lockdown on large-scale events until just a few months ago, the Westpac Tauranga Business Awards has not been immune to the effects of the pandemic and as such a number of changes are being made – both to the process and the event itself.

The traditional ‘mix-and-mingle’ launch night went virtual, with a video launch held last night via the Chamber’s Facebook page.


Additional $40m for COVID-19 Business Support Fund

Date posted: July 14, 2020

Today, Ministers Phil Twyford and Stuart Nash announced a further $40m for the Regional Business Partner Network (RBP), to assist small and medium enterprises with their COVID-19 recovery. This is in addition to the $15m invested in March.

The RBP’s role is to connect business owners with experts that can help build their capability in areas such as HR, health and wellness, marketing, digital support, finance and business continuity planning.

Eligible business will work with local Growth Advisors to help them identify and prioritise key needs, and from there determine what provider would be best suitable.

You can read our case study on local business The General here to understand how the funding works. 

This funding will be available soon at a local level from the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce. 

Here’s what you need to know:
  • The COVID-19 Business Advisory Funding will provide support in areas such as HR, health and wellbeing, business continuity, cashflow and finance management, strategy and digital capability, to help businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19 by helping them adapt and develop.
  • This differs from the Management Capability Development Fund which offers businesses up to 50% co-funded support for management coaching and training services to build management capability within the business.
  • Businesses need to meet the following criteria for the COVID-19 Business Advisory Funding:
    • have undergone an assessment with a Regional Partner (i.e. Growth Advisor); and
    • have a New Zealand Business Number; and
    • have between 1-100 full-time equivalent employees; and
    • are registered for GST in New Zealand; and
    • are operating in a commercial environment; and
    • are privately-owned businesses or are a Māori Trust or incorporation under the Te Ture Whenua Māori Act 1993 or similar organisation managing Māori assets under multiple ownership.
  • We are no longer taking direct referrals from service providers. Please direct any businesses you are working with, and fit the above criteria, to do one of the following:
    • If they are not already registered, register on the Regional Business Partner network.
    • If they are registered on the Portal, please contact our team at where they will be added to our pipeline and we will be addressing them in the order of receipt.
  • There is a wait time to receive the funding, so please be patient. Businesses that were registered with RBP for the first round of funding and did not receive any at that time will be serviced first.

If you have further questions, please view these FAQs below to understand more about RBP and to understand if you are eligible for the funding before contacting us. 


Member Profile: Tauranga Budget Advisory Service

Date posted: July 13, 2020

If managing money and sorting debt doesn’t come second nature, having a helping hand can take a weight off your shoulders (and your income).

Tauranga Budget Advisory Service (TBAS) offers FREE, confidential and non-judgmental advice by trained financial mentors. No matter your income, your financial position or circumstance, their mentors can guide and support, liaise with creditors on your behalf and connect you with other organisations that can help.

Manager Shirley McCombe says, “People are often embarrassed to ask for support, especially if they have a good income, but still struggle to make ends meet. But the more we earn, the more we spend and these are often the people who struggle most, particularly when there is a sudden change like a redundancy.”

We find out more about TBAS and how they can help.


Westpac Tauranga Business Awards 2020 announcement

Date posted: July 13, 2020

We’ve got big news coming this Tuesday. Click on the video to be alerted as to when our video goes live (Tuesday, July 14).

Community survey to help shape Long-Term Plan

Date posted: July 9, 2020

Tauranga City Council has launched a survey to ask people what they think about their community outcomes – the goals and principles that shape the activities the council will undertake to improve the wellbeing of Tauranga.

The community outcomes survey lists the outcomes that will help set the strategic direction for the Long-Term Plan 2021-31, and will assist council in prioritising resourcing and funding. The purpose of the questions is to check they are on the right track.

The community outcomes survey will run until July 26. Below are ways you can provide your feedback:

  • Complete the five minute (six questions) online survey here.
  • You can pop into one of the libraries (Papamoa, Mount Maunganui, Greerton) or to the Customer Service Centre on Willow Street where there will be hard copy forms available to fill out.

The survey closes Sunday, 26 July 2020 at 11pm. If you are interested in the strategic direction for the Long-term Plan 2021-31, we suggest you have your say.

Women in Innovation: Ngaire Woodhams

Date posted: July 8, 2020

This month, Business Women’s Network (BWN) is hosting a panel discussion with three influential women in the tech and innovation space as part of Groundswell Festival.

This virtual discussion is designed to challenge your way of thinking, and inspire you to take action when it comes to new and innovative ways to do business.

One of those women is Ngaire Woodhams, New Zealand lead for the EY wavespace (TM): A unique, tech-centric workspace that connects businesses via digital platforms, and help organisations explore operating models and emerging technologies that can transform their businesses.

Her role encompasses the intersection of her two career journeys: Event management, and design and innovation.

We asked Ngaire a few questions about her career, how she became part of EY wavespace and what role technology will play in our future.


Financials, cash flow and the impact on small business

Date posted: July 8, 2020

As the dust begins to settle on Government support packages and lifelines for small businesses, what do the next 12 months have in store and how can those businesses feeling the impacts of COVID-19 put plans in place to successfully come out the other side.

Michelle Mortlock, director at Elevation Chartered Accountants Ltd, provides us with some advice and insights for small businesses regarding finances, tax and cash flow – what are the challenges business owners are facing, and how can they mitigate risk and make some good plans?


BA5 Alliance Partners: Photos

Date posted: July 6, 2020

Last week, we hosted our fist post-lockdown BA5, a mini expo that showcases our Alliance Partners & Sponsors, and connects the business community. Check out the images below and thanks to Vanessa Laval-Glad for these great photos!

For details on our next BA5 event for August, please click here. 


R&D Loans Scheme now available

Date posted: July 2, 2020

Callaghan Innovation has launched its R&D Loan Scheme as part of the Budget 2020.

R&D-performing businesses, with funding impacted by COVID-19, will be able to apply for a loan of up to $400,000, depending on their R&D plans and other Government support they receive.

The scheme aims to help these businesses to continue their high-value R&D activities through the COVID-19 recovery. The loans are interest free if repaid within the first year and funds are available now.

All New Zealand businesses undertaking R&D can apply for this loan, including if they already have a Project Grant, Growth Grant or the R&D Tax incentive. The total amount businesses can borrow takes into account this additional government support.

Visit the Callaghan website for more details, criteria and to apply.


Paid parental leave increase: What it means for you

Date posted: July 2, 2020

From July 1, 2020 the minimum paid parental leave has increased from 22 to 26 weeks. The government has introduced this to provide increased support for primary carers, including working parents with newborns and families taking on the permanent care of children under the age of six.

In light of these recent changes, we asked Associate Jeremy Sparrow from Holland Beckett Law a quick fire Q&A to provide insight into how the extension impacts employers and employees.


Q&A: Websites with Amatis

Date posted: July 2, 2020

If there was one big lesson from lockdown, it was the importance of a functional, easy to navigate website for every business.

Whether you’re selling products, organising services or you’re using your website as a communication tool for your customers, you need to ensure your website is performing as it is intended. Just because you have one, doesn’t mean it is effective.

We talk to Paul Horak from Amatis to discuss the difference between a good website and a bad one, how to get started setting up your website and why nothing in digital should have a ‘set and forget’ mentality.


Take the bus for free and WIN with the council

Date posted: July 1, 2020

Tauranga City Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council are challenging residents in the Bay of Plenty to take advantage of the free buses in July and be in to win.

The challenge is to take FOUR BUS RIDES anywhere in the Bay during July. It’s free until July 27 – so what better way to save money, skip traffic and do something good for the environment?

To be in to win a $500 cash prize (thanks to Councillors Heidi (TCC) and Stacey (BOPRC)), all you need to do is post a photo of each of your four rides to The July Bus Challenge Facebook Group or your own Instagram, use the hashtag #julybuschallenge, then challenge someone else to do the same.

If your business wants to add some prizes and incentives, feel free to create your own and post in to the July Bus Challenge Group too.

The Chamber will be taking up the challenge – keep an eye on our Instagram for the journey!

Acorn Foundation achieves self-sufficiency

Date posted: July 1, 2020

Acorn Foundation Chair Lesley Jensen and General manager Lori Luke.

Chamber member, the Acorn Foundation, has achieved financial self-sufficiency – just 17 years after it was founded in 2003. With international standards showing community foundations normally achieve financial independence between 20 and 25 years after establishment, the Acorn Foundation well ahead of pace.

Acorn General Manager Lori Luke says, “The hard work done in the early years of the foundation laid the solid base which has made this accomplishment possible.

“Loyal Acorn supporters and donors across the entire Western Bay of Plenty have contributed to the success of our foundation, and our team is truly proud that we have developed an asset that will be of benefit to this region forever.”

The Acorn Foundation is a charitable organisation, and like most charities, the establishment of sustainable income that allow it to focus exclusively on its role in the community, rather than fundraising for its own costs, is key to long term success.

The foundation is fortunate that several donors have allocated a portion of the annual distributions from their fund to support Acorn’s operating costs, which combine with the 1% fee taken annually from its fund (now exceeding $36M) to cover Acorn’s expenses going forward. Reaching this goal means that the foundation will no longer require corporate, trust or direct donor gifts to help cover its operational costs, freeing that money up to assist other worthy organisations in the region.


Employer feedback wanted by Avalon

Date posted: June 30, 2020

Avalon Aotearoa Charitable Trust is committed to creating lives of value and believes in collaborating across sectors to bring about positive social change and development within the Bay of Plenty.

The team are embarking on a research project focusing on employment and the workplace in the Bay of Plenty.

With a specific lens on attitudes towards employing people with disabilities, Avalon wants to use this research to highlight where the opportunities and barriers currently exist, as well as consider future initiatives that will have a positive effect on not only employment rates in the Bay of Plenty, but greater retention rates, employee satisfaction and improved bottom line for businesses that embrace diversity.

If you are open to participating in the research, please contact Kerry Webb at or 027 236 2280 for further information.

Alternatively, you can complete the online Employer Attitude Survey through this link (approximately 10-15 minutes to complete and will remain open to  until 17 July 2020).

The six signs of Leadership Fatigue

Date posted: June 30, 2020

Employees look to their leaders for guidance, support and even emotional support… but who looks after the leaders?

Leadership Fatigue is becoming far more prevalent since COVID-19 turned our world upside down and business leaders have been forced to work harder than ever to keep their business alive and staff employed, safe and motivated.

The effects of this long term can be devastating and many senior executives could be suffering from Leadership Fatigue without even knowing it.

Gail Page, a leadership and communication coach at Positive Pathways, says Leadership Fatigue is rife right now and urges leaders to take action to avoid burnout.

“It is imperative you take the time to check in and start re-focusing on yourself to ensure your mental health is the number-one priority as we look to rebuild the economy – now is when the real work begins for most businesses so you need to be ready!”


COVID-19 response requires central-local Urban Growth Partnerships

Date posted: June 24, 2020

Hard-hit councils, who oversee half of New Zealand’s public infrastructure, require financial support from central government that is tied to shared priorities through Urban Growth Partnerships, says Paul Blair CEO of Infrastructure New Zealand. 

He says the revenue from rates, which some councils are choosing to freeze or cut, only provides 60% on average, with the rest coming from commercial sources, such as developer contributions, fees for public services, or dividends from airports, ports, or stadiums – all of which have been severely impacted by COVID-19.

“If councils are forced to cut costs (firing contractors, stopping new construction, reducing staff), this lack of cash flow will hurt local economies and consumer confidence even more.

“Each dollar of lower local government revenue translates to an up to $2.50 reduction in infrastructure investment.

“Without infrastructure, the much larger housing and development sector cannot accelerate, further magnifying the short-term economic and long-term social impact.”


Digital enablement with PoweringON

Date posted: June 24, 2020

For a business to be efficient and effective, your digital capability needs to be like a well-oiled machine.

Both internal systems (such as how you communicate with your team, manage your data or finances), and external with your clients and customers through channels such as websites, social media and e-communications, has never been more important with flexible ways of working and new ways of connecting with audiences.

PoweringON is a digital enablement programme designed to help small businesses overcome the barriers they face with their digital capability.

The PoweringON programme, delivered by Chamber member Venture Centre, will help address these challenges with practical knowledge, tailored support, talent matching and digital resources, and develop a plan to improve – and best of all, it is free!

We discussed the importance of digital and how businesses can seek support from PoweringON with Digital Navigator Craig Williams.


Member Profile: Booking Rooster

Date posted: June 22, 2020

Booking Rooster is easy-to-use online booking software, suitable for training and event management.

In a COVID-19 world, it can offer a simple solution for contact tracing at events, plus it enables easy communication with your attendees before and after. The great thing is the team set it up for you from the get-go, so you can ensure the programme delivers exactly what you want from day one.


Apply now for University of Waikato’s B Trimester

Date posted: June 22, 2020

Grow your skillset to thrive in the changing business landscape, and future-proof your career: Study online, full-time or part-time at Waikato Management School, starting July 13.

Waikato Management School’s grad cert, grad dip and masters programmes are ideal for:

  • business grads who’d like to upskill and further their career
  • leaders and managers looking for a formal qualification
  • professionals who’d like to retrain or branch out.

Secure your future with a qualification from a Triple Crown accredited business school.

Click here to find out more and discover a programme that suits you. 

Toi Ohomai gleans top honours at industry awards

Date posted: June 18, 2020

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s Communication and Digital Experience Team won a Silver Award in the Internal Communications category at the Public Relations Institute of New Zealand (PRINZ) Awards held on Thursday, 11 June.

The PRINZ Awards recognise and celebrate outstanding work in public relations and highlight the impact of excellent communications across every aspect of society.

Chief Judge and PRINZ Fellow, Kate Woodruffe, says the awards celebrate the diverse range of success stories generated by PRINZ members and recognise the huge amount of talent and professionalism inherent in the industry.

“As a way of increasing recognition and better reflecting the judging process, this year finalists were awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze, rather than Winner or Highly Commended as in previous years. We hope that this, combined with the option to receive feedback from the judging panels, provides greater scope for learning and celebration.”


Free one-day course in winter pruning

Date posted: June 18, 2020

Applications are open for a free one-day taster course in winter pruning of kiwifruit vines.

There are winter pruning jobs available now for trained, physically fit, work-ready people and this course is aimed people interested in becoming trained.

One-day introductory course

A one-day taster will introduce the basics of the task and how it fits into the kiwifruit production cycle, as well as an overview of the industry.

Follow-up training

Following the one-day training, some participants will have the opportunity to join a more intensive course in winter pruning which focuses on skill development which will also be provided for free.

Participants will receive certification for both courses. Those who complete the intensive training will be encouraged to seek work as winter pruners on kiwifruit orchards.

Courses will run in venues around Bay of Plenty. Participants will need to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident to be eligible to enrol in the course. These trainings are managed by New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Inc. (NZKGI) and funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Potential applicants are encouraged to join the one-day course and learn how they can become a part of the leading horticultural export industry growing a high-quality product in demand around the world.

For more information, contact NZKGI Labour Coordinator Gavin Stagg here.

To complete an application form for the taster & the course, click here.

The secrets of successful networking

Date posted: June 18, 2020

We always advocate that one of the benefits of being a Chamber member is our ability to provide you great networking opportunities – but what does that mean? Is it just about meeting new people at events?

Networking is more than that. It’s about meeting new people – with intent to do great business.

We had a chat to Sam Williamson, Executive Director at BNI for the Bay of Plenty / Waikato / Gisborne area, to find out more about the secret to successful networking.

Sam is hosting a session on this topic on Tuesday, June 30 just in time for our first networking event of the year post-COVID lockdown. You can register for this event here. 


Q&A: Recruitment and job seeking with Ryan + Alexander

Date posted: June 18, 2020

Despite the best efforts of the wage subsidy to keep New Zealanders in jobs, a huge number of Kiwis are now finding themselves out of work due to the impacts of the COVID-19 lockdown.

For many, it’s a daunting prospect – especially if you have worked at a company or in a particular role for many years.

We want to help equip our community with the skills and knowledge to take the next steps, by understanding where to look, what to do to help secure a job and connect them with people who might be able to help.

We spoke to Bernadette Ryan-Hopkins, one half of Chamber member Ryan + Alexander recruitment, to get some insight into the job seekers market, as well as practical tips for those looking for work.


Q&A: KiwiSaver in a time of COVID-19

Date posted: June 18, 2020

Ask yourself: Do you know who your KiwiSaver provider is? Do you know what fund type you are invested in? Do you know what your money is invested in? Do you know what fees you are paying? Do you know how much you are paying into your KiwiSaver account?

For many, the answer is no.

Anna Fox is an KiwiSaver Investment Specialist at Generate KiwiSaver. An accredited QFE Adviser, she is passionate about helping Kiwis make informed choices and maximise the benefits of KiwiSaver.

We asked Anna to answer a few FAQs to find out more about KiwiSaver in a time of COVID-19.


Member Profile: Jennian Homes Tauranga

Date posted: June 17, 2020

Jennian Homes has been building homes around New Zealand for 35 years – and here in the Bay of Plenty, Matt Watts is the man who will be helping continue that legacy.

The New Home Consultant has recently made the move over the hill from the Waikato, where he previously worked for a large building company for seven years, before taking on this role with Jennian.

“For us the move was family related,” he says. “We had been in the Waikato for more than 20 years and knew we wanted to live beside the beach. It was all about timing – once our two boys left home to go to University we knew it was time. It’s been a good move.”

He joins fellow New Home Consultant Paul Belcaster, as well as Directors Stephen Barclay and Jon Galvin, to form the Jennian Homes Tauranga team.


Revised draft Annual Plan: Have your say now

Date posted: June 17, 2020

COVID-19 is causing financial hardship and uncertainty, so Tauranga City Council has revised our draft Annual Plan to take this into account.

The annual plan sets the budget and work plans for the coming year and identifies what has changed from the Long-Term Plan 2018-28.

It includes rates, building projects, services, finances and more.

Check out a summary of the Annual Plan proposals here. 

The Mayor and Councillors would like as much feedback as possible to inform their decisions.

Join us for a special discussion with TCC

We’re hosting a special Thought Leadership session with two members of the City Council exec team, to help you better understand the proposed plan and for the council to hear your feedback direct.

Click here to register now for this FREE online event. 


Member Profile: Andy Taylor

Date posted: June 12, 2020

If you’re looking to bring personality, warmth and character to your next video project, Andy Taylor is your guy.

The videographer loves what he does and it shows in the enthusiastic way he tells stories through the visual medium. Having previously worked as a TV camera operator, he has since gone out on his own and captures quality content for all kinds of corporate and community projects.

He talks to us about why he went out on his own, some of the challenges of being a sole trader and what’s the key to a really good video.


University of Waikato campus wins design award

Date posted: June 12, 2020

Photo credit: Dennis Radermacher from Lightforge.

The University of Waikato Tauranga Campus has won the New Construction / Entire New Educational Facility category in the Learning Environments Australasia Awards, announced last night.

The building is a $55 million, 8400 sqm state-of-the-art teaching and university hub with capacity to accommodate one thousand full time students and staff in the heart of the city.

The brief was for a bi-cultural multi-purpose education facility delivering a changemaker for the local community and tertiary education in the region. The partnership with Ngai Tamarawaho, artist Whare Thompson, and the design team, was integral throughout the project, informing the conceptual and educational departures and innovations for the project.

Project architects were Jasmax, in collaboration with the University of Waikato, mana whenua Ngai Tamarawaho, and lead artist, Whare Thompson. The University also thanks Greenstone Group, Rider Levett Bucknall, Beca, Hawkins for their incredible work.

Congratulations to the University of Waikato, one of the Chamber’s principle sponsors.

You can read more about the project and the awards at online here. 


Immigration Law Q&A with Lauren Qiu (Stay Legal)

Date posted: June 11, 2020

Stay Legal is a specialist immigration law firm that assists businesses and migrant employees with practical immigration solutions.

The Tauranga-based firm was founded by Lauren Qiu (Principal of Stay Legal), who is an experienced specialist immigration lawyer. Lauren has presented at national and regional seminars on immigration law, and is currently an immigration law guest lecturer teaching aspiring immigration advisers.

We asked Lauren a quick Q&A to find out some of the challenges facing businesses when it comes to immigration law, COVID-19’s impact and some long-term considerations in this space.


Applications now open for SheEO New Zealand Ventures

Date posted: June 10, 2020

Global community SheEO is calling for women-led businesses and organisations to apply now to become one of their NZ based Ventures.

Selected Ventures receive: 

  • Funding – an interest-free loan paid back over five years
  • Coaching – bi-weekly coaching calls with SheEO Development Guides
  • Support – access to a global network of radically generous women who can support as customers, advisors, connectors and follow-on investors.

Ventures need to meet the following criteria:

  • Are you majority women-owned (51%+) and majority women-led? For SheEO, this means that the senior leadership role of CEO/ President is held by a woman.
  • At the time of application, have you generated between $50K – $2M (in the currency of the region for which you are applying) in revenue, in the year in which you are applying?
  • Is your Venture registered as a legal entity in the region for which you are applying?
  • Does your Venture represent a new mindset, new model or new solution for a better world?

Applications close July 1. Click here to apply. 

You can also click here to find out more. 

What is SheEO?

Launched in 2015 in Canada, this visionary model is emerging as a leading global innovation that is totally unique.

The model brings together 500 women (called Activators) in each year’s cohort, who contribute $1100 in CAN, US, NZ and AU, and £850 in the UK, each as an Act of Radical Generosity. The money is pooled together and loaned out at zero percent interest to five women-led Ventures selected by the Activators.

All Ventures are revenue generating with export potential and are creating a better world through their business model or their product and service.

The loans are paid back over five years and then loaned out again, creating a perpetual fund which we will pass on to our daughters, nieces and granddaughters. The 500 women

Activators in each cohort become the de-facto ‘team’ of the five selected Ventures bringing their buying power as early customers, their expertise and advice and their vast networks to help grow the businesses.

Q&A with Ginny Moore: Making your vision a reality

Date posted: June 10, 2020

Has lockdown got you feeling a bit derailed from you life’s journey? Or maybe lockdown has given you time to reflect and now you’re ready to plan your goals for 2020?

Ginny Moore is here to help you take action, prioritise what is important to you and put strategies in place to help overcome the things that might be holding you back (i.e. your own thoughts!)

Ginny has a background is continuous improvement. She started her courses and workshops after noticing there were lots of people in leadership positions who felt stuck in their roles and often didn’t have people around them who could help get them to that next level or help them have confidence and trust in themselves to become effective decision makers, influencers and able to lead change.

We caught up with Ginny about her upcoming online event Making your vision for the future a reality, an online event hosted by the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s Business Women’s Network (BWN). READ MORE

Bus services free until end of July

Date posted: June 10, 2020

Ditch the car and take the bus! Bus services around the Bay of Plenty are currently free of charge, as part of the COVID-19 support package the Government gave to local councils.

These services will remain free through to the end of July, when the Bee card is introduced.

Please note, while there are no restrictions on public transport under Alert Level 1, if you are feeling unwell, you are discouraged from using the services.

Bay Bus is also implementing a timetable change from Sunday, June 14. You can find out more here.

BWN Committee: Kim Ancell

Date posted: June 8, 2020

When business budgets are tightened, marketing is often one of the first areas to get the cut. But marketing, if done well, should be seen as an essential investment for any business looking to grow – even in tough economic times.

We spoke with marketing and sales consultant Kim Ancell, who is one of our Business Women’s Network committee members, to understand why marketing and sales are important for any business, get some top tips and learn more about how Kim is helping small businesses after COVID-19 with their marketing.


Chambers advocate for Transtasman ‘bubble’ to begin

Date posted: June 5, 2020

A joint proposal from Chambers of Commerce in Australia and New Zealand is advocating for the Governments to open the Australia-New Zealand ‘bubble’ with regular flights between Canberra and Wellington as the first step.

The proposal encourages getting the gateway open as soon as possible to kickstart trade, business, travel, tourism, events – and save jobs.

The Canberra-Wellington flights are proposed as a way to prove systems and processes are in place for safe and effective movement of people between the two countries.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce CEO Matt Cowley says the proposal is a great sign of unity between the Chambers on both sides of the ditch and their collective support for local businesses.

“The test flights are critical to demonstrating that there are processes and safeguards in place to keep COVID-19 at bay and allow the free movement of people, while helping the survival, recovery and sustainability of our tourism, export, event and travel sector.

“It’s not about ‘bursting the bubble’, but putting plans in place to give consumers and Governments confidence that we can get back to business.”

He adds that with Air New Zealand offering direct flights to the Bay of Plenty from Wellington, the flow-on effect for the local economy would be significant.

“A short flight from the capital brings visitors direct to our doorstep where we offer some of the best experiences in hospitality, adventure experiences and natural exploration.

“It would provide an opportunity to boost the Bay through the typically quiet months and give visitors a lasting experience that will keep them coming back for more when travel returns to full swing.”

Q&A with Your HR Partners

Date posted: June 4, 2020

Your HR Partners have been supporting businesses to navigate the many people challenges that have come about during the COVID-19 pandemic.

We got to know a bit about Chamber members Your HR Partners, and asked Morwenna and Megan a few questions on how they have been supporting business leaders during this time.


What does Alert Level 1 look like?

Date posted: June 3, 2020
Alert Level 1 sees everyone being able to return without restriction to work, school, sports and domestic travel, and you can get together with as many people as you want.

Controls at the borders remain for those entering New Zealand, including health screening and testing for all arrivals, and mandatory 14-day managed quarantine or isolation.

It’s also important that we keep the basic hygiene measures that worked so well through higher Alert Levels going. These include washing your hands and coughing or sneezing into your elbow. Remember to remain vigilant and being aware of physical distancing when out and about among strangers is a good habit to keep.

We should all continue to keep track of where we’ve been and who we’ve seen to assist with rapid contact tracing if it is required. Businesses should assist customers to keep track of where they’ve been by displaying the Ministry of Health QR code.

This will be our new normal but, while we do return to pre-COVID life, we must remember we remain in a global pandemic.

Cabinet will decide on Monday 8 June if and when to move to Alert Level 1. Until then, Alert Level 2 measures apply.

The Golden Rules for everyone at Alert Level 1

  1. If you’re sick, stay home. Don’t go to work or school. Don’t socialise.
  2. If you have cold or flu symptoms call your doctor or Healthline and make sure you get tested.
  3. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.
  4. Sneeze and cough into your elbow, and regularly disinfect shared surfaces.
  5. If you are told by health authorities to self-isolate you must do so immediately.
  6. If you’re concerned about your wellbeing, or have underlying health conditions, work with your GP to understand how best to stay healthy.
  7. Keep track of where you’ve been and who you’ve seen to help contact tracing if needed. Use the NZ COVID Tracer app as a handy way of doing this.
  8. Businesses should help people keep track of their movements by displaying the Ministry of Health QR Code for contact tracing.
  9. Stay vigilant. There is still a global pandemic going on. People and businesses should be prepared to act fast to step up Alert Levels if we have to.
  10. People will have had different experiences over the last couple of months. Whatever you’re feeling — it’s okay. Be kind to others. Be kind to yourself.

Member Profile: EmbroidMe Tauranga

Date posted: June 3, 2020

Despite the name, EmbroidMe Tauranga is more than embroidery – the team can create high-quality branded apparel and promotional products for businesses of any size and sector.

We took a behind the scenes look at this small business with director Steve Smith.

Applications for loan support close June 12

Date posted: June 2, 2020

Government loans of up to $100,000 are still available for eligible businesses to help with cash flow.

Organisations and small to medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of five years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

Nearly $1 billion in support has already gone out to small businesses, including contractors and self-employed.

Applications close Friday, June 12.

Click here to find out of you’re eligible for the small business cash flow loan scheme.

Proposal for Omokoroa Town Centre

Date posted: May 29, 2020

An application for a privately funded $75 million Omokoroa Town Centre has been submitted to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council for resource consent.

The submission for 404 Omokoroa Road, by local business JACE Investments Limited, is to be considered by Council as part of its Omokoroa Structure Plan for the long-term development of land between the peninsula’s railway line and State Highway 2.

The proposal features staged development of a multipurpose retail, commercial and social community hub. Shops, cafes, offices and a civic centre are included along with a possible cinema and multiple green spaces that could accommodate the likes of a farmers’ market.

Company Director Craig Lemon says the vision for the town centre design, aesthetics and ambiance have been carefully considered to reflect the lifestyle, character and environment of Omokoroa.


The value of diversity in the workplace

Date posted: May 29, 2020

We live and work in an increasingly multicultural community, where our workforce and businesses community are made up of people from all walks of life, cultures and beliefs.

As a business owner or manager, you will work with a huge range of people – from customers, to stakeholders, suppliers and your own team. So how can you ensure that everyone’s beliefs, cultural practices and approach to business is respected?

Charlie Dalton from Zest Training says, diversity is hugely beneficial for a workplace – it means more ideas, more skills and a new way of looking at things, which is why it is important to ensure everyone has a voice.


Mainstreets launch Buy Local Buy Tauranga video series

Date posted: May 28, 2020

As part of the recently launched collaborative Buy Local Buy Tauranga campaign, the three Mainstreets of Downtown Tauranga, Mount Mainstreet and Greerton Village have now released a video series, showcasing our local business community.

The first of the ‘Buy Local. Buy Tauranga’ videos features several local business owners across Downtown Tauranga, Greerton and Mount Mainstreet.

The first video is fronted by Tauranga Mayor Tenby Powell who says it’s encouraging to see the city working together on a campaign focussed on rebooting our SME sector.

“Buy Local; Buy Tauranga is squarely aimed at encouraging support for our critically important small businesses, the backbone of our economy, and who create jobs and support so many livelihoods. I have worked for years to support SMEs so I’m delighted to support this campaign.” READ MORE

COVID-19 Income Relief Payment available

Date posted: May 25, 2020

If you’ve lost your job because of the impacts of COVID-19, you may be able to get the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment.

It provides up to 12 weeks of payments to help with living costs after a sudden income loss and give you time to find other work.

You can apply online for the Income Relief Payment from 8 June.

You may be able to get this help if you:

    • lost your job from 1 March 2020 to 30 October 2020 because of COVID-19, and
    • worked 15 hours or more a week for at least 12 weeks before you lost your job, and
    • don’t have a partner earning $2,000 or more each week before tax, and
    • meet other eligibility criteria.

Find out more about who is eligible, what you can get and how to apply for this at the Work and Income website. 

Upcoming changes to gathering numbers

Date posted: May 25, 2020
The Government has announced changes to the number of people who can gather together at Alert Level 2.

From 12 noon Friday 29 May, gatherings can be held with up to 100 people.

The new limit applies to gatherings at your home, events outside of home and public venues – including church services, weddings and, funerals and tangihanga.

When holding a gathering, play it safe – maintain hygiene standards and meet existing record-keeping requirements for contact tracing.

Community sports will also be able to operate easier, and sporting codes will be working on further guidance with Sport NZ.

Cabinet will again review the settings of Alert Level 2 on 8 June and have agreed that no later than 22 June, four  weeks from today, they will consider a move to Alert Level 1.

Building business capability vital to supporting local businesses

Date posted: May 25, 2020

Nearly $1M worth of business support vouchers have been distributed to businesses across the Bay of Plenty region during Alert Levels 3 and 4, as part of the Regional Business Partner Network (RBP).

The RBP programme – which is facilitated by the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Rotorua Business Chamber, Eastern Bay Chamber of Commerce and Poutama Trust – connects businesses with local expert advice, resources and training, to build their business capability.

As part of the RBP programme’s suite of business support services, eligible businesses could apply to have their capability support and training fully funded through the Government’s COVID-19 Business Advisory Fund.

The fund was established to upskill business owners and managers as they navigated through key business issues during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Peter McKinlay: Making Local Government Fit for Purpose?

Date posted: May 22, 2020

Leading COVID-19 community recovery should be local government’s opportunity of a lifetime. What better way to demonstrate councils are the natural leaders of their communities, best placed to work with them to develop recovery strategies reflecting their different needs, circumstances and opportunities?

What amounts to virtually a consensus internationally that recovery will be critically dependent on the enablement of resilient communities emphasises the scale of the opportunity. So does the emergence of highly effective recovery strategies/techniques which only groups like councils strongly engaged with their communities have the reach and capability to put in place – anchor institutions strategies, community wealth building, participatory budgeting, civic crowdfunding (really taking off in the UK as a way of supplementing community resources) enabling resilient communities as a means of rebuilding social cohesion…


Q&A: Thinking of retraining or upskilling? (Pt II)

Date posted: May 22, 2020

Given the impacts of COVID-19, many people may be rethinking their current career path or need to upskill in their chosen field to match the current business climate.

But if you’ve been out in the workforce and away from study for a few years, or you’re completely new to tertiary study, where do you start?

We spoke with Jeni Fountain, Faculty Dean – Health, Education and Environment, from Chamber Sponsors Toi Ohomai to get some top tips for re-entering study.

This is a two-part series with our education partners. Please click here to view our Q&A with the University of Waikato. 


Member Profile: Waikato / BOP Cancer Society

Date posted: May 22, 2020

Cancer hasn’t stopped for COVID-19 – and neither has the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Cancer Society. The local charity says people with cancer and their families need support during these uncertain times more than ever.

Tauranga fundraising coordinator Karen Gemmell talks about the impact of COVID-19 on the Cancer Society and the future of fundraising and events for the community-funded charity.


Member Profile: Bureta Physiotherapy

Date posted: May 20, 2020

Alert Level 2 means an exciting return to work for close contact professions.

Chamber member Bureta Physiotherapy is one of those businesses and they look forward to seeing customers again in person, but given they have been working through Alert Level 3 and 4, it’s hardly their first week on the tools.


Q&A: What can we learn from COVID-19?

Date posted: May 20, 2020

Alert Level 2 is a return to some normality as we used to know it, pre-lockdown, but it’s important that we don’t just rush in to restore life as it was.

In fact, there’s much we can learn about ourselves when facing a crisis, both professionally and personally, that can help shape who we are for the better.

Pip Loader is a speaker, trainer, facilitator and author who helps leaders and their teams connect, create and deliver impact in their day-to-day work.

Salina Galvan Photography

Her programmes help build capability in people so they can deliver more effective and meaningful services/outcomes to customers, raise engagement and productivity within teams, and build better connections to purpose, to each other and to customers, resulting in teams that really work.

We caught up with our Chamber Member to ask her a few questions about how we can adjust to the ‘new norm’, take stock of the learnings from our time in lockdown and how can leaders play a key role in supporting their staff through this time.


Q&A: Thinking of retraining or upskilling? (Pt I)

Date posted: May 18, 2020

Given the impacts of COVID-19, many people may be rethinking their current career path or need to upskill in their chosen field to match the current business climate.

But if you’ve been out in the workforce and away from study for a few years, or you’re completely new to tertiary study, where do you start?

We spoke with Chamber Sponsors University of Waikato to get some top tips for re-entering study.

This is a two-part series with our education partners. Please click here to view our Q&A with Toi Ohomai. 


SurfaceSafe helps businesses prepare for Level 2

Date posted: May 15, 2020

A Tauranga owned and operated business that specialises in the production of environmentally friendly, commercial strength sanitisers and cleaners has launched a COVID-19 Business Essentials Pack, perfect for hospitality providers.

Chamber member SurfaceSafe has been operating in Tauranga for a decade and has been delivering a wide range of environmentally friendly and effective cleaning products and solutions for businesses. Many of their products contain sustainably sourced plant-based ingredients that are better for the environment, but don’t impact the efficacy.

SurfaceSafe’s COVID-19 Business Essentials pack assists businesses to get them operating safely and compliantly within the requirements of Level 2. This includes locally made hand and surface sanitisers that are plant-based, environmentally friendly and of commercial strength.

The ingredients are FDA approved and therefore safe around food and all surfaces – perfect for retail and hospitality.

Available sizes include 50ml to 500ml surface sanitisers, and 50ml to 500ml hand sanitiser gels. SurfaceSafe also have signage available for point of entry/contact areas for customers, staff and suppliers to ensure they are able to adhere to Level 2 requirements.

Offer for Chamber members

Chamber members can receive 10% off their purchase by stating or entering promo code TGA

For more information, visit, email or call 0800 466 483.

Post Covid-19 Recovery: Governing

Date posted: May 15, 2020

“… it means working collaboratively as a business community so that the voice of business is informed, coherent, genuinely representative and an influence on decision-making especially at the local government level.”

Peter McKinlay from McKinlay Douglas Ltd. discusses how effective governance plays a key role in the recovery of the region and why citizens need to take an active role in shaping future decisions. 


Q&A: Practical H&S with Pillar Consulting

Date posted: May 14, 2020

COVID-19 has thrown up some interesting challenges when it comes to health and safety of staff and customers – now and into the future.

We chat to Amanda Barker from Pillar Consulting to find out why H&S is important (now more than ever), and how a business can get started to set themselves up for success and safety. Check out the video below.

Amanda is hosting a webinar on Friday, May 22 on this topic. You can register for this event HERE. Please feel free to bring your questions specific to your sector. 


Pillar Consulting services organisations nationwide of all sizes and across a range of sectors – from ‘low risk’ office-based businesses, through to ‘high risk’ such as horticulture and agriculture. Their role is to help businesses implement H&S systems, behaviours, policies and documents, to ensure they keep their people healthy, well and safe. 



Member Profile: CoffeeNexus

Date posted: May 14, 2020

While the future of our Alert Levels are relatively uncertain, what is certain is social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

So how do we keep safe when ordering from our favourite cafe or eatery?

A locally created app has been developed to help keep you safe, while encouraging support of local hospitality businesses.

CoffeeNexus allows you to place an order digitally with your local café and / or eatery, so it is pre-ordered and ready for pick-up, limiting your contact with others (and reducing wait time).


Level 2 guidelines for the hospitality industry

Date posted: May 13, 2020

Restaurant Association New Zealand has released clear guidelines around what is required of hospitality providers at Alert Level 2.

The guidance is for all food and beverage businesses, including bars, and food trucks.


Q&A: H&S with Deb Rolls from Safety Made Easy

Date posted: May 12, 2020

As we move into Level 2, what are some key considerations for businesses, both in terms of the safety of their staff & their customers?

The key consideration all businesses must remember is the safety of their workers and customers must be their top priority. When NZ enters into Level 2 and restrictions start to ease around people movement, complacency around the COVID-9 threat may occur. Everyone must remember even though the risk is deemed lower, the risk of transmission is still there.


RBP Case Study: Babysitters Club

Date posted: May 8, 2020

Like many businesses, work for Babysitters Club came to a grinding halt overnight, but founder Georgia Meek was determined to find new ways to work and to adapt her business to the challenges she faced.

With that in mind, she contacted Kirstin from our Regional Business Partner Network (RBP) team at the Chamber and through the support of the COVID-19 funding, was able to access one-on-one support, advice and business planning for free through one of the RBP’s registered providers The Icehouse.

We asked Georgia how she found the process and how she’s been able to switch up her business, without compromising on her community minded values, with the launch of an initiative that supports essential workers with care packages.


Commercial Leases and COVID-19: Rent relief disputes

Date posted: May 8, 2020

Chamber member Holland Beckett Law, in partnership with a panel of experienced arbitrators, has developed a speedy cost effective procedure to deal with disputes over rent abatement. Associate James McDougall, with Senior Solicitor Rebecca Steens, provide advice and guidance on this issue. 

The Government restrictions at Alert Level 4 have resulted in the closure of physical premises for all non-essential businesses. With the recent move to Alert Level 3, many commercial premises are able to partially reopen, although operations are still limited depending on the nature of the business.

Restrictions to access are having a fundamental impact on tenants and landlords alike. Tenants are unable to operate fully and their revenue and cashflow is significantly affected. For some, this may mean an inability to meet their current rent and other liabilities, which in turn has a significant impact on the landlord’s own business.


Post Covid-19 Recovery: How we do business

Date posted: May 8, 2020

“We are on the cusp of major change, taking back control and ensuring that the way we do business promotes rather than defeats positive social outcomes and promotes social cohesion.”

Peter McKinlay from McKinlay Douglas Ltd. discusses how returning to the old ways of doing business is not an option, and we need to think more broadly, more proactively about our next steps. 


Q&A: What does Level 2 mean for your business?

Date posted: May 8, 2020

Yesterday’s announcement regarding Alert Level 2 was a welcome sigh of relief for many businesses still unable to open at Alert Level 3.

Following the announcement of what businesses can open and how to operate, has provided further rules and parameters for businesses to start preparing. We will have more information as it becomes available.


Partner Profile: Toi Ohomai adapts to new study conditions

Date posted: May 7, 2020

With almost 12,000 students and more than 900 staff, Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology has set a high standard for business continuity and innovation throughout the current COVID-19 pandemic.

On Monday 23 March, Toi Ohomai initiated a whole scale change of operations as it shut down its physical campuses to join the nationwide effort to fight the spread of COVID-19.

This presented a particularly challenging situation, as it demanded the Institute rethink its teaching and learning delivery, practices and business support – highlighting an immediate need to shift more aggressively to technology-enhanced and enabled models. There was also a clear need to ensure and maintain staff and student wellness and resilience during these extraordinary times.


Alert Level 2 Guidelines

Date posted: May 7, 2020

Today in a press conference Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the framework for what life at Level 2 will look like.

She notes Level 2 is about “Playing it safe” and reducing contact.

The Prime Minister also says that a staggered approach into Level 2 may be an option and this will be a consideration when they come to make a decision on if – and when – we move into this Alert Level on Monday, May 11.

Please see the Alert Level 2 Guidelines below. These are the top level points from the conference today, with the Government to advise further details in the coming days.


Member Profile: BDO Tauranga

Date posted: May 7, 2020

The past few weeks we have profiled a number of our members – but how are young professionals in business coping through COVID-19 and how have their future plans been affected?

We had a chat to two young professionals working at BDO Tauranga: Paige & Anqush.


Wood procurement policy: Time to prioritise homegrown wood and timber

Date posted: May 6, 2020

Prioritising homegrown wood and engineered timber as a preferred construction material, would deliver immediate economic, employment and environmental benefits for New Zealand as we start the journey to recover from the COVID-19 shutdown.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, alongside Auckland and Rotorua Chambers (who are spearheading the project) and several other Chambers, are supportive of a move by 56 forestry, wood processing and timber manufacturing companies to encourage government to adopt a centralised procurement policy to make greater use of wood products and solutions in residential, commercial and public buildings.

“Now is the time for government and local government to see the real value of our trees and support the sector and domestic economic recovery by prioritising the use of wood products, starting with the construction of publicly funded and leased buildings,” says Auckland Business Chamber CEO,  Michael Barnett.

“Increasing the use of wood as a valued, locally sourced and clean, green building material is something government and councils can support to bolster employment, investment, regional development and reduce carbon emissions.

“As a nation we have to do things differently. Log exports have long been a sore point, but we have another solution to how government – and the private sector – can support core primary producers in times of greatest need and also stimulate investment in the New Zealand wood sector’s innovative manufactured products.”

Modelling conducted by the sector shows that a swing to using wood in construction projects would create thousands of jobs, reduce building costs, limit imports, promote exports of added value engineered wood solutions and lead the transformation of our built environment in line with national goals for a sustainable low carbon future, he said.

Recent research by Deloitte indicates that a 25 per cent increase in the use of wood products for construction would result in the creation of over 3,000 jobs across wood processing, forestry, transport and port through to indirect support jobs.

“New Zealand has the forests, wood processors, manufacturers, design professionals and construction firms to facilitate a wood procurement policy. It represents a very ‘shovel-ready’ regional and central government policy to help our national and regional economies recover and prosper in an environmental way post pandemic – and position New Zealand as a leader in clean, green construction,” Mr Barnett said.

10 reasons for Government to introduce a wood procurement policy:

  1. Buy local and use homegrown primary product to aid regional and national recovery
  2. Support creation of around 3,500 forestry, wood processing, off-site manufacturing and construction jobs post Covid-19
  3. Diversify log markets away from current heavy reliance on China, which is expected to be self-sufficient for logs in due course
  4. Reclaim the economic benefits of exported logs by adding value to them domestically
  5. Provide critical mass so that economies of scale result in lower New Zealand construction costs and create an export industry for engineered wood solutions
  6. Lead the transformation of our built environment into a sustainable low-carbon future
  7. Demonstrate progress of NZ’s One Billion Trees (1BT) policy and the Zero Carbon Act
  8. Realise the environmental, commercial and wellbeing opportunities by constructing wooden buildings which are proven to perform better in earthquakes, are faster and safer to build, are cheaper, and minimise waste, noise and traffic.
  9. Demonstrate what New Zealand is doing to be clean and green for the benefit of all
  10. Realise the productivity, health and wellbeing benefits of nature-connected-design for government employees, schools, hospitals, public buildings and residential tenants.

Member Profile: Laval Photo & Video

Date posted: May 6, 2020

If you have attended one of our BA5 events recently, chances are you’ve met the smiling face behind a camera lens, Vanessa Laval-Glad.

Vanessa is a Tauranga photographer (under her business name Laval Photo & Video) who has done hundreds of commercial and corporate photos (including possibly yours at one of our events).

During lockdown and Level 3, Vanessa has been shooting portraits of a different kind as part of the #TheFrontStepsProject.

An international project to raise money for charity and unify the community during these tough times, the project involves local photographers taking snaps of families standing, as the title suggests, by their front doorstep (to abide with social distancing). 

Heading into Level 2, Vanessa is changing focus to ‘Front Steps for Business’, where she will be photographing businesses in front of their premises or signage in an effort to promote local businesses. All you need to do is make a donation to THIS PAGE and in return you will get one photo. If you’re keen to profile your business, please get in touch here.

We caught up with Vanessa for a quick Q&A between shoots (which she gets to via two wheels!)


Chamber submission to Tauranga City Council

Date posted: May 4, 2020

As an organisation that advocates on behalf of the business community, we have made a submission to Tauranga City Council on their Annual Plan for 2020 / 2021, with regards to a number of considerations we believe will help make a difference to our local businesses.

This includes:

  • Ensure the COVID-19 Hardship Fund for TCC’s User Fees and Charges is simple to apply for and staff decisions achieve the core purpose of the fund.
  • Develop robust and clear guidance to support residential and commercial ratepayers facing significant financial hardship to appropriately finance their rate requirements post-COVID.
  • TCC to work with the Chamber, Priority One and mainstreet organisations to ensure an appropriate response plan is developed to limit the impact on vacancy rates of commercial tenancies on the city’s mainstreets.

You can read our submission from CEO Matt Cowley in full below.

Click here to read our submission. 

Member Profile: Collab Digital

Date posted: May 4, 2020

Social media should play a vital role in your business’ marketing strategy. Why? It’s a cost effective way to get your business out there, it’s a great way to build an online community of loyal followers and – thanks to the myriad of tools available – it’s a really fun way of telling your brand’s story and showcasing the people behind the business (something that’s vital in a #SupportLocal movement).

During lockdown, we spoke with Collab Digital director Brent Ireland about his tips for a strong social media presence. We also asked him a few questions about Collab and how they were coping during lockdown – check out our Q&A below.

If you’re looking to improve your social media skills, Collab Digital is hosting a FREE webinar with the Chamber on Friday, May 8. Click here to register now.


Member Profile: Flowers By Tami

Date posted: May 1, 2020

Tami Hansen started her business Flowers by Tami from home nine years ago. Based in Otumoetai, Tami creates flower arrangements and bouquets for her online store, specialising in funeral/bereavement flowers, wedding flowers, large dried floral installations and dried bouquets/arrangements and style events.

“I was drawn to start my own business purely for the love of flowers,” she says. “The joy of seeing the smiles on peoples faces when receiving flowers and the freedom to create a life that I love.”

Like many businesses, Tami was closed during the Level 4 lockdown and found the process “quite traumatic”.

“It definitely affected my business directly in the short term, however I am super grateful the Government has helped small businesses to get through – that has been a godsend!”

It’s not just Tami who has been affected, with the whole global floral industry taking a hit.

“Many growers around the world are having to compost flowers every week, many have gone into receivership but there are still many staying afloat, our industry is going to look very different for quite some time.

“I don’t think people quite understand the many wheels in motion to get that flower into your vase at home, or even to get to the florist,” she explains. “It is a massive industry and the farmers all over the world will be losing their livelihoods. The American government actually props up the Columbian farmers to make it financially viable for them to grow roses instead of cocaine – will that relationship continue post COVID-19?”

“In New Zealand around 50% of the flowers we use are imported, so we are looking at not having these available to us for maybe at least a year! Weddings are going to look very different and we are going to have to get creative with what we can get from our NZ growers, and hopefully the supply will be able to service the demand.

“On the flip side we may have available to us the beautiful quality flowers that get exported overseas that we don’t normally get here in New Zealand – and I will be looking forward to an abundant peony season.”


MediaWorks launches MediaFund to help NZ businesses

Date posted: May 1, 2020

As New Zealand businesses fight to survive during the Covid-19 crisis, Chamber member MediaWorks has launched a $20m advertising fund to support SMEs, Innovative Start-Ups and Community Organisations across the country.

The MediaWorks MediaFund will give small businesses, community organisations and new brands affected by Covid-19 access to free advertising space in both local and national markets across MediaWorks’ and QMS’ stable of Radio, TV, Out Of Home and Digital assets between May – July 2020.


Leave Support Scheme expanded for ‘at risk’ employees of all businesses

Date posted: May 1, 2020

With the shift to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, the Government has issued recent guidance around what Alert Level 3 means for those considered as “over 70s and other higher risk groups”, that the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme will be expanded to reflect the change of Alert Levels and to provide support during Alert Level 3.

It will be renamed the COVID-19 Leave Payment and applications for those who fall under the expanded scheme will open on 1 May 2020.

Kate Ashcroft from Copeland Ashcroft Law provides some further details from a legal perspective as to who can apply and what criteria must they meet.


Q&A: Tax support with BDO Tauranga

Date posted: May 1, 2020

Linda Finlay from BDO Tauranga answers some of our FAQs regarding the Government’s announcement to provide additional tax support to small and medium businesses.

We will also have further advice and information on this next week, following the Government passing the legislation on April 30. 


Post Covid-19 Recovery: IT

Date posted: May 1, 2020

“If there is one sector which is really going to benefit from the impact of COVID-19, it’s IT. Most of us are doing much more online, whether it’s shopping, holding a Zoom meeting or sharing drinks time through HouseParty. We are witnessing an explosion in online activity with broadband usage and data traffic increasing exponentially.”

Peter McKinlay from McKinlay Douglas Ltd. discusses the exponential growth of online activity and through this a rise in cyber crime. He also shares his insights into how IT opens up a range of exciting opportunities for our region.


Work safe: Preparing for business operations

Date posted: April 30, 2020

All businesses will need to put in place new measures to ensure work safety in respect of COVID-19.

Many workers are anxious about returning to work and their safety in doing so. Communicating the steps you’re taking to protect their safety will help manage this. It is also necessary to ensure you’re on solid ground to manage both your health and safety risk management requirements and avoid unauthorised absences, or address these where they occur.

Kate Ashcroft from Copeland Ashcroft Law provides some advice for business owners around health & safety.


Member Profile: Tauranga Window Cleaning

Date posted: April 29, 2020

TTauranga Window Cleaninghis week marks a return to business for a number of tradespeople in the Bay and one of those is Chamber member Connor Wallis from Tauranga Window Cleaning 

Connor started TWC in 2014 after spending a number of years in Melbourne running large crews of up to 45 full-time high-rise window cleaners. Looking for a lifestyle away from the big city, he came to Tauranga and started his own business, and now has an established, professional and experienced crew.

We asked Connor a few quick questions to find out more about his business and how he has been affected by COVID. He’s also offering a great deal for Chamber members – read on to find out more.


RBP Case Study: The General

Date posted: April 29, 2020

During the lockdown period, our Regional Business Partner Network (RBP) team have been flat-out helping businesses manage and overcome the challenges they face due to COVID-19.

Around 600 or so Bay of Plenty businesses have accessed the support of the RBP programme through the Biz Hub helpline. From cashflow, wage subsidy and HR advice, through to business continuity, health and safety and future planning, the queries have been varied.

One of those businesses was The General, a Mount Maunganui cafe. Its owners Aaron and Malika were eligible for capability funding, to gain access to one-on-one support with one of the RBP’s expert providers, The Icehouse.

We caught up with them to find out how they were helped and what their future looks like.


Q&A: Make the most of your WFH set-up and software

Date posted: April 28, 2020

Working from home has become our new normal, but are you making the most of your set-up and your software?

In this video, Debbie Ireland from Share the Point addresses a few questions about working from home and how to best utilise your Office 365 software, to ensure you are set up to succeed.


Member Profile: Mighty Outdoor Solutions

Date posted: April 24, 2020

Level 3 is a welcome return to business for a number of tradespeople and trade-related businesses around the region.

One of those businesses is Chamber member Mighty Outdoor Solutions, a small family owned business that specialises in quality landscaping and paving supplies which can be delivered to your door.


Welcome to our new members

Date posted: April 24, 2020
Introducing our newest members this month – click their business name to view their website.


Post Covid-19 Recovery: Work Patterns

Date posted: April 24, 2020

What is the ‘new norm’ for work patterns? What challenges will we have to overcome and what are the opportunities to rethink the way we work / operate?

Peter McKinlay from McKinlay Douglas Ltd. shares his insights into what the future holds for businesses and what opportunities there are in a world remodeled by COVID-19. This is part of a regular series – you can read his previous articles here:


Member Profile: Robyn’s Cottage

Date posted: April 23, 2020

Robyn’s Cottage is the culmination of a 30-year dream for Robyn Parker. Greerton born and bred, her craft store had become a cornerstone of conversation and community catch-ups in the three years since it opened, with customers getting together to reminisce about the old days of the suburb and its changes over the years.

So when a nationwide lockdown forced Robyn to close, she was at a loss – both professionally and personally.

As we head into Level 3, Robyn is now more optimistic, having connected with business professionals and providers who have been able to give her a refreshed sense of direction and a plan for the changing industry ahead.

We are thrilled to have supported Robyn on this journey through our webinars; we caught up with our Chamber member to find out how she is adapting to the new ways of business and what the future has in-store for her.


Q&A: Personal wellbeing strategies with Bronwyn Hudson

Date posted: April 23, 2020

We typically have strategies for our business and our professional development, but what about a strategy for our personal wellbeing?

Bronwyn Hudson is motivated by the desire to make a real difference in the health and wellbeing of others. Her professional mission is to utilise the latest in scientific knowledge and current best practice to deliver evidence-based personalised nutrition and lifestyle interventions that transform health, happiness and connectedness of individuals, families and workplaces the world over.

Bronwyn is hosting two free webinars with us in May:

We caught up with her for a Q&A to find out what is a personal wellbeing strategy and why it is important to develop your own, especially in times of uncertainty or unease.


Member Profile: InPhySec

Date posted: April 22, 2020

With COVID-19 has come the rise of another type of virus: Digital. Over the past few months, there has been an increase in cyber crime around the world and with many of us working remotely, protecting your data has never been as important as it is right now.

We caught up with one of our newest Chamber members InPhySec, who specialise in cyber crime and information security to find out a bit about their business and how they can help you protect your digital assets.


COVID-19: NZ to move to Alert Level 3

Date posted: April 20, 2020

Today the Government announced we will be moving to Alert Level 3 at 11.59pm on Monday, April 27.

You can watch the full announcement from today’s 4pm press conference on the video below.


Alert Level 3: What employers can expect

Date posted: April 20, 2020

Last week, we outlined what Level 3 will look like for businesses, including information for specific sectors such as hospitality, tourism, retail and trades.

So what do the new Alert Level parameters mean for employers? Kate Ashcroft from Copeland Ashcroft Law provides some key takeaways.


Upcoming tax changes and FBT implications

Date posted: April 17, 2020

In the past few weeks, the Government has made significant changes to the tax legislation, including the recent announcement of an additional $3b in support for small business. But is this as good as it seems?

Sybrand van Schalkwyk, Tax Director at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway Tauranga Limited, comments on the recent changes and the FBT implications for businesses. 


Post COVID-19 Recovery: Working with border regulation

Date posted: April 17, 2020

Border regulation will become part of the ‘new normal’ – so how do we work with these controls for the advantage of business in New Zealand?

Peter McKinlay from McKinlay Douglas Ltd. shares his insights into what the future holds for businesses and what opportunities there are in a world remodeled by COVID-19. This is part of a regular series.


Alert Levels Explained: Q&A for all businesses

Date posted: April 17, 2020

Following the Government’s announcement of the parameters surrounding Level 3, has provided further sector-specific detail for all businesses wondering if and how they can open under Level 3. Here are some of those key questions and answers for businesses.


COVID-19: Health and safety changes

Date posted: April 16, 2020

‘The new normal’ is a phrase business experts use to describe a post COVID-19 world: The way we do and interact with businesses will never be the same again and adapting to the new ways of operating will be vital.

One aspect of the business that will be in the spotlight is health and safety – an area often neglected until you need it, but something that will become more vital than ever in a business’ policies and procedures.

We asked Chamber member Go4health Workplace Wellness a number of questions around what H&S in a post COVID-19 world could look like, and to provide some thoughts around some areas of H&S many businesses may not have considered until now (i.e. contact tracing, social distancing).


Alert Level 3: What this means for businesses

Date posted: April 16, 2020

Today the Government announced what life at Alert Level 3 will look like, with a decision on if and when we move to this Alert Level to be made on Monday, April 20.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in today’s 1pm conference to think of Level 3 like the recovery room, where a number of restrictions have been lifted but it is imperative for all New Zealanders to exercise caution when moving outside their bubble to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is restricted or a return to Level 4 will be likely.

Range of measures for Alert Level 3

  • People instructed to stay home in their bubble other than for essential personal movement – including to go to work, school If they have to or for local recreation.
  • Physical distancing of two metres outside home (including on public transport), or one metre In controlled environments like schools and workplaces.
  • Bubbles must stay within their immediate household bubble, but can expand this to reconnect with close family / whanau, or bring in caregivers, or support isolated people. This extended bubble should remain exclusive.
  • Schools (years 1 to 10) and Early Childhood Education centres can safely open, but will have limited capacity. Children should learn at home if possible.
  • People must work from home unless that Is not possible.
  • Businesses can open premises, but cannot physically interact with customers.
  • Low risk local recreation activities are allowed.
  • Public venues are closed (e.g. libraries, museums, cinemas, food courts, gyms, pools, playgrounds, markets).
  • Gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed but only for wedding services, funerals and tangihanga. Physical distancing and public health measures must be maintained.
  • Healthcare services use virtual, non-contact consultations where possible.
  • Inter-regional travel is highly limited (e.g. for essential workers, with limited exemptions for others).
  • People at high risk of severe Illness (older people and those with existing medical conditions) are encouraged to stay at home where possible, and take additional precautions when leaving home. They may choose to work.


Member Profile: Bakels Edible Oils

Date posted: April 16, 2020

A number of our Chamber members are currently working as an essential service – so how has COVID-19 impacted their business and what changes have they had to make to continue to operate during this time?

We caught up with Antony Moess, Managing Director for Bakels Edible Oils, whose business in the food industry has been deemed an essential service.


Q&A: How to lead through challenging times

Date posted: April 16, 2020

In times of uncertainty or change, leaders (business owners, employers, managers) can have a huge impact on the emotional and even physical wellbeing of their staff. It can influence how they communicate, how they deal with stress in their role and their overall productivity (even when working from home).

Claire Russell from ThinkPlus provides us with some advice for leaders looking to step up to better support their teams. She is also hosting a free webinar on this topic on Wednesday, April 22 to help leaders upskill in their roles. Click here to register.  READ MORE

COVID-19: Government backs business through further support

Date posted: April 15, 2020

The Government has announced a suite of new measures to provide relief for small and medium-sized businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says while the Government has already acted swiftly in response to the crisis, with about $20 billion in support already announced, it recognises that more is needed.

The new measures include:

  • $3.1 billion tax loss carry-back scheme (estimated cost over the next two years)
  • $60 million estimated annual savings to business each year from changes to the tax loss continuity rules
  • $25 million in the next 12 months for further business consultancy support
  • Greater flexibility for affected businesses affected to meet their tax obligations
  • Measures to support commercial tenants and landlords.


COVID-19: Support for Maori businesses

Date posted: April 14, 2020

Poutama Trust has been working with key Government agencies and other Māori economic development entities to help businesses navigate the various assistance packages that the Government has introduced.


Essential Services: What does that mean?

Date posted: April 9, 2020

This information was sourced from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). 

The entities listed can continue to operate premises, but must put in place alternative ways of working to keep employees safe, including shift-based working, staggered meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements and physical distancing.

For the avoidance of doubt, sectors and occupations specified in the following are also included in this list of essential services:

  • Schedule 1 of the Civil Defence and Emergency Management CDEM Act 2002 Schedule 1 of lifeline utilities AND
  • Employment Relations Act 2000 Schedule 1 of essential services.

Alternative ways of working must be put in place.

Businesses are expected to act responsibly in the interests of keeping everyone safe. This includes both businesses and the public making the right calls about what is an essential good.

To slow the spread of COVID-19, we need as many businesses as possible to close.

Are you operating as an essential business? Let us know by contacting the Chamber team and we will help promote your services. 


Post COVID-19 recovery: The opportunities

Date posted: April 9, 2020

As we reach the halfway point of the Alert Level 4 lockdown, we start thinking ahead to what recovery from this crisis might look like.

Peter McKinlay from McKinlay Douglas Ltd. shares his insights into what the future holds for businesses and what opportunities there are in a world remodeled by COVID-19. 


COVID-19: Horticulture sector ‘lifeline’ for more Kiwi workers

Date posted: April 8, 2020

The country’s horticultural sector is offering a lifeline for workers from other industries impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown, including in the Bay of Plenty region.


‘Innovation sprint’ for young innovators

Date posted: April 8, 2020

Western Bay of Plenty secondary school students are invited to take part in a five-week ‘innovation sprint’ with the Young Innovator Awards (YiA).

The winner will receive a cash prize, as well as an internship with a prestigious Bay of Plenty business.

This year YiA want to encourage problem-solving in the context of New Zealand’s COVID-19 lockdown.

The current situation has created so many problems that can be turned into innovative solutions. Let’s encourage our students to use their creative, critical and curious minds to create an idea and innovate in lockdown.

The competition is open from April 6 through to May 15. 

Click here for more details and to register. 

Partner Profile: Sun Media

Date posted: April 8, 2020

With the highly publicised closure of Bauer Media last week, the role media plays in shaping our society, keeping us informed and entertained, has been thrown into the spotlight.

It’s also a confronting case study on the effects of COVID-19 on businesses in New Zealand, particularly ones that rely heavily on advertising revenue. 

At a local level, the effects are being felt by media company Sun Media, who have pressed pause on their weekly publication, The Weekend Sun, for the duration of lockdown.

But as a result, they are seeking to adapt to the conditions, finding new ways of getting the news out and other opportunities that can keep the business going. 

We spoke to the team to find out what impact COVID-19 has had and what changes they have made to their company to ensure its survival. 


COVID-19 | Building Business & Personal Resilience

Date posted: April 7, 2020

Downtown Tauranga is hosting a series of webinars, suitable for all businesses, with leading experts and valued members of main street Tauranga and stakeholder community.

The first is Building Business & Personal Resilience.


COVID-19 | Business advice from ABC Business

Date posted: April 7, 2020

Businesses will have a higher probability of first surviving, then prospering, if they take a structured and planned approach to the initial lockdown period and any further disruption periods.

That’s the message from Chris Small, managing director at ABC Business Sales.

He says by breaking down the upcoming business environment into phases, then reviewing each phase and what characteristics are likely to arise, a structured strategy and planned approach can be applied.

It’s about reducing one big problem into a series of smaller challenges will make the task ahead look less daunting and more achievable.

In this article, Chris breaks down the phases, and analyses what areas businesses can focus on to survive the lockdown period and long-term focus when we come out of this.


COVID-19 | Social media upskill

Date posted: April 6, 2020

While we’re all being a little less social in real life, social media is becoming a vital tool for keeping both individuals and businesses connected.

But what kind of content do you share in a time like this?

We asked Brent Ireland, strategy director at Collab Digital, to share some top tips for businesses looking to upskill their social media during lockdown.


Q&A: New Commercial Rental Rules

Date posted: April 2, 2020

The Government’s new rental rules mean landlords and tenants need to have a good relationship. As our CEO Matt Cowley says, it is in everyone’s best interests to have business back trading as soon as possible, so hopefully both parties can come to an agreement.

A great example of this is Fashion Island Papamoa’s landlord, who is abating tenants’ net rent for four weeks to help remove stress and confusion for tenants.

Centre Manager of Fashion Island Roz Irwin sheds some light on the impact of the new rental rules for commercial businesses and how landlords and tenants can work together (as part of her discussion with the Bay of Plenty Times).


LINKT Profile: Collab Digital

Date posted: April 2, 2020

Meet Matt Logan, Content Manager for Collab Digital. READ MORE

Q&A: Going digital

Date posted: April 1, 2020

One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses is the need to adapt to the changing market. A nationwide lockdown has proven the need to go digital fast and effectively, to future-proof businesses and ensure success long after the lockdown is lifted.

Jarra Borman from Zeald sheds some light on the evolving business world and why ensuring it is vital to ensure your digital presence is up to scratch.


Free websites for SMEs

Date posted: March 31, 2020

As we move towards a post-COVID-19 world, the way we do business will dramatically change. There will be a shift towards increasing e-commerce and an online retail presence will become the new normal for small to medium businesses.

Zeald want to help SMEs adapt to thrive in the new digital age, and prepare them for when the restrictions of lockdown are lifted and it is business as usual.

The SME digital marketing agency is offering to build up to 500 FREE fully functional e-commerce websites for businesses nationwide, with a rapid two-day deployment time.


COVID-19 | Webinars with The Icehouse

Date posted: March 31, 2020

The Icehouse has put together a programme of free 45-minute webinars for anyone to access, to help guide you through some of the challenges that COVID-19 has thrown up for business.

These are available from Tuesday, March 31 to Wednesday, April 1.


COVID-19 | Financial FAQs with SBA

Date posted: March 30, 2020

Many small businesses are taking a hit from COVID-19. During this time, the team at Small Business Accounting (SBA) is working harder than ever (at home) to help businesses try to survive the impact of COVID-19.

We asked Megan Tomalin from SBA to provide some handy tips for small businesses working through their finances.


Member Profile: Bookworx

Date posted: March 27, 2020

The face of traditional accounting is changing, and virtual services are the way of the future. Constantly evolving technology and various cloud-based platforms offer both time saving, and flexibility options which are cost effective for your business. Bookworx is a small business based in Tauranga that specialises in bookkeeping, small business accounting and virtual admin assistance, and can support businesses nationwide.

We asked owner Leanne a few questions about her business and how Bookworx can help others during COVID-19.


Q&A: How do you use Zoom?

Date posted: March 26, 2020

A nationwide lockdown means rethinking our ways of working, and many businesses and organisations (including us) are turning to Zoom to connect.

From morning meetings to wine dates, Zoom is a handy digital video platform to help us keep communication as normal as possible in these uncertain times.

We’ve started using Zoom as our main platform in which to deliver our training sessions. These are free and suitable for everyone from employers to employees.

But, if you’re new to Zoom, it can seem a little daunting. So, if you’re planning on attending one of our upcoming webinars, here are some any hints to get you started. READ MORE

Zespri: Kiwifruit workers wanted

Date posted: March 25, 2020

With so much economic uncertainty, we’re doing everything we can to help businesses and industries continue to maintain as much job security and economic activity as possible.

The border closures mean our overseas workers can’t come in, on top of our usual seasonal labour needs, so there are plenty of opportunities here around the country.

Work is available for people with valid work visas both picking fruit and packing in kiwifruit packhouses, starting soon and going through to around June. Kiwifruit vines also need pruning in winter so there are more opportunities available after harvest finishes for those who are keen to stay on.


COVID-19: IRD advice for businesses

Date posted: March 25, 2020

If your business is unable to pay its taxes on time due to the impact of COVID-19, IRD is advising not to contact them right now.

Instead, get in touch when you can, and they’ll write-off any penalties and interest.

However, they advise it would help if you continue to file, as the information is used to make correct payments to people, and to help the Government continue respond to what is happening in the economy.

COVID-19: Employers prepare for shutdown

Date posted: March 25, 2020

From 11.59pm tonight, the country will be shutdown for the next four weeks, with only essential services remaining open for business. But what does this mean for business owners of non-essential services?

Kate Ashcroft of Copeland Ashcroft Law explains what owners and employers need to do to prepare for the shutdown period. 


COVID-19 | Increased support for Bay businesses

Date posted: March 20, 2020

The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce is expanding its resources, effective immediately, to help businesses affected by COVID-19.


COVID-19: Emotional Intelligence

Date posted: March 20, 2020

During this time, maintaining our emotional wellbeing is as critical as looking after our physical health.

We asked Claire Russell from ThinkPlus to give us some top tips on how individuals can maintain their emotional state and support building their resilience as we work through these uncertain times.


COVID-19: Employment Law

Date posted: March 19, 2020

The ever-changing situation of COVID-19 means uncertainty and change for many employers and employees. As such, we have asked Kate Ashcroft from Copeland Ashcroft Law to provide some legal advice and guidance around issues that may arise. 


COVID-19 Response

Date posted: March 17, 2020

We have a dedicated page set up for coranavirus, which is updated regularly.

Click the image below to see all you need to know about business support opportunities.


COVID-19: Communication tools

Date posted: March 17, 2020

In these uncertain and challenging times, effective communication between team leaders, managers and employers, and their staff, is vital.

Carly Shorter from People Realm has provided some top tips below to help leaders with their communication, particularly during COVID-19.


2019-2020 Board Elections – Results

Date posted: September 12, 2019

The results for the 2019-2020 Board Elections are in.

We would like to congratulate the following successful candidates:

Anne Blakeway

Annabel Davies

Fiona Lysaght

Sam Tabak

Sam Williamson

Tony Snow



Local Body Elections 2019 Candidates Survey Results

Date posted: September 5, 2019

Candidates Survey Results

Tauranga City Council Candidates

Andrew Hollis Click here
Anna Larsen Click here
Chris Stokes Click here
Danny Cancian Click here
David Grindley Click here
Dawn Kiddie Click here
Greg Brownless Click here
Heidi Hughes Click here
Jako Abrie Click here
John Robson Click here
Jos Nagel Click here
Kelvin Clout Click here
Larry Baldock Click here
Rick Curach Click here
Rob Poad Click here
Steve Morris Click here
Suzi Paige Click here
Tony Christiansen Click here
Tenby Powell Click here
Waitsu Wu Click here


Bay of Plenty Regional Council Candidates

Jane Nees Click here
Matthew Farrell Click here
Norm Burning Click here


Western Bay of Plenty District Council Candidates

Allan Sole Click here
James Denyer Click here
John Clements Click here
John Evans Click here
Kevin Marsh Click here
Neil Candy Click here
Stephen Fawcett Click here



2019-2020 Board Elections – Voting has opened

Date posted: August 30, 2019

Voting process has now opened for the Chamber Board.

To view potential candidates please click here.

Voting will close at 12:00 noon on Wednesday 11th September 2019.

Candidates will be advised by the Chamber Chief Executive around the 12th September 2019.


2019-2020 Board Elections

Date posted: August 12, 2019

We are seeking nominations from savvy business people for positions on the Board.  The people we are looking for will be committed to developing business capability in the Western Bay of Plenty, will have a good understanding of the issues facing businesses today, and bring knowledge experience and influence to the Board Table.

Nominations must be proposed and seconded.  Only persons who are financial members of the Chamber may propose or second nominations.  The nominator can be a member of your company.  The seconder must come from outside your organisation.

If you wish to nominate a representative of your company to the Board, please  click here for further information.  Completed nomination form must be returned to the Chamber no later than 5:00pm Friday 16th August 2019.

Matt Cowley is the new Chamber CEO

Date posted: May 8, 2019

The Chair of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the appointment of Matt Cowley as the new Chief Executive.  Matt started his role with the Chamber of 4th June 2019.

Matt has been involved with the Chamber for almost a decade, mainly through the Chamber’s Linkt Young People in Business network.  He was also awarded the Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional of 2012.  Matt was previously a Tauranga City Councillor from 2013-2016.  Since then, he has been on the executive of Fire Security Services as their national sales manager.  Matt helped execute FSS’s brand roll out, launched their new website, initiated a technician recruitment campaign, helped streamline business processes, and led the national key accounts team.

Matt has a Bachelor of Resources and Environmental Planning, from Massey University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from the University of Waikato.

While Matt has called Tauranga home for the past 10 years, he was born in Taranaki and studied in Palmerston North.  He then went block-laying on the Gold Coast before deciding to use his qualifications by moving to Whakatane in 2006 as a policy analyst for the BOP Regional Council.

Matt is a member of the Tauranga Golf Club, Mount Ocean Sports Club, and up until recently was an active lifeguard at Papamoa Surf Lifesaving Club.

Members are welcome of contact Matt by emailing or calling/texting him on 0276989 548.

Rise of the mega-malls hits Tauranga’s city centre

Date posted: May 6, 2019

They’re the city’s mega-malls and they have grown hugely, offering not just shopping but a dining and entertainment experience.But what does the growth of Tauranga Crossing and Bayfair mean for the city centre?

In the second of a two-part series on the rise of the malls, Zoe Hunter investigates the impact on the CBD and finds out how retailers and the city’s leaders are responding and what the future holds.

It is mid-morning on a Saturday in Tauranga’s city centre and there are few shoppers around.

I’ve just come from the hustle and bustle of the city’s newest mega-mall at Tauranga Crossing where almost every store has a waiting customer.

It’s the same at Bayfair Shopping Centre, where many people are shopping and dining inside the enclosed mall.

I can see the odd person in the CBD with a shopping bag in hand, but it appears they are on a mission with their heads down and walking at a fast pace.

Scaffolding is up at almost every turn and orange road cones block entrances to some of the streets.

In the heart of the city centre sits the new Waikato University campus which many people hope will inject new life into the CBD.

The massive Farmers building is taking shape on Elizabeth St, promising to deliver 8000sq m of retail on two levels, 23 townhouses and 96 high-end apartments in two towers, plus 322 car parks.

Under pressure from the malls which are expanding their footprint and drawing more shoppers, Tauranga’s CBD is in the middle of a period of upheaval and transition.

Empty shops are visible, with signs up for lease – but the cafes are busy with people sipping on their morning coffees and having a bite to eat.

Empty sites, less money

Downtown Tauranga’s data shows of the 704 sites in the CBD, 550 are occupied and 154 are available for lease.

The figures only relate to the Mainstreet boundary and not the full CBD as defined by the Tauranga City Council, which stretches from Second Ave to Monmouth St and from Cameron Rd to The Strand.

So let’s do the maths.

Downtown Tauranga’s chairman, Brian Berry, uses this example: If we allow a rental rate of an average of $250 per sq m (across retail and office space) and an average tenancy size of 125sq m that equals $31,250 a year across 150 vacancies.

That’s a total of $4,687,500 in potential lost rental income.

Add an allowance for operating expenses (rates, insurance and other costs), at $40 per sq m and that equals $750,000.

That means the total lease and operating expenses being missed out on is about $5.5m, plus any further spend associated with the tenant, staff and customers, Berry says.

It is a challenge long-time retailers in the city centre are trying to overcome, with talk of late-night shopping to bring back customers.

Retailers and a late-night option?

Murray Clode, of Macandmor Art Space in the Goddards Centre, is one of the retailers involved in discussions for late-night CBD shopping.

“Our challenge is to make the CBD still interesting and engaging to the people and give them some reason to come in to do their shopping or for a social experience,” he says.

Opening later would attract people who want to shop after work, combining shopping with the social experience of going to dinner and the movies, Clode says.

“It is really around giving another future to the CBD,” he says.

Clode says the later hours until 7.30pm or 8.30pm will be trialled for “a considerable amount of time” and will be up to the individual businesses.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here. (subscription needed)

Double-digit spending growth in BOP this Easter

Date posted: April 24, 2019

Bay of Plenty shoppers spent nearly $93 million over the Easter break, more than 14 per cent up on the same period last year, according to Paymark figures.

Spending in the Bay of Plenty region for the week ending April 22 in the smaller regions outpaced the percentage growth in Auckland/Northland which was slower than most other regions in the country.

Eftpos card transactions in the Auckland/Northland region totalled $454m, down by 6 per cent for the same seven day period last year.

Easter once again led to a spending boost in the smaller regions, Paymark spokesman Paul Brislen said.

Underlying spending was up 14.5 per cent in the Bay of Plenty region, up 19.6 per cent in Gisborne, and 22.6 per cent in West Coast compared to the same week last year which did not include Easter, he said.

“Conversely, spending during the same seven days in 2019 was down 7.9 per cent in Canterbury and 6 per cent in Auckland/Northland compared to last year,” Brislen said.

Nationally, Paymark processed transactions worth $1.196 billion with an underlying decrease in spending of 0.8 per cent for the same period last year, the Paymark report stated.

Brislen said both the shift in regional spending and the overall spending decline was not unusual for Easter.

Spending swings from the busy Easter Thursday – the busiest day outside of December- with a total of $263m, up 44 per cent in underlying from Thursday, April 19, 2018, to sharp declines on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

Brislen said the noteworthy exceptions were small grocery stores, fuel stations and hospitality providers.

Spending at grocery, liquor, fuel and hospitality merchants was responsible for almost all the regional spending increase, he said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said it was great news.

“This is confirmation that Tauranga and the Bay were humming, which is what we all already know anyway.

“The fine weather, heaps of things happening over the Easter weekend and people checking out the new malls – will all have contributed to it,” he said.

“Confidence fuels spending, and we have plenty of that at the moment in the Bay.”

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Helping smaller retailers survive CBD challenges

Date posted: April 18, 2019

Despite reports that this year may see a slowdown in economic activity in New Zealand, it doesn’t seem to have hit the wider Western Bay yet.

But there is concern on the part of smaller retail operators in Tauranga’s Downtown CBD that the current flood of commercial property investment and strong retail growth outside the CBD could make trading conditions even more challenging.

Priority One’s latest building consents report showed Tauranga City Council issued the highest value of commercial consents ever in March. The majority of the record $68.7 million in Tauranga commercial building consents was for retail development. The largest consent was for $23million as part of the ongoing Farmers development on Elizabeth St, which has moved to Tauriko Crossing for the duration of the build.

There were also 29 individual consents totalling $4.5million for tenancy fit-outs at Tauranga Crossing in Tauriko.

Outgoing Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the city’s commercial building sector was in good heart and the development of shopping malls and the new Farmers’ building in the CBD were going full steam ahead.

But Gregec also expressed concerns that the strong retail development in areas such as Tauriko Crossing risked sucking the life out of a CBD that is already being buffeted by major disruption in terms of roadworks and new bulding.

“You’ve really got to be quite sharp as an operator to be able to survive in this kind of environment,” he said. “The smaller owner-operators are feeling the most pressure.”

Gregec said much of the disruption would be temporary. For example the new University of Waikato campus in Durham Street was a huge plus for the city. But Durham Street was currently a shambles from store owners’ points of view and has limited their access to customers. Essentially, the new campus development had been accompanied by the updating of underground services the length of the street, which was logical, but had gone on longer than expected.

Support coming

The chamber and Mainstreet Downtown Tauranga, with support from the TCC, has been putting in place a support programme to help the businesses manage the current challenges.

“We’ve got lots of different types of businesses downtown that have been quite successful over a number of years now having to rethink how they adapt to new circumstances,” said Gregec.

“We put our hands up and looked at what we could do to support these smaller independent stores to manage this disruptive time. We’re getting them to look at how they run their business and what more they could be doing to counter these other trends.”

Coming up on 30 April is a 90 minute business growth workshop by business improvement specialist Mike Green, which will outline the features of business owners’ “ideal” business, and demonstrate nine projects to help them navigate roadblocks to success.

To read the full Bay Business News article, click here.

$33 million in building consents issued for 84 new Tauranga homes

Date posted: April 15, 2019

New residential builds in Tauranga have made a comeback with $33 million worth of consents issued for 84 new homes in just one month.

Experts say a shortage of land, increased house prices and a shift in people wanting to build new has resulted in a housing shortage “catch-up”.

Priority One’s latest building consent report shows Tauranga City Council issued $33 million for 84 new houses – the highest value and total in four months.

The $33m was part of a total $108m in building consents issued in Tauranga during March, including $68.7m for commercial developments.

Previous reports showed $25.8m was issued for 69 new residential builds in January 2019, $29.5m for 72 single dwellings in December 2018, and $27.5m for 51 in November 2018.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said it was good to see more new residential builds following an impression the sector had slowed.

“I guess with all-time-low interest rates and awareness of how tight the availability of land is in Tauranga, people are not sitting on their hands,” he said.

“Tauranga still represents excellent value for money compared to, say, Auckland.”

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said there was still a demand for houses as the population increased.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Record $68m in Tauranga commercial consents issued

Date posted: April 9, 2019

The majority of a record $68.7 million in Tauranga commercial building consents issued during March was for retail development, new data shows.

Priority One’s latest building consents report showed Tauranga City Council issued the highest value of commercial consents ever in just one month.

Business leaders say the record showed commercial development in Tauranga was “full steam ahead” and also reflected the confidence investors had in the region and its future.

The $68.7m included a record 10 consents worth $1m or more, with the largest totalling $23m for the Farmers development on Elizabeth St.

A total of $15m was issued for stage two of the Mainfreight development at Mangatawa Lane and $13m for a multiplex cinema complex at Bayfair Shopping Centre.

It also included 29 individual consents totalling $4.5m for tenancy fit-outs at Tauranga Crossing in Tauriko.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said commercial consents were “very strong” at the moment and continued a two-year trend.

“Large investments in both retail malls and commercial buildings show that investors have a lot of confidence in this region and its future,” he said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the city’s commercial building sector was “in good heart”.

Gregec said the record value in commercial consents showed the development of shopping malls and the new Farmers’ building in the CBD were “full steam ahead”.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Kiwifruit labour shortage bigger than last year’s

Date posted: April 6, 2019

A kiwifruit industry leader fears crops being left on vines as a 3800-person peak harvest season worker shortage looms.

While the volume of fruit to be picked is about the same as last years, a bumper gold kiwifruit crop has added pressure and contributed to a predicted peak shortage twice as large as last year’s.

The Ministry of Social Development yesterday declared a six-week labour shortage in the Bay of Plenty from April 15 to May 27 as a “last resort” to attract workers.

The 1400 current vacancies were expected to increase to 3800 by mid-April. The peak harvest shortfall in 2018 was 1200.

The declaration allows anyone in the region on a visitor visa to apply to work in the local kiwifruit industry for up to six weeks.

The shortage – declared in advance of its start and earlier than last year – comes in spite of a big and early push by the local industry this year to attract people to its jobs.

So far this year the ministry has placed 500 people in jobs in the industry, half as many as in the same period last year.

The ministry’s regional commissioner, Mike Bryant, said that for the first time ever the gold kiwifruit crop, which had a shorter timeframe to be picked, was larger than the green.

Increased planting, especially of gold kiwifruit, and the dry weather had contributed to a spike in demand for workers, he said.

Declaring the shortage in advance would give people more time to get their visas sorted and travel to the Bay.

New Zealand Kiwifruit Growers Incorporated chief executive Nikki Johnson said the proportion of gold fruit was up 12 per cent.

A lower employment rate was also a factor in this year’s shortage being larger than last year’s.

She said labour was needed equally across picking and packing roles.

Packhouses paid anywhere from $17.70 an hour for an unskilled packing role to $38 an hour for experienced workers, while the expected picking rate this year, based on a survey of contractors, was $23.50.

She said the shortage declaration last year attracted enough workers to harvest all kiwifruit for export.

Stan Gregec from the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce said the kiwifruit industry had made great strides to make conditions and pay more attractive for those who were willing and able to work.

A University of Waikato report forecasted the kiwifruit industry contribution to the Bay’s GDP will increase 135 per cent by 2030 to $2.04 billion and require 14,329 new kiwifruit jobs.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Chamber CEO moving on

Date posted: March 20, 2019

He has been the main man behind helping new businesses get established in Tauranga for nearly four years. Now Stan Gregec is handing over the reins.

The self-appointed “chief enthusiast” for the local business sector has resigned from his position as Tauranga’s Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive since being appointed to the role in June 2015.

Gregec said the chamber was charting a new pathway forward and it was time to hand on the reins to somebody new.

“The chamber is one of those organisations that needs a constant injection of new ideas and fresh energy to stay relevant and exciting to its members,” he said.

“I am not one for overstaying my time in any role. I’ve had my day in the sun, and I want to make way for a new person and what they can bring to the role.”

Gregec resigned earlier this month and planned to finish up his role this Easter.

He had no specific new role to go to but planned to stay in Tauranga and hinted at the idea of returning back into the private sector.

For now, he has taken time off to reflect on his next steps and married his long-term partner Ali Pomstra at the weekend.

Gregec said helping new businesses get established in Tauranga was one of the highlights of the role.

“It gives you a real buzz when you see a great business idea and can help in bringing it to fruition,” he said.

Gregec also highlighted achievement in helping create Small Business Tauranga, which now operates as one of the chamber’s main network and advocacy groups.

When he first came on board, Gregec said many small business owners saw the chamber as an organisation for bigger and more established businesses.

“We changed that perception by launching a new network just for them,” he said.

Small businesses made up the backbone of the industry and commerce in the region, Gregec said.

“If you think about it, small businesses with less than five staff make up the vast majority of Tauranga’s business sector… and their voice is often lost or not heard clearly enough.”

The chamber’s advocacy on issues, including the Tauranga City Council’s proposal to reintroduce a rates hike of 60 per cent on some local businesses, was another major highlight for Gregec.

He also highlighted business events such as the annual business awards, Biennial Business Women’s Network Conference, and the Small Business Conference.

Gregec said it had been a privilege to have been entrusted with leading the chamber in the last four years alongside an “enthusiastic and dedicated” team.

“I am leaving the chamber with mixed feelings but with the confidence that the timing is right and that the chamber is poised for a new era of opportunity and renewed relevance.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Update 9 April: At the request of the Board, Stan Gregec has agreed to stay on in an interim role through to the end of May until a new CEO is appointed.

‘Proof in the pudding’ for Air NZ’s cheaper Tauranga flights

Date posted: February 27, 2019

Flights in and out of the Bay of Plenty just got a whole lot cheaper, exciting business leaders, politicians, and residents.

Air New Zealand has shrunk fares for 41 domestic routes around the country, as part of the biggest overhaul of its domestic pricing structure in more than a decade.

From yesterday, fares between Tauranga and Auckland started at $39, and flights from Tauranga to Wellington at $49.

The prices apply to trips from March 25 onwards.

Bay of Plenty Tourism chief executive Kristin Dunne said the organisation had been working with Air New Zealand to increase leisure travel into the Bay for a while.

Tauranga Chamber Of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said: “With the upgraded airport and other recent improvements to services, Tauranga will now be a much more attractive and affordable destination for many.”

“Combined with the extra services that were added into Tauranga by Air New Zealand recently, it should see a huge boost in domestic air travel in and out of Tauranga.”

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the reduced fares were good for the city but he remained sceptical.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Local small businesses feeling pressure

Date posted: February 21, 2019

City centre construction, online shopping and expanding malls are putting additional pressure on Tauranga’s small businesses and failure to adapt could mean they are “left behind”, experts say.

Tauranga’s business leaders say smaller retail businesses were expected to adapt or risk being left behind as the city transitioned into more of a “commercial centre”.

More than $350 million in commercial construction was under way or planned for the city centre alone this year, and more than $250m to redevelop Bayfair Shopping Centre, Tauranga Crossing and Papamoa Plaza will create upwards of 3200 jobs on completion.

However, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief Stan Gregec said some small businesses in the CBD and places including Greerton were feeling the pressure of disruption from construction and road works.

Some businesses were also being affected by online shopping and the growth of Tauranga’s shopping malls.

“If you’re not constantly adapting, thinking of your customer and trying new things, you are in danger of being left behind.”

Gregec said there had been an “explosion” of home-based businesses in recent years, many of which were operating in “new, smarter ways” rather than having a physical presence in the city.

“Small businesses will always have it tough when competing with big business in high volume, low-margin products and services,” he said.

“But they come into their own when they focus on uniqueness and service.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty News article, click here.

New dawn for university’s Tauranga campus

Date posted: February 20, 2019

A dawn karakia has taken place at the University of Waikato’s Tauranga Campus in Durham Street this morning; the first step in opening the campus up to the people of the Bay of Plenty, on behalf of the Bay of Plenty Tertiary Partnership.

The ceremony, known as ‘Tā i te kawa’, will ensure the spiritual wellbeing of the new campus, and of staff and students who will make it their home.

Senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Alister Jones says the karakia is a significant step in the process of growing the University’s long-standing commitment to the people and communities of the Bay of Plenty.

“We are grateful for the key role iwi take in the cultural life of the campus. We are aware of our role in fulfilling the aspirations of Māori and all others who come to us to build knowledge and get world-class qualifications, on which they will found careers and futures.

“We’re also grateful for the hard work that has been done by many people to get us close to the point of official opening. In particular our key funders, the Tauranga City Council, Bay of Plenty Regional Council and the Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust.”

Some students are still completing their enrolment, so final numbers aren’t yet available, but Alister says enrolments are growing across all subjects, with numbers as of Monday 18 February 31 per cent up in the same time last year;

“It is a very promising start to the future we see here at the new campus, and our intention to see the Bay of Plenty prosper.”

Computer laboratories will open first, with the rest of the campus opening incrementally to students, staff and the wider public.

Key elements of today’s ceremony are the artworks that will help give the campus identity and breathe life into the new building.

They express a cultural narrative that reflects the relationship with mana whenua and, more broadly, with Tauranga Moana and Bay of Plenty iwi.

The artworks also acknowledge the University’s relationships with education partners in the region, and with the many diverse cultures that will make up the campus community.

To read the original Sunlive news article, click here.

Tauranga mall redevelopments: $285m and 3000+ jobs

Date posted: February 16, 2019

More than $285 million is being pumped into the redevelopment of Tauranga’s biggest shopping malls.

The redevelopments are also expected to have provided upwards of 3200 jobs on completion.

A local business leader says while the creation of thousands of new jobs is good news for Tauranga, he is concerned it is getting harder for small business owners to survive as more prominent brands move in.

Tauranga Crossing’s $150m development in Tauriko will employ more than 1000 people once Stage Two is completed in April.

When Bayfair Shopping Centre’s $115m expansion in Mount Maunganui is complete, more than 1500 people will have jobs.

The next stages planned for Papamoa Plaza’s $20m expansion are expected to provide jobs to more than 700 people by its planned completion date of early 2020.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief Stan Gregec said it was good news for Tauranga residents as a more sophisticated and mature city emerged, reflecting international trends and lifestyles.

“Three thousand new jobs sounds almost too good to be true,” he said.

However, he feared for small businesses operating in the CBD and the more established parts of the city.

“It’s getting harder and harder for independent owner-operated businesses to survive and thrive when bigger names and businesses and move in.”

But not every business was suitable for a mall, Gregec said.

He believes a new generation of small business owners in Tauranga would sprout again in city areas abandoned by traditional retail once the rejuvenation of Tauranga’s CBD comes to fruition in a few years.

“The key is you have to be fresh and exciting and offer something different that the malls don’t offer.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Confidence brings more jobs to the Bay

Date posted: January 22, 2019

Growing confidence in the Bay of Plenty’s economy has sparked more job vacancies, with one local employer desperately searching for an extra staff member “dead or alive”.

The latest Westpac-McDermott Miller regional economic confidence survey found 37 per cent of Bay of Plenty households expected the region’s economy to improve in the next 12 months, eight per cent more than the September quarter survey.

Most of those surveyed also expected their own financial situation to improve in the next year, the report revealed.

Westpac’s chief economist Dominic Stephens said greater confidence in the region reflected increased business activity, and also led to the creation of more jobs.

Tauranga recruitment agency 1st Call Recruitment’s managing director Phill Van Syp said 2018 was the firm’s “busiest year ever” and it struggled to keep up with demand.

Shane Hale, the owner of Mount Maunganui business Sign Creations Limited, is so desperate to find an extra staff member he has a sign at the front gate which reads, ‘Signwriter wanted dead or live’.

“On a scale of one to 10, in terms of how busy we are, I’d say we’re at 10.25,” he said.

Hale said he was “very confident” the Bay economy would continue to boom

“Our business has grown three-fold in the past three to five years and keeps growing and we’re looking to expand the business further in the next two to three years,” he said.

Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty regional manager Alan Sciascia said there was no sign the demand for more hospitality employees was slowing down.

“Growth in hospitality employment reflected general confidence in the sector,” he said.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said the survey result reflected the strong regional economy which created lots of jobs.

“We’re seeing this confidence in local businesses too – in a recent survey we conducted we found 71 per cent of respondents expect their business to grow over the next year.”

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said, in the main, chamber members were feeling “optimistic and positive” and the city was “still humming” along.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Katikati named one of the best towns in NZ

Date posted: January 14, 2019

Katikati is best known as the mural town of New Zealand but it’s also one of the most “liveable” towns, according to a study into 130 of the best places the country has to offer.

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research found the top places to live were often not so good for running a business so the study released late last year combined liveability with livelihood.

After analysing 37 years of census data, the study said the top eight towns in New Zealand were Whitianga, Motueka, Coromandel, Queenstown, Mapua, Moerewa, Opotiki and Katikati.

Dr Arthur Grimes, Senior Fellow at Motu and one of the report’s authors, said: “Households and firms prefer different amenities, which means places with high quality of life often have low quality of business.

“For instance, households appear to prefer sunny, dry locations near water, while firms appear to prefer to locate in larger cities.”

Most residents of Katikati would agree. The Tata family have lived here for six years, after stints in Auckland, Rotorua and failing to find suitable housing in Tauranga.

“I like that we get to be busy with life as opposed to being busy stuck in traffic,” Janneke Tata said.

“We’re on the beach or we are at the river. We get to engage with our children and with nature and I really enjoy that.”

The family-of-seven paid $350 per week for a large, four-bedroom house, before moving into a home owned by family.

The five children were home-schooled, leaving plenty of time to enjoy all Katikati had to offer.

“There’s just so much access to rivers and beaches, and everything’s really close by.”

With the median price of a home in Katikati at $560,000, a steady number of buyers were coming from Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga.

But it was not just the scenery and affordable housing attracting people to the vibrant town.

Western Bay of Plenty District reported a 6.5 per cent growth in employment in the area, with kiwifruit and avocado orchards as well as the building industry bringing in millions of dollars.

Aroha Koria was born and bred in Katikati and now worked as a teacher at Katikati College, the same school she went to growing up.

Koria said Katikati has a sense of community, which could be hard to find elsewhere.

“Māori or not Māori, this is the kind of community that comes together when anything happens.

“We’ve had whānau in the past lose their homes to fire, and i witnessed the community band together and support that family with furniture and clothing.

“Families who are a little destitute come here for seasonal work and have been homeless and we’ve been able to help them out with kai and services.”

And while most of the town agree it was a great place to live, it still had issues.

“If you look down the street, people cant even park,” Cobus Van Rooyen said.

“And this road, State Highway 2, everyone talks about it as the death road. So many accidents on the road because of the many vehicles.”

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Boom time for jobs in Tauranga

Date posted: January 8, 2019

A Tauranga recruitment agency experienced its “busiest year ever” in 2018 as job vacancies continue to rise in the Bay.

The latest data from Jobs Online, issued by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, showed there was a 1.8 per cent increase in vacancies in the Bay of Plenty from October to November.

1st Call Recruitment managing director Phill Van Syp said his agency had experienced its “busiest year ever”.

“We have had branch records all over the place,” he said. “We just can’t keep up.”

Van Syp said there had been an increase in both full and part-time employment roles in jobs “right across the board”.

However, he said employers in the roading and infrastructure and logistic warehouse industries were constantly looking for workers.

“That’s because Tauranga is starting to turn into a real hub of the Port [of Tauranga].”

Van Syp put the spike in online job vacancies to the fact business confidence remained high.

“The reality is, our clients are needing more and more workers.”

There was also an increase in recruitment agencies in the Bay of Plenty, which was creating competition, he said.

Yudu editor Helen van Berkel said’s statistics showed the job market was showing no sign of slowing.

“The NZME job board, which entered the market in April, has experienced a 10 per cent increase in job listings in the months since,” she said.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Tauranga’s retail spending hits $187 million in a month

Date posted: December 14, 2018

New data shows retail spending in Tauranga sky-rocketed over the last year.

Economic experts said the trend was a sign of business confidence and a growing population, but a budget advisor warned some consumers are racking up big debts.

Shoppers swiped their cards for more than $187 million of purchases from Tauranga retailers during October, according to figures from consumer spending analysis company Marketview.

That was up 7.3 per cent on the same month last year, led by significant spending increases on hardware and homewares, and bars, cafes and restaurants – categories where sales totalled more than $14 million apiece.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the figures reflected the business boom happening in the city, but did not tell the whole story.

He said some pockets of retail were struggling, particularly smaller businesses in the CBD and Greerton affected by construction and roading changes.

“Generally, Tauranga is performing strongly on multiple economic indicators at the moment, and we expect this will continue for some time yet.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Bay outlook bright but challenges remain

Date posted: December 9, 2018

The Bay of Plenty economy has enjoyed another strong year and there are plenty of positives for the future. But there are a number of challenges on the horizon for the coming year, according to local business leaders and economic experts.

Despite the Bay’s many strengths, the region is still struggling to deal with the infrastructure and transport problems issues that have come with growth.

Businessmen and economists cite potential inflationary pressures, shortages of staff in key areas and a government that has yet to demonstrate a clear vision of how and whether it can deliver on its promise to create a more equal society.

In addition, despite New Zealand’s generally strong economy and trade position, the country and the Bay aren’t immune to global economic pressures. A weak Kiwi dollar may be good for exporters, but it isn’t welcomed by importers and retailers. US president Donald Trump’s trade war mantra and erratic policy statements have created uncertainty and roiled markets worldwide.

And we remain vulnerable to potential problems in China, New Zealand’s biggest potential market for the next few decades.

That said, as Cameron Bagrie, head of Bagrie Economics, noted during a recent presentation to a PMG investor meeting in Tauranga, his “traffic signal” economic indicators suggested that the red lights were not yet at an alarming stage.

The positives included what he saw as a big structural shift across property, led by the downturn in the Auckland residential sector, which had taken some of the heat out of the market. That meant New Zealand was entering the late stages of the current growth cycle in better shape than in the major downturns of 1996-97 or 2006-07.

The major problem, said Bagrie, was that while such sectors as dairy had made a major contribution to growth over the past 20-30 years, that was unlikely to continue at the same level. New Zealand still had to find new sources to replace that growth in the coming years. (see table on page 5)

“The biggest problem New Zealand has at the moment is a lack of clarity over economic direction.”

Bagrie said he believed in the spirit of what the government was trying to do in social terms, but that it needed to work on turbo-charging ways to fill the economic gap emerging as traditional sources of economic growth slowed down.

“The good news is we don’t have a lot of red lights flashing – we’ve got some, but we do not have a smorgasbord,” he said.

“The big one that worries me over the next 12 months is cost-push inflation pressure and whether that seats into general inflation and forces the Reserve Bank to the table. We do have a lot of debt and we need low interest rates to continue.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Business News article, click here.

CBD parking to be free on weekends

Date posted: December 7, 2018

On-street parking will be free on weekends in the Tauranga CBD, Tauranga City Council has decided.

Parking is already free on Sundays and today councillors voted unanimously to extend that to Saturdays on a one year trial beginning December 15.

Currently, Saturday parking is charged for between 9am and 1pm.

Downtown Tauranga chairman Brian Berry welcomed the move, which the mainstreet organisation had advocated for.

He said it was a step towards “levelling the playing field” between mainstreet retail and hospitality business owners and privately-owned shopping centres.

He said retailers hoping for a pre-Christmas trading boost would welcome the news.

Councillor Bill Grainger said the decision was based on data that showed long occupancy times – a key argument against free parking – was not such a big problem on the weekends.

“Let’s give it a go and see what happens.”

CBD parking has been a hot topic for the council in the past 12 months as it responded to complaints from retailers about flagging foot counts amid the disruptions created by major construction projects in the area.

In February the council introduced a maximum time limit of three hours, supported by Downtown Tauranga.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Global retailer H&M coming to Tauranga

Date posted: November 28, 2018

Global fashion retailer H&M will open its first Tauranga store next year.

The multinational Swedish clothing-retail company, known for its affordable fashion, will be one of the 100-plus new stores at Tauranga Crossing set to open in April 2019.

Daniel Lattemann, the chain’s country sales manager for New Zealand, said the new Tauranga store will be the fifth H&M store to open in the country.

“Tauranga is the perfect location for H&M,” Lattemann said. “There is a big population and the area grows quite quickly. There is lots of potential.”

Lattemann said creative, affordable fashion for everyone was what attracted people to the brand.

The retail giant opened its first New Zealand store at Auckland’s Sylvia Park in 2016 and had since opened four others in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The shop openings across the country have attracted massive crowds and Lattemann expected hundreds of shoppers to line up at the doors when the new Tauranga store opened.

“It is super exciting. It will be a big celebration,” he said. “We are excited to be part of the Tauranga community.”

Lattemann said the Tauranga H&M store will recruit about 50 jobs including store manager, department manager, visual merchandisers and sale advisors.

He said retail was a competitive industry and he was excited to be bringing a new business to the Tauranga community.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the retail giant was a “huge coup” for Tauranga and a vote of confidence in the city’s retail and economic future.

“H&M is a massive name in world retail. You tend to associate their stores with much bigger cities,” he said.

Gregec said the fact the international retailer had chosen to open a store in Tauranga showed the retail sector was extremely competitive.

“It also shows that Tauranga is well and truly on the map,” he said.

“It’s also good news for smaller niche businesses who are able to move with the times and strongly differentiate themselves from the mass brands.”

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Tauranga’s soaring population ‘better for business’

Date posted: November 23, 2018

Tauranga’s population has soared 10.8 per cent in five years – reaching an estimated record of 135,000 this year.

The surge in new residents has resulted in increased demand for services such as care at Tauranga Hospital but business leaders say the boom brings great things to the city.

Figures from Statistics New Zealand show Tauranga’s population was an estimated 121,800 in 2014 and from June 2017 to June 2018 the population grew by about 600 naturally while about 2900 people migrated to the city.

Meanwhile, the overall population of New Zealand has increased from 4.5 million to 4.9 million over the past five years, an increase of 8.8 per cent, according to Statistics New Zealand.

Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said the city’s beaches and forests were key drawcards for new residents. So was Tauranga’s location, he said.

The increasing population brought positives such as having more people to contribute to a strong economy, which was “better for business” and more jobs were being created, Brownless said.

Tauranga City Council data showed the most dwelling consents were given in Wairakei (Pāpāmoa East) and Pāpāmoa over the past five years but there was also strong growth Pyes Pa West.

Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said Tauranga and the Western Bay District were popular places to live because of the coastal lifestyle, including a temperate climate and access to a lot of outdoor activities.

Hill said, over the past five years, the area had experienced strong job growth as a result of businesses expanding and new businesses moving to the city.

“This means that there are a lot more career opportunities than there used to be, so this is attracting people from elsewhere in New Zealand and overseas, including returning Kiwi expats who hanker for the quintessential New Zealand lifestyle that is epitomised by the Bay,” she said.

Hill said population growth underpinned economic growth which provided a higher standard of living and quality of life for residents.

This included increased investment in health, the environment, recreation, the arts and better career opportunities, she said.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board medical director Dr Hugh Lees said the number of patients seen in the emergency department rose 16.5 per cent over the past five years.

In the financial year of 2013/2014 there were 47,186 emergency department presentations and in 2017/2018 there were 54,979 – an increase of 7793 more patients.

In June 2014, 2040 permanent staff were employed and in June 2018, 2427 staff were employed.

Lees said the hospital was continually looking at ways to improve the efficiency and timeliness of its systems and care in response to the increased demand.

“Our Service Improvement Unit has undertaken a lot of work around patient flow. That has been looking at ways we can care for our patients in as timely a manner as possible right from initial presentation, to admission and all the way through the system,” Lees said.

“We have taken on around 50 additional doctors, 100 extra nurses and 60 more Allied Health staff since 2014.”

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times special report, click here.

Tauranga’s restaurant boom

Date posted: November 22, 2018

Tauranga eateries are taking off with new restaurants opening in the CBD, Tauriko, Pāpāmoa and Mount Maunganui in what people in the industry are calling a hospitality boom.

Eighteen new restaurants will open as part of the final stage of the new Tauranga Crossing mall, which is expected to open in April.

The two-level dining area within the mall will be by the new Event Cinemas complex.

The upper level, known as The Observatory, will include a new Malaysian-inspired Hawker and Roll restaurant, opened by restaurateur Fleur Caulton and chef Josh Emett, and the first Bird on a Wire outside of Auckland.

Chief executive Steve Lewis said the level of interest shown in both the city and Tauranga Crossing by hospitality businesses reflected the confidence the wider market had in the region.

“Food and entertainment is becoming an increasingly important part of the experience customers are seeking, and this eclectic and vibrant mix of restaurants and eateries is going to add a new dimension to the centre and Tauranga in general.”

Once the next section of the mall opens, the 45,000sq m shopping complex will house a total 27 restaurants and eateries.

Hospitality New Zealand Bay of Plenty regional manager Alan Sciascia said hospitality was a competitive and growing market.

“The population for Tauranga and the general area is increasing,” he said. “It is only natural we get more and more hospitality businesses.”

Sciascia said it was not difficult to start a hospitality business.

“All it needs is a dream and some money, and everyone has dreams and access to money,” he said.

“The challenge is to create an offering that customers want and will continue to use.”

He said there was not much difference in restaurants and eateries operating in a shopping mall or on the street.

“There is a lot of businesses established in The Strand and at the Mount, they all tend to develop in a similar space, which is where people want to be,” he said.

“Having it in a mall is no different. The mall becomes a destination.”

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief Stan Gregec said new eateries in Tauranga meant residents had greater choice and convenience in dining.

“It means you can find a great selection of eateries virtually on your doorstep, wherever you happen to live in Tauranga. That can only be a good thing – for everyone.”

Gregec said with the variety of choice available, hospitality businesses needed to be more competitive than ever and were now able to cater more to niche markets and tastes.

“It also means that places like The Strand have some exciting opportunities too,” he said.

“With all the waterfront improvements we’ve seen in the last couple of years, downtown is still an attractive magnet for people to make the trip into town.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

More Air NZ flights for Tauranga

Date posted: November 13, 2018

Air New Zealand has announced there will be more flights in and out of Tauranga.

The extra flights will operate between Tauranga and both Auckland and Wellington.

The airline will operate an additional 10 one-way services a week between Tauranga and Auckland from April next year. The additional flights will leave Auckland at 9.15am and return from Tauranga at 10.25am Monday to Friday.

A further 10 one-way services will also operate each week between Wellington and Tauranga from April 2019. The Sunday to Thursday service will depart Wellington at 5pm and return to the capital from Tauranga at 6.45pm.

Air New Zealand head of regional affairs Reuben Levermore said demand for services in and out of Tauranga continued to strengthen.

“We’re pleased to be able to boost capacity by adding additional services using our 68-seat ATR aircraft on both our Auckland-Tauranga and Wellington-Tauranga routes to meet this demand. We’re also looking forward to opening our new Air New Zealand Regional Lounge at Tauranga Airport next month to cater for travellers out of the city.

“We’re committed to continuing to support the growth of tourism in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty and this includes working closely with stakeholders in the region – such as the airport, council, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, economic development agency Priority One and Tourism Bay of Plenty.”

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless welcomed the news and said the extra flights would provide more choices for tourists and local residents.

“They also reinforce the decision to renovate and extend the airport building and infrastructure to cater for growing air travel demand well into the future.”

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Tauranga Business of the Year 2018 revealed

Date posted: November 10, 2018

A Tauranga business which moved 11 employees from its Auckland operation to the Bay of Plenty has been crowned Business of the Year.

Jenkins Freshpac Systems prints labels for the fruit industry and opened a new purpose-built facility in Tauriko in August, 2013, when it brought its Auckland staff to town.

Last night, Jenkins was named supreme winner of this year’s Westpac Tauranga Business Awards.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said he saw a very high standard in entrants, with a strong focus on technology – particularly in the kiwifruit sector.

Other winners were: Waikato & BOP Suspended Ceiling Services; Little Big Events; Tauranga Veterinary Services; Graeme Dingle Foundation Bay of Plenty; Fashion Island; Road Safe Traffic Management; Good Local Pyes Pa; Fern Garden Preschool & Childcare Centre, Voyager Group; Seeka; and Carrus Corp.

Head judge Andrew Hitchfield said, “This year we continued to see local businesses embracing technology as the cornerstone for carefully considered and well-structured strategy and felt that regardless of the original motivation for entering the awards the process … makes the process beneficial for all.”

Jenkins Freshpac Systems Ltd, which also won the Vodafone Embracing Digital Technology award and the YOU Travel Service Excellence award, was touted by judges as having a culture shaped by its long and proud private ownership.

Judges said in a statement that Jenkins had a leading position in the market for labelling and packaging of horticultural products, and continued to focus on this area to the point where it was the clear market leader.

It has been able to keep out larger competitors that are more resourced by focusing on its expertise and superior service offering, judges said.

Locally, the company works with all the large kiwifruit pack houses and Zespri to ensure that processed kiwi fruit is fit for market. Given the bulk of packing is seasonal it was critical that its machines were able to run with minimal downtime which the company ensures it is able to achieve with around the clock technical service, judges said.

Westpac area commercial manager Clare Basire said the awards have always been about taking time out to acknowledge business excellence.

“This is about recognising the smartest, strongest and most sustainable businesses in the community.”

This year a new Corporate Sponsorship Award, sponsored by Air New Zealand, has been established to recognise and encourage sponsorship.

Judges said the corporate sector was already extremely generous, without which a huge amount number of events, both sporting, and culture and amenity within the city simply would not happen.

Who won what:

ACC Workplace Safety Award – Waikato & BOP Suspended Ceiling Services Ltd
University of Waikato Corporate Leadership Award – Seeka
Zespri Business Innovation Award – Little Big Events
Vodafone Embracing Digital Technology – Jenkins Freshpac Systems Ltd
Trustpower Customer Experience Award – Tauranga Veterinary Services Ltd
Bay of Connections Social Enterprise Award – Graeme Dingle Foundation Bay of Plenty
Gartshore Retail Interiors Retail Excellence Award – Fashion Island
Toi Ohomai Emerging Business – Road Safe Traffic Management Ltd
Bay Venues Tourism & Hospitality Award – Good Local Pyes Pa
Bay of Plenty Business News Sustainable Business Award – Fern Garden Preschool & Childcare Centre
YOU Travel Service Excellence Award – Jenkins Freshpac Systems Ltd
Powercro Manufacturing &/or Distribution Award – Voyager Group
Air New Zealand Corporate Sponsorship Award – Carrus Corp
Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year Award – Jenkins Freshpac Systems Ltd

Tauranga building consents up by 22%

Date posted: November 10, 2018

Investor confidence is being credited for a boom in Tauranga commercial property consents as values jumped 22 per cent compared to the same time last year.

Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said the pace of growth had accelerated during the first 10 months of this year.

She said from January to October there was $270.9m in commercial consents up from $222.6m in the same period in 2017.

“This reflects the ongoing confidence of investors in commercial property due to unprecedented levels of growth in the business community, with companies based here expanding and new businesses relocating from elsewhere.”

There had been strong growth in commercial builds in the last three years, which reflected of a more productive economy, she said.

Meanwhile half of the $81m worth of building consents issued in Tauranga last month were for commercial developments.

Nearly $40m for 66 commercial building consents was issued by the Tauranga City Council in October, according to Priority One’s latest monthly building consents report.

The largest consents included $1m for alterations to the Mitsubishi Motors showroom, $1.1m for the infrastructure works at Copper Crest Retirement Village, $4.5m for the fit out of Tauranga Crossing’s new cinema complex, and $19m for the ground works of the Farmers development.

The total value of building consents was the largest issued by the city council in the last five months since a record $113m was issued in May 2018.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief Stan Gregec said the new Farmers building will be a game changer for that end of town.

“Together with other new commercial and shopping projects, we’re going to see Tauranga CBD transformed completely in the next few years,” he said.

“A lot of people might be seeing construction and inconvenience at the moment; but we need to see through and beyond this to what Tauranga will become in the not too distant future.”

Gregec said the city can expect to see some “new buzz and vibe” happening fast when the university opened next year. “Tauranga CBD has a very bright future ahead.”

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Green light for Tauranga Northern Link

Date posted: October 25, 2018

The Tauranga Northern Link has been taken off the chopping block, with the NZ Transport Agency confirming it will build the highway – albeit in a different form – after months of speculation.

The new state highway between Tauriko and Te Puna will have two lanes rather than the four initially proposed, but the agency was looking at adding extra lanes for buses and other high-occupancy vehicles.

Critics have welcomed the decision but also expressed frustration and noted the continued lack of a timeline for when construction of the highway, and other State Highway 2 improvements, would start.

The northern link was one of four major roading projects between Tauranga and Waihi that have been in limbo for months as the agency re-evaluated to see how they fitted with the coalition Government’s transport priorities.

The outcomes of those re-evaluations were announced yesterday.

Agency spokesman Brett Gliddon said it would speed up and extend its plan for safety improvements on SH2 between Waihi and Te Puna, one of New Zealand’s deadliest stretches of highway.

Previously-announced funding of $101 million was ringfenced for improvements between Waihī and Ōmokoroa over the next five years, including 26 intersection upgrades, wider centrelines, flexible median barriers and protections against other hazards.

The agency wanted to roll those out faster and start designing and finding funding for similar improvements, to be constructed simultaneously, for the stretch between Ōmokoroa and Te Puna.

The agency would also progress with a major Omokoroa Rd intersection upgrade. What form that would take was still to be decided but Gliddon said a roundabout would make sense.

“We want to get on to this as quickly as we can.”

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

CBD transformation hitting some businesses in the pocket

Date posted: October 8, 2018

Some businesses in the Tauranga CBD are doing it ”tough” as major works, which are expected to continue into 2020, are bringing some streets to a standstill.

City leaders agree the transformation project, which includes more than $350 million of development, will revitalise the downtown but commercial real estate agents say they are struggling to fill tenancies due to disruption while the work is being carried out.

A lack of parking, closed streets, earthquake strengthening and construction had also taken its toll on some retailers, with one estimating its trade had dropped 50 per cent since June.

Ray White Tauranga business owner and commercial and industrial specialist Philip Hunt said some clients had decided to relocate.

”We are getting feedback from them that they want the fringe CBD or out of the CBD so its easy for their customers to come and see them.

”The CBD will be revitalised but a lot of these disruptions will probably go in on for several years. Yes, some businesses have closed and it’s a real worry as the public can’t get to the CBD easily.”

On the flipside, there were some major consultancy firms that favoured a central location ”but they are saying ‘don’t come to me if we can’t get 20 car parks’.

”The parking is killing everything.”

Colliers International Tauranga managing director Simon Clark said feedback from his staff indicated retailers were struggling and it was hard to lease buildings in the CBD.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

BOP economy in second place

Date posted: September 30, 2018

A booming kiwifruit industry, strong employment growth and growing consumer confidence has seen the Bay of Plenty take the number two spot in the country’s latest Regional Economic Scoreboard.

The Bay of Plenty’s economy continues to thrive as the region climbs one place in the latest ASB Regional Economic Scoreboard, sitting just behind Otago but keeping its five-star rating.

The scoreboard takes into account the latest quarterly regional statistics and ranks the economic performance of New Zealand’s 16 regional council areas.

Ratings were updated every three months and were based on 11 measures, including employment, construction, retail trade and house prices.

ASB chief economist Nick Tuffley said the rebound in the kiwifruit industry after challenges from the Psa outbreak was “a really good success story” for the region.

“So far this season the industry is setting export records, and that will bring in good earnings that support the wider region,” Tuffley said.

Strong employment growth of 6.5 per cent annually contributed to the region’s climb on the scoreboard, he said.

Tuffley said the Bay of Plenty was also one of only five regions that experienced a population growth above 2 per cent.

“It was unsurprising to see Bay consumers upbeat, with the consumer confidence reading sitting second-highest in the country.

“All up, we expect the Bay economy to remain on the front foot over the second half of 2018,” Tuffley said.

Seeka chief executive Michael Franks said the combined volume of kiwifruit harvested and processed had been a “record”, although not all fruit was able to be economically sold by Zespri.

“Seeka has had a very good New Zealand kiwifruit harvest and our performance to growers very good, we are now focused on our avocado harvest,” Franks said.

He said there were still pockets of Psa in the catchment which growers had to manage to minimise any impact.

“Largely, growers are over the top of the disease, and it is having no volume impact, although there is a cost.”

Franks said there was “no doubt” the kiwifruit industry was helping the local economy.

“Simply there is a lot more activity,” he said.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

BWN suffrage event shows women can do anything

Date posted: September 18, 2018

Tauranga Business Women’s Network has organised a Suffrage 125 lunchtime panel discussion to highlight that women can do ” anything” they set their minds to.

As part of the Tauranga Suffrage 125 commemorations, three local women have agreed to talk about their respective roles in what are traditionally male-dominated industries.

The ‘Redefining Workplace Roles’ event at the Tauranga Club, 72 Devonport Rd from noon to 1.30pm today will be MCd by the network’s chairwoman Mary Hill.

Jeanette Mindham, on the Tauranga Business Women’s Network committee, said the panel would feature three inspirational women talking about their career journeys.

“The panel discussion is all about highlighting that women can do anything men can do and age and gender should not be a barrier when it comes to a person’s career choice.”

Heather Jones, Trudy Green, and Grace Lowe, all from Tauranga, will be sharing insights into their careers,

Jones, the owner-operator of Aegis Private Security, has built a highly successful security company over the past 18 years.

Tauranga-born Green, who describes herself as a “Greerton Girl” at heart, will talk about her role as an owner/operator of earthmoving business MT Green Contracting.

That includes undertaking the running of day-to-day operations including sitting on heavy earthwork moving machinery all day and doing admin work often after hours.

The third speaker is 19-year-old Grace Lowe, the sole woman mechanical engineering apprentice at Page Macrae Engineering in Mount Maunganui.

Lowe spent some of her Acorn Foundation Scholarship to buy a pair of bright pink work boots to “make a statement” to others that there was a woman working on the site.

Mindham said these events provided excellent networking opportunities with an emphasis on education, inspiration and business connections.

The Tauranga Business Women’s Network is a sub-committee of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce made up of members from the Tauranga and Western Bay region.

They meet at least once a month with a lunchtime speaking programme on topical issues, and evening ‘Business Behind the Scenes’ events focusing on local women.

To attend today’s panel discussion call 07 577 9823. The fee includes a buffet lunch.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

AIMS Games biggest yet for Tauranga

Date posted: September 8, 2018

The festival of fun is here.

Tauranga will play host to the 15th Anchor AIMS Games from tomorrow, with 10,851 athletes from 326 schools in action across 22 sporting codes.

It is said to be the largest sporting event for 11-13-year-olds in the Southern Hemisphere.

Competitors are coming from around New Zealand, as well as Australia, Tonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands.

“It gives me a lot of hope for the future of society,” Tauranga’s mayor Greg Brownless, said yesterday.

“That sounds a bit overblown, but it’s true. I think it’s just delightful to have a whole lot of young people coming here. That age group is so enthusiastic.”

Sailing, cross-country and gymnastics open the tournament tomorrow, as well as two sold-out opening ceremony shows at ASB Arena.

Brownless will be there, as he was last year.

“It was just like being at some sort of rock festival – the atmosphere, and they’re all excited,” he said.

This year’s opening ceremony has gone “next-level” according to tournament director Vicki Semple.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Bay transport to get $655 million funding boost

Date posted: August 31, 2018

An investment of $665 million transport funding has been allocated to the Bay of Plenty over the next three years.

The NZ Transport Agency has published details of the planned investment as part of a $16.9 billion investment in New Zealand’s transport system set out in the 2018/21 National Land Transport Programme.

Minister Phil Twyford said the investment was up six per cent on the previous period.

“Safety is a top priority for this government. The increasing number of people dying on Bay of Plenty roads is unacceptable.

“Over the next three years, we will invest $235m in safety across all activity classes, including improvements to save lives.

“This includes safety upgrades on SH2 between Waihi and Tauranga to reduce the risk of head-on and run-off crashes, as well as safety improvements on SH33 from Paengaroa to Te Ngae Road. $65 million has been allocated to the SH2 Waihi to Ōmokoroa Safer Corridor project in the NLTP 2018-2021, as part of an $87 million, five-year project of safety improvements on this route.

He said state highways received the largest share of funding, including $155 million for state highway improvements and $154 million for state highway maintenance.

Police Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement welcomed the investment.

“We will continue to work closely with our partners as part of the Road Safety Partnership to prevent death and serious injury on our roads,” he said.

“Police focus is on prevention and enforcement activities around the four main behaviours we know contribute to death and injury on our roads. These are: driving too fast for the conditions, driving while impaired (by alcohol, drugs, or fatigue), driving while distracted, and not being properly restrained.”

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

What does this mean for the upgrade of SH2 and building of the Northern Link?

Bumper cruise ship season on the way

Date posted: August 30, 2018

Increasing numbers of cruise ships visiting Tauranga have ensured the city once again recorded the second largest total spending by port in the country.

Statistics New Zealand figures revealed that Tauranga and Auckland had the largest total spending in the year to June 30, 2018, at $65.9 million and $131.4m respectively.

But there was a 1 per cent decrease in the number of cruise passengers who visited Tauranga last season, reducing from 153,735 in 2016/2017 to 152,509 in 2017/2018.

Some of that drop can be attributed to marked rises in the number of cruise visitors who visited Northland and Auckland ports.

There was also a 3 per cent decrease in cruise ship expenditure in Tauranga, from $67.9m in 2016/2017 to $65.9m in 2017/2018.

Tauranga was named one of the top five cruise destinations in Australasia earlier this year in the 2018 Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards.

Mount Mainstreet manager Ingrid Fleming said 110 cruise ships were coming to Tauranga in the 2018/2019 season, which was a significant difference from 83 last season.

“It means there is huge potential to grow the overall spending by our visitors,” she said.

“We work hard to ensure our cruise passengers feel welcome. That includes our lovely group of Lioness volunteers, who greet the passengers as they come off ships, answering their questions and pointing them in the right direction.”

The cruise season starts on October 5 and runs through to April 16 next year.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Tauranga’s booming

Date posted: August 27, 2018

There are more personal and commercial vehicles on Tauranga roads than ever before – and city leaders say this is a reflection of Tauranga’s growing economy and population.

According to the latest Infometrics Quarterly Economic Monitor Report, provided by Priority One, Tauranga’s economy was continuing to flourish.

The report showed a range of positive changes for the city including an increase in Gross domestic product (GDP), a drop in unemployment and a rise in retail trade and tourism spending.

A total of 8069 cars were registered in Tauranga City in the year to June 2018, a 3.9 per cent increase compared with the 7769 registered in the previous 12 months.

The number of commercial vehicles registered in Tauranga City also increased by 4.1 per cent in the year to June 2018, with 1797 registrations compared with 1727 the year before.

Tony Hammond, of Tony Hammond Motors, said the increase in car registrations was on par with what the car sales company was experiencing.

In the month of August Hammond had seen a “spike” in people purchasing vehicles, which he put down to people having extra surplus money to upgrade their cars, and the weather.

Hammond said he had a range of customers from those who would purchase a car through no-deposit finance to retirees who may have downsized their property and had the surplus cash to buy a car outright.

“It’s 50/50,” he said.

Hammond had been in the car sales industry for 30 years and was expanding his Cameron Rd location. His car lot would grow a further three blocks and was set to be complete in a few months’ time.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive, Stan Gregec, said the Bay of Plenty was simply a region where so many fundamentals stacked up.

“Great climate, location, port, transport infrastructure, and still more affordable than Auckland,” Gregec said.

He said Tauranga’s economy was “humming”.

“We’re seeing strong activity in commercial construction, which shows that investors have confidence to commit to new buildings, plant and equipment.

“So it all adds up to a very buoyant picture – a good time to be in business in Tauranga.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.


Push to develop Chinese business links in Bay of Plenty

Date posted: August 21, 2018

The Bay of Plenty has established its own branch of the New Zealand Chinese Chamber of Commerce Bay of Plenty Branch to strengthen links between the region with China.

Chairwoman of the new Chinese arm of the chamber Katikati businesswoman Hellen Faulkner said there were many opportunities for Bay business in China.

“The Chinese chamber will actively promote economic and political co-operation between China and New Zealand, alongside belt and road initiatives.”

Faulkner spoke at a dinner at Harbourside which formally launched the new division attended by Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless, as well as chief executive of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Stan Gregec.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Call for Chamber Board nominations

Date posted: August 6, 2018

We are seeking nominations from savvy business people for positions on the Board.  The people we are looking for will be committed to developing business capability in the Western Bay of Plenty, will have a good understanding of the issues facing businesses today, and bring knowledge experience and influence to the board table.

Nominations must be proposed and seconded.  Only persons who are financial members of the Chamber may propose or second nominations.  The nominator can be a member of your company.  The seconder must come from outside your organisation.

If you wish to nominate a representative of your company to the Board click here, a completed nomination form must be returned to the Chamber no later than 5:00pm Friday 17th August 2018.  The nominations form must be accompanied with a profile up to 100 words and a head and shoulders photo.

For a brief description of the role of the board and expectations of Board members click here.  Any potential nominee who would like to find out more about the role of Board can contact the Chamber on

To view the current board members please click here.

To find out more about the Chamber Board elections, click here.

More visitor attractions needed for Tauranga

Date posted: August 1, 2018

Building new visitor attractions and reversing the drop-off in people living in Tauranga’s city centre have been identified as crucial measures needed to improve the vibrancy of the downtown.

This has been revealed in a report that used business trends and interviews to arrive at conclusions for the area from 4th Ave to The Elms.

Many saw the new university campus in Durham St as the catalyst for rejuvenation, but warned there would be a ”slow and difficult transition for the next five years due to the number of major developments under way’’.

The report, an updated 2014 study, did not include an analysis of parking. Downtown stakeholders said transport issues stopped easy access, and if people could not get into the CBD, then it would not function well.

Despite this, the report concluded that the CBD’s economic vibrancy was improving, with a 9.5 per cent growth each year in jobs in the professional, scientific and technology services sector – an additional 733 jobs.

”Tauranga’s success in this area is commendable,” report author Phillipa Bowron from Martin Jenkins Associates said.

Overall job growth in the CBD was 5.2 per cent a year, with retail the weakest performer at 2.2 per cent growth a year.

There was a strong view among developers and investors that not enough progress was being made to increase visitor numbers.

”Focus should be put on ways to increase CBD attractions so that visitors are not automatically drawn to Mount Maunganui (or Rotorua) in the first instance,” the report said.

Increased investment was needed for the CBD to become a ”compelling destination”.

The report said a ”momentum shift” was occurring, with the city centre on the cusp of significant change that included the campus development, Heart of the City projects and the development of more high-rise residential.

These projects would help combat the CBD’s static residential population since 2014. The permanent population dropped by 40 people compared with city-wide growth of nearly 10,000 people.

”There should be a concerted effort to encourage and support increased residential stock in the CBD as this will enhance its vibrancy and support more central city retail.”

It saw opportunities to create a ”dynamic climate” by promoting entrepreneurs and leveraging off the university.

The report noted how the council was in the process of incorporating Maori values and cultural elements through its design and planning for the CBD, saying it would help give the CBD a unique identity.

Gross domestic product generated by retailing in the CBD grew by $15m to reach $80m in 2017. Motor vehicles grew by nearly 11 per cent a year, followed by specialised food retailing of 7.7 per cent and store and non-store retailing of 6 per cent a year.
Jobs in Tauranga’s CBD (comparing 2017 with 2014)
Commercial sector: 59 per cent of jobs (up 1 per cent)
Retail sector: 11 per cent (down 1 per cent)
Food and beverage sector: 7 per cent (unchanged)
All other sectors: 23 per cent (unchanged)
Source: Martin Jenkins Associates

Souvenir and gift shop owner Bill Campbell says the challenge for CBD retailers was to survive the downturn caused by street closures rather than pin their hopes on the unlikely possibility of a big new visitor attraction.

With Durham St, Hamilton St and Harington St impacted by developments, and the Farmers site preparing for a significant retail and apartment complex, he predicted that some retailers would go to the wall.

”Some will and some won’t survive,” Campbell said.

Latest footpath counts backed up his figures that trading was the quietest for 10 years.

”It has to be something to do with the road closures.”

Campbell said he would love to see new visitor attractions that lured thousands of more people into the downtown.

”People have been trying to think of something for years and years.”

To read the original Bay of Plenty news article, click here.

Bay on track to become regional powerhouse

Date posted: July 23, 2018

Western Bay of Plenty is on track to become a “regional powerhouse” as kiwifruit, freight and building industries put the region ahead in New Zealand economic growth.

Figures released this week show the Bay of Plenty’s economy has grown 4.1 per cent over the past year to March 2018 compared with 2.7 per cent nationally. Of this, the Western Bay of Plenty grew 1.7 per cent and Tauranga 4.4 per cent.

Infometrics chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan said non-residential building was strong in Tauranga and freight through the Port of Tauranga and kiwifruit exports were also driving local growth.

Growers had overcome PSA which “would have been a reasonably difficult financial situation for some growers but having two to three years of very good kiwifruit prices and export volumes has been strong as well”.

Kiernan warned United States and China trade talks could have significant ramifications if the Chinese market could no longer meet New Zealand export prices. Mycoplasma bovis and a lack of skilled labour were also factors to consider.

“It’s important that none of these issues significantly undermined provincial growth over the next 18 months,” he said.

At TD Haulage in Mount Maunganui, dispatcher Morgan Dynes said freight had become so busy the trucking company now worked with others, if they were short, to help ensure the job got done.

Dynes agreed there were issues with increasing traffic and a lack of qualified staff.

“Things are busy but because there’s a shortage of labour. When we do X amount of loads and you don’t have, say, five drivers, you definitely notice a difference.”

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said Tauranga’s growth had been strong and consistent.

“While our traditional industries have had a good run lately, there’s been lots of new growth as well from industry and construction.”

Urban drift from Auckland was still a trend but nowhere near the peaks of a few years ago, he said.

“Tauranga continues to hum and we’re only at the start of much more growth that will occur over the next decade. We’re now seeing investment in real infrastructure and economic assets that will transform this city into a regional powerhouse.”

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Tauranga CBD’s $250m development boost

Date posted: July 7, 2018

Tauranga’s CBD is on the precipice of enormous change.

Over the next five years, $250 million of major developments are scheduled to be completed within a 600-metre stretch from Elizabeth St to McLean St.

Pre-demolition work had started for the $100-million Farmers redevelopment on Elizabeth St, and the $50-million development of 2 Devonport Rd was set to begin later this year.

The new $39 million University of Waikato campus on Durham St will welcome an estimated 1000 new students in February – a year ahead of schedule.

Yesterday the Tauranga City Council announced it had signed a “landmark” partnership agreement with developer Willis Bond and Co to shepherd the planned new central library ($39 million) and civic administration ($23.2 million) buildings on Willow St into being.

The company will also be responsible for bringing a long-heralded international hotel brand and conference centre to the CBD, with negotiations starting soon to agree on the expectations for the project.

A big civic project already under way was the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s $20 million recladding and refit of Regional House.

The list of significant CBD developments over the next few years also included office buildings, streetscaping, hotels, and a reserve revamp.

Then there was the expected wave of smaller renovations including office refits and earthquake strengthening.

All in all, the CBD will look very different in five years’ time.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Tauranga building boom: ‘cooking with gas’

Date posted: July 2, 2018

Consents for commercial building projects have hit more than half a billion dollars in the past year, with one business leader saying Tauranga is “cooking with gas”.

Figures from Priority One show the value of consents from June 2017 to May 2018 was a record $516.4 million, compared with $486.4m the same period last year.

The growth comes hard on the heels of an economic boom, reported in the Bay of Plenty Times in June, with 2980 new jobs and 798 new business units in 2017.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said Tauranga was ”well on the way to being transformed into a modern, grown-up city”.

”Well, we’re cooking with gas when it comes to commercial development in Tauranga. Everything’s happening together – with much more to come,” Gregec said.

However, if Tauranga wanted to become an internationally competitive city there were still ongoing challenges.

”It would be great to see a big hotel chain come to town and some more cultural amenity to go with the business boom.”

Tauranga is on the crest of a wave, says deputy mayor Kelvin Clout.

”I feel this wave is going to keep surging on for years, and indeed decades,” he said.

”This growth is fantastic for the city as Tauranga has traditionally relied on residential development, which is not sustainable in its own right. Commercial growth provides residents with an abundant variety of real, long-term jobs, which is much more sustainable.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

‘Steady as we grow’ approach to Western Bay rates

Date posted: June 29, 2018

Western Bay of Plenty District Council has adopted its Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018 – 2028.

The plan sets an average rates increase of 2.7 per cent for existing ratepayers across the ten years of the LTP (of which inflation accounts for 2.3 per cent). The increase for the 2018/19 year is 3.6 per cent (of which inflation accounts for 2 per cent).

Council aims to keep average rate increases below four per cent for the 10-year period (excluding growth in population).

This will be achieved by continuing to take a prudent approach to managing its operational and capital work programmes, to ensure the services its communities expect are provided for in a way that balances the affordability of delivering them.

The LTP was developed following comprehensive community engagement with Western Bay residents, with​ Council taking a ‘steady as we grow’ approach.

Mayor Garry Webber says the message ratepayers gave was for Council to plan appropriately for growth, while making sure rates remain affordable and debt is reduced.

Council asked for feedback on four key proposals: walkway and cycleway investment; Western Bay Museum funding; arts and culture investment; and the approach to debt management.

Taking into account all the feedback received through the consultation process, Council made the following decisions:

•  Walkway and cycleway investment – implement a stepped increase in funding over the next three years to enable faster development, which includes $350,000 in year one, $400,000 in year two, and $450,000 in years three to ten.

•  Western Bay Museum funding – provide $70,000 annually in support through District-wide rates for the next ten years.

•  Arts and culture investment – enable implementation of the sub-regional Arts and Culture Strategy by increasing Creative Bay of Plenty’s funding by $50,000 for the ten years, and grant The Incubator Creative Hub $10,000 in year one, $15,000 in year two, and $20,000 in year three of the LTP.

•  Debt management approach – reduce ratepayers’ contribution to interest and debt repayments to $1m for 2018/19, recognising the positive financial impacts of growth, and review this decision annually.

In the 2018/2019 financial year $61.66m in total rates is budgeted to be collected – an increase of $280,000 on the initial estimate for the first year of this Long Term Plan.

Total rates of $61.66m are made up of District rates ($38.18m); community board rates ($430,000); water treatment and supply ($6.30m); wastewater ($10.36m); stormwater ($4.21m) and other targeted rates ($2.18m).

To read the rest of the Sunlive news article, click here.

New businesses and more than 2900 jobs

Date posted: June 15, 2018

Business is booming in Tauranga with hundreds of new businesses and more than 2900 jobs created last year.

Data from Infometrics commissioned from Priority One shows in 2017 there were 798 new business units in the city and 2980 new jobs.

The city’s economic agency also said it was liaising with national and international companies that are interested in doing business and could pump hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy.

A Ministry for Business Innovation and Employment Regional Overview Report revealed 66 per cent of all companies in Tauranga were solely owner operated. Companies employing one to five staff were the second largest group, employing 3084 staff, and 72 companies employed more than 100 people.

Priority One business partnership manager Mark Irving said it was in discussions with a multi-national retail and distribution company, an international software and telecommunications company, an Auckland-based marine company and a Danish composite engineering company.

They were considering Tauranga as a business location, he said.

International corporations from Japan, South Africa, United States, China, Russia, Switzerland and India had also visited recently to investigate developing large-scale projects, primarily in the infrastructure and emerging technology sectors.

”When businesses expand or relocate they bring more people to the region through staff and associated families.’

”Their skills widen the offerings that the Western Bay of Plenty have on offer and act as attractors of talent to the region. More people, in turn, increases retail opportunities and as a result, we see solid growth in our overall region.”

There had also been a notable increase of local companies expanding their operations. The majority were relocating to Tauriko Business Estate, he said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said, ”Tauranga is still on a roll”.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news item, click here.

Council pulls back on steep rates rise for business

Date posted: June 2, 2018

Major changes to Tauranga’s rating system will be phased in over the next three years.

In spite of strong opposition from the business community, the council chose to press on with the reintroduction of a differential that will increase the burden for commercial ratepayers.

It will be less severe, however, than the 1:1.6 ratio initially proposed. The council settled on a 1:1.2 differential, to be gradually introduced over the next three years.

Brooke Courtney, president of the Bay of Plenty Property Council, which lobbied against a differential, said the decision was “disappointing and short-sighted”.

“Businesses are being told – not asked – to pay more without any evidence of how it will benefit them,” she said.

The Uniform Annual General Charge – a proportion of each year’s rates take split evenly among ratepayers regardless of property value – will be reduced from 30 per cent to 15 per cent in 5 per cent increments over three years.

Councillors agreed to set a targeted resilience rate but scrapped a proposed targeted rate for city centre improvements.

Staff were asked to continue reviewing targeted rate options, and to specifically look into options to rate online short-term accommodation providers.

The final rates increases have yet to be set but councillors are aiming for 3.8 per cent next year.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Tauranga museum and library on the skids

Date posted: May 29, 2018

Elected officials have voted down Tauranga’s $55m museum project.

The decision came after a heated debate watched by a full public gallery.

The general theme of those who voted against the proposal was that while many members of the public may like the idea of the museum, they did not want one with a price tag of $55 million – even if the council’s contribution was capped at $15m.

Councillors have also said no to spending $42.3 million new central library.

After the vote, split five to six, the issue was put aside to see if an alternative proposal can be worked up over the next couple of days.

Earlier: Dozens of people turned out to watch the council decide the future of a potential Tauranga museum and a new central library this afternoon.

Many are bearing placards supporting the museum proposal.

The future of both projects were looking shakey following Tauranga City Council’s decision this morning to attempt to bring the rates rise back to 3.8 per cent for 2018-19.

That was down from a 6.8 per cent increase in the draft being debated today, and the 9.7 per cent the council consulted the public on.

In a split decision, councillors voted to instate a “preferred” rates increase cap of 2 per cent plus CPI after growth.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Chamber backs $3b transport plan for Tauranga

Date posted: May 29, 2018

Tauranga needs billions, not tens or hundreds of millions, in funding dollars to get its public transport network moving into the 21st century, says a coalition of local community groups.

Twenty groups have backed a $3 billion action plan for a congestion-free public transport network in Tauranga within the next decade.

The Tauranga Transport Alignment Project (TTAP) was developed by the Sustainable Business Network and other groups. It was modelled on the $28b Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).

Free buses for all children, commuter ferries in the harbour, passenger rail, rapid transport buses, ridesharing and cycleways all feature in the plan, which has a goal to make public transport faster and cheaper than cars at peak times for most people.

The groups have leaned on the Tauranga City Council and the Bay of Plenty Regional Council to fast-track major public and alternative transport projects, urging them to apply for bigger shares of the transport funding offered by the coalition Government.

But as councils sit down to refine their transport priorities this month, some plan advocates were worried reactionary plans for quick congestion fixes would trump bold planning for future of the network as a whole.

Plan spokesman Glen Crowther said the “demotion” of new Tauranga bus services to number 12 on the overall funding priority list in the Bay of Plenty Regional Land Transport Plan last week was concerning.

He believed it should be near the top of the list – which will inform central government funding decisions – alongside safety improvements to State Highway 2.

The council had received more than 800 pro-public transport submissions to back that up, he said.

The 20 groups supporting the plan include the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Mixed reaction to budget 2018

Date posted: May 18, 2018

Much like the region’s mayors, Tauranga’s city leaders were expecting more investment into local infrastructure from the Government’s 2018 budget announcement.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec described Thursday’s announcement as unspectacular, predictable and fiscally restrained.

Gregec said it was hard to see what the plan was for economic growth, especially for the regions, which were “desperate for much-needed investment in roads and infrastructure”.

“Grant Robertson has splashed money in the areas we expected, but has resisted the temptation of a full-on splurge,” Gregec said.

He said there were no surprises for businesses that had not already been signalled.

“The Research and Development tax credits will be generally welcome,” he said.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt was pleased to see a “fiscally conservative” budget and applauded the additional investment in healthcare and social services.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Chamber supports Tauranga Transport Plan

Date posted: May 15, 2018

Fifteen organizations from across the Western BOP today released their proposal for a Tauranga Transport Alignment Project. The TTAP covers the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region and speeds up investments in transport infrastructure from the current 30 year timeframe, so that all key projects would be to implemented within the next decade.

Based on Auckland’s successful ATAP proposal, the same per capita spend as Auckland would see up to $3 billion invested into the Western Bay’s transport system from 2018-2028.

Councils are being asked to support a bolder plan for public transport, incorporating rapid transit infrastructure and bus priority measures, as well as protecting rail corridors and investigating passenger rail. The TTAP would leverage off the funding increases recently announced by central government for cycling, public transport and rapid transit.

Spokesperson Glen Crowther from Sustainable Business Network said “This is a golden opportunity, as Tauranga is the only city in NZ that can tap into rapid transit funding over the next 6 years as well as the Provincial Growth Fund”.

The Provincial Growth Fund can be used to top-up the local share for transport projects in surge regions such as the Bay of Plenty, and to speed up projects that are strategically important. All funding requests to central government need to get into the Regional Land Transport Plan, which must be signed off by Bay of Plenty councils before the end of June.

Mr Crowther said “We are pushing for projects that offer people better and safer transport options, ensure efficient movement of freight, and help to reduce transport emissions. Public transport infrastructure is a great fit, as a good public transport system will meet all those goals.”

BOP District Health Board Medical Officer of Health Phil Shoemack said that moving to a multi-modal transport system is essential. “Recent research has shown that we would save 50 lives a year in Tauranga alone if it had the same mode share as Wellington. That means doubling the number of people in the city who travel walk, bike or bus. If you add in the wider health benefits, it makes a compelling case to significantly increase investments into safer cycleways and public transport.”

Greater Tauranga spokesperson Heidi Hughes said “The core of the proposal is a Congestion Free Network would make it faster and cheaper to get around the city by public transport.” The goal is for travel by public transport between central Tauranga, Greerton, Hairini, Poike, Mount, Arataki, Papamoa and Omokoroa to be cheaper and faster than by car at peak times.

“If that is to happen, it will require a massive increase in public transport funding. We currently spend about 1/9 of what Wellingtonians spend on their public transport system, so we are proposing big increases for the existing bus network and for bus rapid transit.”

The TTAP focuses on a 5 Point Action Plan:

1. Develop a “Congestion Free” Public Transport Network based along these corridors:

a. Central Corridor – Cameron Road from CBD to Barkes Corner

b. Eastern Corridor – CBD to Papamoa / Te Tumu

c. Southern Corridor – 15th Ave/Turret Rd from Cameron Road to Hairini and along SH 29A

d. North-western Corridor – along SH 2 from CBD to Omokoroa

e. Western Corridor – CBD to Tauriko

  • Implement Bus Rapid Transit and bus priority measures, as well as rideshare facilities.
  • Develop business case for commuter ferries – CBD, Mount, Omokoroa and islands.
  • Protect corridors for future rail or light rail and investigate passenger rail opportunities.
  • Buses every 20 minutes throughout city, every 10 minutes on key routes at peak times.

2. Free Buses for school-age children on all Bay Hopper and School Hopper buses.

3. Complete the Tauranga City Cycleways network within a decade – focus on schools.

4. Address key congestion points in the roading network based on a multi-modal approach.

5. Comprehensive Demand Management programme, incorporating rideshare apps and MaaS.

“The rationale for the TTAP is sound.” said Chamber of Commerce CEO Stan Gregec. “The Western Bay of Plenty is a strategically significant location and the port, state highways and arterial routes around Tauranga are a nationally important transport hub.”

“With massive growth predicted for the kiwifruit and forestry sectors and 40,000 new dwellings proposed for Tauranga over the next 30 years, there is an urgent need for a safer, more efficient, and more resilient transport network.”

Organizations Endorsing the TTAP:

BOP Community Trails Trust

Bike Mount

Bike Now BOP

BOP District Health Board

Envirohub BOP

Greater Tauranga

Ngai Tamarawaho and Ngati te Wai

Ngai Te Rangi iwi

Ngati Pukenga iwi


Sustainable Business Network

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce

Tauranga Connect

Te Puke EDG

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology

Kiwifruit labour shortage in the Bay of Plenty

Date posted: May 8, 2018

A seasonal labour shortage has been officially declared in the Bay of Plenty for the first time in more than a decade, as the kiwifruit industry comes under pressure from a “perfect storm” of factors.

The Ministry of Social Development said the region needed an additional 1200 workers to pick and pack a bumper kiwifruit crop over the next month.

Industry groups and businesses said the labour shortage was the worst in years and a lack of available workers – especially backpackers and international students – was to blame, not pay rates.

Zespri, however, was not expecting the labour situation to have any material impact on the season or delay fruit reaching markets as planned.
The ministry’s regional commissioner, Mike Bryant, said the declaration made it easier for overseas people on visitors visas to come and work in the Bay of Plenty.

It followed similar declarations in Hawke’s Bay and Tasman this year.

The last labour shortage declaration in the Bay of Plenty was in 2004.

Bryant said the ministry found kiwifruit jobs for 1000 people between January and April, and estimated a further 80 to 100 would come through Work and Income, but that was not enough to fill the 1200 vacancies.

He pointed to a strong kiwifruit season, decrease in international students, the industry bouncing back from the PSA disease and a relatively low unemployment rate as factors that led to the shortage.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Chamber opposed to TCC rates proposal

Date posted: April 16, 2018

The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce has slated the Tauranga City Council over its proposals to change the rating system, and believes that the way it has gone about including these into its draft Long Term Plan is unsatisfactory, and may even breach its own policies.

Chamber CEO Stan Gregec was commenting on the Chamber’s submission on the Council’s draft Long Term Plan, which closes for consultation today.

“You don’t just spring changes like this on an unprepared and uninformed community, and then give it a one-month window to express its views,” says Mr Gregec.

“I’ve been knocking on the doors of many local businesses, and it’s fair to say a good number of people are still completely in the dark about what the Council is proposing.”

“Council has not even done ratepayers the courtesy of writing to them individually to let them know that major changes are in the wind. Instead we have had announcements by way of social media and a few public meetings. Is this really good enough?”

In its submission the Chamber says that for any significant change to the current rating system business owners would have expected to be involved in a more robust consultation process initiated by Council. Such a process would have signaled that the current rating system was no longer fit for purpose; and invited all the city’s ratepayers into a conversation about what could be done about it.

“This should have happened a year ago,” says Mr Gregec. “Instead, we had a series of internal workshops at the Council where staff and elected members decided that they could not go to ordinary ratepayers with the prospect of a massive rates hike; therefore, it was convenient to look at how more of the burden could be shifted to the business community.”

“This is not the way to get the business community on side with change, or to inspire confidence in the Council’s decision-making,” says Mr Gregec.

Mr Gregec stressed that Tauranga businesses are not against paying their fair share of Council rates. There may even be a case for increasing the contribution of rates that businesses currently pay. But a new rates structure must be the outcome of a fair and effective consultation process with the community.

To read the Chamber’s full Submission on the 2018-28 Long Term Plan, click below.

Chamber’s full Submission on the 2018-28 Long Term Plan

Time to speak out about rates hike

Date posted: April 4, 2018

How do you justify a rates increase of 60% in a single year?

That’s a question some business owners will be asking when they find out how much Tauranga City Council is proposing to bill them for this year’s rates. And that’s just the start. Further increases are on the cards for Tauranga business ratepayers in Years 2 and 3 of the Council’s new ten-year plan – out for consultation until April 16th.

As part of a major reform of the current rating system, the Council proposes to introduce a business rate differential – which means that businesses will pay 20% more than residential ratepayers this year relative to a property’s value, rising to 40% more next year and 60% more in 2020. There are other changes on top of this, including a new targeted applying to all properties in the CBD.

Underpinning it all is a core belief – not backed by much evidence – that the commercial sector profits disproportionately from Council services and city improvements: this justifies it being asked to pay more.  When pressed for specifics, the Council’s CEO Garry Poole has mentioned things like ‘improved speed of delivery, transport and logistics’ and amenities that (supposedly) add extra value to businesses and attract high quality staff to Tauranga.

Not surprisingly, the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce – representing 850 business members – is opposed to the rates proposal in its current form. It objects to the notion that businesses can be treated as a cash cow to spare the impact of the Council’s spending plans on residential ratepayers.

Let’s get one thing straight. The business community is not opposed to paying its fair share of Council rates; and there may even be a case for making a higher contribution than it currently pays. However, there are serious problems with the Council’s plan as it currently stands.

Missed Opportunity

In the Chamber’s view, it is not acceptable that the Council has sprung the rates plan on an unprepared business community, giving only a short window for ‘consultation’; at the very least it should have signaled a year ago that the current rating system was no longer fit for purpose; and it could have initiated a community-wide conversation about the Council’s ongoing financial sustainability.

Unfair impacts

The Council is proposing to move from the current system of parity between commercial and residential ratepayers to one where businesses will pay a 60% bigger share within three years. That’s a huge jump to make in a very short period, considering the other changes being made at the same time – such as bringing in the new targeted city centre rate.

With some businesses already facing a 60% rates increase in just the first year, it’s not difficult to imagine what the full impact will be over three years. For some the hit will be big enough to make business owners, especially in the CBD, think seriously about whether to stay put or to pick up sticks.

Backwards Step

Tauranga used to have a business rate differential but that was abandoned in the early 2000s when the Council of the day concluded that it was an unfair and unjustified way of putting an extra burden on the business community. At that time the Council understood that businesses needed the very opposite – support and encouragement – if they were to continue to grow and contribute to the economic prosperity of the region.

Now, a decade or more later, we seem to be heading backwards. As study after study has shown, ‘differential rates tend to be set arbitrarily without explicit justification in terms of the benefits provided.’ Not only are they a blunt instrument for Councils to wield, but they can be seen as something of a lazy option – given that there are far better ways for Councils to fund services and costs that benefit specific groups or interests. Targeted rates make way more sense.

What can you do?

The draft 2018/28 Long Term Plan is open for consultation from 16th March to 16th April 2018. The consultation document is available on the council website as well as details of public consultation meetings.

The Chamber will be making a submission on behalf of its members, and encourages business owners to do the same. If you need help to make your submission, contact the Chamber and we can give you a steer.


BOP tourism explores new direction

Date posted: April 3, 2018

The good news for the Coastal Bay of Plenty is that tourists spent a record $1 billion last year. The less good news – at least for some business ratepayers – is that Tourism Bay of Plenty is seeking increased annual council funding of around $620,000 to help support a new and better targeted approach.

Tourism BOP says the increase would make its funding more aligned with other similar-sized Regional Tourism Organisations (RTOs).

And it would underpin its efforts to drill down and gain a better understanding of exactly who comes to the region and why, and to transition from largely promotional activities to what the industry describes as destination management.

“It would be reckless to allow this level of growth without a considered management plan. We are aiming to grow the visitor economy on our terms, with the right visitors at the right time, for the benefit of the region,” said Tourism BOP chief executive Kristin Dunne.

“Destination management is the coordinated management of all the elements that make up a region. It is the key to controlling tourism’s environmental impacts and preserving the region’s unique identity.”

Dunne told Bay of Plenty Business News the move was part of a long-term strategy that was attempting to balance growth with a solid management plan. As part of this process, the tourism body has put together a 10-year Visitor Economy Strategy. This has forecast that the visitor economy will grow by more than 50 percent by 2028, positioning tourism as one of the larger economic contributors to the region.

“The additional funding will allow us to do a lot more research so that we can better understand the visitors and we could be making insight-led decisions. That’s really at the heart of destination management – it’s making sure we understand who the visitors are, where they’re coming from, and what they need.”

The reality was that currently the research data was very poor, Dunne said. The BOP is a region with many entry and exit points, making measurement of visitors difficult.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Chief executive Stan Gregec said he was in principle supportive of something that at least reflected a more targeted approach to council funding.

“We are a membership-based organisation that is a proxy for the business community,” he said.

“Tourism BOP is 100-per cent funded by councils and we have been asked to support them getting another $620,000 a year. Clearly it’s the general business community that is going to have to pay for this eventually through rates. But at least it would be an example of a targeted rate so we would know in theory where those funds were going to be spent.”

He was speaking in the context of the current opposition by many in the business community to the proposed shift to businesses paying higher rates.

“We do understand there is a national formula for tourist organisations and Tourism BOP has a bit of catchup to do. I support the destination management approach. But their focus till now has been on promoting, and they’ve done very little to coordinate what happens at this end. I would have thought, given the money they have been getting for external promotion for years, that it would have been a good idea to have done some of that analysis already.”

To read the full article in Bay of Plenty Business News, click here.

Western Bay council seeks feedback on plan for next decade

Date posted: March 23, 2018

From today the public can give feedback on the Western Bay of Plenty District Council’s plans and budget for the next 10 years.

A consultation document giving an overview of what the council has decided are its most important issues, priorities and projects for the next decade is out for consultation.

The Long-Term Plan 2018-2028 – a budget and information about the projects the council will take on – has been developed over the past 14 months.

The proposed overall average rates increase for the 2018-2019 year to fund the plans is 3.1 per cent.

The consultation period will close at 4pm on Friday, May 4.

For more information about the plan visit the council’s consultation website.

You can also talk to council staff and elected members about the plans at community meetings:

•Katikati – Saturday, April 14, 10am – 12pm
•Te Puke – Sunday, April 15, 10am – 12pm
•Council Chambers – Thursday, April 19, 5pm – 7pm
•Omokoroa – Saturday, April 21, 10am – 12pm
•Waihi Beach – Saturday, April 28, 10am – 12pm.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Kiwifruit workers needed

Date posted: March 21, 2018

Seasonal workers for the Bay of Plenty’s billion-dollar kiwifruit industry are in hot demand as pack houses prepare for a bumper harvest – with one estimating its volumes will be up by 20 per cent.

The news comes hard on the heels of the Ministry for Social Development declaring a worker shortage for fruit pickers in Hawke’s Bay which allows overseas visitors, who already hold visitor permits, to get permits to work.

A report by the University of Waikato also shows the kiwifruit industry and associated sectors pumped $1.8 billion into the Bay of Plenty economy last year.

Apata Group Ltd chief financial officer Eugene Crosby said it needed 400 casuals to supplement the permanent work force at its Katikati plant, up from 350 last season.

He said the kiwifruit industry was potentially ”heading down the same path” as Hawke’s Bay so the apple pack houses were not exaggerating the problem they were facing.

Finding staff could be a challenge, Crosby said.

”It is a real struggle the foot traffic off the street which we normally get from backpackers and locals is very slow and well down on previous years. Other pack houses we have spoken to in the Bay here have indicated the same issue.”

Apata was looking for forklift drivers, packers, graders, stackers, quality control, ”you name it we’re employing”.

Last season it packed six million trays at Katikati and he said that could climb to 7.5 million trays due to the green yield bounce back and continuing higher overall numbers of gold kiwifruit.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

Tauranga’s proposed $2.4b spend on city assets

Date posted: March 15, 2018

Tauranga City Council proposes to spend $2.4 billion on new city assets and people are encouraged to have their say about it.

Elected members today adopted the consultation document for the Long Term Plan, which outlines the council’s plans and key proposals for the next 10 years.

Consultation on the plan opens tomorrow and closes at 4pm on April 16.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said the plan proposed $2.4b investment in new city assets, as well as an expenditure that focused on meeting new environmental standards, investigating and responding to the increased threats of natural hazards, and facilities that make Tauranga a great place to live.

“Our priority as we develop the plan is responding to rapid growth and funding it in the most affordable and streamlined way,” Mr Brownless said.

“We also need to meet community needs and expectations and be open to opportunities that deliver economic and social prosperity.

“Trying to balance these needs means we need to increase rates, in order to deliver crucial infrastructure and services.”

Brownless said the plan affected all ratepayers and residents across the city, so it was important everyone gave their feedback.

“This is your chance to influence the long-term direction and priorities of the council, so I encourage you all to have a say.”

Brownless acknowledged the plan currently proposed a significant rates increase of an average of 8.8 per cent per year.

“We are expecting to receive a lot of feedback about that before we make a decision.”

Significant areas of expenditure included:
•underground infrastructure to support both new and existing residential and commercial areas;
•a new water treatment plant;
•upgraded wastewater systems;
•new and improved roads and cycleways; and
•parks, urban enhancement and community facilities such as a library and playgrounds.

Other issues the council is seeking feedback on for its Long Term Plan are:
•rating structure changes;
•finding the right level of investment in public transport and roading;
•waste and recycling options;
•museum and library proposals;
•elder housing provision;
•funding for tourism, arts and culture; and
•tsunami alerts and resilience.

The consultation document outlines all these topics, as well as other items the council is consulting on and other issues that may affect the plan over the next 10 years.

More information, including the consultation document, submission forms and a rates calculator, is on council’s LTP webpage:

Customers can also pick up a copy of the consultation document in the Customer Service Centre or any library, or request a copy by calling 07 577 7000.

Air NZ adds more Tauranga flights

Date posted: March 9, 2018

Air New Zealand will increase capacity into and out of Tauranga by adding a new weekday Wellington return flight and operating the larger ATR aircraft on early morning flights to Auckland. 

The national carrier’s extra flight to the capital will start this April, aiming to meet demand during peak business times.

The extra flight means there will now be two peak morning flights departing Tauranga before 7.30am.

The schedule also sees existing morning flights to Auckland retimed with two peak morning weekday flights for the business community. Both early morning flights will be operated by the airline’s68-seat ATR aircraft.

Some other evening services into Tauranga from Auckland will also be operated by the larger ATR aircraft.

The changes reflect capacity growth on Tauranga services of more than 20 per cent over the winter months compared to the same period last year. The finalised schedule sees a total of 87 return flights from Tauranga to the two cities per week.

Tourism Bay of Plenty Chief Executive Officer Kristin Dunne says she is delighted with the extra capacity, with the airport acting as an important gateway for visitors to Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty.

“We have been in discussions with Air New Zealand for quite some time to help this become a reality and meet the needs of a growing economy.

“This is a show of faith from Air New Zealand in recognising the exponential growth this region has experienced – one that is forecast to continue.”

Tauranga Airport manager Ray Dumble says greater numbers help to enhance operational efficiency.

He adds that Tauranga is one of the fastest-growing airports in New Zealand in terms of arrivals and departures, and that more connectivity will be great for the city.

“With the constant migration of families and businesses from the likes of Auckland to here, we are seeing increased demand for flights. This applies especially during peak business times.

“I applaud Air New Zealand for addressing this issue by adding more flights and creating a user-friendly schedule – and I have no doubt our business community does too.

 “This will only further enhance Tauranga’s reputation as a leading airport and destination.”

Air New Zealand Regional Affairs Manager Ian Collier says it’s terrific to see continued strong demand for services into and out of Tauranga.

“We are pleased we have been able to achieve this additional capacity at peak business times on both our Tauranga-Wellington and Tauranga-Auckland routes.

“This is a result of collaboration between the local Chamber, airport, council and Bay of Plenty Tourism, and will be of great benefit to the wider community.”

The new schedule will be published progressively.

To read the original Sunlive news story, click here.

Business expo kicks off today in Tauranga

Date posted: March 7, 2018

The inaugural Bay of Plenty/Waikato Business Expo kicked off today.

The event was opened this morning by Waikato MP Tim van de Molen with exhibitors attending from across the North Island.

Billed as “the expo where business gets done”, organisers said it was a valuable chance for companies to tap into one of New Zealand’s most prosperous regions which was home to an estimated 700,000 people and 85,000 businesses.

Event Director Sharon Giblett of Jigsaw Solutions Group said entrepreneurs, businesses and professionals from as far away as Auckland, Wellington and Taupo would be exhibiting at the event and were keen to be part of the action.

“This expo is more than a networking event. With quality exhibitors in attendance it’s a place to tap into expert knowledge, create new opportunities, generate leads and connect with customers and suppliers that can effectively grow your business,” she said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said he was delighted to see the regional Business Expo concept come to Tauranga, and to see that it was being so well supported.

“The Chambers of Commerce from Tauranga, Hamilton and Rotorua are all involved and will share a presence at the expo,” Gregec said.

“We think the success of the inaugural event is a good barometer of the local economies in our wider regions at the moment. Tauranga is part of this network of growth regions, with so much happening, and we are thrilled that we can play host to this event this year.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Tauranga top city in NZ for GDP growth

Date posted: March 2, 2018

Tauranga is the top performing city in New Zealand across all measures of economic activity, new data shows.

Data commissioned by Priority One from Infometrics shows in 2017 Tauranga had the highest GDP growth for a city at 6.6 per cent – well ahead of Auckland’s 5.2 per cent.

Business and employment growth also outstripped every other city at 5.3 per cent and 4.6 per cent respectively – with nearly 800 new business units and almost 3000 new jobs created last year.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said it was an outstanding performance and boded well for the future.

”The underlying fundamentals of our economy are very strong, which bodes well for growth in the medium term.”

Tauranga also had a more significant increase in knowledge-intensive jobs than the national average, at 3.9 per cent versus 2.1 per cent.

“We increasingly see the development of a comprehensive innovation ecosystem in the region, so it’s great that this is now being reflected in results through the growth of knowledge-intensive employment. One of the key areas of job growth has been professional, scientific and technical services, where 288 new jobs have been created in the last year,”

A stand out was the city centre, which had an expansion across all indicators, including 7.6 per cent growth in GDP.

“It is particularly heartening to see a large number of quarternary businesses based in the city centre – those that have a good proportion of staff with degrees, in management positions or working in professional or technical occupations,”

Tauranga was on a roll and showed no signs of letting up, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said.

”It’s fantastic to see employment growth and business growth of this scale. I think Tauranga is in a new era, and the $10 Tauranga tag is well and truly history.”

”What we’re seeing is the growth of many new skilled and professional jobs that are attracting high-quality people and their families from all directions. Combined with an unbeatable lifestyle and convenience of being located in the ‘Golden Growth Triangle’, it all adds up.”

The chamber had seen lots of new small businesses popping up all over the place, he said.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty News story, click here.


Hats off to Simon Bridges

Date posted: February 27, 2018

Tauranga MP Simon Bridges’ appointment as the new leader of the National Party has been hailed as good news for Tauranga.

Bridges was announced as the party’s new leader this afternoon, while Paula Bennett had retained the deputy’s role.

The pair emerged from today’s caucus vote with wide grins after securing the leadership in a vote held behind closed door.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the announcement was “brilliant news” for Tauranga.

“It certainly put us on the map as the place where things are happening,” Gregec said.

“I know he’s [Bridges] got a great local team in place, so we have every expectation that his new role will deliver for Tauranga and the Tauranga economy,” he said.

Bridges’ long-time secretary Maree Brookes was “crying” with happiness when she heard the news Bridges was the new leader of the National Party.

She said the appointment was well deserved.

“I think it’s great, I’m so happy.”

Tauranga Labour MP Jan Tinetti said having Simon Bridges as the new Opposition leader meant great things for Tauranga.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

For reaction from other Tauranga/Western Bay leaders, click here.

Rates rise explanation called ‘airy-fairy’ by Tauranga businessman

Date posted: February 23, 2018

The Tauranga City Council has been accused of being ”airy-fairy” with its explanation of why businesses should be paying a bigger share of city rates.

The accusation was levelled after council chief executive Garry Poole and chief financial officer Paul Davidson had completed their presentation to a meeting of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce.

Nelson Tkatch of eSuccess Strategies said what mattered was what the council would do with the extra money it received from the commercial sector.

He said the presentation contained no compelling results of how businesses would benefit from paying more.

”It came across as airy-fairy,” he said at yesterday’s meeting to hear why the council proposed to introduce a commercial rate differential.

TaurangaClub-22Feb18The change would be phased in over three years. Instead of commercial ratepayers paying 14 per cent of the total general rate, as they do now, they would end up paying 22 per cent. Businesses that now paid the same rate in the dollar as householders would pay 60 per cent more.

Poole responded that the council had invested in the tidal steps that transformed the waterfront, contributed to the Bay Oval lights and spent $100,000 on the Paradox Festival.

He said the council wanted to make Tauranga a better place to live. ”The CBD is our premier space.”

Mayor Greg Brownless said a 1.6 differential was the lowest in New Zealand. The average was 2.3 and the highest was Wellington’s 2.8 differential.

The presentation described the current rating system as regressive, inequitable and ”overly constrained by affordability”. The proposal would rebalance who paid for the investment in Tauranga.

Tauranga Mainstreet chairman Brian Berry accepted the city was going through growing pains but said CBD retailers were being smashed in all directions.

If retailers were unable to pass on the higher costs into higher prices the only option was less profit. Reduced profit margins meant they might go out of business or relocate.

Poole said the council’s project team was working closely with people generating change in the downtown including Farmers and the developers of the former Westpac site at the bottom of Devonport Rd.

He said they were concerned about how to keep the area functioning while the Westpac building was demolished. A 12-storey downtown Wellington building had been brought down in one week.

Chamber chief executive Stan Gregec said after the meeting that business people were not opposed to paying their fair share but if support had been enlisted much earlier in the process, other options may have been identified and all sections of the community would have been better prepared.

”That would seem to us to have been a much stronger basis of consultation than the seemingly predetermined outcome the council is now trying to sell to a sceptical business community.”

Impact of Tauranga City Council rates changes on commercial ratepayers
– 285 properties (8 per cent) pay less rates than now.
– 972 properties (29 per cent) pay more.
– 1816 properties (54 per cent) would pay up to an extra $20 a week.
– 59 properties (top 2 per cent) would pay one-third of the total increase in commercial rates.

Proposed rate rises in the CBD over the next three years
– $915,000 property: 38 per cent increase
– $4 million property: 56 per cent increase
– $10 million property: 71 per cent increase
Source: Brian Berry of Mainstreet Tauranga

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty News story, click here.

TCC Presentation on ProposedRatesChange  (presented at the meeting)

TCC Presentation of FutureoftheCity  (presented at the meeting)

Report highlights Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty issues

Date posted: February 20, 2018

Planning for the region’s growth, cost of living, and transport and roading networks are the three biggest issues facing Tauranga and the Western Bay, according to a new report.

The Acorn Foundation’s Vital Signs 2018 research report, released today, surveyed 1939 local residents – 1047 from Tauranga and 892 from Western Bay of Plenty.

Fifty per cent of respondents said planning for the region’s growth was one of the biggest issues, 40 per cent said it was the cost of living and 39 per cent opted for transport and roading networks.

Drug and alcohol abuse was identified as one of the most serious issues facing the region by 22 per cent of respondents and caring for the environment by 21 per cent.

Acorn Foundation general manager Nicky Wilkins said it was important for Acorn as a local funder to know it was responding to the needs identified by the community.

“[It’s important] that we are actually funding the charities in the sectors where the community think funding needs to be made.”

Wilkins, who announced this month she would be stepping down from her role, said she was proud to have been involved in bringing Vital Signs to the Western Bay.

It was the second Vital Signs study of the area – the first was released in 2015.

“I can now see that it’s an incredibly valuable tool for this region.”

The report also looked at community perceptions of social and cultural wellbeing, health and well-being, economic well-being and environmental well-being, as well as 14 sub-categories.

No sub-category or overall topic received an A grade (excellent) in the report, with the highest score being a B (good) for the economy and sports and recreation.

However, grade improvements were made in nine of 14 sub-categories reviewed since 2015.

The lowest grade this year was C (average) for housing and reducing inequity, which also received the lowest grade in 2015.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Regional council hikes Tauranga rates by 54%

Date posted: February 16, 2018

A hefty rise in Bayhopper bus subsidies has driven a proposed $133 average Tauranga rates rise this year by the regional council.

It represented a 54 per increase by a council that had historically kept its rates low by using income from its majority shareholding in the Port of Tauranga.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Council which had environmental protection, flood control and transport as its major functions, yesterday signed off its 10-year plan for public consultation.

Tauranga ratepayers will this year contribute nearly 50 per cent of the council’s general rate levied across the whole of the Bay of Plenty.

The increase for Tauranga was mainly driven by the decision to end the cross-subsidisation of Tauranga’s bus service by all the region’s ratepayers.

The council currently collected $18 from each regional ratepayer to help subsidise Tauranga’s buses. Shifting the whole of the subsidy on to the shoulders of Tauranga ratepayers would lift each householder’s contribution to public transport by $82.

Ratepayers would also be up for an additional $31 contribution to the general rate while a new targeted rate to fund the Bay’s Civil Defence would cost each ratepayer an additional $20.

Western Bay district ratepayers face an overall regional rates rise this year of $64 – a 26 per cent increase. It was driven by $20 for Civil Defence, a $30 lift in the general rate and the introduction of public transport subsidies of $13.

The Long Term Plan outlined how council operating costs would total $1.4 billion over the next 10 years, starting with a $7 million increase next year to $135m.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Migration to Tauranga up, jobs tight

Date posted: February 11, 2018

Permanent and long-term migration into Tauranga continues to rise, with more than 2500 people arriving in the city last year from countries around the world.

But many of those newcomers are finding it hard to break into the job market and organisations in Tauranga are doing what they can to help.

There were 2594 arrivals in Tauranga in 2017, according to the latest permanent and long-term migration data released by Statistics NZ.

That is 193 more people than the year before and 351 more than in 2015.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the organisation was seeing many migrants arriving in Tauranga looking for opportunities for themselves and their families.

“Many would prefer traditional jobs, but find that it can be difficult to break into Tauranga’s tight job market – particularly if they don’t have specific skills.”

He said there were also entrepreneurial people arriving in Tauranga who were prepared to carve out a new niche for themselves or buy into an established business.

“One thing about migrants, they are highly motivated and willing to look at anything.”

The Chamber of Commerce has run two New Kiwi Career Success courses designed to prepare migrants for the New Zealand job market and show them what works and what does not in the local business environment.

So far the courses have attracted about 20 people all up and there is another one planned this month. In some cases introductions have been made to local businesses.

To read the original Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

What’s coming up in the workplace in 2018

Date posted: February 10, 2018

The Labour-led coalition government has made it clear that employer-employee relations and workplace conditions will be a key focus for legislative change this year. In the pipeline are a raft of changes, from increasing the minimum wage and pushing for equal pay, to new arrangements for contractors, and a possible return to collective bargaining.

How dramatic the workplace shakeup will prove to be in practice remains unclear.

We have already seen the government adopt a milder approach than some expected to the issue of the 90-day probationary period, one of the more controversial of the new government’s legacies from the previous government.

In late January, the government announced that it had effectively allowed small businesses to continue to have the right to fire workers without reason during the first three months of their employment.

The new approach will only ban 90-day trial periods for employers with more than 19 workers. But given more than 95 percent of employers – especially in the Bay- are small and medium-sized enterprises, in practise nothing much will change.

The minimum wage is to rise by 75c to $16.50 an hour from April 1, with increases set to continue with a targeted minimum wage of $20 by April 2021.

“The minimum wage is probably going to be a big issue for most employers,” said Moorcroft.

“The living wage has been a hot topic for the last little while. We all know the cost of living is going up and from a social point of view a wage increase is probably a good thing.

“The problem is the SMEs are going to be the most affected. There is a heap of small businesses out there that have pretty slim profit margins. They rely a lot on employees on the minimum wage. The extra few bucks could be the difference between a profitable small business and not.”

Steven Farrant, chairman of the Small Business Tauranga network, said he understood the principle of looking to increase minimum wage.

“But we have to give consideration as to how that is going to affect small businesses. When a big business implements the new minimum wage it may mean a slight drop in profit. But for a small business, it may mean they simply can’t afford to employ anyone.”

Farrant said that, in his experience in the sector, the owners of small businesses were often the ones paying themselves less.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said it had generally been accepted that New Zealand had a low-wage economy, and making a move to increase the minimum wage was a not unexpected step in the other direction.

“Given that we’ve had several years of strong growth and good profitability for many businesses, I expect that most will take the wage increases in their stride,” he said.

“The extra purchasing power this will put into the economy should compensate for the higher wages being paid. If not, then I imagine employers will simply find other ways to reduce their labour cost.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Business News article, click here.


Business rates proposal causes tension

Date posted: February 6, 2018

A Tauranga City Council proposal that could significantly increase the amount businesses pay in rates has attracted strong opposition from some sectors of the business community.

However, TCC officials argue the change is necessary to help fund needed infrastructure development.

The council voted in December to consult with the community on a series of changes to the rating system, which officials say will bring the city more in line with other major metros. The council has proposed the owners of commercial property in Tauranga should pay up to 60 percent more than residential ratepayers, phased in over three years.

Currently, commercial and residential ratepayers pay the same rate per dollar of property value: a 1:1 ratio.
As of July 1 next year that would change to 1:1.2 residential to commercial, rising to 1:1.4 in 2019 and peaking at 1:1.6 in 2020. The council’s proposed changes also involved halving the Uniform Annual General Charge, which meant about a third of residential ratepayers could see their rates bill drop.

Much of the criticism from local business and property owner representatives has centred on the way the proposal was launched, which they say lacked prior consultation. Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the proposal had caught most of the business community by surprise.

“There was no advance warning to us that this was something the council was considering,” he said. “Nor was there any sense of a robust process in place for a comprehensive review of rates – such as happened in 2003, which is the last time that major changes were made to the rating system.”

Gregec said that while the topic had been discussed in council at various times last year, the business community was left “completely in the dark” until the issue was reported in the media just before Christmas.

“This has left many scrambling to get more information and clarity about what is being proposed, and the logic and justifications behind it.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Business News article, click here.

An information session on the proposed rates changes will be held at The Tauranga Club on Thursday 22 Feb from 7.30am to 9.00am.  To register, click here.

Tauranga businesses slam rates plan

Date posted: January 29, 2018

Two Tauranga business owners say the council’s proposed rates overhaul will cost them thousands.

Richard Drummond, managing director of The Lakes-based Kiwi Bus Builders Ltd, estimated the change would add another $11,000 to the $19,500 general rates portion of his last bill of $32,800.

“What I don’t like is the broad concept that businesses can afford to pay,” he said.

Export businesses like his, which had been around 25 years and employed 185 people in Tauranga, had to compete with manufacturers around the world, he said.

Extra costs could not just be passed on to the consumer if the business was to remain competitive.

Jaime Lunam, the general manager of produce label manufacturing company Jenkins Freshpac, wanted to see evidence that commercial properties cost the council more to service than residential properties.

“Is there an actual imbalance? Is it fair and reasonable that businesses should pay more?”

The cost to the 135-year-old business, which relocated to Tauranga from Auckland in 2013 and had 35 of its 55 staff based in Tauranga, would be “significant”, especially on top of increasing wage and compliance costs.

He said even businesses that did not own commercial land would be affected because most commercial leases required the lessee to pay rates.

Port of Tauranga chief executive Mark Cairns said that with 190 hectares of land, the port was Tauranga’s single largest ratepayer.

He was yet to see the detail of how a differential would impact the port’s rates bill but the council had indicated it would consult with them directly.

To read the Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

An information session on the proposed rates changes will be held at The Tauranga Club on Thursday 22 Feb from 7.30am to 9.00am.  To register, click here.

Housing affordability takes gloss off growth

Date posted: January 24, 2018

Tauranga’s global ranking as the 12th least affordable city to buy a home has ”taken the varnish off the positive side of growth”.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec was responding to the latest housing affordability survey by Demographia International in which Tauranga now out-ranked Auckland as New Zealand’s most unaffordable city and was 12th in the world from a sample of 293 cities.

He said significant market forces were dictating the pace of growth in Tauranga.

The survey, which compared median household income to median house prices and calculated how many years it would take to pay off a median-priced house, showed big challenges were ahead for Tauranga, he said.

Gregec said it highlighted how Tauranga’s basic unaffordability was a strong downside to all the positive indicators of growth.

”The basic fact is that Tauranga is becoming and has become more and more unaffordable for people at the lower end of the market.”

Gregec said you could debate that the survey was skewed because it only focused on median-priced houses which had been influenced by LVR restrictions. But the underlying fact was that Tauranga had always been high priced and prices had jumped in the past two to three years.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

”Boy has it been on a roll.”

Business confidence falls in the Bay

Date posted: January 24, 2018

Confidence in the Bay of Plenty’s economic prospects fell markedly in the last quarter, according to a recent report.

The December Westpac-McDermott Miller Regional Economic Confidence survey has found only 13 per cent of Bay of Plenty households expected the region’s economy to improve.

That compared to 37 per cent recorded for the September quarter.

The Bay of Plenty region was among five regions across the county where economic confidence dropped, and in many cases the reduction was substantial.

Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said the sharp drop in December in the Bay of Plenty region was, in part, likely to be related to the cooling in the housing market.

“We’ve also seen a recent softening of the dairy prices as well as growing sense of unease over the possible impact of government policy on the agricultural sector,” he said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said businesses have had it “pretty good” for the past few years.

“After several years of clear blue skies, where the economy has been going gangbusters, we’ve now got a few clouds gathering and the prospect of some bumps in the road ahead.

Gregec said rather than reflecting pessimism the survey result should be read as uncertainty in a “more unsettling and unknown” environment.

“We still believe conditions are generally favourable to business, and also with the wider world economy, there’s certainly no reason for panic,” he said.

Gregec said the Government’s stated intention to cut back immigration numbers and wind back the clock towards collective bargaining were the two biggest concerns.

“These two things will be setting off alarm bells for bigger employers – who are already struggling with the challenges of finding and retaining experienced staff.”

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Toi Ohomai offers Chamber members half-price study

Date posted: January 18, 2018

If you’re thinking of embarking on tertiary study this year, Toi Ohomai is making your decision a whole lot easier.

Employees of Chamber of Commerce members can choose any course of study and pay just 50% of the normal fees for one paper.

That means if you’ve been planning to upskill, work towards a higher level qualification or try out a new area of interest, you can now sign up at Toi Ohomai at half the price.

Executive Dean Teaching, Learning and Research Dr Amanda Torr says Toi Ohomai wants to encourage Chamber staff to continue learning new skills.

“We want to promote the mind-set that learning never stops – it’s a life-long goal. Business is transforming as fast as technological advancement so it’s a good idea to keep current in your workplace,” she says.

“We’ve got a range of study options available for staff who want to try something new, develop their skills in a specific area, or build on their existing qualification.”

The offer applies to all courses of study from certificate to postgraduate level and is available to New Zealand residents who are employees of the Tauranga, Rotorua, Eastern Bay and Taupō Chambers of Commerce. The discount is available for one course that may be stand alone or part of a larger programme of study.

For more information or to enrol, please contact Toi Ohomai on 0800 86 46 46 or visit Please mention this 50% Chamber of Commerce discount at the time of enrolment.

To download Toi Ohomai Offer to Chamber Members, click A4 Chamber of Commerce Flyer.

$400 rates hike proposed for Tauranga

Date posted: January 6, 2018

Tauranga ratepayers could end up paying an average of $3350 to the city and regional councils this year – the equivalent of $9.18 per day.

This was more than twice the average daily rates burden reported in 2004 when Tauranga’s population reached 100,000. The city’s population is now about 131,500, according to the latest estimate from Statistics New Zealand.

The proposed $400 combined rates increase was driven partly by the regional council’s proposal to shift all its share of running the Tauranga’s Bay Hopper bus service onto city ratepayers.

It meant the targeted rate levied on each Tauranga household to subsidise Bay Hopper’s operating costs would increase by $92 a year.

The regional council currently collected $18 from each regional ratepayer to help subsidise Tauranga’s buses. Shifting all the costs onto city ratepayers would lift the city’s public transport targeted rate from $62 to $154.

The Tauranga City Council’s draft $265 rate increase did not include a proposed new targeted rate for a kerbside waste collection service.

However, the big picture could change dramatically if the city council overhauled its rating system so that businesses paid more and residents less.

The proposed overhaul was described at a recent council meeting as a ”fairer” redistribution of rates from low-value to high-value properties. It could potentially leave more than a third of Tauranga ratepayers paying less this year – but the changes were expected to meet strong opposition from city businesses.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty News article, click here.

Tauranga the new home for New Zealand National Sevens

Date posted: December 21, 2017

New Zealand’s National Sevens Tournament is coming to Tauranga.

The tournament will be played in December to boost the number of top-level players available to play, New Zealand Rugby has announced today.

The change will take effect after January’s Bayleys National Sevens in Rotorua, with the tournament then moving to Tauranga for the following three years starting in December 2018 where Tauranga’s Wharepai Domain will play host to all the on-field action.

The move is hoped to see the best provincial talent available compete. It also aligns the tournament with the high-performance programmes of both the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens.

New Zealand Rugby High-Performance Sevens manager Tony Philp said the move was a great opportunity to get the nation’s top sevens players together at one event.

“Bringing the Nationals Sevens forward to December means that Unions will be able to call on players from their Mitre 10 Cup, Mitre 10 Heartland Championship and Farah Palmer Cup campaigns to be involved which will improve the standard of competition.

“It also provides a platform for selection to the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens for the following World Series.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty News article, click here.

Green light for $50m Cliff Rd museum in Tauranga

Date posted: December 19, 2017

Tauranga City Council has signed off a $50 million museum at Cliff Rd after a nine-to-two split vote this afternoon.

Ratepayers’ contribution to the museum build cost would be capped at $20.65m. They will also be asked to fork out $20m for a new central library. The rest of the funding was expected to be raised from external sources.

The council voted five to four in favour of building a $25m new central library on Willow St.

Both projects will go into the council’s 10-year budget, which will go out for public consultation in the first half of next year.

The council will review their decisions alongside community submissions mid-2018.

Some councillors said they had concerns about a Cliff Rd museum – potential consent delays, Cliff Rd residents’ fears, build and operating cost – but supported putting the project out for public consultation to find out what the community thought.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

The Tauranga Chamber welcomes Council’s commitment to a new museum but has not expressed a view on a preferred location.

Tauranga businesses to pay more rates

Date posted: December 18, 2017

A major overhaul of Tauranga’s rating system will see businesses pay more so some residents can pay less.

Tauranga City Council voted unanimously on Friday to approve two changes that will place a bigger chunk of the rate burden on commercial and industrial ratepayers.

The changes will go out for public consultation early next year and, after review, would be signed off mid-2018.

Some businesses would see their rates bill triple over three years, but it is good news for people with lower valued properties who would be somewhat insulated from the expected big rates increases over the next few years.

The council’s chief financial officer Paul Davidson said Tauranga’s residential ratepayers carried a bigger rates burden than those in other big cities.

The proposed changes represented a “fairer” redistribution of that burden from low-value properties to high-value properties.

The first change was the introduction of a rates differential.

Currently, commercial and residential ratepayers pay the same rate per dollar of property value: a 1:1 ratio.

As of July 1 next year that will change to 1:1.2 residential to commercial, rising to 1:1.4 in 2019 then peaking at 1:1.6 in 2020.

That means the commercial sector will eventually pay a 60 per cent bigger portion of the city’s overall rates bill than homeowners.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the changes would have “major impacts” on commercial ratepayers.

“No doubt the business community will have plenty to say. I am not going to pre-empt those reactions.”

He encouraged commercial ratepayers to make their views known.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Business mentors make an impact

Date posted: December 17, 2017

Maker Design Studio’s Mat McMillan attributes a big part of the company’s success – it won the emerging business category at last month’s Westpac Tauranga Awards – to help from his business mentor Ian Kirkpatrick.

“My wife Cat, who had scaled down her own fulltime work commitment to help build up Maker, had the idea of entering the awards,” said McMillan.

“And she was familiar with the awards process and did the paperwork and legwork. But Ian has been instrumental in helping us make the business the growth success it has been, which is effectively why we won the award.”

McMillan started Maker Design Studio about three years ago to design and create hand-crafted wooden light fittings. By early 2016, he could see the business was beginning to take off. But as essentially a one-man band craftsman in a shed, he was doing everything himself from scratch.

“I had worked in other businesses, but I had no real business training. I’m from a craft background and I was transitioning from that hourly rate thinking to scaling up.”

McMillan said his philosophy had always been that he didn’t want to take on too much risk in terms of increasing staff numbers.

His wife’s decision to become involved boosted the admin and marketing side of the business. but McMillan was still tied up with the operational side. He got in touch with Business Mentors NZ, which is one of the services available from the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce under its Regional Business Partner contract.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Business News article, click here.

Te Puke is Bay’s newest boom town

Date posted: December 7, 2017

Te Puke’s surge in property prices has transformed the sleepy kiwifruit centre into the Western Bay of Plenty’s newest boom town.

Te Puke has experienced the highest surge in property prices in the past year throughout both the Western Bay and Tauranga markets.

In QV figures released yesterday , Te Puke experienced a 14.3 per cent increase in property prices in the year to September 30, 2017. Within the past two years, the price change has surged 49.1 per cent. Further along the Bay coast, Pukehina experienced a 12.8 per cent increase in the past year and 49.4 per cent in the past two.

The figures mean the median house price in Te Puke was $315,500 in 2015. As of October 31, 2017, the median house price is $474,350.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Business confidence falls

Date posted: November 23, 2017

A Chamber survey of businesses in the Northern Region reveals that business confidence has fallen dramatically.

When questioned on their view of the NZ economy in the next six months, only 19% believed it would improve and 32% believed it would deteriorate.  (This compares with 31% and 11% respectively in the last quarterly survey.)

Chamber Chief Executive Stan Gregec said he believed a significant part of the reason was the election and uncertainty created by a change in Government.

“Business operates best in an environment of certainty – when business is confident it employs and invests,” he said.

“The uncertainty around immigration and investment intentions in infrastructure adds to this, but it should be short-lived once the new Government clarified its priorities,” he added.

The survey also revealed that employers were continuing to have difficulty finding the right people with the right skills, with 44% of respondents indicating difficulty recruiting the right talent to grow their business.

Every day is different for winning Bay business

Date posted: November 15, 2017

It is not uncommon for Mount Maunganui’s 1st Call Recruitment to get a phone call at the end of the day requesting 50 people to fill vacancies the next morning.

In fact, general manager Angela Singleton said it was all part of working in recruitment.

She says no two days are the same in recruitment, and at times, recruiting staff can be “like deploying an army”.

“It’s really exciting,” Singleton said.

The company scooped the top prize at Friday’s Westpac Tauranga Business Awards 2017, winning the Westpac Business of the Year award. It also took home the Vodafone Embracing Digital Technology award.

Making up the key 1st Call Recruitment team is Singleton, managing director Phill Van Syp, and national sales manager Bobby Ananiev.

Van Syp said the top tips for a successful business were to focus on processes, having a good team and being happy doing what you do.

Singleton said the business was formed in the Western Bay in 2006 and had since grown to five branches nationally servicing national, international and local companies providing world-class recruitment solutions within temporary, permanent and international recruitment – no matter the industry sector.

She said the company’s roots were firmly planted in the region and they had no plans of changing that.

She believed the company, which had a varied portfolio of clients, had been successful for many reasons from the team to the service they provided.

“We just do things the right way; we deliver on our promises,” Singleton said.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Record number of business developments over $1m consented in Tauranga

Date posted: November 12, 2017

A new Farmers outlet and a convenience centre at Tauriko, an electrical substation in Pyes Pa, and new retirement villas in Papamoa have contributed to a record number of business developments valued at more than $1 million last month.

Priority One’s latest monthly building consent report for October 2017 showed Tauranga City Council recorded $778m in consents issued so far this year, 20 per cent more than the previous high in 2016.

A record 11 large commercial consents totalling $33.4m were issued in October, ahead of the previous month’s $21.8m, according to Priority One.

That included $3.5m for eight two-level offices at Ashley Pl in Papamoa, $4.2m for an electrical substation at Kennedy Rd, $4.7m for a commercial development at Golden Sands Drive and $5m for a new Farmers outlet at Tauriko.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief Stan Gregec said the figures showed a strong growth in commercial development in the region and he did not expect to see any slowdown with big projects.

“We are seeing investment in growth and infrastructure at a time when maybe the residential market has cooled down noticeably,” he said.

“This will keep our building and construction industries busy, and we are still seeing a shortage of skilled workers in these sectors. This is good news for our community and economy as Tauranga matures as well as grows.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty News article, click here.

2017 Business Awards winners announced

Date posted: November 11, 2017

Tauranga Business Awards 2017 Congratulations

First Call Recruitment started out with one branch in Tauranga four years ago and has now grown to five nationally, managing up to 1800 placements daily.

It is that success which has helped the business scoop the top prize at last night’s Westpac Tauranga Business Awards 2017, being named the Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year.

The business, which also won the Vodafone Embracing Digital Technology award, manages between 1200 to 1800 placements daily. Its growth in the last four years took place in an industry with increasing legislation and compliance requirements.

This year saw an increased number of entrants in the awards, with a wide mix of businesses across all sectors and business practices.

Head judge and financial assessor Raimarie Pointon said there were a large number of entrants representing a wide range of high-calibre local businesses, with a clear theme of entrants showing more entrepreneurship and innovation.

Pointon said local businesses had embraced technology as the cornerstone for carefully-considered and well-structured strategy.

Each year the judges speak of how positively they view the experience of visiting some of the organisations operating in the region and of the pleasure and sense of privilege they take from engaging with people passionate about their businesses.

The business recognised for corporate leadership this year was Tui Products, a company headquartered in Tauranga with branches in the South Island and Palmerston North, and an initiative in Kawerau.

Tui Products is a privately-owned company employing more than 80 people and with a number of community initiatives, including gardens in schools teaching young students how to grow their own vegetables.

Westpac area commercial manager Clare Basire said the awards were about taking time out to acknowledge business excellence.

“Congratulations to the 2017 Westpac Tauranga Business Awards winners – we’re sure this is a stepping stone to even greater business success,” she said.

Westpac Tauranga Business Awards 2017 winners:

  • Retail Excellence: Paper Plane
  • Emerging Business: Maker Studio Ltd
  • Manufacturing and/or Distribution: Bethlehem Coachlines
  • Embracing Digital Technology: 1st Call Recruitment
  • Tourism and Hospitality: Pacific Coast Lodge Ltd
  • Service Excellence: Tauranga Veterinary Services Ltd
  • Social Enterprise: Te Puke Gymsport Inc
  • Sustainable Business: Paper Plane
  • Customer Service Award: Bureta Physiotherapy Ltd
  • Workplace Safety Award: Tauranga City Council
  • Business Innovation: Property Managers Group
  • Corporate Leadership: Tui Products
  • Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year: 1st Call Recruitment


(From The Bay of Plenty Times.)

Tauranga’s population continues to soar

Date posted: November 8, 2017

Tauranga’s population is growing almost twice as fast as it was a decade ago.

Statistics New Zealand’s provisional estimates put Tauranga’s population at 131,500 residents – up more than 11,000 in four years.

By comparison, it took Tauranga eight years to grow by that many people between the 2006 and 2013 censuses.

In the 12 months to June 30, Tauranga’s population swelled by 3200 people.

The 2.5 per cent increase was mainly due to more people moving to the city from elsewhere in New Zealand or the world than leaving Tauranga.

The city’s net migration was 2700 while the natural increase – births minus deaths – was 500.

Ann Kerewaro of Multicultural Tauranga – which provides services to help new migrants settle in and meet people – said her team was as busy as they had ever been.

Many of the people who sought their help in the past year had been Indian, but she had also noticed more Chinese people than in past years.

Nigel Tutt, chief executive of economic development agency Priority One, said it was no surprise Tauranga was growing.

It was “a desirable location for people to move to” and employment prospects were good, he said.

The rapidly rising population had gone some way towards easing the number one complaint of local business owners: not being able to find enough good-quality staff.

“More people moving to Tauranga is helping that dynamic.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

BOP leaders welcome $1b plan for regional projects

Date posted: October 25, 2017

City leaders have welcomed plans for an annual $1 billion fund for regional development projects but say it’s unclear just how big a slice the Bay of Plenty will get.

The fund is one of the major policy gains for NZ First in a coalition agreement with Labour which also includes increasing the minimum wage to $20 an hour, with the final increase taking effect in April 2020.

The coalition agreement between the two parties was released yesterday afternoon and sets out the policy plans for the new government.

It proposes a $1 billion per annum Regional Development (Provincial Growth) Fund which would include significant investment in regional rail.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said it was “good to hear” the new government was prioritising the regions and job creation.

“Western Bay is already facing serious shortages of skills and labour, so we’re not sure how this will play out for us,” he said.

Mr Gregec said it looked like there would be some changes to New Zealand’s “fundamental economic settings.”

“We encourage the government to work with employers to manage requirements around talent, especially on a regional level, and the Chambers of Commerce are keen to play their part in this.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Plenty of jobs on offer in Tauranga

Date posted: October 21, 2017

If you have a trade-based skill and are looking for work, Tauranga wants you.

Latest data from Trade Me Jobs showed an 8.2 per cent increase in job listings in the last six months and a 4 per cent increase in the average salary for Tauranga workers.

Trade Me data indicated most job vacancies were in the trades, services, construction and roading sectors.

Despite this, the top job listing with the most views in the third quarter of this year was for an egg grader and packer, which attracted more than 3800 views.

Trade Me Jobs head Jeremy Wade said if the number of job vacancies continued to increase for skilled roles, he would expect to see increased pressure on average salaries which was “great news for job hunters”.

The average advertised salary in Tauranga last year was $54,154, which had increased to $56,298 this year.

“We’ve been expecting the average wage to rise for a long time because the job market has been extremely strong.”

Mr Wade said as the number of vacancies increased in Tauranga so did the average salary as employers attempted to “lure candidates with larger pay packets”.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty News article, click here.

Sister city delegation from Japan visits Tauranga

Date posted: October 20, 2017


Tauranga has hosted a delegation of city leaders from one of our oldest sister cities this week.

The group of 13 from Hitachi in Japan included the mayor and city council chairman. They arrived on Monday and will leave today.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said Hitachi became Tauranga’s sister city 29 years ago.

The cities took turns to bring a mayoral delegation to visit every three years.

Greg Simmonds of Priority One said the delegation members had been interested in aspects of how Tauranga City Council was run, including how council-controlled organisation Bay Venues worked.

They also visited Bob Owens Retirement Village to learn about how Tauranga was coping with an ageing population – a problem Hitachi shared.

Among other activities, the group experienced Maori culture at Huria Marae, saw the kiwifruit packing process at Aongatete Coolstores and were hosted by Mr Brownless for dinner at Mills Reef.

Mr Simmonds said the friendly relationship between the two cities had resulted in many education exchanges – including eight Tauranga high school students who spent six days in Hitachi earlier this month – and opportunities for local exporters to trial their products in the Japanese market.

Delegation members

The delegation from Hitachi visiting Tauranga included:

– Mr Haruki Ogawa – Mayor of Hitachi City
– Mr Mitsuo Okabe – Chairman of Hitachi City Council
– Mr Mitsunori Akiyama – President Hitachi Chamber of Commerce
– Ms Toshiko Yokota – President Hitachi International Association
– Mr Hideo Kaneko – President of Hitachi Cultural Association

The Tauranga Chamber was pleased to assist in hosting a visit from its counterpart organisation in Hitachi.

Article republished courtesy of The Bay of Plenty Times.

Chamber supports choice for Easter Sunday shopping

Date posted: October 10, 2017

Consistent with our Charter advocating ‘freedom of enterprise’ and ‘minimal interference from local government,’ the Tauranga Chamber strongly recommends that Tauranga City Council adopt a policy giving all Tauranga shops the freedom to decide for themselves whether or not to trade on Easter Sunday.

The issue is about freedom of choice, equality and the right of people – shop owners and staff, regular customers and tourists – to decide for themselves what they want to do on Easter Sunday.

If someone wants to work or shop over Easter – as at any other time – then it should be their decision.

In conclusion

Our recommendation that Council adopt a policy allowing all Tauranga shops freedom to trade on Easter Sunday is put forward in the positive spirit of continuous improvement to the City’s governance.

We look forward to their adoption to enable all Tauranga shops to decide whether or not to trade on Easter Sunday from 2018.

Linkt Awards winners for 2017

Date posted: October 8, 2017

The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce and Hilary Cutfield, chair of LinkT Young People in Business, are delighted to announce the winners of this year’s Young Read Woudberg LinkT Awards and Ball 2017.

This year saw a record number of entrants, with over 17 across all five categories.

The judges were impressed with the standard of each business and say they found judging the winner in each category challenging.

Other elements that impressed the judges was the commitment that each of the entrants showed to the Bay, their approach to growing their business and the opportunity here in the Bay was quite refreshing.

They all had an approach to a great workplace environment where you worked hard, and in some cases – surfed hard. They appreciated that doing great global business was important and they sought it out, but they could do that here from the Bay with everything that it offered.

This year’s winner of the Young Read Woudberg Business Owner award is Adam Taylor of Adam Taylor Architecture. This is a young business owner with a great future, already Adam’s designs are becoming a feature in the local landscape, and he is now working across the country.

The judges were impressed with Adam’s approach to excellence in sustainable and innovative practices and his philosophy around the work life balance.

This year’s winner of the Holland Becket Law Young Employee of the Year is Jamie-Lee Doherty of C2 Design. Jamie-Lee was nominated by her employer Rachel Cleverly of C2 Design, where she says Jamie-Lee has helped build the business, she has an amazing attitude and always willing to help.

This year’s winner of the Archistudio Social and Environmental Award is Krista Davis and Live For More Trust. Live for More was formed out of a passion to see great results for those people that are at the hard end of the spectrum. Krista Davis the founder of the trust saw a need and developed a programme around Surf Therapy and one on one clinical therapy.

The trust works with 40 young men a year and gives them a life option. This is not just about surfing but doing the hard yards. Krista has a background in psychology and a post grad in mental health and addiction. The judges were impressed with the trust, its outcomes and ethics and Krista as the driving force.

The Mediaworks Employer of the Year is Lysaghts Consultants. Lysaght Consultants are a progressive, forward thinking practice specialising in surveying, engineering, land development, and multisport.

They have a culture of healthy minds and bodies, they all compete in multi sports and have a flexible work place so that all employees can train and compete. Their work ethic is to support their employees. As a modern practice, they utilise a range of motivational techniques to ensure they are on top of their game.

The winner of the Priority One Young Innovator of the Year award is Rueben and Melissa Wood of Woods Agency. Rueben and Melissa have been in business for 11 years, as long as they have been parents.

They have taken the approach that it is the Bay First, and they wanted to build a culture here in the Bay. Rueben is particularly recognised for the work and contribution he has made to make the Young Innovator Awards what they are today. He has worked closely with Lyn and Jill at Instep to create this amazing vehicle for young innovators.

To read the rest of the Sunlive news article, click here.

To see photos from the Awards night, click here.

New Chamber Board roles announced

Date posted: October 4, 2017
Ron Devlin

Ron Devlin

Ron Devlin, Assistant National Commander and Regional Manager of Fire & Emergency NZ, is the new Chairperson of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce. He succeeds Toni Palmer who has been Chair since 2015.

The other office holders for 2017-18 are:

  • Vice-Chair: Simon Darmondy – Trustpower
  • Vice-Chair: Mark Whitworth – Port of Tauranga
  • Treasurer: Margaret Holmes – The Engine Room

The remaining Board members are:

  • Clare Basire – Westpac
  • Brent Devcich – Devcich & Co
  • Greg Delaney – Ballance
  • Kellie Hamlett – Talent ID
  • Toni Palmer – Surtees Boats
  • Sam Tabak – Hobec
  • Steve Wagstaff – Pureprint
  • Roann Watson – Cooney Lees Morgan

For more information about the Chamber Board, click here.

Tauranga bids for more international events

Date posted: September 30, 2017

Tauranga could secure its place on the international events scene as officials try to lure more major events to the city, with two “significant” bids underway.

Tauranga City Council’s City Events manager Gareth Wallis said his team actively sought international events to attract rather than waiting to be approached by organisers in the hope of strengthening Tauranga’s position of becoming an internationally competitive and event-friendly city.

“Presently, we have a couple of significant bids for events underway, but the bid process is confidential,” Mr Wallis said.

Mr Wallis said major events which returned large visitor nights and economic growth to the region played a key role in showcasing the city and boosting the economy.

In the 2016-2017 financial year, Tauranga hosted 233 “significant” events – a 38 per cent increase on the year before.

Tauranga looked to be tracking at the same increase this year, with events such as this month’s Anchor AIMS Games and up-coming Tauranga International Marathon in the off-season and Bay Dreams, One Love and international cricket matches among major events scheduled for peak season.

Mr Wallis said he wanted Tauranga to be recognised as an “internationally competitive city where events play a significant role” and an “event-friendly city that is open for national and international event business”.

While event organisers say Tauranga has plenty to offer, the lack of commercial bed availability could force people to stay outside of the city.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Public gives feedback on city transport

Date posted: September 29, 2017

A transport forum held in Mount Maunganui yesterday, is aiming to create public discourse around current transport systems in the city.

The Bay of Plenty Smart Transport forum was hosted by the Sustainable Business Network with the support of Priority One, the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, Smart Growth and members from both regional and city councils.

Sustainable Business Network Bay of Plenty regional coordinator, Glen Crowther says the forum was a great opportunity to hear from locals.

“The sustainable business network wanted to get the conversation going, we see this as a beginning.

“Our view is that there’s some good work going on around transport in this area but what’s been missing up until now is a good community engagement around it.

“We’ve had discussions with Tauranga City Council over the last year and as a result they have come up with a really top quality cycle action plan that is happening right now.

“So that’s the kind of thing that we’re looking for,” says Glen. “We think if they could do what they’re doing with the cycle action plan for all their transport planning we think that’s a really great model for how to actually get some really good thinking happening.

“We wanted to get people thinking about our transport challenges and feed those thoughts into the council’s transport plan.”

“I think that the council has done really well at setting up the Transport Committee and the City Transformation Committee because those two groups, you can engage with directly and actually put forward ideas.”

Some of the top ranking questions heard from members of public were issues regarding how the current transport system caters to the demands of a growing city.

“I had a lot of feedback from attendees who were saying they thought the forum was interesting, worthwhile and that people do want to stay involved in the discussion.

“It’s not so much about transport it’s about the type of city we want and how we actually lay out the city and move around it.

“The councils have got this smart growth of developing out past Papamoa and the Te Tumu area, but not really any kind of plan to move people around the city from there, other than a default option of jumping in their cars.

“We’re building infrastructure that will be a legacy for the future, so we have to be thoughtful because we’re in such a fast changing world where there’s electric cars and autonomous vehicles – we don’t want to build things that will be last century.”

To read the rest of the Sunlive news article, click here.

New Chamber Board Members announced

Date posted: September 26, 2017

The following have been elected or re-elected as Chamber Board Members for a two-year term from September 2017:

  • Clare Basire
  • Simon Darmody
  • Ron Devlin
  • Margaret Holmes
  • Sam Tabak
  • Steve Wagstaff
  • Mark Whitworth

They join existing Board Members Toni Palmer, Brent Devcich, Greg Delaney, Kellie Hamlett and Roann Watson to complete the 12-strong Chamber Board.

The new Board will be announced at the Chamber’s AGM on Tuesday 26th September, and will meet a week later to appoint the Office Holders for the coming year.

Shoppers wait for election to spend

Date posted: September 26, 2017

Tauranga retailers say there are signs shoppers are beginning to open their wallets again after a pre-election slump where people became wary of making hefty purchases.

While retailers say business slowed down slightly a few weeks out from the September 23 election with customers waiting to find out if interest and tax rates go up with the next government, they don’t expect it to be a long-term slump.

Leeanne Manninen, who owned Tauranga Menswear in Greerton, said business had been quieter for the two weeks before election day on September 23, but it was starting to pick up again this week.

Ms Manninen, who has been a business owner for 20 years, said it was a trend she had noticed over two decades and knew it would not last.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said he had not received feedback from members that this was a serious issue but was not surprised by people delaying purchases.

“It is a common phenomenon,” Mr Gregec said.

He said in some ways it was no different to what they would see during school holidays or other major events.

“We expect things to bounce back quite quickly, now that the election is behind us,” he said.

“Yes, we’re still waiting for the new Government to take shape – but I expect it’ll be business as usual in no time.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

New Programme to help Migrants find Work

Date posted: September 11, 2017

New migrants often face challenges when it comes to finding work in their newly adopted country of residence. Often there’s a language barrier, but sometimes an even bigger cultural divide, which means that migrants can find it hard to understand why they are missing out on opportunities for which they see themselves as qualified.

“It’s a two-way street when it comes to addressing this problem,” says Tauranga Chamber CEO Stan Gregec.

“Yes, it might seem like some employers are too tough, or have what might seem like ‘unreasonable’ expectations of migrants. By the same token, migrants also need to be prepared and do their homework, so they can put themselves forward in the best possible light,” Stan says.

New Kiwi Career Success (NKCS) is a FREE 3 day training course aimed at helping migrants to effectively job search in New Zealand. This course covers a range of topics like practical advice, creating a Kiwi style CV, answering tricky questions and developing a winning job search strategy.

NKCS is a New Zealand Government-funded scheme, delivered jointly by the Auckland and Tauranga Chamber of Commerce.

The following training dates have been confirmed for Tauranga:

  • 25-27 September 2017
  • 8-10 November 2017
  • 14-16 February 2018
  • 30 May – 1 June 2018

The course is free of charge to any new migrant who has arrived in New Zealand (no time restriction), and who is eligible to work in New Zealand.

For more information and to register, please click here.

More than 1000 businesses start in Tauranga in one year

Date posted: September 1, 2017

More than 1000 new businesses have started up in Tauranga for the year to the end of June – as an ”explosion of home-based businesses” hits the city.

Figures released to the Bay of Plenty Times from the Registered Companies Office under the Official Information Act show there were 18,859 businesses with an address in Tauranga to June, 2017 compared to 17,833 the year before.

A spokesperson said the Business Industry Classification, which was not mandatory, indicates the top industries were professional, scientific and technical services, construction and rental, hiring and real estate services.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said he expected a lot of the new businesses were one-man-bands or micro businesses, with many operating from home.

“We’ve seen an explosion of home-based businesses, with people using cafes and shared working spaces as they need them rather than signing up for fixed commercial leases or traditional office space.”

“The chamber sees a lot of people setting up in business for the first time. Some have moved here specifically for that purpose because they’ve seen an opportunity; whereas others would probably prefer a traditional job opportunity but can’t find that fit.”

But starting a successful and profitable business was challenging, he said.

“There are so many things you need to learn and juggle at the same time.

“And while there may be many more options about how you run your business, you still need to get a grip of the basics around having a plan and managing your finances and the people you intend to work with.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

$100 million development for Tauranga CBD

Date posted: August 26, 2017

More than $100 million is set to be pumped into a new development on Tauranga’s iconic “Farmers Corner” providing another “massive shot in the arm” for the CBD.

Elizabeth Properties Limited – part of the James Pascoe Retail Group that owns Farmers and other well-known New Zealand brands – will spearhead the flagship development, on the corner of Elizabeth St and Devonport Rd.

Plans for the project feature two expansive floors of retail, multiple levels of parking with space for close to 400 vehicles plus 70 to 90 high-end apartments.

These would be constructed above the retail levels on the north side of the site while a pool, tennis court and garden areas had also been earmarked for the development.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said it was another ”massive shot in the arm for the CBD”.

”This will be a game changer – not just for retail but for more people living in the CBD.

“Adding to the other city centre developments we know about, this will give a huge boost to our downtown and add something new and exciting.

“This is a huge development by Tauranga standards, and represents a giant leap from what we’ve already got and what’s been done before.

“It means that both ends of the CBD will have their own distinctive flavours, and give people more reason to stay longer in the city centre.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Meet the Candidates evening supported by Chamber

Date posted: August 24, 2017

Boos and cheers interrupted Tauranga candidates as they answered their voters’ questions at the first local Meet the Candidates event for this year’s election.

A vocal crowd of about 200 was asked to “please let the candidates talk” during the question and answer session at Wesley Methodist Church on Tuesday.

Questions were fired at Top’s Buddy Mikaere and Vanessa Lee, the Greens’ Emma-Leigh Hodge, Labour’s Jan Tinetti, Act’s Stuart Pedersen, New Zealand First’s Clayton Mitchell and National’s Todd Muller standing in for Simon Bridges.

Independent candidate Rusty Kane and the Maori party’s Raewyn Bennett and Verna Ohia-Gate also attended.

The question which received the most audience reaction related to affordable of housing.

To rest of the Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

The Tauranga Chamber supported this as our “official” Meet the Candidates event for the 2017 General Election.

With technology we can reduce the doctor count – Lance O’Sullivan

Date posted: August 11, 2017

Lance O'Sullivan Health service delivery in New Zealand is broken – it needs to be shattered and rebuilt.

That was the central message from Dr Lance O’Sullivan in Tauranga yesterday when he introduced his iMoko service to an eclectic audience under the Smart Growth banner.

iMoko’s front line digital health team in Kaitaia comprises lay people – the clinical support is out the back and accessible when required but clinicians are saved for where their scarce skills can best be used.

New Zealand has 14,000 doctors, he said, but if we use technology, democratise healthcare and do more in the community we will only need 5000.

That is a very refreshing and bold message – in stark contrast to the mainstream health sector with its constant refrain that only more people and more money will solve the problem. And while I can’t comment on the actual number I certainly know from experience that in health we are being inexplicably slow to take advantage of new technology options.

While others in the health system pontificate, call endless meetings, restructure themselves perpetually and find reasons to carry on with the status quo, Lance and his supporters are bringing health service delivery into the 21st century; They are showing it can be done. They are among a small subset of health people who see the opportunity and get on with the job but they are in the minority. The mainstream health establishment has yet to catch on, let alone catch up.

To read the rest of the article (from Ernie Newman’s blog), click here.

This event was supported by The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce in partnership with SmartGrowth.

New shopping complex for Papamoa

Date posted: August 5, 2017

Papamoa is set to get a boutique 135-seat cinema in a new multi-million dollar development.

Construction has already begun on the project – which received a $2.3m building consent in May – on the corner of Golden Sands Drive and Papamoa Beach Rd.

Developers Bluehaven Management said it was the second stage of the Excelsa shopping centre.

The two-storeyed complex would open next year with a contemporary design and modern facilities, aimed at serving the area’s booming catchment.

Confirmed tenants were a gastro restaurant and bar, a 135-seat upstairs boutique cinema, a Mediterranean grill and other various bespoke eateries.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said Papamoa had been growing at a break-neck speed for some years now.

”The need for another shopping centre to service the newer residential areas makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider future growth which shows no sign of easing.”

The Chamber had been active in Papamoa . . . ”so yes, we do see the potential of the area – and we welcome new businesses and business people moving there”.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Bay of Plenty’s $194m seafood industry

Date posted: August 4, 2017

A report into the economic contribution of commercial fishing to New Zealand has shown processing alone is worth $194 million to the Bay of Plenty region.

Nationally, the seafood industry has a total value of $4.18 billion.

Chief executive of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, Dr Jeremy Helson, said the report confirmed the importance of commercial fishing to New Zealand.

“The Ministry for Primary Industries says exports alone are expected to reach $2.3 billion by 2025. Add the contribution to the domestic market through jobs, investment in infrastructure and the sectors supporting the industry and you have a significant contributor to the New Zealand economy,” said Helson.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Interested in joining the Chamber Board?

Date posted: August 4, 2017

It’s that time of year when the Chamber Board is looking for new volunteer Board members.

Nominations for seven vacant positions will be open from 4 August to 18 August, with a period for electronic voting taking place between 25 August and 13 September.

We are seeking nominations from savvy business people for positions on the Board.  The people we are looking for will be committed to developing business capability in the Western Bay of Plenty, will have a good understanding of the issues facing businesses today, and bring knowledge experience and influence to the board table.

Nominations must be proposed and seconded.  Only persons who are financial members of the Chamber may propose or second nominations.  If you would like to nominate or be nominated please click here for further information and forms.  Nominations close 18th August 2017.

Tauranga Council on the move, again

Date posted: July 26, 2017

More than 400 Tauranga City Council staff are about to pack up and move office, for the good of the city.

This is what Tauranga City Council CEO Garry Poole told SunLive in a one-on-one interview yesterday.

Council staff are moving from the soon to be demolished Westpac building, so it can be knocked down to make way for a 12 storey $50 million retail/office/residential development on the site.

Demolition is scheduled for February, 2018.

City council staff have been renting the building since the discovery of toxic mould in the old administration building in December 2014.

The next move will be a more planned exercise with professional movers enlisted to make the transition at seamless as possible, says Garry.

The council lease doesn’t expire until 2019, and with rights of renewal could have stayed until 2021.

“But obviously if you think about our strategic objectives about having a strong economically healthy vibrant CBD, developments like that are actually consistent with the objectives and future of the CBD.

To read the rest of the Sunlive news article, click here.

Growth ‘explosion’ at Tauriko industrial estate

Date posted: July 17, 2017

A commercial property ”explosion” has hit the Tauriko Business Estate as demand for land reaches a record high and tens of millions of dollars are pumped into new buildings.

The latest survey from Element IMF Limited showed in February there were 94 businesses based at Tauriko that employed 2008 people.

Director Bryce Donne said the 2018 financial year was shaping up as the busiest year yet at Tauriko, with more than 16ha of titles to be delivered and sold.

”By March we will have delivered 80ha of net industrial land out of a project total yield of 180ha,” he said.

”We are busy with construction works and planning for the next stages of release meaning that overall we are about half way through the project.”

Colliers International Tauranga investment sales and industrial leasing specialist Rob Schoeser said Colliers had more than $60 million worth of investment sales at the Tauriko Business Estate.

”Investors want new buildings, which are low maintenance with good leases.”

Some of the larger transactions were Brother in Matarawa Pl worth $10.25m, Downers Taurikura Dr at $14.5m and Kiwi Bus Builders in Whakakake St at $7.35m.

Mr Schoeser said NZL Group was also moving from Mount Maunganui to a $20m, 17,000 sq m purpose built, high-tech facility at Tauriko.

Growth at Tauriko was a barometer of Tauranga’s buoyant economy, said Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec.

”It’s where the smart money is being invested for new industry and is becoming something of a logistics hub. It shows there’s a lot of confidence at the moment in Tauranga’s economic future.

“We tend to see the bigger industrial and logistics players being based there.”

“With excellent transport links, Tauriko has become an outstanding location for business and industry in Tauranga. Its importance will only continue to grow.”

Availability of good quality greenfields industrial sites in Tauranga was rapidly drying up, he said.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty News news article, click here.

New $8.4m research institute for Tauranga

Date posted: July 14, 2017

A new multi-million dollar regional institute has been announced for Tauranga.

Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith made the announcement today at the Bay of Connections forum in Rotorua and said it would leverage the Bay of Plenty’s strengths in horticulture to accelerate and commercialise research and innovation for the benefit of the region.

The Government would provide funding of $8.42 million over five years for the new Tauranga institute alongside additional funding from industry, and it will operate as a private, independently governed organisation.

Bay of Plenty and Tauranga MPs Todd Muller and Simon Bridges heralded the economic benefits for the region from the institute.

“Horticulture is a serious contributor to the Bay of Plenty’s economy and connecting the existing skills, knowledge and resources, could potentially transform the sector,” Mr Bridges said.

“Kiwifruit is booming after the low of the PSA outbreak. It’s now back stronger than it was before, but winners don’t rest on their laurels. This new Regional Research Institute will help ensure horticulture reaches new heights in growth, value and sustainability.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Tauranga to receive $230m for housing

Date posted: July 11, 2017

Tauranga will receive $230 million to help the city cope with increased housing pressures.

The Government today announced a $1 billion fund which will be distributed among five councils throughout New Zealand.

Tauranga City Council will receive the $230m as part of this to help fund the establishment of 35,000 homes in the greenfield development at Te Tumu, Papamoa East.

The water will also go toward a capacity upgrade to the Te Maunga Wastewater Treatment Plant and a new water treatment plant at Te Puke.

Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith announced the news this morning.

“These funding decisions will help provide another big step forward in housing supply,” Minister Joyce said.

“The funding will be used to provide network roading and water infrastructure for 60,000 houses across nine projects in these five fast-growing urban areas.”

To read the rest of the BOP Times news article, click here.

Booming business makes life good in the Bay

Date posted: July 1, 2017

Thirteen new businesses have opened in the Mount over the past year as business confidence soars in the region.

Mount Mainstreet manager Ingrid Fleming said just one spot left to lease on the main street.

Among the 13 new businesses to open was the first Bay office for Vekart, interiors and joinery business that has been in Rotorua for 20 years.

Owner Tracey Murphy said she had been living in the Mount and seeing clients at home. The building boom convinced her to lease office space.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said things were looking positive for the Tauranga economy.

“Some of the heat has gone out of the property market, which is not a bad thing; but otherwise the fundamental drivers remain strong.”

“Some employers are reporting difficulty in finding skilled labour in some areas, but others are spoilt for choice.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Bay to see 14,000 new kiwifruit jobs by 2030

Date posted: June 28, 2017

A new report shows kiwifruit’s contribution to New Zealand GDP is set to increase from $2.6 billion in 2015/16 to $6.14 billion in 2030, with an additional 29,000 New Zealand jobs, driven by the new cultivar Zespri SunGold.  

The report from the University of Waikato shows the new varieties breeding programme for kiwifruit, supported by the New Zealand government for many years, has been a major contributor to the NZ economy.

Zespri SunGold Kiwifruit (also known as Gold3) came out of this breeding programme and the report finds that without it, the New Zealand industry would be less than half the size of these 2030 projections.

Minister for Economic Development, Hon Simon Bridges launched the report’s finding in Parliament last night together with Zespri and Plant & Food Research which jointly run the kiwifruit new varieties breeding programme.

“The regional growth projections are very strong: in Bay of Plenty, kiwifruit accounts for 10,762 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs now and an additional 14,329 jobs by 2030, along with a 135 percent increase of GDP contribution to $2.04 billion. Northland is set to increase by 506 jobs over the same period, with contribution to GDP set to increase 135 percent to $72 million.

To read the rest of the Sunlive news article, click here.

Groundswell Innovation Festival coming to Tauranga

Date posted: June 15, 2017

The innovative brain behind sports footwear company Nike is returning to his hometown of Tauranga for an inaugural week-long festival showcasing the work of the city’s entrepreneurs and innovators.

Wade Flanagan will be a key speaker at Groundswell which aims to establish Tauranga as a national and international centre of excellence for innovation.

The festival, starting on August 7, will also host Blue2Green, Tauranga’s inaugural international marine biotechnology conference.

Blue2Green has attracted top scientists from around the world who will hear about the marine research taking place in the Bay of Plenty

Groundswell is being spearheaded by Tauranga economic development agency Priority One, with support from the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce.

“Fostering a culture of innovation is fundamental to our region’s future,” said Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt.

It rested on the ability to attract skilled and talented people, new business and investment, he said.

Mr Tutt said Groundswell would demonstrate how Tauranga and the rest of the Western Bay was at the forefront of innovation.

The festival would feature developments in marine, health, agriculture, education, creative arts, sports and the Maori economy.

Mr Tutt said the festival was about encouraging collaboration and connections.

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Helping older people find work

Date posted: June 13, 2017

A new website focused on connecting older workers with employers is gaining traction in Tauranga amid the city’s growing skills shortage.

Wise Ones director Kate Ross said its site, which helped people over the age of 55 find work, launched in February – and Tauranga registrations were the fifth highest behind Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton.

The level and quality of candidates from Tauranga was exceptional, she said.

”A lot of them are professional and blue collar and then you have tradespeople right through to directors and those involved with accounting.”

There was still a stigma around older workers that needed to be addressed, she said.

The company was working closely with the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce.

Ms Ross would be speaking at the chamber’s Brainy Lunch today on how employers could benefit from the over 55s’ growing pool of talent.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said older people often struggled to find employment.

“Unfortunately there is a perception amongst many employers that mature staff have less to offer, come with more baggage and may not be up to speed with current skills and technology.

”That perception is often wide of the mark.”

Consequently, many older people were looking to start up their own businesses or at other forms of self-employment, he said.

However, employers’ attitudes were starting to shift as the workforce moved to an era where there were likely to be significant skill shortages, he said

”Employers will need to take a more flexible view of how they recruit and manage staff.

“We will see more older people working longer in Tauranga, and employers need to be planning for this now.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Tauranga traffic woes get worse

Date posted: June 9, 2017

City leaders are calling for ”bold action” as traffic flows in Tauranga jump 11 per cent in one year.

The latest Quarterly Economic Monitor report to March 2017 from Infometrics, commissioned by Priority One, shows the increase was more than double New Zealand’s rate of 4.6 per cent and higher than 7.9 per cent for the Bay of Plenty.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said the impact was obvious in terms of increased congestion and travel times.

”Our view is that bold action needs to be taken across a variety of areas such as roading, public transport and traffic management.”

Mr Tutt said traffic issues should be managed by a body such as a council-controlled organisation. He said the current structure to manage transport for the city was “too disjointed”.

”Businesses are clearly concerned about traffic congestion and are keen to see strong moves from local authorities to improve this in the future.”

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said transport was one of the areas its members were most vocal about.

There was a perception that Tauranga was fast becoming a “mini-Auckland” because of its increasing traffic.

”It is starting to have an impact on our local economy and I wouldn’t be surprised if potential investors and businesspeople have started to factor it into their thinking about the attractiveness of being based here.

”I can’t think of another city of similar size in New Zealand where the transport challenge is so fraught.”

Mr Gregec said he thought this was partly because of the fragmented nature of responsibility for transport in our city and sub-region.

“You’ve got everyone involved from the city council to the regional council to NZTA and others, and all manner of vested interests which keep us stuck in a very narrow frame and a very short-term mindset.”

Mr Gregec said a co-ordinated planning group spanning all the modes of transport ”with some teeth” was needed.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

2017 Business Awards nominations open

Date posted: May 29, 2017

The 2017 Westpac Tauranga Business Awards were launched at a prestigious function at Farmer Auto Village on Thursday 25th May.

The Awards are our region’s premier event to celebrate business success and to shine the light on those businesses and individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the Tauranga business community in the last 12 months.

This year there are 12 categories of Awards providing plenty of scope to businesses of all sizes and from different sectors.   In 2017 we see the reinstatement of an Emerging Business Award to recognise those businesses who are less than three years old.  Once again there are special categories of recognition in sustainable business practices, customer service, digital innovation and workplace safety.

Online entries open from Monday 5th June – considerably earlier than in previous years – to give entrants plenty of time to make the decision to enter and to put together a strong application.

2016 Business AwardsAccording to Awards Coordinator Anne Pankhurst, this year’s theme is “Bravery.” “It takes a lot of bravery to go into business, continue in business and grow – sometimes against the odds; and then to enter something like the Business Awards where you are putting yourself on the line and opening up your business to the scrutiny of outside judges and their feedback”, says Anne.  “These businesses are the true heroes of our community, and we want to acknowledge them for their bravery as well as their initiative.”

Chamber chief executive Stan Gregec added that the benefits of entering were far greater than just the honour of winning a category or of even becoming the Westpac Business of the Year.  “A lot of entrants get a huge additional boost just by going through the process, and having the opportunity to be benchmarked with their peers, as well as to get valuable feedback from the judges.”

“Others have talked about the positive team experience through participation.  “It’s a chance to pull together as a team and aim for a target.  Whether you succeed or not on your first attempt, there’s a real buzz in being part of the journey together.  Sometimes it might take two or three attempts to get to the final destination. It’s still hugely worth it”, says Stan.

This year’s Westpac Tauranga Business Award winners will be announced at a gala dinner at ASB Baypark on 10th November.  That gives entrants plenty of time to get their entries in, and to be supported along the way by attending workshops and getting tips from previous entrants.

You don’t even need to take the first step yourself.  Any business can be nominated by their professional service provider (e.g. accountant, lawyer, bank, consultant).

For further information, and to access the online registration form, visit:

or contact:  Anne Pankhurst, Business Awards Coordinator, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce
at:  or tel:  577 8955

Smart budget for election year, says Chamber

Date posted: May 26, 2017

Stan Gregec, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce

“A very smart election-year budget, with something for just about everyone – especially for families.

We were pleased to see the additional funding going the way of supporting science and R&D.

This will encourage more business innovation and help entrepreneurs and businesses to lift their game and take advantage of new technologies. The chamber is a doorway to some of this additional assistance.

With Auckland getting the lion’s share of extra funding for infrastructure, we thought Tauranga might have benefited more as well. We already knew about funding for a new school at Pyes Pa/the Lakes, but the big challenges we face with housing and roading are still largely unresolved.

We thought there might have been more earmarked specifically for small business since they are the backbone of the local economy.”

To read what other Tauranga civic leaders had to say about the 2017 Budget, click here.


Businesses to get an extra $74m for R&D

Date posted: May 12, 2017

The government will top up Callaghan Innovation’s Research and Development (R&D) Growth Grants programme with an extra $74.6 million, Science and Innovation Minister Paul Goldsmith announced today.

The additional funding, to be made available through the Innovative New Zealand programme in Budget 2017, brought the total accessible amount in the grants scheme to $657.2m in four years.

R&D Growth Grants are an on-demand, non-discretionary scheme that enables qualifying companies to claim back 20 per cent of their eligible R&D expenditure, capped at $5m a year.

To qualify, a business must commit to spend at least $300,000, and at least 1.5 per cent of revenue, a year on research and development occurring in New Zealand.

It must also be domiciled in New Zealand and maintain or increase their spending on R&D over the course of the funding.

There are clawback provisions should a change occur that reduces the benefit to New Zealand.

The new funding in this year’s Budget followed on from the $761.4m investment in Budget 2016 through the Innovative New Zealand package.

New data released earlier this year by Statistics New Zealand showed a significant jump in the amount Kiwi companies are spending on R&D.

In the two years to 2016, business R&D increased by 29 per cent and Callaghan Innovation grant recipients increased their own research and development spending by 46 per cent.

“New Zealand companies invested $356 million more on business R&D in 2016 than they did two years prior, lifting expenditure to the highest level since records began,” Goldsmith said.

“Growing levels of business R&D are likely to increase the productivity of the wider economy as they result in knowledge and technology that can be used by other businesses to generate new industries, higher-value products and higher-skilled jobs.”

To discuss your eligibility for R&D funding, contact our BizHelp number 0800 249482. The Chamber is the first stop stop for Government assistance to businesses in Tauranga and the Bay of Plenty.

Diversity a challenge for Kiwi businesses

Date posted: May 3, 2017

Bias is a growing concern for New Zealand businesses trying to increase diversity and inclusion in their workplace, according to new research.


The latest New Zealand Diversity Survey revealed that 48 per cent of organisations identified bias to be a key issue, up 18 per cent from the previous survey six months ago. Bias is now ranked as the third most important diversity issue in the workplace, behind wellbeing and flexibility.


Diversity Works Chief Executive Bev Cassidy-Mackenzie is pleased to see there is a growing awareness around the impact bias can have. “Bias, particularly unconscious bias, can subtly undermine the many hours organisations invest in creating a culture that embraces diversity and inclusion. But awareness is the first step in mitigating its effects.”


Public sector organisations are even more cognisant of bias, with 51 per cent of those respondents ranking it as a concern, making it the second most important diversity issue, behind wellbeing, for the public sector.


“That’s not surprising. Many of New Zealand’s public sector organisations have made a real commitment to reducing the impact of bias, working with Diversity Works New Zealand on training and other strategies,” says Cassidy-Mackenzie.


Bias was identified as one of the factors impacting the gender pay gap in New Zealand in research released recently by the Ministry for Women.


“Publicity around the gender pay gap and research into its causes may have impacted the Diversity Survey results. Gender was identified as an important issue by 45 per cent of respondents, up from 29 per cent in our previous survey.”


“We think it’s great the message around bias and the gender pay gap is spreading, and that organisations are gaining a better understanding around these important issues, and how they impact their workforce and ultimately, business performance,” she says.


Other key findings from the April 2017 New Zealand Diversity Survey were:


·         Wellbeing & wellness are still the number one diversity issue for New Zealand organisations, with 67 per cent ranking it as important. This is up five percent compared with October last year.

·         Flexibility is the second most important diversity issue for private sector organisations, with 59 per cent ranking it as a concern. In the public sector, slightly less than half of organisations see this as an important diversity issue.

·         New Zealand’s aging workforce continues to be a significant concern, with 47 per cent of organisations rating it an important issue, up three per cent from October 2016. However this is the diversity issue for which organisations are least likely to have a policy or initiative in place to address.

·         The number of organisations that considered ethnicity an important issue increased from 27 per cent in October 2016 to 41 per cent in April 2017. But more than a third of survey respondents reported that ethnicity was not an issue at all.

·         Nearly a third of organisations (32%) have a diversity strategy or plan in place, up from 20 per cent in October 2016, and 60 per cent take diversity into consideration in relevant HR policies.


Download the full report of the New Zealand Diversity Survey April 2017


The NZ Diversity Survey, which was initiated in 2013 to create a better understanding of the key diversity challenges facing New Zealand organisations, is carried out twice a year by Diversity Works New Zealand in partnership with the New Zealand Chambers of Commerce and has been supported by AUT, and now Massey University.


Stan Gregec, Tauranga Chamber Chief Executive, said he welcomed a chance to discuss the findings of the survey with local businesses, and to hear ways in which the barriers some companies are overcoming the barriers identified in the report.

The Chamber will be hosting a special Diversity in the Workplace event on 18th May to share ways that business owners and organisations can create a more inclusive culture and reap rewards such as better staff recruitment and retention, and improved products and services.

Click here for details and to register.


Business booms in the city

Date posted: April 22, 2017

Confidence in the city is at a recordhigh – on the back of Priority One figures from Infometrics that show 573 new companies started up in Tauranga last year.

The number of businesses establishing at the Tauriko Business Estate has also jumped – nearly doubling in one year while employee numbers skyrocketed.

Manager Rachel Emerson said it was at ”record highs for employee numbers, business numbers, business confidence and quantum of sales per annum”.

”It has truly been a stellar 18 months across all fronts.”

Data reveals in 2016 Tauriko Business estate had 94 businesses compared to 52 the year before while employee numbers had spiked to 2008 in February 2017 from 926 in April 2014.

”The area continues to go from strength to strength and the surrounding shopping centres and residential areas are experiencing similar growth. Tauriko is a good news story across the region.”

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said Tauranga would always be an attractive place to start a business of any kind, being close to New Zealand’s biggest export port and part of New Zealand’s ‘Golden Triangle’.

“While you can always find cheaper land elsewhere, there’s few places that offer the combined advantages of Tauranga and the Western Bay .”

Mr Gregec said the Tauriko story had a way to go.

“We’re seeing some great businesses establish there – and many larger ones who are employers. Land is being purchased and more businesses are relocating out there because it’s a purpose-built environment conveniently located and handy to transport.”

Challenges continued to be finding skilled staff at the level required, he said. 
”These tend to be the specialist roles. Other roles are easier to fill.”

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Tauranga Chamber supports pay equity for aged care workers

Date posted: April 18, 2017
Chamber CEO Stan Gregec

Chamber CEO Stan Gregec

The many businesses that do not have a gender pay gap have no reason to be alarmed by the pay equity settlement reached in government-funded care service sectors which employ mainly women on low rates.

Supporting the reported move to pay equity for workers, mainly woman in aged residential care, home support and disability services, Stan Gregec, head of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, said that the pay equity principle should be carried across to all sectors where people’s skill levels were not fully recognised and rewarded.

“Recognising pay equity principles should ensure that any pay gap that exists within a business or sector, whether government-funded or private sector, can be addressed fairly and positively,” he suggested. Pay equity is an obvious and now well-established principle, and one which businesses and sectors that haven’t fully recognized will need to address.

But the many businesses in the private sector that do not have a gender pay gap should not be alarmed by this settlement – “on the contrary, it gives due recognition to the particular skills these people bring to taking care of people in need of specialist care,” concluded Mr Gregec.



Tauranga building boom continues

Date posted: April 11, 2017

Building consents in Tauranga hit $77.2 million for March – a record for the month.

Commercial consents were also at record levels with the highest consent issued last month for a $8.3m clubhouse at Bethlehem Shores Retirement Village, which had another 30 new homes under construction and 64 in the pipeline.

Figures from Priority One revealed 251 consents were issued and it was the highest March value since its records began in 2003.

Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said the jump in commercial consents from 19 in March 2016 compared to 42 worth $23.3m last month was significant and showed an indicator of ”confidence in the business community”.

A village clubhouse and social centre with an indoor swimming pool at Bethlehem Shores Retirement Village was the biggest consent issued valued at $8.3m.

Meanwhile, the spike in residential building also reinforced Tauranga’s popularity as a place to live and work, she said.

But it could come at a cost.

”While we are adding to our housing stock at record levels, one of the issues of a rapidly expanding property market is that house prices could increase to a degree that they are unaffordable to many of the people we would like to bring to the area.

”This would result in employers having difficulty employing both skilled and unskilled staff, causing their business to operate at less than maximum productivity.”

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said it believed the current building boom would continue for some time yet.

”Tauranga is on a roll with new buildings and developments. Our members are positive and buoyant, and business goes on as usual. ”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Tauranga part of Upper North Island growth engine

Date posted: March 31, 2017

Seven upper North Island councils have come together and released a report on the state of the combined region.

The Upper North Island Story was released today by the Upper North Island Strategic Alliance (UNISA), which formed in 2011 by seven district, city and regional councils across Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Auckland and Northland regions.

UNISA said in a statement the report identified the need for collaborative investment and planning to tackle increasing pressure on housing, infrastructure, natural resources, skilled labour and transport systems.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said it was a step towards aligning local and central government priorities to support economic growth, good living standards and healthy environments.

“From Northland to Waikato, the Upper North Island supports 53 percent of the national population and generates 52 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty News item, click here.

Click here to read full document


Bay of Plenty tops NZ prosperity growth

Date posted: March 31, 2017

The Bay of Plenty has had the biggest increase in prosperity in the country, according to new data from Statistics New Zealand.

But a concerned budget adviser says there are few signs that lower-income families are sharing in the prosperity.

The latest Statistics NZ figures released yesterday show the Bay’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of 7.7per cent topped the country in the year to March 2016, ahead of Auckland with 6 per cent and Otago with 4.8 per cent.

GDP is a measure used by economists to calculate prosperity.

Over a longer period of five years, the Bay of Plenty’s growth rate of 21.6 per cent came fourth behind Marlborough (32.3 per cent), Canterbury (31.9) and Auckland (31.1).

Statistics NZ senior national accounts manager Gary Dunnet said the Bay of Plenty’s growth was “underpinned by strong performances across the professional and administrative services, and agriculture, primarily kiwifruit”.

Regional GDP growth was up across 12 of New Zealand’s 15 regions.

Tauranga and Western Bay leaders welcomed the figures.

Tauranga Mayor Greg Brownless said there was more to the city’s growth than the building boom.

“As more and more people are coming to work here, they’re not just building houses but are also starting businesses too, and that’s a good sign,” he said.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty news story, click here.

Council’s biggest capital programme ever

Date posted: March 15, 2017

The (Tauranga City) Council is seeking public consultation on an Annual Plan involving an average rates increase of 3.8 per cent for households.

For Tauranga homes, it means a rates increase of between $67 and $98 a year depending on the property value.

A $400,000 property will have a rates increase of $71 for the 2017/18 year, a $500,000 property $76 increase $600,000, $80; $800,000, $89, and a $98 for the million dollar properties.

The council is seeking public consultation because, while the proposed Annual Plan budget for 2017/18 is based on year three of the 2015-25 Long Term Plan, changes are proposed to the budgets as set out in the LTP to reflect revised economic and business conditions.

In particular, growth is now estimated at three per cent, which is above levels assumed in the LTP and has implications for both capital and operational budgets.

The $154m capital programme is the biggest in the last ten years, says chief financial officer Paul Davidson.

Infrastructure pressures from the continued high levels of growth continue to put pressure on debt levels.

The consultation period for the Annual Plan 2017/18 will run from 8am March 20 to 5pm April 20. Consultation on the Statement of Proposal will be held concurrently.

Included in the $154 million is half of the $4 million spread over two years to deliver a new Visitor Information Centre at Coronation Park by summer 2018/19. This will be 50 per cent funded by rates, and 50 per cent via the targeted economic development rate on commercial properties.

To read the rest of the Sunlive article, click here.

The Tauranga Chamber welcomes the views of its members and the business community on any aspect of the TCC’s Annual Plan.  Please email us at:

Western Bay surges ahead in jobs, growth and business

Date posted: March 8, 2017

The Western Bay of Plenty economy is performing well above the rest of the country, new reports show.

The subregion as a whole recorded GDP growth of 5.1 per cent last year – almost double the national average of just 2.7 per cent.

Tauranga’s growth was 4.4 per cent, and the Western Bay of Plenty District was 6 per cent, according to new reports commissioned by Priority One from Infometrics.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said the strong economic growth seen in the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region over the past two years was translating into increased jobs, higher GDP growth than the national average, and the evolution of a higher value economy.

“What it shows is that clearly, this subregion is performing well above the rest of the country,” he said. “It’s almost double the national average, which shows the trends are pointing in the right direction and the subregion, in general, is doing a good job.”

Mr Tutt said it was good to see the strong growth in new businesses, employment and especially in knowledge intensive industries. (See accompanying story)

The labour market reflected economic growth, with 4178 new jobs created representing 5.1 per cent growth compared to the New Zealand average of 1.6 per cent. Job growth was strong across the majority of local industries.

The real estate sector was a leading contributor to GDP growth in Tauranga, with agriculture, forestry and fishing a key growth element in the Western Bay of Plenty District.

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Tauranga needs to avoid becoming another Auckland

Date posted: March 2, 2017

Populations in about 44 of the country’s 67 authorities will stagnate or decline within 30 years, compared with 11 areas now, according to a new report by the Maxim Institute.

And while Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty were among areas where growth was expected to continue, other regions – including Rotorua and Taupo – could stagnate, placing them under financial strain in keeping up with infrastructure and other demands.

Western Bay business leaders said the report indicated the sub-region was already heading in the right direction.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said a key question for the region was how to ensure it continued to attract people and investment.

“In my view, the answer is to avoid becoming another Auckland,” he said.

“That means we need to get on top of our current transport woes more than anything else, and put in place the infrastructure and city amenities that will make this an attractive place to operate from as an employer.”

Mr Gregec said Tauranga needed to find the ability to invest in its future as well as reacting to growth as it happened.

“Some smart public-private partnerships would be a good start, as well as leveraging iwi investment potential and the infrastructure development fund the Government is offering.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Wise Ones launches to connect older workers to jobs

Date posted: February 28, 2017

A new online service is being launched today to help people over the age of 55 find work opportunities and employers to benefit from this growing pool of talent.

Believed to be the first of its kind in New Zealand, Wise Ones is an easy to use online platform aimed at supporting people to work for as long as they want, in an age bracket expected to grow from 1.1 million people in 2011, to 1.7 million in 2036, and 2.2 million in 2061, 37% of the population.

According to a 2014 White Paper prepared for the Human Rights Commission 88% of people planned to work past retirement, for professional, social and financial reasons.

However, a study carried out as part of the Retirement Commissioner’s review of retirement income policies (2016) showed more than two-thirds (69%) of businesses believe there is a shortage of highly skilled workers in their sector and 70% were worried they would lose experience and skill when people retired.

Despite this, ageism is also an issue with 40 per cent of workers having experienced age-related discrimination over the last five years4.

Kate Ross, founder of Wise Ones says we can’t ignore demographics, changing ideas about retirement and the fact many people over 55 years old struggle if they need to find work:

“Our population is ageing and so is our workforce and this is going to affect all organisations.  Many people want or need to work for longer than in the past and employers have never before had to deal with large numbers of older workers.

“Retirement is also changing to being a mix of work and leisure.  We are living longer, we are healthier and have more retirement years to pay for.  A balance between work and leisure is both attractive and necessary for many – it keeps people involved, active and engaged, and the bank ticking over,” she says.

“The new service provides an online exchange between people over-55 years who want to keep working and employers who need them, and will benefit individuals, families, businesses and other organisations, and the economy as a whole.”

“We need to encourage employers’ views about older workers because this age bracket will be more important to our workforce in the future – while the numbers of school leavers is decreasing5 the numbers of people over the age of 65 is rising6, so this older age bracket can’t be ignored,” she says.

The numbers of 55 year olds and over involved in the labour force is expected to grow from 485,600 people in 2011 to 823,400 in 20361, a 70% increase.

But up until now there’s been a lack of an easy to use connection between this group and employers.  The 2016 Retirement Commission3 survey of 500 businesses showed 83% had no policies or strategies in place for workers over the age of 50.

“We’ve all heard stories about people losing a job late in their career and struggling to find another because the only option they have is to use their personal networks, general recruitment websites and media.  These people don’t want to be invisible, and it’s frustrating because they have so much to offer.  What they need is a tool that’s online, focused on their age bracket, available on any device and easy to use,” she says.

“Our team has experienced it first hand – people in their 50s visit our office and ask – “am I employable now?”  They have impeccable CVs and want to carry on working, but their confidence is low simply because of their age,” she says.

Whether full-time or part-time, from corporate, board and SME roles to professional services, administration, mentoring, voluntary work or home help the new service aims to support people to stay working, active and involved longer.

Older workers also have much to give including experience, knowledge, maturity, reliability and a solid work ethic.  They are very realistic about pay with expected rates being comparable to those between the ages of 25-55 years.

They are also increasingly flexible about part time opportunities meaning employers don’t have to fund full-time positions.  This portfolio, or gig, approach to roles leaves time open for other pursuits or leisure activities.  For employers this flexibility also provides access to a contingent workforce for the ebb and flow of projects and workloads.

Wise Ones is also a cost effective way to find roles – for the price of a coffee, just $5 a month, people can be part of a community of people who make up over a quarter of New Zealand’s population.  It can be accessed on mobile, tablet and desktop and can be found at 

Wise Ones has been created by a team of experts who have decades of experience in the recruitment business across New Zealand and Australia.

Celebrity speakers for Tauranga women’s conference

Date posted: February 21, 2017

The Regional Business Women’s Conference has secured a celebrity lineup for its conference in May.

The speakers will include scientist and social entrepreneur Sir Ray Avery, chief executive of Trilogy International Angela Buglass, former New Zealand Herald editor Tim Murphy, Women’s Refuge chief executive Dr Ang Jury, manager of the Hip Op-eration Crew Billie Jordan, and Tauranga’s Black Sticks hockey star Gemma McCaw.

The conference is a biennial event and drew around 170 delegates in 2015, said Kathryn Lellman, chairwoman of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s Business Women’s Network, which is organising the event. The lead sponsors are Craigs Investment Partners and Cooney Lees Morgan.

The 2017 conference theme is “No grit, no pearl”, which Ms Lellman said reflected the fact that women could not expect to achieve their goals without encountering and overcoming challenges.

“The conference goals include showing attendees that sometimes succeeding means getting a bit of dirt under your fingernails and dealing with some grit,” she said.

“All of the speakers will be reflecting that resilience and diversity. They’ll be talking about their experience, what they’ve survived, and the tools that have got them through the grittier times.”

Ms Lellman, who is a partner at Hollister-Jones Lellman, said the conferences had typically been well attended.

“We see the value of the conference as providing a great user-friendly networking event,” she said. “Women can come along who are currently in the workforce, thinking about getting back into work, or starting new.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty News article, click here.

For more details and to register for the 2017 Regional Business Women’s Conference, click here.


Craigs Investment Partners and Cooney Lees Morgan Regional Business Women’s Conference 2017 – NO GRIT, NO PEARL

Date posted: February 13, 2017

Save The Date for WebsiteWe all have dreams, we all have aspirations but there is no fulfilling these dreams and aspirations without some hard work and determination. Success will look different for every one of us. There’s no right or wrong but there’s also no doubt that sitting on one’s hands does nothing, and as self-determining women we need to make things happen for ourselves.

No Grit, No Pearl

All of our conference speakers have been invited here to show you that sometimes reaching your goals means getting a bit of dirt under your fingernails and dealing with the odd bit of ‘grit’ in your life. They are here to provide you with some tools to assist you through life’s grittier times but it’s not all going to be hard work. We are also here to inspire each other, have some fun, meet and make new friends, rekindle connections with old ones and to have an enjoyable and inspirational evening and day out.

Keep an eye out on our Facebook page here or website page for more information coming soon!

Conference Dates

Bay business told to catch up with digital age, or lose out

Date posted: February 9, 2017

These days, if businesses don’t have a digital strategy, then they simply don’t have a strategy, Callaghan Innovation chief technical officer Dr Chris Hartshorn told a 100-plus audience of Tauranga businesspeople yesterday.

“I don’t care what business you think you’re in,” he said. “If you don’t choose to get on this train, it is going to run away from you and you will be playing catch up forever.”

Dr Hartshorn, who joined Callaghan Innovation last year after 20 years abroad in high profile research roles advising multinationals, gave a wide-ranging presentation on his vision of what the future holds for businesses and how they are using new technologies to drive growth globally.

In particular, he focused on what has become known in tech circles as the internet of things (IoT) and big data solutions.

The concept covers the intersection of the worlds of data, design and ideas, and the physical world of materials and living things.

“That is where a lot of the growth is coming from. Companies that don’t get that will be analog players in a digital age – and that’s not a good place to be.”

Dr Hartshorn described some of the new opportunities that have opened up in the agrotech and food and beverage sectors.

That included new developments in pesticides being developed from natural sources as a result of environmental concerns and increased regulations around synthetic pesticides; microbial soil; amendments designed to improve soil quality; and the vast array of sensors and remote devices being developed that can help farmers and horticulturalists monitor and manage herds and crops more efficiently.

As an example of changes being driven by technology, he noted that multinational food company Campbell Soup was the sole investor in Habit, a startup launched to produce diets tailored to personal nutritional requirements through DNA testing.

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.


More research needed to grow BOP companies

Date posted: February 8, 2017

The big challenge for the Bay of Plenty in the next two decades is going to be adjusting to disruptions in the 21st century economy, says Massey University demographics expert professor Paul Spoonley.

While the Bay of Plenty can expect to see continuing population growth, the region and the country as a whole was going through a transition as fertility drops and immigration takes over as the major source of new people. Establishing a solid research and development base in the region was going to be a key factor in future growth, Professor Spoonley said.

“The service areas such as elder care, retirement, and tourism are the strong growth areas,” he said.

“If there’s a gap, it would be that ability to scale up the [research and development] activity in the city and not rely simply on other service areas such as tourism or elder care. Where are your new century jobs going to come from? That’s a major challenge.”

Professor Spoonley was speaking yesterdayahead of the first in a new series of presentations organised by Smart Growth in partnership with Priority One and the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, around the theme, Smart Talk, Future Thinking.

Smart Growth independent chairman Bill Wasley said the initiative was about facilitating community awareness, understanding and having conversations on long-term spatial planning issues affecting the region looking 20, 30 and 50 years ahead. It was the first of what Smart Growth hoped would become a frequent conversation with three to four events a year, Mr Wasley said.

Professor Spoonley said the Bay of Plenty, along with the Hamilton/Waikato area could expect to grow as part of the golden triangle as a result of spillover from Auckland. He added that Auckland was expected to be at the centre of almost two-thirds of New Zealand’s population growth in the next two decades.

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Bay MP Muller says protectionism won’t work

Date posted: January 30, 2017

Todd Muller MP and Nigel Tutt, the new CEO of Priority One, were the two keynote speakers at the Annual ‘State of the Local Nation’ breakfast event at Welcome Bay Community Centre last week.

Reflecting on “an extraordinary” year, Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller said on Friday that protectionism was a deeply flawed approach to the technological revolution sweeping the world.

Addressing Tauranga business people and community leaders at his third annual “state of the nation” speech, Mr Muller acknowledged that at last year’s speech at the Welcome Bay Community Centre he had failed to anticipate the election of Donald Trump as US President.

“That just talks to the volatility and challenge we have globally,” he said. “The technological revolution sweeping the world is exponentially faster than the original industrial revolution in terms of its impact and wider in its effect.”

Mr Muller spent two weeks at the Democrat and Republican primaries in the US last year. Delegates there had told him that America was changing in a way they could not recognise or participate in, he said.

“They saw [globalism] as something to be resisted. My personal view is that [Trump’s] particular brand of negative populism of America first, and a view that protectionism works, is deeply flawed. It is not my world view.” It was not the attitude that had underpinned Tauranga’s success, he added.

New Zealand had been tracking extraordinarily well, relative to the trajectory of other countries, said Mr Muller. Some 350,000 jobs had been created since the global financial crisis, and Treasury predicted another 150,000 more jobs would be created over the next three years. Unemployment was at 4.9 per cent and is expected to drop to 4.7 per cent.

“We are one of the few countries in the OECD that has balanced our books. We had a budget surplus last year and we’re on track for another surplus.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Toi Ohomai CE addresses record crowd at BA5

Date posted: January 20, 2017

Leon FourieTauranga’s business community gathered together on Wednesday night to hear Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology’s new CE, Dr Leon Fourie, talk about the future of vocational and applied professional education in the Bay of Plenty.

The event, held at Toi Ohomai’s School of Business on Cameron Road, was the first of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s 2017 ‘Business After 5’ (BA5) series and was attended by over 150 people.

Dr Fourie outlined his seven key drivers for regional success from a tertiary education perspective:

  1. Maori success is key to regional success
  2. Aligning educational outcomes with future growth areas
  3. Establishing a regional footprint for Community-based Delivery Sites
  4. Seamless interfaces in the education-to-employment value chain
  5. Partnership model in developing Industry Workforce Roadmaps
  6. Satisfying project demand through a Skills Exchange Approach
  7.  Shorter, stackable qualifications and embedding Practice Passports

Chamber of Commerce CE, Stan Gregec, said the event was a fantastic start to the year with a record crowd.

“The new Toi-Ohomai CEO brings an exciting new vision for tertiary education in the Bay,” he said.

“The Chamber supports any move to more strongly align education and vocational training with the needs of business and industry, and we look forward to playing our part as a key strategic partner to make that happen.”

During the networking event, BA5 attendees were treated to culinary creations from Toi Ohomai’s talented chef-tutors – Lee Pearce, Peter Blakeway and Shane Yardley.

How to cope with future growth in Tauranga?

Date posted: January 19, 2017

The challenges faced by Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty are largely good ones on how to accommodate growth, says Massey University demographics expert, distinguished professor Paul Spoonley.

“But there are some big questions – what does an age-friendly Tauranga look like, especially given it is a major destination for retirees? And how does Tauranga fit into a new knowledge economy?”

He will next month kick off the first in a new series of presentations organised by Smart Growth in partnership with Priority One and the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, around the theme “Smart Talk, Future Thinking”. The series aims to foster informed debate on delivering on the potential of the sub-region’s businesses and communities.

His talk will focus on the need to consider the demographics of regions and how they might work to build to their economies. He will also discuss the trends in the Western Bay and what these mean for its future, including that of the business community.

Professor Spoonley said New Zealand was going through huge economic and demographic change with various elements that could be expected to impact Tauranga and the wider Bay of Plenty region.

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

To attend this FREE event on Tuesday 7th February, please register by clicking here.

Bay business leaders positive about coming year

Date posted: January 17, 2017

Bay of Plenty small businesses have had an excellent year, boosted by the strong building and construction sector, and are confident of prospects for the coming year, say local business leaders.

They were commenting on the latest ANZ quarterly survey for October-December 2016, which showed New Zealand small businesses finished the year on an upbeat note, with confidence at its highest levels in almost two years.

A net 20 per cent of respondents, up from 17 per cent in the September quarter, said they were confident about the business environment in the year ahead, according to ANZ’s quarterly Business Micro Scope survey of small firms.

The composite growth measure lifted across all five regions, with Wellington leading the way followed closely by regional South Island. Auckland continues a gradual climb, while growth prospects in regional North Island and Canterbury have started to gain more momentum.

The survey consolidates survey responses and does not specifically break out figures for the Bay of Plenty. However, Steven Farrant, chairman of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Tauranga group, said the strong confidence reported nationally reflected the experience of local businesses in the region.

“Anecdotally, everyone I spoke to in the course of last year pretty much reflected that same sentiment,” he said.

“Construction was one of the areas that performed particularly well,” added Mr Farrant, who is general manager of Keith Hay Homes Bay of Plenty. “Building consents were through the roof.”

Tauranga chamber chief executive Stan Gregec, agreed, saying the environment was looking positive for small business which has been a key focus for the organisation in the past year.

“A lot of small business have worked hard and have started work early after the New Year or have worked through, particularly given the construction demand. Everything I’m hearing is pretty positive at the moment. It’s full steam ahead and people are still pretty gung ho.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times news article, click here.

Huge rise in Tauranga job listings

Date posted: January 16, 2017

New figures released by Trade Me showed Tauranga job listings rose 37 per cent in the last quarter of 2016 compared to the same period in 2015, and 56.3 per cent in the Western Bay.

But this was nothing in comparison to the growth seen by one recruitment agency, which saw almost 100 per cent growth in the same period.

Phill van Syp, managing director of 1st Call Recruitment, said the agency was “flat tack”.

“We can’t keep up. If we had more room, we would put more staff in, but we don’t have any room and we can’t find any more.”

Mr van Syp said compared to 2015, the agency saw growth overall of 33 per cent in 2016 – but the end of the year was “incredibly nuts”.

“Towards the end of the year, it went a lot higher. We were running nearly 100 per cent more than we were same time last year.

The first part of the year was similar to the year before, but the end of the year has gone incredibly nuts.

“On top of that, look at how many recruitment agencies have moved to town. The city is going crazy. Which is great.”

Stan Gregec, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive, said the increase in job listings was wonderful news for Tauranga job seekers.

“It demonstrates the strength and depth of the local economy at the moment.

“Tauranga’s still on fire. We don’t see this letting up anytime soon.”

Mr Gregec said chamber members were looking forward to another “vintage year” in 2017.

“If you’re looking to break into the Tauranga job market, there’s never been a better time.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Tauranga officially NZ’s 5th largest city

Date posted: January 15, 2017

Population estimates by Statistics New Zealand reveal Tauranga has overtaken Dunedin’s population of 127,000, clocking in at 128,200 people in 2016.

Dunedin’s population grew by an estimated 6200 between 1996 and 2016, while Tauranga streaked ahead by 48,400 over the same period.

The move makes Tauranga the fifth largest city after Auckland, Christchurch, Wellington and Hamilton

Reasons for Tauranga’s growth include the city’s natural environment, moderate climate, and a strong economy anchored by the Port of Tauranga. – and the “Auckland effect” where people relocated from the country’s largest city to “enjoy the lifestyle and easier access to property ownership”.

On the flip side, the “influx of Aucklanders and others” has rapidly increased the cost of housing and rental, says Tauranga deputy mayor Kelvin Clout, himself a former Aucklander who moved to the city with his family in 1990.

To read the rest of the Sunlive article, click here.

New Toi Ohomai CEO signals new vocational approach

Date posted: January 14, 2017

One key focus for new Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology chief executive Leon de Wet Fourie is the need for the merged institute to move away from marketing qualifications and start marketing jobs.

“The industry interface has to be seamless, so that from the learner perspective there is a direct line of sight from enrolment all the way through to employment,” said Dr Fourie, who took up his new role at the end of last year.

He brings with him an extensive educational background in both his native South Africa and more recently at Unitec Institute of Technology in Auckland. Toi Ohomai’s two legacy institutions – Waiariki Institute of Technology and Bay of Plenty Polytechnic – had a strong track record of engaging with business and that would be continued, he said.

Globally, education was undergoing disruptive change, driven by technology, learner expectations of employment outcomes, employer and government expectations of relevance and value, and major corporates entering the sector.

“Delivery models have changed more in the past 10 years than in the previous 1000 years and are expected to change even more over the coming decade.”

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times article, click here:

The Chamber is hosting its first Business After 5 for the year at Toi Ohomai’s Bongard campus in the CBD on Wednesday 18th January, which is an opportunity for Chamber members to meet Dr Fourie in person and to hear more of his thinking about how education can work more closely with business and industry.

A new approach to revitalise the CBD

Date posted: December 16, 2016

The next steps in creating a more vibrant, safe and successful Tauranga city centre will be the topic of discussion for elected members at next week’s council meeting.

Council staff are recommending that council-led projects in the city centre, such as the new civic administration building and surrounding open space, business cases for museum, new library and performance venue, future investment in the waterfront and streetscape, and living in the city centre, all come under the umbrella of a Heart of the City Programme.

The proposed purpose of the Heart of the City Programme is to work in partnership to create a vibrant, safe and successful city centre.

General manager city transformation Jaine Lovell-Gadd said in a statement released today the proposed Heart of the City Programme would be an expanded concept and a more comprehensive approach from the Civic Space Options project.

“The Heart of the City Programme would allow for better integration of the projects in the city centre, and importantly, the ability for Council to communicate and engage clearly with the community on what’s happening in their city centre as a whole,” Mrs Lovell-Gadd said.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times news story, click here.

The Bay’s boom continues

Date posted: December 5, 2016

Unemployment down? Tick. GDP, retail spending, construction, and population growth up? Tick, tick, tick and tick.

Latest quarterly figures released this week show the Bay of Plenty is humming along nicely, with the region’s economic indicators all pointing in the right direction.

“While out in the community the feedback I am getting is that our local economy is thriving, and the figures confirm it,” says Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller.

In the quarter ending September the region’s GDP increased by 4.4 per cent over the year, well above the national average of 3.2 per cent.

People seeking Jobseeker support fell by 10 per cent, job advertisements across the region were up nearly 50 per cent in October while unemployment is currently at 4.3 per cent – compared to 5.0 per cent nationally.

Retail trade also increased by 7.4 per cent compared to 3.2 per cent nationally, residential building consents are sitting 46 per cent higher over the year and the surge of construction work and projected growth has seen an increase in commercial vehicle registrations (up 39 per cent).

Todd says these rises are being driven by population growth, with the latest Statistics NZ and Infometrics showing Tauranga’s population grew to 124,600 by the end of 2015 – up from 116,190 in 2013.

To read the rest of the SunLive news article, click here.

Chamber welcomes newcomers to town

Date posted: November 25, 2016
Chamber CEO Stan Gregec

Chamber CEO Stan Gregec

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec says the organisation is an ideal place for newcomers to Tauranga to get their bearings on the local business scene and build their networks.

“There are many other business groups in Tauranga, and it can be bewildering for people new to town to know who’s who and what’s what when they first arrive.

Anyone new to town or looking to start a business in Tauranga is invited to have a free one-hour consultation with the Chamber’s Smart Economy Business Advisor.

“This will help them identify their needs and the sources of assistance they can tap into.

This service is generously funded by the Tauranga City Council – which the Chamber delivers alongside our other business support services.”

While Tauranga can be a difficult place to get established, there is a wealth of networks and support out there – but you need to take the first steps and keep an open mind, he says.

“We observe that some people have difficulties when they arrive with certain assumptions or expectations of how things might be here.

They need to understand that Tauranga has its own unique characteristics, and it pays to do your homework on the ground before diving into any new venture or business opportunity.”

To read the full Bay News article, click here.

TPP decision no surprise to Bay businesses

Date posted: November 24, 2016

US president-elect Donald Trump’s announcement that the US will quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal on his first day in office has been met with disappointment at lost opportunities. But it has come as no surprise to Bay of Plenty business leaders and politicians.

“Mr Trump’s views and intentions on the TPP have been known for some time,” said Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec.

“But New Zealand and other trading countries like us will have a credible Plan B in place. There is no doubt that free trade agreements [FTAs] and the breaking down of global trade barriers are what works for us, so there will be other options to pursue.”

Trade Minister Todd McClay, the MP for Rotorua, said the announcement was no surprise.

“But I’m starting to hear a lot of disappointment from a number of people in the export sector in the Bay – particularly the forestry sector, because TPP will bring tariffs down to zero – and from horticulture, kiwifruit and many, many others.”

However, New Zealand’s position remained the same, New Zealand having just passed its own TPP-enabling legislation. He added that the sentiment at the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting had been strongly supportive of continuing with the TPP process.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times report, click here.

Meet the Tauranga Business of the Year

Date posted: October 18, 2016

EmployNZ , the winner of this year’s Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year award, has succeeded by giving its clients the tools to reach their potential, says director and general manager Jay Banner.

The company partners with Government agencies including the Ministry of Social Development, the Tertiary Education Commission and New Zealand Qualifications Authority, to provide clients with relevant and achievable training and development programmes.

EmployNZ also partners with secondary schools, private training establishments, tertiary institutes and industry training organisations, to source further training , and works with industry to find employment opportunities for its clients.

The company was set up by Robyn Phillips in 2000 and was acquired by Diane Meikle and Mr Banner three years ago.

Mr Banner had previously contracted to EmployNZ.

“Robyn built a really strong business and laid some strong foundations, so we had the building blocks when we took it over,” said Mr Banner.

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times story, click here.

To see List of all Winners and Photos from the Awards night, click here.

Success at Business Awards

Date posted: October 17, 2016

Private Training Enterprise EmployNZ took out the top award from a strong field of finalists on Friday night at the 2016 Westpac Tauranga Business Awards.

Fisheries company Sanford won the Waikato University Management School Corporate Leadership Award, while Tauranga businessman and property developer Tom Roper won the Powerco Excellence in Business Award (see story below).

More than 400 people attended the black-tie event at ASB Arena for the awards organised by the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, which had a new focus this year on encouraging a wider range of small- to medium-sized businesses.

“You’d be amazed at how many successful businesses we have here who operate quite nicely under the radar,” said chamber chief executive Stan Gregec.

“The awards are a chance to discover who some of these are, put the spotlight on them, and give them the wider visibility and recognition they deserve. I know the judges have been tested, and there were some robust debates to pick the supreme winner.”

To read the rest of The Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

To see List of all Winners and Photos from the Awards night, click here.

2016 Tauranga Business Awards Winners

Date posted: October 15, 2016


This year’s Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year is EmployNZ.

With the highest judging score EmployNZ was a stand-out in all judging categories. With their unique approach to business management and development which included an ‘Open door policy for good ideas’ such as holding a Dragon’s Den where all staff participated in providing ideas for the strategic plan. They have strong leadership, empowerment and succession planning evident across the leadership team, meticulous knowledge and understanding of their business. Focused planning within the areas of their control and detailed diversification options outside of these areas identified. Their Employee / Customer satisfaction results exceeded 95%.

Other Award Winners are:

  • Excellence in Business Leadership – Tom Roper
  • Corporate Leadership – Sanford Ltd
  • Retail Excellence (Small) – Furnish
  • Retail Excellence (Large) – YOU Travel
  • Manufacturing &/or Logistics – Modern Office & Office Furniture Warehouse
  • Tourism & Hospitality – Pacific Coast Lodge & Backpackers
  • Service Excellence – Nurtured at Home
  • Social Enterprise – EmployNZ
  • Customer Service – FreshChoice Omokoroa
  • Workplace Safety – Z Retail Outlets
  • Business Innovation – Modern Office & Office Furniture Warehouse
  • Digital Innovation – Waipuna Hospice

To see Photos from the Awards night, click here.

RZG Construction director takes out LinkT Awards

Date posted: October 9, 2016

Ryan Fowles, director of RZG Construction, was named winner of the Young Read Woudberg Business Owner at last night’s Young Read Woudberg LinkT Awards and Ball.

Mr Fowles was the founding director of RZG Construction, an organization with a focus on concrete structures.

In a press release, the judges said they were impressed by Mr Fowles “entrepreneurial spirit”, and the significant growth his company has had in a short amount of time.

“Ryan has grown the business organically and avoids external debt where possible by choosing to reinvest profits in plant and equipment. RZG was a company with six employees and now has a team of 16,” it said.

To read the rest of the Bay of Plenty Times story, click here.

BOP bumped to 2nd in economic survey

Date posted: September 25, 2016

After five quarters at the top of the regional economic confidence rankings, the Bay of Plenty has been bumped to second place in the Westpac McDermott Miller September quarterly survey. However, business leaders described the drop as a blip and said confidence in the region remained strong.

“It’s not surprising that confidence has eased a little in the Bay of Plenty,” said Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec.

“We’ve had a pretty good run over the last couple of years, and some would say we were due for a slight dip from the giddy heights we’ve seen in recent quarters.”

The survey found the Bay had dropped seven percentage points from 41 per cent in the June quarter, to 34 per cent in the latest quarter, while Wellington had jumped 31 percentage points to 39 per cent.

To read the rest of the BOP Times story, click here.

New Chamber Board Members Announced

Date posted: September 14, 2016

The following have been elected or re-elected as Chamber Board Members for a two-year term from September 2016:

  • Greg Delaney
  • Brent Devcich
  • Kellie Hamlett
  • Toni Palmer
  • Ian Skelton
  • Roann Watson

They join existing Board Members Ron Devlin, Margaret Holmes, Steven Farrant, Simon Darmody, Mike Lambert and Andrew Nimick to complete the 12-strong Chamber Board.

The new Board will be confirmed at the Chamber’s AGM on Monday 19th September, and will meet a week later to appoint the Office Holders for the coming year.

Donald Trump here this week to meet candidates

Date posted: September 10, 2016

US presidential hopeful Donald Trump is being used to lure younger Tauranga voters to a Meet the Candidates evening next week.

Tauranga group Young People in Business (LINKT) and the Chamber of Commerce have set up the free evening on Thursday for people to get to know the city’s mayoral candidates ahead of this year’s local body elections. The evening is also supported by the Bay of Plenty Times.

To help make local body politics more interesting to younger would-be voters, Tauranga city councillor Matt Cowley will dress up as Trump and will impersonate the man for the evening.

”It’s going to take more of a fun, light-hearted approach to meet you candidates,” Chamber of Commerce’s Anne Pankhurst said.

”We suggested Donald Trump to interview the candidates rather than a regular somebody.”

The mayoral candidates will be quizzed on what they plan to offer the city, if elected, before the evening is handed over to a Q&A session with the audience.

Traditionally, younger people were under represented when it came to voting in elections.

In 2014’s general elections, Tauranga voters aged 18-24 and 25-29 had the highest number of people not voting – respectively 44.17 per cent and 40.48 per cent of the age groups did not vote.

By comparison, 13 per cent of people aged 60-64 and 9.75 per cent of those aged 65-69 did not vote.

”I think it’s critical that we engage with younger people,” Ms Pankhurst said.

“It’s their future. The council is making decisions about the place they want to live in for the rest of their lives.”

Trump vs candidates

What: Meet the candidates evening, hosted by “Donald Trump”
Where: Mauao Performing Arts Centre
When: Thursday, September 15, 5pm
Who: Open to anyone, aimed for young people
Cost: Free

(Republished from the Bay of Plenty Times.)

2015-16 Annual Report now available.

Date posted: September 9, 2016

The Chamber has published its 2015-16 Annual Report ahead of its Annual General Meeting, scheduled for Monday 19th September at 4.30pm (Mills Reef Winery).

To download a copy of the full Annual Report, click here.

To download a pdf summary of the 2016 Chamber Year in Review, click here.


To attend the 2016 Tauranga AGM, click here for more details and to register.


Council heeds majority opinion on ‘Civic Heart’

Date posted: September 6, 2016

Tauranga City Council has backed the option to lease a new civic administration building from a developer rather than own the building outright.

The council today voted 10-1 to “work with the private sector to deliver a new civic administration building for the council to lease”.

Chairwoman of the civic heart project steering group Councillor Gail McIntosh said after today’s meeting that there was hardly any difference over 10 years between owning and leasing the building.

This was because the council would pay $22.3 million of the capital costs to cover the fit out along with other costs like IT and organisation transition costs like new working designs and relocation costs.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Looks like Council has listened.

Date posted: September 2, 2016

A recommendation from Tauranga City Council staff to build the new civic building through private funding will be brought to councillors on Tuesday.

The recommendation to invest $22.3 million in capital costs plus an ongoing lease cost of $2.5m per annum is a result of additional work the Civic Space Options project team has carried out following public submissions that presented arguments for council leasing a new building as opposed to owning it.

The capital cost is the figure set aside for the council’s fit out of the building and for costs like demolition and technology.

Council general manager city transformation Jaine Lovell-Gadd said leasing a new building would significantly reduce the initial capital investment required.

“It would also provide the private sector with an opportunity to be involved, add value and demonstrate the innovation that they can bring to big projects like this,” she said.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Need help with your Business Awards entry?

Date posted: August 19, 2016

IMG_4695The first of our 2016 Westpac Tauranga Business Awards Workshops were held this week with Darren McGarvie from The Firestation taking prospective entrants step-by-step through the entry process.

There’s a second session coming up on Wednesday 1st September, for those of you who are still thinking about entering.

Entries for the Awards close on Friday 9th September.

For more information and to download an entry form, click here to go to our Business Awards website.


‘Don’t serve up a cold sausage,’ says Chamber

Date posted: August 1, 2016

“The Council has done a good job of selling the sizzle on its plans to create a new Civic Heart, but needs to be careful not to serve up a cold sausage,” says Chamber chief executive Stan Gregec, after making an oral submission to Council this morning.


By linking a new Council building to a vision of ‘a more vibrant city centre’, there is a very real risk that the Council has raised the community’s expectations beyond what it is capable of delivering.


And with most of the civic amenities proposed being dependent on finding funding from private developers, “it might even be a case of the Council inviting people to somebody else’s barbecue,” says Stan Gregec.


Mr Gregec said that while the Tauranga Chamber was broadly supportive of the Civic Heart proposals, the project would not be judged a success if all it delivered was a new Council building and civic square.


The Chamber was strongly supportive of private sector involvement and potential financing of some or most elements of the Civic Heart proposals. “We think Council should look for a funding and ownership model that allows it to progress with both the building and with other much needed amenities – as early as possible and at maximized value for ratepayers’, said Mr Gregec.


The Chamber’s submission also recommended the creation of an external implementation body – that takes all of the detailed work and planning out of the Council, and puts it under a separate entity that can get on with the job, and have a stronger focus and access to relevant expertise. This could be a Council Controlled Organisation (CCO), successful examples of which already exist.


“The brief of such an organization would be to promote the revitalisation of the whole downtown area – and to work out how all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fit together”, says Mr Gregec.


The Chamber also called for better communication of the over-arching vision and master plan for the downtown area, and said that part of the challenge was to find a more effective way of describing the big picture of what is proposed and how everything fits together. Names like “City Centre Spatial Plan” were not very user-friendly or inspiring.


Mr Gregec said that the public and the business community were not going to get excited about a new Council building, but they will get excited about a rejuvenated CBD that’s designed for people and works for people.

Entries open for 2016 Business Awards

Date posted: July 29, 2016

Entries and nominations are now open for the new look Westpac Tauranga Business Awards, which were launched at a function at Trustpower last night.

This year’s Awards have been revamped to offer more recognition of the small business sector, with new categories created to encourage businesses with less than 10 full-time-equivalent employees to enter. The new categories are: Small Retail Business of the Year, and Small Manufacturing/Distribution Business of the Year.

There are 12 Awards categories altogether – made up of 7 Sector Awards covering Retail, Tourism/Hospitality, Manufacturing/Distribution, Professional and Trade Services and Social Enterprise.   In addition there are 4 Business Practice categories: Workplace Safety, Business Innovation, Digital Innovation and Customer Service.

The supreme award is the Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year, for which any winner of any one of the 7 Sector categories is eligible.

“This year we have made a real effort to open up the Awards to much wider participation and to make them a community celebration”, says Chamber CEO Stan Gregec. “We want to see more small businesses enter and we’d like to see a wider cross-section of the community there on the actual night. Think of it as ‘democratising’ the Business Awards.”

This year the entry process has been streamlined every further to make it as easy as possible for businesses of all sizes to take part. “The first stage of putting in an entry won’t take more than a couple of hours, and can be done entirely online,” says Stan Gregec. “We’re not looking for a ‘War and Peace’ type submission – in fact the online form makes the first cut of information a breeze.”

To assist applicants to prepare their entries, the Chamber is running two 90-minute workshops in association with consultancy firm The Firestation on Thursday 18 August and Thursday 1 September to go over the criteria and offer tips on completing the application process. “We want to make it as easy and clear as we can for anyone considering entering,“ says Stan Gregec.

Entries close on Friday 9th September.
The Gala Awards Dinner will be held at ASB Baypark on Friday 14 October.

For further information and criteria, go to:

Business Mentors 25th Birthday Bash in Papamoa

Date posted: July 28, 2016

To celebrate Business Mentors New Zealand 25th birthday, the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce hosted a mentor appreciation function today at Papamoa Beach Resort.


L to R: Mike Frohlich, Alan Withy, Stan Gregec, Phil Holland

Mentors from Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane enjoyed refreshments and words of thanks from General Manager of Business Mentors New Zealand, Lisa Ford.

Business Mentors New Zealand Limited is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the success and growth of small businesses through the knowledge and experience of volunteer mentors.

“It is only with the support of volunteer mentors like you,” said Lisa, “who freely give your time, skills and experience, that helps make us the leading business mentoring service provider to the SME sector in New Zealand.”

The business mentoring service was introduced into New Zealand by Dr Grahame Craig in December 1991. The idea was the brainchild of his friend and colleague Bill Hall, founder of successful New Zealand companies Hallmark and Woolrest.

Dr Craig also attended the event and mentors were treated to stories of how the scheme came about and the challenges it faced in the early years.

“The success of Bill’s companies was largely due to his willingness to listen to the opinions of others,” said Grahame. “He understood the power of an outside perspective and this was what inspired the mentor programme.”

Sadly Bill didn’t get to see how Business Mentors grew and evolved but, largely due to the energy and commitment of Dr Craig, Bill’s legacy to help business owners succeed has developed into a programme that has benefited over 70,000 SME New Zealand business owners.

Firm in Pole Position

Date posted: July 22, 2016


A Tauranga fruit marketing company has been awarded more export licences to distribute kiwifruit to Australia and avocados to parts of South East Asia, as well as Australia – a feat it credits to using Business Mentors New Zealand.

The Pole to Pole group picks, packs, distributes and markets fruit for several hundred growers across the country. Founder Todd Abrahams, who started the business 11 years ago, said demand for New Zealand fruit domestically and overseas was at record levels.

“Pole to Pole has grown a lot in the past couple of years and confidence across the industry is high – but we need to ensure we have the supply available to meet the demand.

It was currently looking for more suppliers to come on board.

The 42-year-old attributes much of the company’s recent growth to the hard work of his team and business mentor Cliff Osborne.

Read the full Bay of Plenty Times story.

Bay Oval lights to go ahead

Date posted: May 31, 2016

One of the key things that the Chamber has advocated for this year has been accepted by the Tauranga City Council. Bay Oval will be getting its much needed lights – funded by a public-private partnership between the Council, Bay Oval Trust and the Civic Amenities Group. Tauranga’s first international cricket match played under lights will take place during the West Indies tour in 2017-18.

Read the full Bay of Plenty Times article.

Rocket! Re-brand and Name Change

Date posted: May 12, 2016

Tauranga’s Rocket! Young Professionals networking group is planning to change its name to LINKT – Tauranga Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs – as part of a rebrand to attract a wider range of young business people.

Rocket! chairman Dave Lathan, an accountant with Tauranga firm Anthony Harris, said the group was in the process of working through a major rebrand.

“We have found that the ‘young professionals’ part of the name can alienate younger entrepreneurs who tend to think the group is just aimed at accountants, lawyers and engineers,” said Mr Lathan.

“The goal of the rebranding is to attract more young entrepreneurs,” he said.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times article, click here.

Chamber announces new appointments

Date posted: May 9, 2016

New Chamber appointments have been announced as a consequence of the Chamber’s new strategy of organising itself around its member groups.

Emma Harvey, Anne Pankhurst and Dave Simon have all been appointed as Engagement Coordinators to support individual groups and special activities and projects, a change from their previous more specialist roles.

Chamber CEO Stan Gregec says this is in line with moving from a one-size-fits-all model of Chamber activity to a much more segmented approach where separate member groups are engaged and supported across a wide front.

“We now have a number of existing and new member groups up and running, each with their own steering group, and the job of the Chamber coordinator is take their best ideas and make them happen in a way that delivers value,” says Stan.  They will also be responsible for membership enquiries within their groups and for the Chamber generally.

The new appointments, which take effect today, are:

  • Emma Harvey – Engagement Coordinator for Business Women’s Network, Young Enterprise Scheme, with special responsibility for Chamber training and email communications.
  • Anne Pankhurst – Engagement Coordinator for Rocket! Young Professionals and the Westpac Tauranga Business Awards.
  • Dave Simon – Engagement Coordinator for Small Business Tauranga.

The changes will also see the CEO Stan Gregec take on responsibility for all external relations and strategic communications.


Chamber submits on TCC Annual Plan

Date posted: April 2, 2016

The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce has submitted on a wide range of issues on the Tauranga City Council’s Draft Annual Plan for 2016-17.

In summary here’s the main things we said:

  • Tauranga Airport
    We support the investment into Tauranga Airport by bringing forward funding to upgrade the airport’s facilities.
  • ICT
    The Chamber supports the additional $5.2m being spent on upgrading the Council’s ICT services.
  • Civic Space Project
    The Chamber acknowledges and supports Council for the approach to community engagement over the Civic campus.
    Chamber supports the creation of an Urban Development Authority (UDA) to deliver the long-term framework and plan for the Tauranga CBD.
  • Parking
    We support Council building a new parking building in the city centre and building an additional floor onto the existing Elizabeth St car park.
  • City Events Funding
    Chamber supports the additional funding of $471,000 towards events in the city on the basis that is applied directly to supporting private sector events initiatives.
  • Economic Development
    Chamber strongly supports the proposed additional initiatives and funding for the Digital Enablement Plan and International Strategy
  • Visitor Information Services
    Chamber supports the additional budget of $400,000 for enhanced i-Site and i-Port facilities.
  • Bay Cricket Oval
    Chamber supports Council contributing towards the lights for the Bay Cricket Oval, and encourages a joint approach with the private sector to find a viable funding solution.
  • Shared services with other Councils
    We believe there is scope for closer integration of Council services and common standards across all 3 councils in the region.

    Read the Chamber’s Submission to the TCC Draft Annual Plan 2017 here.

Tauranga – ‘the place where it’s all happening’

Date posted: March 13, 2016


Business confidence is high across the Bay on the back of strong economic figures.

Newly released data from Statistics New Zealand show gains in two key measurements for the business sector.

Both total and per capita gross domestic product (GDP) are at all-time highs, with GDP growing 8 per cent in the last two years.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the figures were pleasing but he wasn’t surprised.

“Tauranga’s the place where it’s all happening at the moment. We’ve got growth in jobs as well as economic activity, and we can’t see this picture changing anytime soon,” said Mr Gregec.

Read more from the Bay of Plenty Times article

Businesses can comment on TCC annual plan

Date posted: March 7, 2016

Public consultation on Tauranga City Council’s draft annual plan for 2016/17 is now open.

(Business owners and) Residents can make online submissions until 5pm on April 4 at

Through the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan, council set its course of action to successfully manage Tauranga’s growth into the future – providing and maintaining infrastructure for the growing city, delivering efficient services to communities and investing in Tauranga’s future, while managing rates and debt.

Read the full NZ Herald article.

Businesses are welcome to copy their submissions to the Chamber of Commerce, if they wish – which may incorporate them into any submission of its own (on behalf of the entire business community and its members.)

Chamber turns focus to small firms for 2016

Date posted: January 27, 2016
Chamber CEO Stan Gregec

Chamber CEO Stan Gregec


The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce’s new strategic focus for 2016 will be on the small business sector, says chief executive Stan Gregec.

The chamber is setting up a new internal division called Small Business Tauranga, utilising existing chamber resources, to drive the new strategy, which will draw on support from the business community. The initiative will be launched at an event on February 17 at Club Mount Maunganui.

“It’s time we started to recognise and put a face to the small businesses of Tauranga who make up the majority of business activity,” said Mr Gregec, who estimated the sector accounted for 70 to 80 per cent of businesses in the region and within the chamber membership.

Read the full Bay of Plenty Times article

2015 Business Awards Winners

Date posted: November 20, 2015

This year’s Westpac Business of the Year is Fulton Hogan BOP, with all the judges being impressed with the high level of innovation and industry leadership that they showed. Across a number of disciplines they are leading their company group and paving the way for the those practices to be instituted back.

Westpac Tauranga Business Award Winner Gavin Riddle from Fulton Hogan BOP.

Gavin Riddle from Westpac Tauranga Business of the Year Award Winner

The judges were impressed with the team, from Gavin Riddle right through. Not only did they consider their external customers  important, but their internal customers – in their staff and beyond to their families – were equally important. This showed real leadership and was easily the stand out winner.

This year’s winner of the Excellence in Business Leadership sponsored by Zespri International is Brian Diver, Principal of Tauranga Intermediate, a very worthy winner of this prestigious award.

The business recognised for their Corporate Leadership this year is Trustpower.

Other 2015 winners are:

  • Retail and/or Service Excellence  –  Rodney Wayne Bethlehem
  • Sustainability – Fulton Hogan BOP
  • Manufacturing &/or Logistics –  Fulton Hogan BOP
  • Small Business  –  Bay SportsMed Ltd
  • Community Organisation –  Tauranga Returned Services Association
  • Customer Service Award –  Fulton Hogan BOP
  • Workplace Safety Award –  Fulton Hogan BOP
  • Brand, Marketing & Design  –  D & B Construction (highly commended)
  • Innovation – Land & sea Drilling Consultants


Korean students to boost economy

Date posted: October 21, 2015

One-hundred and thirty-eight new Korean students will be making Tauranga their home in 2016, contributing more than $4 million to the economy.  To help sell Tauranga to Korean parents, a group of representatives from Education Tauranga, comprising local schools and institutions, recently visited an education fair in Seoul and Busan.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times column click here.

New airline enters local air space

Date posted: October 13, 2015

A new airline has launched in the Bay of Plenty offering scheduled and charter flights between Tauranga and Auckland’s North Shore.  North Shore Air has secured an exclusive licence from The North Shore Aero Club, which owns the Dairy Flats airfield, to run flights to Tauranga and also to Kerikeri, said the airline’s chief executive Peter Newman.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times column click here.

Business migrants welcomed in Tauranga

Date posted: October 9, 2015

An event for business people who have recently arrived in Tauranga will be hosted by The Chamber of Commerce and Priority One this month.  The two-hour breakfast meeting on Wednesday 21 October is designed to introduce newcomers to local knowledge and networks.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times column click here


$23m in projects planned for CBD

Date posted: September 11, 2015

Tauranga’s CBD has received “a shot in the arm” with more than $23 million worth of building consents in the year to June 30 – up 212 per cent from the previous 12 months – and business leaders say it is “evolving into a commercial hub”.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times column click here.

Move to ‘new Silicon Valley’ in Tauranga

Date posted: September 9, 2015

Multi-millionaire businesswoman Diana Foreman sees Tauranga as a “new Silicon Valley”.

In an interview after her address to a Tauranga Chamber of Commerce lunch last week.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times column click here.

Uphill battle for older workers

Date posted: September 8, 2015

In a world where 65 is the new 55, it’s hard to understand why seniors are seen, in so many quarters, as a burden on society.

To read the full Bay of Plenty Times column click here.

Hope is on the horizon

Date posted: September 3, 2015

Much has been written about the changing face of Tauranga’s downtown.

Concerns have been expressed about the number of empty ground-floor shops in the area. The drift towards suburban malls, which have free parking, and the rise of online shopping have contributed to a period of decline.

To read the Bay of Plenty Times column click here.

Students take their products to trade fair

Date posted: August 20, 2015

Tauranga Year 12 and 13 students in 14 teams will display customised products created during their business studies this Sunday at a special trade fair at Bayfair Shopping Centre.

To read the Bay of Plenty Times column click here

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