What the Tauranga business community think about road tolls, housing, and the labour market

Results from our June Business Poll

We received a robust response to our latest poll, where we asked you—the Tauranga business community—where you stand on key local issues.

We asked you:

1. Do you support the introduction of peak hour road tolling on Tauranga’s main roads?
2. How much of a risk is it to local employers if they struggle to attract workers to the region because our housing is unaffordable?
3. Is your business currently impacted by labour market shortages?

Traffic congestion charges

Tolling vehicles during peak periods on Tauranga’s main roads is being investigated by the Government and Tauranga City Council. The proposal would aim to reduce traffic demand at peak periods, raise funding for transport projects, and encourage more people to use alternative modes of transport.

Most respondents (70%) did not agree with the proposed initiative; while 25% agreed.

One respondent said: “traffic peak times are produced because that’s when people need to travel to be productive members of society”.

“What are the alternative modes of transport? Until Tauranga and the broader Western Bay of Plenty has frequent, cost effective, reliable, public transport that is available right across the city, then tolling will only provide anther cost to our community without, in my view, changing behaviour,” said another.

Other comments noted that tolling could be inefficient as people change their travelling times to avoid tolls, or simply do not have the option of using public transport.

Western Bay of Plenty’s growing housing unaffordability

A recent Council report forecasts Western Bay of Plenty rents could reach nearly $1000 per week within 10 years, as local housing becomes increasingly unaffordable.

Just over half (57%) of respondents considered the risk of local employers struggling to attract workers to the region due to unaffordable housing a high priority. The risk was considered a medium and low priority risk by 31% and 11% of respondents respectively.

Finding workers to fill job vacancies

When asked if their businesses were currently impacted by labour market shortages, almost a third (32%) said they were, but to a lesser extent than last year. A further 19% said they were still impacted, and 43% said there was no impact.

As one respondent said: “We are constantly seeking new personnel, with plenty of success in getting applicants to interview, but the quality of the individuals is so poor that we struggle to fill roles effectively”.

Another business said attracting candidates from outside Tauranga was almost impossible due to the city’s well-known housing and traffic issues.

“It’s extremely challenging to draw candidates. The city offers expensive housing, low wages, limited public transport and dreadful traffic delays when moving around the city,” they commented.

Thanks to everyone who completed our June Business Poll.

Look out for our next quarterly poll in September in the Chamber Voice newsletter and on our social channels LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

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