’Naki op­ti­mism down but not out

Taranaki Daily News - - Business -

Taranaki businesses are reporting a de­cline in op­ti­mism about New Zealand’s eco­nomic con­di­tions.

Since an un­prece­dented high was recorded by the Ven­ture Taranaki busi­ness sur­vey in De­cem­ber last year, op­ti­mism has de­clined by about 10 per cent.

How­ever, 52 per cent of businesses sur­veyed still thought the coun­try’s eco­nomic con­di­tions were likely to im­prove next year.

The sur­vey, which was sent out to more than 1500 Taranaki businesses, showed only 7 per cent of those sur­veyed an­tic­i­pated a de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of con­di­tions, while 39 per cent ex­pected things would stay the same.

‘‘This sur­vey demon­strates that Taranaki businesses con­tinue to do well, as does the re­gion, though it does sig­nal that a more con- ser­va­tive and cau­tious view is creep­ing in to busi­ness out­looks,’’ said Ven­ture Taranaki chief ex­ec­u­tive Stu­art Trun­dle.

‘‘While this is likely a re­flec­tion of a range of ex­ter­nal fac­tors, in­clud­ing the up­com­ing elec­tion, in­ter­est rate and cur­rency un­cer­tainty and a pos­si­ble move back from record dairy prices, it does re­in­force the need for solid medium and long-term plan­ning and con­stant re­view of how suc­cess­fully businesses are align­ing to their mar­kets.’’

The cost of fuel and elec­tric­ity were the big­gest con­cerns for busi­ness own­ers, though the level of con­cern had de­creased since De­cem­ber.

‘‘This sur­vey demon­strates that Taranaki businesses con­tinue to do well, as does the re­gion, though it does sig­nal that a more con­ser­va­tive and cau­tious view is creep­ing in to busi­ness out­looks.’’ Stu­art Trun­dle Ven­ture Taranaki chief ex­ec­u­tive

The sur­vey also re­ported in­creas­ing con­cerns by busi­ness own­ers about the avail­abil­ity of fi­nance, the cost of ma­te­ri­als, in­ter­est rates, and staffing costs.

In con­trast to the De­cem­ber 2013 sur­vey, businesses re­ported a de- cline in skill short­ages.

‘‘While de­mand is less pro­nounced for skilled people in the en­ergy and en­gi­neer­ing sec­tors, re­spon­dents have in­di­cated a loom­ing short­age in the dig­i­tal and in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy sec­tors, as well as a need for skilled people with the flex­i­bil­ity to fill short-term roles,’’ said Trun­dle.

The sur­vey also asked Taranaki businesses a range of ques­tions about the 2014 budget.

Businesses ranked the ex­ten­sion of paid parental leave from 14 to 18 weeks as the least sup­ported Budget ini­tia­tive and were most sup­port­ive of the ini­tia­tive to in­crease fund­ing for 6000 ex­tra places for ap­pren­tices.

Over­all, sur­vey par­tic­i­pants ranked the Budget 3.2 out of 5.

The Taranaki Busi­ness Sur­vey has been con­ducted ev­ery six months since 1999.

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