Councils urged to improve business focus in face of strong dissatisfaction

07 Oct 2013

Councils are being urged to focus more on supporting their local business community in the wake of a new survey that reveals widespread dissatisfaction amongst SME business operators.

As the country heads into the last week of voting in the local body elections, the latest MYOB Business Monitor Reportshows that 29% of the country’s small and medium business operators (SMEs) are dissatisfied with the support of their local council, while just 15% are fully satisfied.

MYOB NZ executive director, Scott Gardiner, says it’s not a glowing report card for the country’s local authorities.

“The survey highlights that councils have a long way to go in winning the full backing of SMEs in their local region. From gaining trading consents to the myriad of regulations that govern how companies operate, local government has an enormous influence over how easy it is to do business in New Zealand,” says Mr Gardiner.

“But as we have seen regularly in the MYOB Business Monitor, businesses around the country don’t feel they have the support of their local councils.”

In the main centres, Auckland SMEs have the lowest level of satisfaction with their super city council, with just 13% of local businesses happy with council support and 27% dissatisfied. Wellington is the only region in the country in which satisfaction outweighs dissatisfaction among SME business operators, with 25% satisfied and 23% dissatisfied.

Even with the rebuild underway, Christchurch shows the highest level of dissatisfaction of the main centres, with 28% dissatisfied and 18% satisfied. Around the rest of New Zealand dissatisfaction with local government is much higher, with 33% of SME operators dissatisfied and only 14% satisfied.

How they rank: Business satisfaction with local / regional council support
REGION NET SATISFACTION SATISFIED DISSATISFIED
Wellington +2% 25% 23%
Christchurch -10% 18% 28%
Hawke’s Bay -11% 22% 33%
Auckland -14% 13% 27%
Otago & Southland -16% 14% 30%
Bay of Plenty -20% 10% 30%
Manawatu-Wanganui -21% 21% 42%
Waikato -25% 9% 34%
Northland -38% 8% 46%

“It’s clear from these results that the local authorities in the regions need to work much harder to support their local business community,’ says Mr Gardiner.

“SMEs are the economic lifeblood of regional New Zealand. The communities that these councils represent rely on them for jobs and regional development opportunities, as well as the broad range of services they provide. The support of SMEs should be a major focus for councils as they shape and manage their policies.”

In the sectors, dissatisfaction with council support is strongest in the transport and warehousing industry, with 35% of operators dissatisfied and just 4% satisfied. Dissatisfaction is also strong in the retail and hospitality sector (36% dissatisfied and 13% satisfied) and construction and trades businesses (30% dissatisfied and 12% satisfied).

Satisfaction with the support of councils is highest in the manufacturing industry (16% satisfied and 28% dissatisfied) and the business and professional sector (17% satisfied and 31% dissatisfied).

“We can see dissatisfaction emerging strongly where business operators are reliant on local government for key aspects of their business,” says Scott Gardiner.

“It seems from the data that the more SMEs have to do with their councils, the more likely they are to be expressing dissatisfaction.”

“For example, we’re seeing strong dissatisfaction in the retail and hospitality industry, where 35% of businesses are impacted by food licensing regulations, 31% by health regulations and 23% by street trading regulations. Likewise in the trades, where 69% of business operators are impacted by building consents and 52% by resource consents.”

Top 5 council regulations that have an impact on SMEs
REGULATION/POLICY % OF SMES WITH IMPACT
Resource consents 37%
Building consents 36%
Bylaws 23%
Water regulations 18%
Health regulations 16%

“As the country votes in the latest local body elections, we believe it’s time for both candidates and voters to take another look at how the policies local government sets affects the businesses in their community. It’s time to really get behind initiatives that enable SMEs to thrive in their city, town or region.”

“And as new councils are elected, we ask them to remember how vitally important SMEs are to their local economy and start looking for new ways to improve their support for businesses around the country.”

For MYOB product information, research results, business tips, discussions, customer service and more visit the MYOB Business Monitor site, The Pulse blog, MYOB Twitter, MYOB Facebook or MYOB YouTube.

-ENDS-

For further information or immediate comment, please contact:

Kristy Sheppard

MYOB

Tel: 09 925 3560

Mob: +61 407 450 860

Email: kristy.sheppard@myob.com

Gerard Blank

The Agency Communications Limited

Tel: 03 341 5841

Mob: 0275 243 629

Email: gerard@theagencynz.co.nz

About MYOB New Zealand

Established in 1991, MYOB is New Zealand's largest business management solutions provider. It makes life easier for approx. 1.2 million businesses across New Zealand and Australia, by simplifying accounting, payroll, tax, practice management, CRM, websites, job costing, inventory and more. MYOB provides ongoing support via many client service channels including a network of over 40,000 accountants, bookkeepers and other consultants. It is committed to ongoing innovation, particularly in cloud computing solutions, and now spends more than NZ$35 million annually on research and development. In 2013, MYOB expanded its offerings with the acquisition of accounting solutions provider BankLink. For more information, visit myob.co.nz.

About the MYOB Business Monitor

The MYOB Business Monitor is a national survey of 1,000+ New Zealand small and medium business owners and managers, from sole traders to mid-sized companies, representing the major industry sectors. It has run since 2009, commissioned to independent market research firm Colmar Brunton. This most recent survey ran late January/early February 2013. The Monitor researches business performance and attitudes in areas such as profitability, cash flow, pipeline, technology usage and the government. The weighting of respondents by both geographical location and sector is based on overall market proportions as established by Statistics New Zealand and is drawn from an independent survey group, which includes both MYOB clients and non-clients.