Latest News & Public Notices

Doing business into Level 3 and beyond

19 April 2020

As a Council, we're starting to plan for what ‘alert level 3’ might look like for the Coromandel and what role we will play in supporting our local economy.

This Tuesday 21 April, our Council has a special online meeting where it will decide on a COVID-19 response package to respond to the immediate and ongoing social and economic needs in our community. 

"Council will be looking at options we have put up around providing financial relief to new and existing businesses, along with opportunities where we are going to try and fast-track major infrastructure projects over the medium-term," says our Council's Economic Development Group Manager Laurna White. 

This is aimed at complementing the central government response and efforts of our business community and partners such as our regional economic development agency Te Waka, neighbouring councils, the District Health Board, business support agencies, iwi and philanthropic trusts.

Here's the agenda for the meeting.

Government funding support is a critical part of the economic stimulus equation and our Council has put in applications for Crown Infrastructure Partnership (CIP) funding as part of this recovery plan. We will be able to share details on the high priority and ‘shovel ready’ projects these include in the weeks ahead. 

The CIP funding is targeting projects that can be built within the next six months to a year, including those in roading, water, wharves, rail, bridges and housing.

“The CIP is expecting thousands of applications, so we have to be evidence-based and realistic that any project we put forward can proceed at pace," Mrs White says.

Following more guidance from central government on what businesses can operate under level 3 restrictions, our building/planning and regulatory teams are gearing up to work with businesses that will be able to get back to work, including construction, trades, and fast-food outlets.

"Mayor Sandra and our economic development team have also been phoning businesses individually to check-in on what assistance and support is needed, and this will continue," Mrs White says. "We are also working on 'sector' forums, with more detail to be released next week."

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Economic viewpoints and government support

This week Treasury released a range of economic scenarios showing the potential impact of COVID-19 on unemployment, GDP and the ability for our economy to recover. See more here.

Economics consultancy Infometrics has shared a less optimistic view on the speed of the economic recovery.

On a webinar this week, Infometrics senior economist Brad Olsen said he saw COVID-19 as much larger hit to the economy, creating a structural economic shift.

Infometrics is expecting a reduction in employment of about 10 per cent across NZ, with some regions to fare worse than others, particularly those exposed to tourism and international education.

Its forecasts show the unemployment rate remaining higher for longer than Treasury forecasts, with unemployment not below eight per cent until near the end of 2022.

“Once you have a huge amount of Kiwis, and we are thinking something from 250,000 Kiwis out of work, and a whole lot of businesses that close, there is this threshold of a self-replicating downward spiral that businesses can’t survive to the same degree. You have to pivot and change, and that is going to take a long time," Mr Olsen says.

“We won’t go back to normal, we have to find a ‘new normal," he says,

This is far worse than the global financial crisis, and much more akin to the great depression playing out.”

With the economy facing its toughest challenge in nearly a century, a bold response was needed from government to get us through, Mr Olsen says.

The latest on government support for business

The Government this week announced a suite of new measures to provide relief for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit here for more information, including an SME tax factsheet.  

Some general information about what Alert Level 3 will mean for individuals and businesses is available here.

New Waikato Economic Radar

As the lockdown continues, Te Waka, with the support of Waikato Regional Council Economist Blair Keenan, has been collating data to gauge what is happening in the Waikato economy.

It is now producing an ‘economic radar’ with a range of indicators to track our region’s progress. This includes charts on job ads for the Waikato, regional consumer spending, travel indicators and merchandise trade.

The first economic radar for April 15 is available here and will be updated weekly.

Te Waka Chief Executive Michael Bassett-Foss says it will be no surprise that many of the charts paint a painful picture.

“Consumer spending in the region has crashed, with only supermarkets, pharmacies and fuel sales allowed to continue to operate, albeit with new physical distancing requirements. Movement around the region – both by air and by road – has also slumped. One brighter spot for the region is agriculture," Mr Bassett-Foss says.

"Most of our dairy and meat produce is exported, and provisional data for New Zealand to the end of March shows that both have held up well – even increasing in terms of value compared with the previous year. Forestry exports, on the other hand, are well down on a year ago, although total exports remain strong. A decline in the New Zealand dollar against the key US and Chinese currencies since the beginning of the year should help on this front too.

Te Waka partner update


Waikato Regional Economic Development Agency, Te Waka, has been working hard to respond to the priority needs in the Waikato region and has introduced a range of initiatives  to support local businesses.

Te Waka Chief Executive Michael Bassett-Foss says the Waikato  region has never been faced with the challenges that COVID-19 is bringing.

“But over the past two weeks, we’ve seen business leaders, agency partners and communities rally with a positive spirit and commitment to get through, and begin to look beyond the initial crisis response towards the longer-term potential and opportunity in the Waikato region,” Mr Bassett-Foss says.

“As an organisation, we have re-focused what we do to respond to the priority needs in the region, focusing on how we can work together to support our community at this important time. Our business as usual activities continue, but we’ve also implemented a range of other initiatives. Via iwi chairs forums and directly with iwi, we continue to support Maori economic development and integrate Maori initiatives with the Te Waka work programme including comms, intelligence and business support," Mr Bassett-Foss says.

Guidance for employers:
Te Waka offers general information about the employment space, including the support systems in place, in an article available here

Business information
Te Waka’s website has more Covid-19 links and important information for business on its website here

Connect through a webinar 
Watch one of Te Waka’s recent webinars on a range of business support topics here 

Be quick for the Regional Business Partners COVID-19 fund
Te Waka is leading delivery of the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise/Regional Business Partners COVID-19 emergency funding to businesses in need, providing more than $180 thousand in support to date.

The Te Waka team of business advisors notes that more than half of the fund has been used, and only nine businesses from the eastern Waikato (including Thames-Coromandel) have sought funding.

For more information, reach out to Te Waka’s business growth team here.

Business support is just a Zoom call away
Business advisors from Te Waka are now booking Zoom online meeting slots with Waikato business owners. 

Book now and chat to someone. Advisors can also talk by phone, if that is preferred.

More information here

To secure a slot, call Te Waka on 07 857 0538; or email businessgrowth@tewaka.nz

Tourism industry update


With uncertainty about how domestic tourism will be able to operate in the months ahead, forward-planning will have been difficult for many tourism businesses during the lockdown.

In an industry update: 'Housekeeping during COVID-19', Destination Coromandel suggests this is a good time to perform essential housekeeping and to start planning for a changed visitor industry, both regionally and nationally.

"What this will look like and when is still uncertain, which we understand makes planning difficult. However, having a plan with several scenarios will enable you to restart when the time is right," the update suggests. 

The team has shared some tips and thougths that might help tourism operators to work on their business while they are not working in the business, with a checklist including looking at your marketing strategy, revising budgets, tiding up databases and ensuring a COVID-19 message is on your website.

It's also recommends businesses keep talking to their audience via social channels for example, to keep them informed of plans.

Destination Coromandel says it is working on marketing planning for different scenarios so that it is ready to jump in with messaging and platforms to support the industry when travel restrictions are eased.

Sign up to Destination Coromandel industry updates at www.thecoromandel.com

Support Local initiatives


Our Council's 'Support Local' campaign is about supporting businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 

We want to promote shopping and eating local and getting out and exploring the Coromandel, when those things are possible again. 

New this week: The Thames Business Association has published a list of essential services on its website, which provides a virtual market place for the businesses that are open in the town. You can see this here

We'd love to hear more about what local Coromandel businesses are doing to adapt to the lockdown and how you are putting plans in place to adapt to level 3 restrictions and celebrate re-opening under the guidelines. If you have a story to share or want to talk about support for promotion and marketing, contact georgina.bond@tcdc.govt.nz

Call 07 868 0200 or email customer.services@tcdc.govt.nz to get in touch with our economic development team if you need connection to business assistance at this time. 

Job-matching website launches for Waikato residents

A free job-matching website for the Waikato region was launched this week to support business owners and employees through COVID-19.

Waikato.nxtstep.co.nz has been set up in a few short weeks by the Cambridge Business Chamber, in collaboration with Te Waka.

Cambridge Business Chamber Chief Executive Kelly Bouzaid, said: “We quickly realised that COVID-19 was going to destroy our low employment statistics both in Waipa and the greater Waikato region. This website is a way to help match employers and job seekers quickly and locally, and to make the recruitment process as easy and effective as possible.”

Bouzaid wanted to stress that the website is not just for Cambridge, but is Waikato-wide.

“Our end goals are employment and business continuity for the Waikato,” she said.

“People are going to be looking for paid employment as we move between all four levels of the COVID-19 alert system, then into recovery. When the lockdown levels change down, there will be urgency in recruiting staff with the desired skill sets, including staff for the “shovel ready” infrastructure projects when they get the green light," she said.

“There are a lot of great job websites out there for when times are normal, but because Waikato Nxtstep’s sole focus is our local region, we hope it will help find solutions fast for our families, neighbours and friends and help us all pull together to keep our community’s economy going.”

To access the site https://waikato.nxtstep.co.nz/

Useful links for business

• Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in one place here

• Information on the Governnment's wage subsidy scheme, including how to apply and other support for business can be found at govt.nz/coronavirus or business.govt.nz

• The Ministry of Health website remains the best site for up-to-date Covid-19 health-related information.

• Covid 19: Information for business   This page brings together government information relating to Covid-19, how it may affect your business and how you can stay up-to-date as new information becomes available.

Information for employers considering redundancies

• Employment New Zealand: Workplace responses to Covid-19

• Information on the Government’s $12.1 billion support package for New Zealanders and business can be found here.

Ministry of Social Development

Inland Revenue

Mental Health Foundation

• Information for exporters can be found here