The Kāpiti Coast District Council is committed to supporting local businesses.
That's the council's response to the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce's recent survey, which questioned local businesses about what it's like to work with the Council.
The survey of 76 Kapiti businesses found that 48% didn't believe Kapiti was "open for business".
Chair of the Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce Heather Hutchings says the survey results are important and quantify the struggles some businesses have reported to the Chamber.
Hutchings says, "it is clear that it’s daunting for businesses to interact with the Council, and it doesn’t create a friendly place to establish a business".
The issues businesses are increasingly reporting to the chamber, includes:
a lack of transparency in the way Council staff interact with businesses
a lack of willingness to engage
staff lack the necessary knowledge and look for ‘big blocks’
poor customer service
no commercial acumen
answers are more negative than positive
Council Chief Executive Wayne Maxwell says it's important for the council to have a conversation with the Chamber to understand more about what they are wanting from the council.
“Supporting local businesses, and helping them to thrive, is big a priority for us and a cornerstone of our Economic Growth Strategy. Yet, we recognise we don’t always get it right," he says.
“Once we’ve had a chance to delve deeper into the survey’s findings, we’ll look at what steps we can take to serve Kāpiti businesses better – whether it’s being more efficient or explaining why we make the decisions we do.”
Mr Maxwell says the Council has budgeted to spend $2.8 million on economic development activities for this financial year.
Of this, around $1 million will be injected into core economic activities, such as destination marketing and supporting start-up businesses.
“Over the last few years we’ve seen the number of businesses in Kāpiti grow steadily ahead of the national average, so now’s a great time for us to look at how we can work more closely with local businesses and keep the momentum going,” says Mr Maxwell.
You can also listen to audio recodings of interviews on the Chamber of Commerce survey. (The audio player may not show on some devices but you can click on this link to find the full interviews https://www.beachfm.co.nz/local-national-politics )