Business confidence in Porirua has fallen for the third quarter in a row, according to the recent results of the latest Porirua Chamber of Commerce survey.


“Porirua business confidence in the national economy has been in negative territory for 12 months now, but this further fall to net negative 60 per cent confidence is not unexpected given the current events,” says Hamish Mexted, Porirua Chamber of Commerce Council Chair.


“As expected, businesses' confidence in their own prospects, as well as the regional economy, also dropped over the quarter. A net 10 per cent and a net 43 per cent of businesses saying things will be worse for their business and region over the next 12 months respectively.


“The fall in confidence is in line with the rest of the wider Wellington and Central New Zealand region. However, the good news is Porirua is looking slightly brighter than the rest of the region on key measures.


The Chamber’s quarterly survey was part of a wider regional business survey, alongside Business Central and the Kapiti, Wairarapa, and Wellington Chambers of Commerce. During a 15-day period in May, the survey received 43 responses from business in the Porirua region.


“When we asked respondents what the biggest barrier their business is currently facing, 32 per cent of respondents said that consumer behaviour was hampering their recovery.


“However, it’s positive to see that recent local card spending data is up considerably year-on-year which is pleasing, given more people are buying local through and post-lockdown.


“COVID-19 uncertainty and financing/cash flow were tied for second as the biggest barrier to business with 16 per cent of respondents saying this was their biggest issue.


“We also asked about workforce size, and over the next 12 months 31 per cent of businesses are expecting their workforces to be smaller.


“But with the move to level one, we’re now onto the next phase. We’ve got to ensure business can operate, keep people employed, and continue to pay the bills.


“The Chamber has been working hard behind the scenes with the Porirua City Council throughout lockdown on initiatives to make life easier for businesses, such as the #lovelocal facebook page and launch of the Council’s business hub.


“Others include fast-tracked consents, signage for businesses based at home, extensions on existing permits, and relaxing other permit requirements such as business use of footpaths. While we can't get everything across the line, we have found that Council is open and very willing to work with Chamber on this.


“Earlier this week, we presented to Council to support deferring rate payments for commercial properties to elevate pressure that our local business community is facing because of COVID19. This will go some way to ease the financial burden on Porirua businesses.”


The next survey will take place in August and will focus on this year’s general election.


Note: Net percentage is the balance of sentiment - positive minus negative responses.