Hawke’s Bay Today, Hawke’s Bay by STUART NASH 12 Jun 2018
Late last year one of the major trading banks described the Hawke’s Bay economy as a four-star economy, ‘knocking on the door of a five star rating’.
The commentator suggested we were simmering, rather than steaming. I believe we will hit five stars this year, and 2018 will be ‘full steam ahead’ for Hawke’s Bay businesses.
The Bay is blessed with a combination of factors and new policies which are giving fresh impetus to economic development in the region.
As well as increasing skill levels through education opportunities, we want to address labour shortages in particular areas.
We are working to improve the lists of regional skills and labour shortages through targeted immigration policies. We want the immigration system to better match migrant skills to the regions and industries where they are needed most.
The big-ticket item, the $1 billion per annum Provincial Growth Fund, will continue its rollout across the region. It will invest in projects to enhance economic development, create sustainable jobs, enable Ma- ori to reach their potential, and help meet our climate change targets.
We are also encouraging young people to take up trades training and apprenticeships through our fees-free policy. This will provide a number of opportunities for keen Hawke’s Bay locals who want a practical career in, for example, the primary sector or the ever-popular building trades.
In my Small Business portfolio, we are supporting greater modernisation of the way we do business. There are more funds in the Budget for an e-invoicing framework. E-invoicing creates economic benefits through faster payments and fewer transaction costs. Fewer invoicing errors help deliver better productivity and increases cash flow certainty.
I am also pushing for large businesses to ensure they do not disadvantage small businesses through excessive payment terms. I was encouraged by Fonterra’s change of heart after my discussions with senior management earlier this year.
They are now paying around 4,000 suppliers by the 20th of the month following the invoice.
The forecasts for economic growth are around 3 percent per annum on average over the next four years. The outlook for the economy is hugely positive. We are all about thriving regions and that means getting on with building the networks and infrastructure and investing in the people and businesses we need to make that happen.