The Kaikohe Business Association's proposal to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) for the town has been defeated in a postal ballot.
Of the 49.5 per cent of eligible voters who had their say, 31.7 per cent supported the proposal and 68.3 per cent opposed it. Association chairman Steve Sangster said the process had failed to persuade enough business and commercial property owners that the benefits would outweigh the costs.
"A longer period of engagement with the business community may have seen better discussion and perhaps a different outcome," he said.
However, the exercise had sparked plenty of debate, and the association now had to harness the positive feedback and good ideas received to build unity and boost Kaikohe's economy.
"A strong message coming from both sides of the BID debate was the rates demanded versus the services and infrastructure delivered by the Far North District Council. We need better information from council to enable the community to assess whether a fair deal is being delivered. The community must also take its own actions to improve economic performance and move Kaikohe forward."
The association's economic development group chairman Mike Shaw said:
"Not everyone could see the benefits of the BID. However, failing to gain majority support does not change our determination to find other ways to successfully increase economic growth and job opportunities," he said.
If the BID had gone ahead every business in central Kaikohe would have paid a levy, collected via the council rates bill, to be spent on promoting and improving Kaikohe.
An attempt last year to set up a BID in Kerikeri also failed to get majority support, but Kaitaia's BID was narrowly passed in July this year.