SMEs give local councils a poor score card

By Ben Chapman-Smith

Nearly a third of SMEs in the manufacturing industry were dissatisfied with the support of their local councils.
Nearly a third of SMEs in the manufacturing industry were dissatisfied with the support of their local councils.

Local councils have been handed a less than impressive report card from New Zealand's community of small and medium business owners.

MYOB's latest Business Monitor Survey, which canvassed the views of about 1000 SME owners and operators, found 29 per cent were dissatisfied with the support of their local authority.

Only 15 per cent were fully satisfied, with the remaining 52 per cent 'neither satisfied nor dissatisfied' and 4 per cent as 'don't knows'.

The wake-up message to councils comes as voting in the local body elections enters its final week.

Scott Gardiner, executive director of MYOB NZ, said newly elected councils needed to remember the importance of SMEs to their local economy.

"It's time to really get behind initiatives that enable SMEs to thrive in their city, town or region," he said.

Gardiner said councils clearly had a long way to go in winning the support of SMEs in their local region.

"From gaining trading consents to the myriad of regulations that govern how companies operate, local government has an enormous influence over how easy it is to do business in New Zealand."

In Auckland, just 13 per cent of local businesses were satisfied and 27 per cent were dissatisfied with support from their Super City council.

The highest level of dissatisfaction of the main centres was in Christchurch, where 28 per cent of SMEs were dissatisfied and 18 per cent satisfied.

Wellington Council scored a little better, with satisfaction (25 per cent) outweighing dissatisfaction (23 per cent),

Outside of the main centres, dissatisfaction with local government was higher, with 33 per cent of SME operators dissatisfied and only 14 per cent satisfied.

"It's clear from these results that the local authorities in the regions need to work much harder to support their local business community," Gardiner said.

MYOB's Business Monitor Report found levels of dissatisfaction were highest among those business which had more to do with their councils.

"For example, we're seeing strong dissatisfaction in the retail and hospitality industry, where 35 per cent of businesses are impacted by food licensing regulations, 31 per cent by health regulations and 23 per cent by street trading regulations," Gardiner said.

"Likewise in the trades, where 69 per cent of business operators are impacted by building consents and 52 per cent by resource consents."

The MYOB Business Monitor survey was carried out in August by market research firm Colmar Brunton.

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