With just one week to go until the Government's 2019 Budget, promises have already been made. There's been an extra $58 million into the forestry sector, $2.2m of provincial growth fund money for youth and young adult initiatives in Kawerau, $200m allocated to housing long-term homeless people in New Zealand and more. Next Thursday the Government will announce just how much money they'll put into each sector and for what. The Rotorua business sector is hoping for a slice of the pie. Business owners tell Katee Shanks what they hope the budget will bring.
Police officers patrolling the Rotorua CBD is the biggest Budget wish for local hair salon owner Sarah Pearson.
Pearson, who owns Honey Comb in Tutanekai St, said much of the trouble on the street stopped when there was a notable police presence.
"I would like to stay open later on Saturday afternoons and open on Sunday but I can't," Pearson said. "There are just too many people loitering or causing trouble and customers aren't comfortable.
"We need more money in the budget for more policemen."
However, Atlantis Books co-owner Greg Price said the biggest Budget wish he had was the Government putting more money into the pockets to those who needed it.
"If there is more money in the pockets of local people, they are more inclined to come in and shop with us," Price said.
"There were high hopes this Government was very socially-minded but we haven't really seen that so far, perhaps this Budget will be the one."
Price said it would also be nice to see a reduction in the company tax rate and also for the Government to turn an ear to small businesses.
Clothing Clinic owner Mel Akurangi agreed some form of tax relief for small business owners would be beneficial.
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"I'd also like to see some incentives for locals to support locally-owned business as opposed to national and overseas companies and franchises," Akurangi said.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce acting chief executive Bryce Heard believed filling vacant positions was a bugbear for many Rotorua businesses and an issue he would like to see addressed in the Budget.
Following discussions with a number of local employers, Heard said he had been hearing the same thing over and over again.
"I know there are a lot of individuals and organisations doing a lot of work in upskilling and preparing people for work, but it appears a large percentage of the people they are helping are not putting in the effort at the end of the line," Heard said.
"One business in particular, said prospective employees either failed to turn up at all or only lasted a day before never being seen again.
"People who go through the training, accept a job and work hard should be rewarded, but there needs to be some sort of stick for those who don't."
Heard believed having people ready to work would benefit many large and small Rotorua businesses.
"I think new businesses could also do with a break. Accelerated depreciation assistance and research assistance for start-ups would be a help."