Average retail spending remained relatively strong in February, a new Retail Radar report by Retail NZ shows.
But the report has revealed the second lockdown in Auckland from February 28 significantly impacted the retail sector.
Retail NZ chief executive Greg Harford said more than half of all retailers around the country reported a drop in sales over the past month, rising to 70 per cent of respondents with stores in Auckland.
"Spending numbers for March are not yet available but will have been impacted by the lockdowns."
Harford said the lockdowns in February and March also significantly affected retailer confidence, with 37 per cent of retailers saying they are not sure, or not confident, if they will survive the next 12 months.
This is a 15 per cent jump on September and showed the dire impacts of the lockdowns on retail business confidence, he said.
"Our survey also reports a decline in satisfaction with the Government's response to Covid-19, with nearly 49 per cent of retailers expressing dissatisfaction, up from 37 per cent last August.
"This will likely reflect the pressures on business owners as a result of ongoing lockdowns as well as general frustration with the impacts of Covid-19."
The Retail Radar report also indicates there continues to be significant pressures on the supply chain.
"Retailers are expecting to import 11 per cent more containers this year than last year at a time when there is reduced freight capacity coming into New Zealand, and there is ongoing congestion at the Ports of Auckland.
"This means that stock is being delayed – and it is also costing more. Retailers report that, on average, the cost of sea freight has more than doubled over the past year. This creates unsustainable pressure on costs for almost everything that's imported, and we expect to start seeing this flow through into price increases over the coming months."
Harford said reports suggested there was a significant slowdown in retail in the Bay of Plenty during the level 3 lockdowns in Auckland.
"That's partly because Bay residents were more cautious about getting out, and partly because the flow of Aucklanders into the region stopped.
"Now that the lockdowns have lifted again, we would expect to see a bit of bump in retail spending in the Bay this week."
New house design takes customisation to the next level
A new home design based completely on community feedback is giving new home builders the ability to customise a new home to suit their needs.
Stonewood Homes conducted The House NZ Built survey to find out what New Zealanders wanted in a home and the top five wish list items included more living space, bigger kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms and the addition of a home office.
Stonewood Homes Tauranga Franchise owner Chris Norris said the challenges faced by people last year had led them to re-evaluate how they work and the way they used their homes, and this was reflected in the feedback from the survey.
"45.9 per cent of people surveyed wanted to change something about their current home," she said.
"The Kiwi design represents a definite shift in attitudes and while open-plan living is still important for homeowners, lockdown influenced their desire for some separation of living areas and the need for multi-use rooms."
The survey also revealed customisation was the most important element after location, with 67.8 per cent of people wanting to be able to design their own home.
"The Kiwi will make it even easier for new home builders to get what they want because it is based on features people have told us they actually need in a home now. 2020 was such a different year but it led to a special level of introspection that we haven't had before. This design bundles that insight together making it incredibly unique."
The Kiwi blends open space communal areas with zoned living/working areas and features an over-sized kitchen, alfresco area and multiple bathrooms. A full 3D walkthrough of the home can be viewed at www.thehousenzbuilt.co.nz.
The survey was conducted by Pureprofile with a 1000 sample nationally.
Hello Future District
Western Bay of Plenty residents are being encouraged to have one final say on key decisions that will help shape the future district.
The council's 2021-2031 Long-term Plan Consultation Document is the next step in the Hello Future District community conversation to shape and deliver key projects and services across the district for the next decade.
The consultation document, open for community feedback until April 9, features six key proposals identified by the community for funding over the next 10 years.
That includes maintaining our roading network, walking and cycling, swimming pools, community halls, CCTV – security cameras and elder housing.
The Long-term Plan sets the budget, forecasts future rate levels and details key projects for the next 10 years. It also forecasts a 30-year strategy for infrastructure investment to provide for the district's population growth, legislative change, climate change and economic growth.
Western Bay mayor Garry Webber said the Western Bay remained one of the fastest-growing districts in New Zealand.
"While this growth is positive for the local economy and delivers social and cultural benefits, the 10-year plan must enable the district to continue to be a great place to live."
TECT consultation reaches half-way point
Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust beneficiaries have two more weeks to submit their feedback on proposed changes to the structure of TECT, in response to the potential sale of Trustpower's Retail Business.
TECT general manager Wayne Werder says three consumer information sessions were held last week for trustees to provide an outline of the proposal and hear feedback directly from beneficiaries.
"Thank you to everyone who attended one of these sessions, and those who have submitted feedback via post or online over the last few weeks.
"Overall, we've been really pleased with the feedback so far and the level of engagement on the proposed changes to future-proof the trust and protect the rebate.
"We have updated the FAQs on our website with questions raised at the consumer sessions.
"Trustees have been reviewing feedback as it is received and will continue to do so for the remainder of the consultation period.
"There are two more weeks of the consultation left ..."
All TECT beneficiaries are invited to submit their feedback before 4pm on March 22.
Visit www.tect.org.nz for more information on the proposed changes, including the formal notice of proposal and how TECT beneficiaries can submit their feedback.
Award-winning vanilla company launches first beauty product
An award-winning Bay of Plenty-based vanilla brand has boosted its stable with the introduction of a new hero product.
Best known for producing vanilla beans, paste, extracts, powders and syrups, Heilala Vanilla is now diversifying its business offerings with a new beauty product that harnesses the anti-ageing properties of the vanilla bean.
BIOBLUME by Heilala is a brightening facial oil comprising of VanilleActiv2, a patent-pending ingredient that the company has been testing since 2016.
VanilleActiv2 is a lipid fraction, scientifically extracted from Heilala vanilla beans clinically proven to reduce the visible signs of ageing, by improving collagen production stimulating cell repair, regeneration, and renewal.
The product has been four years in the making with the Heilala team working tirelessly behind the scenes, testing the anti-ageing properties of their vanilla beans.
Along with the hero ingredient, VanilleActiv2, the finished product contains a powerhouse of all-natural vitamin-rich plant oils including kakadu plum, rosehip, jojoba and includes bakuchiol, the first natural alternative to retinol.
Tall Poppy Bay of Plenty wins agency of the year
The Tall Poppy Real Estate Bay of Plenty teams – stretching from Pāpāmoa to Katikati - have taken top honours in the 2021 RateMyAgent awards, winning Agency of the Year.
RateMyAgent is Australasia's premiere real estate agent ratings agency. Their annual awards are entirely objective and independent, decided on verified feedback from buyers and sellers.
Tall Poppy New Zealand director and owner Michael Seymour says it's a significant award for their Bay team, which is achieving 80 per cent market share in some areas, dominating Ōmōkoroa and Katikati.
"We're relatively new to the Bay, and every year we're taking more and more market share. Our BOP team works closely together and supports each other - setting high standards for us all; to be awarded the top region is huge."
Tall Poppy is also first equal in the Canstar Blue Awards for 2021, earning the prestigious 5-Star Award for Overall Satisfaction, one of only two real estate agencies to earn five stars in any category. Tall Poppy achieved five stars in Value for Money and Contract Handling, as well as Marketing and Financial Paperwork categories.
Canstar is Australasia's biggest financial and consumer research, ratings, and comparison site. Canstar Blue canvassed the opinions of 1166 New Zealanders who had used a real estate agent's services to purchase, sell, or rent a home in the past three years, across a range of categories, to measure and track their satisfaction.
Bayfair Shopping Centre opens America's Cup fan zone
Tauranga residents have a special opportunity to view the 36th America's Cup at their local shopping centre.
Bayfair Shopping Centre is hosting viewings of all the races at the centre's ultimate Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) Fan Zone escape.
The community experience begins with the first two races on March 10, as Emirates Team New Zealand takes on Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team.
The open-air ETNZ Fan Zone is located in Dine at Bayfair Shopping Centre with big screens, food and drink specials, hundreds of official merchandise giveaways, live music, face painting, free icecream treats and a chance for families to win sailing trips.
On March 13, those at the ETNZ Fan Zone can join the celebratory global singalong of We Are Sailing led by Sir Rod Stewart and a mass choir from Auckland's America's Cup Village.
Bayfair Shopping Centre manager Steve Ellingford says hosting the ETNZ Fan Zone was a chance to collectively support Emirates Team New Zealand.
"The Bay of Plenty community has always worked together in times of need and in times of celebration.
"We are hoping this ETNZ Fan Zone will continue to strengthen this bond and show our support for Emirates Team New Zealand."
The ETNZ Fan Zone at Bayfair will be open for all races from March 10 until the conclusion of the 36th America's Cup. Activations at the centre will run on weekend days from 3pm to 6pm.
Katikati community asked for interest in vacant Middlebrook Drive land
The Western Bay of Plenty District Council is asking the Katikati community for any groups that may wish to develop a purpose-built space at 33 Middlebrook Drive.
The council has owned the 2587sq m section since 2013 with 587sq m currently occupied by New Zealand Red Cross.
The remaining 2000sq m would be opened up for the development of purpose-built community spaces.
Council strategic property manager Blaise Williams says there has already been interest in utilising the vacant land but welcomes further expressions of interest.
"Working with the community on developing this land will ensure a great asset that will have lasting benefits."
Expressions of interest close on Thursday April 15, 2021.
Submissions will be evaluated by the Katikati Community Board. The evaluation will be on the basis of the submission received and by a verbal interview if necessary. The community board will then make a recommendation to council.
Interviews are likely to take place in the latter half of April 2021, with a final decision by council's Performance and Monitoring Committee at its June 2021 meeting.