Here at the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce and Industry we’re passionate about being the voice for the Hutt Valley business community. It is a really important part of your Chamber’s role and something we do every single day on your behalf. Together, our voice represents the concerns of employers and employees with the aim to make positive change. It’s about representing our combined views on local, national and international issues that make it easy or difficult in the Hutt Valley to own business, grow business, work in business, employ people, invest, and enable economic development.
Every quarter the Hutt Valley Chamber runs a Business Confidence survey, thanks to the sponsorship of Red Hot Business Coaching and Consulting. Recent surveys show significant and continuous declines in business confidence. These surveys provide very clear messages about what underpins this. Right now, these are:
Interestingly in the most recent survey “general uncertainty around the impact of Government policies “ is also increasingly behind low business confidence.
In this area we are been fostering strong relationships with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Development and the Tertiary Education Commission. As you may be aware the Minister of Education has announcement a complete restructure of vocational education. As we have two polytechnics in our valley, part of our business community, we are in a good position to contribute actively to the Reform of Vocation Education a.k.a RoVE. According to the Ministry of Education website:
The reforms aim to create a strong, unified, sustainable system for all vocational education that delivers the skills that learners, employers and communities need to thrive.
The new system will have a stronger focus on employers, delivering the skills they need, providing more support for their employees, and ensuring greater consistency in vocational education across the country. Longer term, this will increase the number of employers who are engaged in vocational education.
(You can find out more at https://conversation.education.govt.nz/conversations/reform-of-vocational-education/.)
Already we are working on several programmes that bring the vocational education sector closer to the business community. Recently we held our first Employer Forum with the Tertiary Education Commission. We are also working on more opportunities for employers to engage more directly with people looking for work.
We are now in constant communication with the Minister of Education, the Ministries and the Tertiary Education Commission, and both local polytechnics. We published a significant Submission to Government on RoVE and will continue to have input into the reforms. There will be regular opportunities for you as Chamber member to find out more and get involved - all with an aim to improve your ability to employ work-ready staff.
The transport area has also been a very hot topic. Our roads fail us every single day. In fact since the 1st February on average there is a crash or traffic incident daily that causes significant disruption – over and above the “normal” frustrating congestion. Some days there are three crashes on our roads at the same time. It all serves to injure, sometimes kill, locals. Although NZTA receives reports of all road deaths what is missed is all the injury that is suffered by a family member, a friend or an employees. The impacts of “another crash” is often much more far reaching than anyone of us pause to consider.
The Chamber recently held a Transport Forum of key players to determine agreed investment priorities. Clearly we need roading investment across the board but we need to take a pragmatic perspective. The Forum agreed SH2/Melling was top priority followed by SH58. Neither are fit for purpose, but once Transmission Gully opens they will both be under a whole new level of pressure.
Your Chamber is working very closely with all players in the transport space. This includes numerous meetings, letters, phone calls, emails, presentations and engagements with NZTA, the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Finance, local MP’s, opposition parties, local councils, regional council, transport advocacy groups, trucking companies, logistics companies etc. We are fortunate to have three very accessible local MP’s and three councils who are keen to support our need for roading investment. It’s a matter of making sure the Hutt Valley business community is heard loud and clear on transport.
You can be assured that many parts of the country are vying for the same funding. Our voice needs to be louder, clearer or more relentless than all other regions to ensure we are first in line. We need consents in place, ready for build, so should other transport projects fail elsewhere our projects are first cab off the rank. We need to keep the pressure on and be innovative in achieving the much needed results.
So although the word “Advocacy” may not sound very exciting it is a very important role for your Chamber and for your business. A single voice is very hard to hear above all the noise, however together, we have a very loud voice that is being heard. You may not have paused to consider that this advocacy work is a key part of your membership to the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce. It is actually funded by your membership fees. We would like to thank you for supporting your chamber and enabling us to continue to be your voice.