We catch up with Waipa Mayor Jim Mylchreest to have a chat about how we can look to work together in order to benefit the Chamber members and get his views on how the Council views things post-COVID lockdown and post-election.
The Waipa District Council has a number of initiatives lined up to help promote and support Te Awamutu businesses and the TA Chamber is looking forward to working with them closely in order to benefit our members.
One of these initiatives is the introduction of two new Community Advisor roles. Tasked to work with Central Government and the Regional Council, Advisors will establish what funding is available and how to best allocate it for the benefit the community. They will be advocating for the Waipa District, working to secure funding for a wide range of future projects.
Community Advisors will also be leading a larger project, working with local business owners about job vacancies they have or expect to have. Alternatively, if layoffs are likely with the COVID-19 recovery wage subsidy ending, Advisors will also be involved. It is hoped they’ll be able to establish links between those looking for work and the vacancies available, in order to keep people in work.
“We know there are employers out there screaming for workers,” he says.
“The local blueberry farm for example can’t get pickers, but the challenge comes in matching the people looking for work with the businesses looking for workers.”
The TA Chamber islooking forward to assisting with these projects, helping to match businesses with the right employees.
The Council is rolling out another initiative promoting local, multi-day sporting events in the Waipa Region.
“Historically this funding would have been reserved for promoting tourism in the area,” says Jim.
With international travel restrictions still in place, it presents a new opportunity for local events.
“While the majority of these events are hosted in Cambridge, the Kihikihi Domain hosts a number of big events such as the Kihikihi International Horse Trial and the International Polo Match (that normally takes place in March of each year),” he says.
“Promoting these events and bringing more people into the region is great for injecting money into the local economy, with people requiring accommodation and eating out at local eateries.”
In terms of business confidence, across the board there seems to be a feeling of positivity, as many businesses have bounced back fairly quickly, post national lockdown.
“We’re generally seeing businesses continuing to thrive so far,” says Jim.
"The strong property market has also helped to boost the Waipa economy, with the Council’s consents department being as busy as ever with the consistent flow of new building and resource consents.”
As a whole, Jim views the current climate as if we are “sitting in the eye of the storm”. While things remain calm and many businesses are operating as they were pre-COVID, there is a lot of uncertainty around how the next 6 months - 2 years looks from now, as the ripple effect of COVID-19 both nationally and globally begins to come to the forefront.
When asked about the General Election and how it will affect business in the regions, Jim doesn’t foresee a massive change this term compared with the last.
“It’s like reading the tea leaves at the moment, however with Labour being voted back in and having the majority vote they do, they should be able to act fairly quickly.”
Jim adds that one of the advantages of a Labour Government is their Small Business Policy, “which we are hoping they will implement relatively quickly”.
Find Out More
For more information on the Small and Medium Enterprises Policy and how it could benefit your business, click here. The Chamber looks forward to working closely with the Waipa District Council in the coming months to benefit our members. Watch this space.