08 May 2012
Local Governments have been given failing grades by New Zealand businesses, as nearly half the country’s business owners express dissatisfaction with the performance of their local councils – in an environment of rising rates and arduous consenting processes, a new study reports.
The MYOB Business Monitor, a regular survey of over 1000 small to medium enterprises, asked business owners if they were satisfied or dissatisfied with their local council and regional authorities’ performance in helping their business over the last 6 months.
The survey found that 44% of New Zealand businesses were dissatisfied with the performance of either their local council or regional authority, compared to just 14% who were satisfied.
By region, the worst performing was Northland, where 64% of businesses were dissatisfied with their local council’s performance, compared to only 7% satisfied, followed by the Waikato region, with 53% dissatisfied compared to 11% satisfied.
The Super City is also not performing as well as businesses would hope, with Auckland’s regional authority rated third from the bottom, and the worst of any of the main centres, with 49% dissatisfied with the council’s performance, and just 10% satisfied.
MYOB General Manager Julian Smith said that businesses were frustrated with the continually poor performance of local government.
“Local government is a continued source of frustration for many businesses. With rates all over the country continuing to rise, businesses are not feeling that they are getting value for money in the services they need from their council.”
Mr. Smith highlighted response times, especially for resource consents, as an area where businesses were especially frustrated.
“64% of businesses surveyed reported they would support more stringent minimum response times for local governments around business activities. A further 37% reported they would support more mergers of local authorities in the manner of the Super City.”
“What this shows is that businesses are looking for greater efficiencies from their local councils and authorities.”
“Our business community has worked incredibly hard through the recession and bumpy recovery. They are careful with cashflow, responsive to the market and they listen to their customers. What they ask from their councils is that they measure themselves by the same standards.”
Some councils have improved their performances notably since the last MYOB Business Monitor, with the number of businesses satisfied with their local authorities in the Otago-Southland area increasing from 10% to 23%, and satisfaction in the Hawkes Bay rising from 6% to 25% since October 2011.
Other areas however have seen their performance plummet, with the number of businesses dissatisfied with the performance of local government in Northland rising from 47% to the current, nation leading high of 64%.
“While some councils are making a real effort and have seen good progress, it’s extremely disappointing to see some councils refusing to listen to the clear message that things need to change.”
“Councils rely on their local business sector to generate jobs, invest in the local economy and support the industries, like tourism, that benefit their whole community. So there needs to be some accountability for the continually poor performance of inefficient and ineffectual councils,” said Mr. Smith.
Of the major cities, Wellington had the best performing council, with only 33% dissatisfied, compared to 42% in Christchurch and 49% in Auckland.
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MYOB is a leading provider of business management solutions to more than a million businesses in Australia and New Zealand. MYOB serves businesses of all kinds and sizes, delivering software and services that simplify accounting, payroll, client management, websites, and much more. With a network of more than 20,000 accountants and other professional partners, MYOB provides the tools and support that help make business life easier. For more information visit the MYOB website at www.myob.co.nz.