The Influencers: Leeann Watson

Back in full swing

We’re already halfway through 2022 and despite the frosty mornings and chill to the air, it is warming to see that a sense of vibrancy has returned to the city in recent weeks.

The retail, hospitality, and events sectors are starting to stabilise after an exceedingly difficult period of time.

It has been great to see so many people out and about supporting local businesses.

Our regional economy continues to perform well, held steady by the primary industries and manufacturing sector, however, the talk of a looming recession is raising some eyebrows. Budget 2022, delivered a few weeks ago, contains a handful of initiatives that will help alleviate ongoing pressures on business, but notably contained very little to address some of the big long-term issues.

Everywhere you look there are signs on shopfronts advertising for staff or notifying of reduced hours – the labour market shortage is not going away anytime soon.

This is especially worrisome when combined with the brain drain. On a more positive note, we are excited by the resumption of tourism. Many of our friends across the Tasman are already starting to say hello and are no doubt keeping an eye on the snow. It’s cold for us, but it’s good for business.

At the Chamber, our training and events are back in full swing – recently hosting the Minister of Finance, and a course on understanding our new public holiday, Matariki. I hope you make the most of the long weekends this month, get out, and explore our region.

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