Waikato Business News April/May 2020

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Stronger

together

How we get through this

Inside: Businesses share their stories

‘This time we will get there’

By RICHARD WALKER

A long-awaited pedestrian river bridge

in Hamilton looks set to finally become

a reality, connecting the central city to

Parana Park.

The bridge, a Rotary initiative,

has been put forward

among proposals

for government-assisted infrastructure

projects to help boost

the economy under Covid-19.

It will provide a vital pedestrian

and cycling connection

between the central city and

Hamilton East, feeding into a

planned city to university link.

Rotary picked up the idea

of a pedestrian-cycleway

bridge as a project for 2024 to

mark 100 years of being active

in Hamilton, and developed it

in discussion with key players

including the city council and

Momentum Waikato.

Deputy mayor Geoff Taylor

said the question was not if

the bridge would be built, but

when.

“We may get support from

the Government in this package

or we may not but the

planning is now in place and I

know at some stage in the near

future it will certainly happen,”

he said.

“I really congratulate

Rotary and Momentum

Waikato for getting behind

this project. We’ve wanted a

pedestrian bridge for 30 to 40

years – this time we’re going

to get there.”

It is part of a package

of 23 shovel-ready projects

worth $1.5 billion pitched by

the city council and Waikato

and Waipā district councils,

as the government looks to

invest in infrastructure to support

post-lockdown economic

recovery.

Hamilton Central Rotary

past president and centennial

spokesperson Don Law was

delighted at the bridge’s inclusion.

He said the Rotary Bridge

stood out when members were

mulling centenary options. It

represented an opportunity

to do something for everyone

in the city, and they enlisted

Momentum Waikato to undertake

a feasibility study. Other

Hamilton Rotary groups have

supported the idea, and Law

said that he, John Gallagher

Continued on page 3

Vital link: Bridge supporters Geoff Taylor and Don Law. Photo: Peter Drury


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WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

3

‘This time we will get there’

From page 1

and Momentum had a warm

reception when they presented

the idea to council.

“Hamilton is in need of

something that puts us on the

map in terms of pedestrian

cycleway and, with the Te

Awa cycle trail, it makes good

sense to have that connection

between east and west sides of

the river.”

The timing looks better

than at any time in the past

with growth in inner city residents,

the Waikato Regional

Theatre set to open in two

years and the council emphasis

on developing the riverside.

Taylor said another key

project is to connect the new

theatre to Victoria on the River

through two raised boardwalks.

“This is vital because the

theatre construction will begin

soon and the aim is to create a

walking and cycling link with

fantastic views of the river and

places for hospitality all the

way from the museum, up past

the theatre, Sky City Casino

and north to the hotels.”

The package also includes

a covered landing with performance

space alongside a new

central city jetty which would

link to Waikato Museum.

Other central city projects

in the stimulus package

include new bus routes,

cycling and walking connections

and a new inner city rail

station.

Law said Rotary had

support for the bridge from

Geoff Taylor and Don Law.

Waikato University, and had

also spoken to Perrys about

the cycle bridge near Ngāruawāhia.

He said the Rotary

bridge could connect with the

Te Awa cycleway.

Taylor, who chairs the

council’s high-powered CBD/

River Plan working group,

said the cycleway component

will be key, helping the university

and CBD link better

and potentially also helping

create an east-west link incorporating

the western rail trail.

A Hamilton footbridge has

proved a tough nut to crack

over several decades, with

multiple plans, including the

Millennium Bridge, failing to

reach fruition.

Momentum Waikato chief

executive Kelvyn Eglinton

expects those earlier efforts

will feed into the current plan.

“One of the things we're

trying to do is not reinvent the

wheel,” he said.

He expects consultation

will include iwi and Waikato

Regional Council, and key

considerations are likely to

be finding the best location,

size of the bridge, initial cost

and where that funding might

come from.

Momentum has a focus

on transformational projects,

and can draw on considerable

experience from developing

the regional theatre, but Eglinton

stressed that its input is for

the early stages and that it is

very much Rotary’s project

and Rotary’s bridge.

“What Momentum is trying

to do is help get significant

projects to the line,” he says.

Law said Rotary will work

with the council and will need

business support to make the

multi-million dollar bridge a

reality.

“Are we able to do something

that makes Hamilton

stand out as a city, and can we

raise the money for a bridge

that Hamilton can be proud of

in the future?” he said.

“I was over in Adelaide last

year and beside the Adelaide

Oval, they have a beautiful

bridge going across to it.

“And I think that's what

Hamilton needs.”

Other projects pitched to

the government by the three

councils include an enhancement

of the Hamilton to Auckland

passenger rail service,

support for the Ruakura inland

port, Peacocke infrastructure

and an upgrade of the airport

terminal building and completion

of the Te Awa Cycleway.

Councils have been tackling

Covid-19 on multiple

fronts, which includes Hamilton

boosting its rates rebate

scheme for people who lose

their jobs and waiving rent for

community groups and businesses

that are unable to pay,

among a range of initiatives. It

is also funding a new phonebased

support centre that will

provide advice and assistance

to organisations affected by

the Covid-19 crisis, in an initiative

led by Te Waka.

The council has delayed

adoption of its annual plan by

a month to help it respond to

Covid-19.

From the editor

Kia ora

On the first day

of level three, I was

returning from a walk after

taking in the simple pleasures

of scuffing through autumn

leaves and pausing beside

the Waikato River. As my

wife and I got closer to home,

we passed a neighbourhood

cafe. The lights were on but

the doors were shut. As we

passed, a staff member wearing

a facemask and gloves was

calling out through an open

window, in that questioning

tone service workers use when

they are unsure who might be

the right person in the room:

“Harry?”

A young man, Harry presumably,

duly got out of the

only car, parked a few metres

away, and the staffer cheerily

wished him a good day

before retreating inside as he

approached the now vacated

table just outside the window

for his coffee.

Two months ago such

a scene would have been

unthinkable; as I write, it is

becoming routine.

The impacts of the Covid-

19 pandemic will be drastic.

I doubt that anyone knows

exactly how it will play out,

but Infometrics, like so many

other analysts, is picking a

slow recovery, suggesting it

will be the second half of 2023

at the earliest before the economy

becomes larger than pre-

Covid levels, even with massive

Government intervention.

Our councils have pitched

for Government funding for

infrastructure projects, with

Rotary’s eye-catching proposal

for a new Hamilton

pedestrian bridge across the

Waikato River part of the

mix. Te Waka has also picked

out projects in the region to

enhance our connectivity.

Along with wage subsidies

and other support for business,

such projects will be important

for the recovery. But that

still leaves Waikato businesses

dealing with the here and now,

and one practical response

has been a push for people to

shop local and support small

businesses that need the cashflow

now more than ever to

help get them through. That

is seen in the Mighty Local

campaign launched by Hamilton

& Waikato Tourism and

Te Waka; it is also seen in this

issue in a similar campaign

launched quickly and early by

South Waikato District Council

with the tagline: “Local

Business Needs You!”

Also in this issue, I have

had the privilege of talking to

a number of business owners

over the past month about the

many inventive ways in which

they are turning to online

offerings - in some cases for

the long term.

At times like this, it’s good

to be able to share their stories,

and also provide the advice of

our expert columnists. We are

all stronger together.

Ngā mihi nui

Richard

At times like this, it’s good to be able to share their

stories, and also provide the advice of our expert

columnists. We are all stronger together.

Stronger

together

How we get

through this

Useful links

https://www.business.govt.nz/news/

coronavirus-information-for-businesses/

is the government’s central resource for

Covid-19 business information. Among Waikato

websites, https://www.mightylocal.co.nz/

and https://www.tewaka.nz/ are good starting

points. Te Waka’s website includes a link to a

phone-based support service: https://www.

waikatobusinesssupport.nz/

PUBLISHER

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EDITOR

Richard Walker

Ph: (07) 838 1333

Mob: 027 814 2914

Email: richard@dpmedia.co.nz

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Shop_local_2.indd 1 24/03/20 9:36

4 WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

Who is going to fill the

cashflow gap?

Waikato businesses are good

buggers holding onto their

staff, but they can only hold

on for so long!

Our research is showing that

Waikato businesses are holding

on, but, and it is a big but, their

cash is dwindling, and with it the financial

strength of their balance sheets.

There will be a tipping point.

Cashflow is becoming a crisis.

The 12 week wage subsidy is due to

cease. Under Level 3 rules most businesses

cannot open their doors this

week, as companies continue to be imprisoned

by the lockdown response to

Covid-19. For many, even under Level

2, their revenue will be minimal, if at all.

In a company rescue, revenue is your

ticket to success.

Who is going to fill the

cashflow gap?

Because staff need to be paid their top

up, suppliers need to be paid for their

deliveries and thus be able to pay their

staff, the landlord may have agreed a

deal, but he still needs the cash because

he has a mortgage to pay.

Cash is the lifeblood of business.

When it stops flowing through an economy

or is bleeding out, the patient faces

death. Our economy and the businesses

that make it up are bleeding cash.

Waiting.

Who is going to stump up the

dollars when there are no sales

and a business has outgoings and

obligations?

Will it be customers?

That will take some time and if it is B2B

you will not get paid until 20 June at the

earliest unless you ask for a deposit. A

deposit will be hard for your customers

who are suffering the same cashflow

gap as you. Insist on it and you may lose

them. Some Government-funded projects

will pay a portion up front to get

you going, but the new ones will take up

to six months to see any cash flowing.

Will it be banks and our

Government with emergency

loans?

So far only 1.5 percent of our survey

respondents have made the application

for the Government Bank Loan funding

and received the funds. The Government

loan scheme is still short on detail

and we do not know what collateral will

be required. For many shareholders,

the thought of going further into debt

to fund their company through this crisis

and the on-going business recovery,

may be a step too far.

That is if the banks will approve

the loans. Unless there is a tsunami

of approved applications in May, the

Cashflow Gap will not be filled by the

banks and Government until June or

July or later.

Will it be shareholders?

In reality for most of our companies,

By Don Good, Waikato Chamber

of Commerce executive director

who else is it going to be? The buck

stops with them.

The wage support funding helped,

but shareholders had to top it up from

their cash reserves. Many have injected

cash into their businesses while they

saw sales plummet to zero.

The good buggers of Waikato

businesses are the owners/

shareholders who have held onto

their staff.

In our survey they all tell us their cash

reserves are running down. As you

would expect.

There is a cohort that is at risk.

When asked, how many more weeks

of Alert level 4 or 3 can your business

survive before you decide to close your

business completely, the number who

answered they could last only a month

had trebled in two weeks to 9 percent.

Those who felt that they could only last

six weeks had doubled to 8 percent. For

this 17 percent group the next survey

will be telling.

The cashflow clock is ticking down

but not for everyone.

There is good news: 55 percent

said they could survive longer than

six months. They have strong balance

sheets, and cash reserves. They see opportunity

in this crisis, they will be innovative,

their products have good features

that make them in demand, they have

taken the time to understand the issues

that are before them, they will adapt and

they will overcome all obstacles and

survive.

The 28 percent that sit on the spectrum

between those two groups of businesses

can hold their breath for two to

three months.

Both they and the 17 percent cohort

need a comprehensive plan that fills that

Cashflow Gap. One that gives them a

revenue stream, quickly. One that gives

banks and shareholders the confidence

to invest in 45 percent of our current

businesses.

If there is someone in Government

listening, then a plan to mend the Cashflow

Gap is what 45 percent of businesses

need now.

Our Government supported workers

in their hour of need.

Our Government needs to support

the shareholders of those businesses

who also supported their workers in

their hour of need.

Business Floor, Wintec House Cnr Nisbet and Anglesea Street, HAMILTON

07 839 5895 | help@waikatochamber.co.nz

www.waikatochamber.co.nz

Council on war footing

By RICHARD WALKER

As campaigns rev up to encourage New

Zealanders to spend local under Covid-19,

South Waikato District Council has been quick

to come up with its own high-profile twist.

Posters and billboards

featuring the beaming

face of Mayor Jenny

Shattock and carrying the

words “Local business needs

you: spend local”, in an echo

of the iconic war posters, will

be seen around the district

once level two is reached.

Economic development

manager Paul Bowden says

the posters were printed

before lockdown and the

council has already agreed

with NZTA where they will

be put up.

“There was a lot of work

done before the lockdown but

we chose not to put them up

once we got into level three

and four because we realised

most businesses couldn't benefit.”

Posters will be displayed

at businesses and roadside

signs will be erected in Tīrau,

Putāruru, Arapuni and Tokoroa.

Bowden says the initiative

is aligned to the Mighty Local

campaign that is being rolled

out across the region by Hamilton

& Waikato Tourism and

Te Waka.

Heeding its own message

to support local business, the

council has been busy on multiple

fronts as it grapples with

the impacts of the pandemic,

including working with the

South Waikato Investment

Fund Trust (SWIFT) to add

Covid-19 information to the

trust’s website.

“We set this up very

quickly once we got into the

lockdown, because we realised

one of the issues we had

from business was that they

were finding it difficult to get

up to date information.”

They are hosting webinars

on the page and have given

people the opportunity to ask

questions, making the information

bespoke for locals.

“We were lucky, we contacted

a number of local professional

advisors, accountants,

lawyers, people like

that, who offered to provide

pro bono support, so people

could just post a question,

then we would get an answer

for them and post it online for

the community to share the

answer.”

SWIFT is an economic

development trust set up by

council, but operating independently,

with a ring-fenced

fund of about $28 million. It

works with local business and

its offerings include providing

capital, training support

development and support for

businesses wanting to relocate

to the area.

Its Covid-19 page has had

more than 700 unique users

during the lockdown, and

Bowden says people from

outside the district have also

been tapping into it.

He has seen resilience and

creativity as owners look at

options such as contactless

delivery to help promote their

business, and make use of the

wage subsidy to keep staff

connected.

“We have seen an increase

in unemployment - not as

marked as it was after the

GFC, but we're only in early

days, and I think it will be

interesting to see what happens

after that 12 week initial

[wage subsidy] period.”

He pays tribute to the Ministry

of Social Development

“who have done an amazing

job under incredible circumstances

to provide councils

with data relating to benefits

which have been significantly

impacted by Covid-19”.

Bowden has, however, discovered

district-based unemployment

statistics exist,

but are not being shared in a

timely way with councils.

“It's about the political

will to provide that data.

And that's a sensitive issue

for some reason, but we are

trying to navigate that space

on behalf of all councils. We

are working with Te Waka on

that.

“Elected members are

voted in to serve their communities,

they need to understand

what their community's

needs are at this moment in

time. Unemployment figures

are one of those useful metrics.”

But Bowden says most

businesses are still fairly positive

and believe they'll be able

to get through the outbreak.

“I mean, we will lose some

businesses there's no doubt

about that,” he says. “I think

the main concerns are really

going to be in hospitality, in

the food and beverage side.”

Forestry, a major player

in the district’s economy, can

resume at level three, and

the council and SWIFT are

lending support, in particular

with trying to provide extra

vehicles to transport crews

as social distancing requirements

reduce the number each

minibus can carry.

Like other councils, South

Waikato has come up with a

list of infrastructure projects

for potential government

support. It has submitted

five projects with a value

of over $70m. They include

three waters infrastructure to

support growth in Putāruru,

where up to 600 new residential

sections and a large

business zone are planned;

wastewater treatment plants

upgrades and wetlands planting

throughout the district;

and the Maraetai Road Intermodal

Business Park in Tokoroa.

There may be a silver lining

to the crisis. “More of a

community has been established

within the business

community as a result of this

people have been supporting

each other, and have been

connecting in a way they

hadn't been doing before. So

I think there's some positive

coming out of this.”

More of a community has been established

within the business community as a result of

this people have been supporting each other,

and have been connecting in a way they

hadn't been doing before. So I think there's

some positive coming out of this.

Local Business

Needs You!

Spend Local


AM

WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

5

‘A responsibility to do the right thing’

By RICHARD WALKER

Doing the right thing by staff is high on the

lockdown list for Hamilton events company

ACLX owner Aaron Chesham.

The work has dried up

for casual staff, but

Chesham committed

to paying his permanent staff

the full wage for the month of

the Level 4 lockdown, as they

work from home.

That’s despite the events

industry being more buffeted

than many by the coronavirus

pandemic.

“For most businesses who

are reasonably stable, like we

are, and we're reasonably well

established, I think not paying

your people full amount is disingenuous,”

he said.

He said and any borrowing

to help get them through would

be less than it cost to set up the

business.

Aaron Chesham and MA3.

“As business owners, I

think there is a bit of responsibility

to try and do the right

thing by the people who have

helped build our businesses.”

That included, apart from

the commitment to paying full

wages, sending staff home to

prepare the afternoon of the

announcement.

“I turned around that afternoon

and said to the guys,

we're just going to get a beer.

So we went and had a beer,

and I said ‘don't come back to

work, I don't want you to waste

your 48 hours sitting trying to

do work, you need to sort out

everything you're going to

need for the next four weeks’.”

As for those weeks of the

lockdown, and potentially

beyond, his strategy is to use

it as an opportunity to create a

better business.

A lot of our success

comes from good

planning, but it's

very hard to set solid

plans in place when

the future has little

certainty. We know

a lot of people still

want to do their

event.

“We could just sit it out and

do nothing, but that is not the

way we operate. How many

times have you said, we will

get round to that one day. For

us today is that day.”

He said the company has

been growing fast, and that has

seen it get behind on some of

our process and planning.

He and the staff hold regular

planning meetings, which

he says is enabling them to get

more cohesive in their processes.

“That's the silver lining

at the moment.”

“We have a Tuesday and

Friday morning meeting on

Meet. We have been under the

pump for years so we are using

this as an opportunity to write

up new policy and processes.

We have been refining some

of the documents we use for

events. The big project at the

moment is we are completing

overhauling our Health and

Safety systems and documents.

“We already use Trello and

Google Docs so not a lot has

changed with the way we work

because these products are

already cloud based and very

collaborative. Everyone took

a piece of tech home that they

wanted to learn more about,

and we have a real focus on

online training and learning.”

ACLX does a range of

events including for large

corporates, theatre, product

launches, school productions,

festivals and private events.

Some clients are cancelling

events, more are postponing.

That is likely to see a degree of

pent-up demand when restrictions

lift enough for larger

meetings to be held.

“We can see that once the

restrictions are reduced things

are going to get busy very

fast,” Chesham said.

“A lot of our success comes

from good planning, but it's

very hard to set solid plans

in place when the future has

little certainty. We know a lot

of people still want to do their

event.”

The company had already

been building its live streaming

capacity, and that is likely

to be a major part of the “new

normal” in the future.

“Up until the lockdown

people were really stepping up

and trying to find new ways to

adapt and create new normals.

We had a fast uptake with our

live streaming options but with

the lockdown in place I think a

lot of businesses are just hoping

to get through.”

Chesham said products like

Zoom and Meet are great for

internal communication and

to replace meetings but don’t

do a great job of replacing a

seminar or keynote speaker.

Live streaming to a platform,

as offered by ACLX, enables

simple but useful tools like

picture in picture and complete

control of the presentation process,

he said.

With some reserves to

draw on, as they stopped buying

assets, and with the wage

subsidy as a “good stop gap”,

he thinks the firm can weather

three months.

“Three months is a long

time, and hopefully things

will start coming back. It all

depends on how fast things

return to normality.”

Free job-matching website

launches for Waikato people

A

including cross-pollinating

free job-matching website

for the Waikato

region has gone live to

support business owners and

employees through Covid-19.

Waikato businesses can list

their vacancies and job seekers

can list themselves on the

Waikato Nxtstep” website.

Cambridge Business Chamber

collaborated with Te Waka

to turn the idea into reality in

the space of a few weeks.

Chamber chief executive

Kelly Bouzaid said they

They have an existing

site that didn’t need

much customisation,

their business model

is all about supporting

regions to retain

talent, and they have

staff willing to go the

extra mile to help with

the current situation.

quickly realised that Covid-19

was going to destroy low unemployment

statistics in Waipā

and the greater Waikato.

The website is a way to help

match employers and job seekers

quickly and locally, and to

make the recruitment process

as easy and effective as possible,

she said, stressing it was

Waikato-wide.

“Our end goals are employment

and business continuity

for the Waikato. People

are going to be looking for

paid employment as we move

between all four levels of the

Covid-19 alert system, then into

recovery. And when the lockdown

levels change down there

will be urgency in recruiting

staff with the desired skill sets,

including staff for the ‘shovel

ready’ infrastructure projects

when they get the green light.”

Bouzaid said they have been

able to get the website up and

running quickly by piggybacking

on an existing online platform

by NxtStep. The aim is

for the website to achieve maximum

benefit by including anyone

wishing to use its capability

and by capturing jobs available

across sectors in the Waikato

with other job listing sites and

through wider collaboration.

Hamilton City Council

smart cities advisor Jannat

Maqbool said selecting Nxt-

Step was an easy choice. “They

have an existing site that didn’t

need much customisation, their

business model is all about supporting

regions to retain talent,

and they have staff willing to go

the extra mile to help with the

current situation.”

Nxtstep general manager

Poncho Rivera-Pavon said his

organisation is very proud to

work with the Cambridge Business

Chamber. “Our speciality

is forging products that showcase

job opportunities, and most

importantly, creating meaningful

connections between job

seekers and employers. We

are determined to support the

region by facilitating these relationships

during this time.”

Bouzaid said because

Waikato Nxtstep’s sole focus

is the local region, she hopes it

will help find solutions fast to

keep the community’s economy

going.

https://waikato.nxtstep.co.nz/

Kelly Bouzaid


6 WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

CONVERSATIONS WITH

MIKE NEALE OF NAI

HARCOURTS HAMILTON

So you ask, what has our landlord done for

us in relation to Clause 27.5?

Online offering

extends escape room

operator’s reach

It’s been interesting times and without

any doubt we are all in this together -

no one will be unaffected by the outcomes

of Covid-19, as there is not only

the health risk, but there is an economic

impact that will be significant. The pain

however must be shared.

I thought it is important to highlight

our business as an actual example of how

some commercial landlords are dealing

with the issue of rent payable. For we

have probably all seen legal opinions

and heard rumours of what landlords are

or are not doing. The reference in many

commercial leases post 2012 relates to a

‘fair’ proportion of charges being payable

and what that looks like in situations

like this, where a tenant cannot gain

access to the premises to fully conduct

their business.

Our Landlord is Stark Property, one

of the largest landlords in the CBD. They

came to us and other tenants proactively

offering a 50 percent reduction in the

net rental payable while we are in lockdown

- they also provided the option for

us to continue to pay full rental and they

would donate that additional 50 percent

of rental to either Woman’s Refuge or

the Salvation Army foodbank - both excellent

and deserving organisations, especially

during these difficult times. It’s

important to note that our business has

effectively been shut down during the

lockdown and it could take time to get

things moving again. On this basis and as

we believe that we are all going to need

to share the pain, we decided to continue

to pay 75 percent of our rental, with the

additional 25 percent being donated to

and split equally between Woman’s Refuge

and the Salvation Army foodbank.

Interestingly, Matt Stark indicated

that it didn’t actually matter what the

lease said, it was important to be fair and

reasonable in situations like this, as reputations

and long term relationships will

be far more important going forward. He

also suggested that on this basis, a lesser

figure had been agreed with their retail

and hospitality tenants.

Alone we can do so little,

together we can achieve so

much”

- Helen Keller

I should point out that every tenant

and landlord’s situation is different and

those individual circumstances need

to be taken into account, on a case by

case basis. It may not be a rental abatement,

but a deferral of payment or other

mechanism. Personally, I do have an

issue where some large multinational

tenants have refused to pay any rental,

or where Landlords are refusing point

blank to provide any concessions at all -

both being situations that have occurred.

It’s encouraging though, from the many

conversations our team has had, that the

vast majority of tenants and landlords are

working constructively together to ensure

future viability of businesses, while

seeking a fair and reasonable outcome

for both parties.

Outcomes?

It seems inevitable that some businesses

Mike Neale - Managing Director,

NAI Harcourts Hamilton.

will not re-open post lockdown and retail,

hospitality and tourism, are likely to

be the hardest hit.

Hamilton and the Waikato though appear

to be better positioned than many

other regions, particularly noted by the

amount of commercial, industrial and

residential construction that is actually

under way and taking place, in part due

to our strong population growth and increasing

desirability as a place to live.

Going forward, the trading banks will be

crucial in ensuring finance availability

for viable businesses that require assistance,

along with continued development

funding.

What can you do?

Conversations we have had from our

bubble, suggest that there is now a strong

commitment to support both local and

New Zealand made. Local business will

provide the backbone to supporting and

recreating our vibrant communities.

These local businesses will allow us to

interact, shop and be with friends, colleagues

and others. This physical presence

cannot be created or replicated

online. These local bricks and mortar

businesses will be where we go from

being socially isolated to being socially

appreciative. It is our small to medium

businesses that are our nation’s top employers

and we will need to support them

to keep our local economy going. These

are often family run businesses, who create

our social fabric and in turn reinvest

the money you spend back into the local

economy - their employees’ wages enable

them to provide for their families,

and so the money goes around. So the

next time you are thinking of buying a

book, don’t go to some large faceless

multinational online retailer, go to Poppies

Books in Casabella Lane, or Browsers

second hand bookshop in Riverbank

Lane or Paper Plus in Centre Place, for

they are all businesses that need our support

to support our community.

I already have an ever increasing list

which I will be purchasing from our local

businesses to support them, once they are

back open. We all need to work together,

so make a conscious effort to support local,

not just for a month or so, but forever.

Escapist co-founders Geoff Carr and Pam Ariestia.

Two creative young Hamilton business

owners have moved quickly to navigate

through the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hamilton escape room

operator Escapist has

launched an online

offering in the face of the level

4 lockdown.

The online escape room

is an audiovisual experience

delivered via video conferencing

tool and each session is

hosted by a Game Master, live

in real time.

It was adapted from an episode

of Escape This Podcast.

“We perfected it and added

our own twist to it so that it is

suitable as a game delivered

through Skype,” says Pam Ariestia,

who co-founded Escapist

with her partner Geoff Carr.

“Most importantly we made

our own illustration so that

online players can have visual

aids while playing the game.”

She says they have had

huge uptake, with a launch

post on Facebook reaching

11,000 people organically.

They hosted 11 sessions on

their opening weekend, with

further sessions booked during

the week.

“With this online offering,

we are able to reach more

people outside our physical

boundaries. This means we can

re-engage with our customers

who have moved out of Hamilton

or enable them to connect

with their family in other

parts of New Zealand and the

world,” she said.

“Three out of the 11 groups

booked last weekend were

from out of Hamilton. We also

have had an inquiry from as far

as The Netherlands.”

Each session earns less

because they charge per bubble,

rather than per person, but

Ariestia said the offering is

broadening their market.

“We can now appeal to people

with interest in table top

role playing (which is massive)

but who are not necessarily

escape room fanatics.”

The plan is to continue

to offer the experience long

term. “This type of offering

(a mix between escape room

and table top role playing) has

been on the talks for a long

time as Scott, one of our staff

member, plays Dungeons and

Dragons and is an excellent

Game Master.

“He has pitched this idea

multiple times, but we were

not convinced that there could

be a market. However, with the

lockdown happening, people

are keen to give different kinds

of entertainment a go and are

more comfortable with video

conferencing tools, so the timing

is now perfect for us.”

• More info about the offering

can be found at https://

mailchi.mp/f73d9aa1eabd/

stuck-at-home-let-us-cometo-you-virtually

Escapist has also moved its

board game sales online:

https://www.escapist.co.nz/

shop/

NAI Harcourts Hamilton

Monarch Commercial Ltd MREINZ Licensed

Agent REAA 2008

Cnr Victoria & London Streets, HAMILTON

07 850 5252 | hamilton@naiharcourts.co.nz

www.naiharcourts.co.nz

203662AF


WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

‘Here to help u’ is ready to feed and support

An impressive Covid-19 relief effort

is seeing aid being made available to

vulnerable people in Hamilton, linking

business and community.

7

Commercial kitchens at

Claudelands Events

Centre have been humming

despite the lockdown,

with more than 10,000 frozen

meals already prepared, and a

further 12,000 on order, to help

Hamiltonians most in need.

Hamilton City Council and

Montana Food and Events

partnered to support community

groups struggling to

keep up with demand for food

during the lockdown.

Montana is providing the

food at cost, for no profit, and

council is providing the facilities

and support staff free of

charge. Food costs were initially

met by the council and

are now being picked up by

Civil Defence. There is no

charge to those receiving them.

The support is being led by

Wise Group which is co-ordinating

a wider effort - ‘Here to

help u through Covid-19’ - to

provide hardship and social

service support to locals during

Covid-19.

Immediate aid to the vulnerable,

delivered in a way

that builds a stronger society

after the crisis, is the focus of

the relief effort coordinated by

the Waikato’s lead social and

community service providers

and supported by Momentum

Waikato and other major local

funders.

‘Here to help u through

Covid-19’ is a new online

community support tool and

network centered around a

website, www.heretohelpu.

nz, where any member of the

public can quietly ask for help,

and individuals, families, businesses

and organisations can

securely and easily target their

offers of assistance.

It is the ‘front counter’ for

a wide and coordinated support

effort that aims to ensure anyone

suffering hardship during

the Covid-19 lockdown and

beyond can easily request and

get the help they need.

Wise Group and Community

Waikato teamed up to

coordinate and lead the effort,

which involves a range of providers

and funders, including

Volunteering Waikato, Kaivolution,

The Salvation Army,

Trust Waikato and Momentum

Waikato.

‘Here to help u’ has been

launched in Hamilton with

plans to expand across the

Waikato as soon as possible.

The assistance the website

offers includes food parcels,

prepared meals, a collection

service, general local advice

and support, mental health

care, and safe social connections.

Wise Group joint chief

executive Jacqui Graham says

they are committed to doing

whatever it takes to meet the

local community’s need and

to strengthen the wellbeing of

people, whānau and communities.

Community Waikato chief

executive Holly Snape says

many local people are having

to ask for food and other social

support for the first time.

“The Covid-19 crisis has

simply widened the catchment

and range of people who find

themselves in need through

no fault of their own. These

are stories we see all the time,

there are just suddenly many

more of them.

“I hope when we are

through the current crisis that

there is a wider recognition

of this reality and it makes

for a more compassionate

and understanding society

generally. It is time to dispel

the stigma around using food

banks and other support services,

it could be any of us that

land up needing them.”

Snape says the ‘Here to

help u’ project’s first priority

was to restore and reinforce

the routine food supply for the

vulnerable.

“With the lockdown and the

particular susceptibility of the

many older volunteers, existing

services like food banks

lost capacity just when the

demand was spiking.

Figures produced by

Erana Severne, the operations

manager at the Wise Group

Houchen Hub, confirmed

about 70 percent of Hamilton’s

community food support was

out of action or close to it at

the end of March.

Usually more than 735 hot

meals are produced per week,

but at the onset of the lockdown

that dropped to 100,

while the number of food parcels

prepared weekly dropped

from 329 to 89.

The response to this challenge

has seen commercial

kitchens around the city,

including at Claudelands

Events Centre, mobilising to

provide local food aid.

Momentum Waikato’s

involvement has included

funding for the online project,

involvement in the background

research and planning, and

material assistance to Wise

Group at the Houchens Hub in

Glenview.

Severne says the former

Houchen Retreat was in the

process of becoming the Wise

Group’s new Wellness Village,

but swiftly became known

as the ‘Houchens Hub’ as the

virus challenge approached.

“We pivoted to meet Covid-

19,” she says. “Staff here have

been cooking and freezing

meals since mid-March.”

Two chest freezers were

installed early on, so the team

could get ahead of the demand

for food, and the Momentum

Waikato Board also released

funds to CE Kelvyn Eglinton

so he could continue to assist

Wise Group to build their relief

capacity at the edge-of-town

campus.

“It has been great to accelerate

our partnership with Wise

Group at our Houchen facility,”

says Eglinton.

“Our experience with ‘Here

to help u’ is a great example of

meeting the current challenges

head on by seizing the opportunity

to widen and deepen

collaboration across different

sectors, so we all achieve a

greater impact in our collective

mission to create positive permanent

change for our communities.”

From response to restart of the Mighty Waikato

As we slowly start

to emerge from the

shockwaves of the past

few weeks, it’s been good to

hear of a number of businesses

being creative and utilising the

lockdown to create opportunities.

However, the visitor economy

was effectively shut down

overnight, impacting a range of

businesses including tourism

operators, transport providers,

accommodation, hospitality,

retail, conference and event

organisers, venues, caterers

and suppliers.

As this has happened so

fast, the full cost of the impact

is yet to be measured. The only

saving grace is that our industry

is not alone in facing this

threat, as our whole country

has been in shutdown or in a

‘rahui’ for the past few weeks.

We are all hoping that when

Covid-19 has been tackled and

travel restrictions are lifted, a

reinvigorated and more resilient

industry will emerge. We

only need to look to China,

which initially bore the brunt

of the challenges ahead and is

finally starting to see normal

everyday life resume.

Although some of our

tourism family have managed

to carry on in some capacity

during the international travel

restrictions and the current

Alert Level 4 lockdown, we

have continued to see many

of our operators downsize, go

into temporary “hibernation”

and reduce staff numbers.

Some within our hospitality

sector have taken the next

step and reopened with a very

limited service offering at

Alert Level 3. However, for

many in our tourism and event

industry, it’s not until we reach

Alert Levels 2 or 1 before we

can start to consider reopening

again with physical distancing

and contact tracing mechanisms.

Being the one of the first

sectors severely impacted

with Covid-19 has given us a

lead time. This means we now

have the headspace to move

from response phase to begin

conversations on reimagining

and restarting tourism in our

region.

It’s giving us the chance

to pose questions around our

previous visitor arrivals and

expenditure growth, what does

success look like for the future

and how do we move our sector

from a ‘boom and bust’

cycle? It’s now time to inspire,

facilitate collective reflection,

share ideas and help define a

TELLING WAIKATO’S STORY

new Waikato visitor destination,

along with New Zealand

Inc.

We are now starting to turn

our organisation from response

phase into facing the reimagined

future for tourism. We

know that to restart our visitor

industry we will focus on the

“hyper-local” market, before

moving to intra-regional travel

and eventually domestic travel

first from our key drive markets.

The longer term play will

be re-establishing an international

presence.

We should be proud as a

region that in 2016 we adopted

the Tourism Opportunities

Plan based on conversations

to redefine Waikato as a new

visitor destination. We worked

together on prioritising our

five regional game-changers

through to identifying emerging

opportunities for our region

that increased the ‘value’ of

tourism, rather than the ‘volume-based’

model.

This will help inform the

next evolution of our industry

to develop a Destination Management

Plan bringing together

a wider range of stakeholders

to help our communities thrive.

This is also aligned to the aspirations

of our industry’s “Tourism

2025 & Beyond Sustainable

Growth Framework” and

the Government’s “New Zealand-Aotearoa

Government

Tourism Strategy”.

We are under no illusion

that this is not a recovery programme

– it is more a restart

journey which we need to navigate

and pivot for the longterm.

Let the marathon begin.

Through all the darkness

and bleak outlooks, I have been

heartened by stories of innovation,

creativity and kindness

show from our tourism sector.

Together, we will get through

and we will stand stronger than

ever.

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism

is the regional tourism organisation

charged with increasing

international and domestic

leisure and business travellers,

expenditure and stay. The

organisation is funded through

a public/private partnership

and covers the heartland

Waikato areas of Hamilton

City, Matamata-Piako, Otorohanga,

South Waikato,

Waikato, Waipa and Waitomo

Districts. Find out more: www.

waikatonz.com


8 WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

Tutoring school quickly

switches to video learning

By RICHARD WALKER

Claire Howarth could see change coming

and moved quickly to prepare her local

tutoring service for a locked-down world.

Mindfull Tutoring

in Hamilton offers

after-school tutoring

for students from year one to

year 13, and the Covid-19 level

4 lockdown could have had a

huge impact.

But Howarth quickly flexed,

adopting online technology for

the lessons, which have continued

without a break.

One tutor was already using

Zoom to teach via video linkup

because three of the organisation’s

170 students could not

attend lessons in person.

It was a case of acquiring

six more Zoom accounts and

upskilling all 10 tutors to use

the technology.

On March 222, the Sunday

before the lockdown

announcement, that saw them

spend a session getting up to

speed.

“We had a full staff meeting

with PD to start to skill

all the staff that afternoon and

tell them what the plan was,

moving forward. The rule was

that we're only as strong as our

weakest person, and nobody's

going home until the weakest

person knows how to do this.”

It's gone really well

and it's only gone

well because the staff

and the parents have

supported it. So I'm

certainly very proud of

the staff and I'm very

appreciative of the

parents for getting on

board.

That took two hours, and

meant the online teaching

could start immediately, ahead

of the lockdown. As well as

Zoom, they use Google Docs

to share materials with the students.

For the first three weeks,

either Howarth or her manager,

Kimmy Crampton, sat in on all

of the lessons so they could

troubleshoot. “If someone was

stuck, we could phone them up

and help them out.”

That saw them working 60

hour weeks as they also juggled

the care of their own children,

in Howarth’s case, four

children under six.

They kept the teaching

hours the same as normal and

retained the same teacher-student

pairings as much as possible.

“Obviously for kids it's

really important to keep routine

and familiarity,” Howarth

says.

It hasn’t always been possible

to stick to routine, however

- like the two students, one

year 9 and one year 11, who

moved homes and left their

books behind. Howarth had to

scan and send them the materials

for the lesson, which was

delayed. “So we did the lesson

on the Friday

night at 6.30.

They were like,

‘yeah, we're

not going anywhere'.

You'd

never normally

get senior girls

keen for a

maths lesson on

a Friday night!”

She says the

teachers are reporting

that it’s getting

easier as they go on,

particularly after the initial

setting up of resources.

“Luckily, they had the

understanding that there was

going to be a bottleneck at the

beginning, and that's just the

unfortunate reality. But they

were all quite happy to dig in

and do it because they could

see it was for the long haul, not

just a week or two.”

Howarth says parents

have also been supportive,

with a negligible drop-off in

numbers, mainly as families’

employment situations have

changed.

“It’s been a big learning

curve for families as well.

Hopefully, when all the families

start back at school, they

should

all be a step

ahead of their classmates

because they've just had three

weeks of lessons.”

The business was already

growing and had upsized its

premises to meet demand. The

online option may provide further

growth potential, though

Howarth says some learning is

better face to face - youngsters

learning maths, for example.

As a mother, she is also keen

to keep some balance in her

own life.

Claire Howarth was quick

to change as the lockdown

loomed.

“It's gone really well and

it's only gone well because the

staff and the parents have supported

it. So I'm certainly very

proud of the staff and I'm very

appreciative of the parents

for getting on board. Because

that's what makes or breaks it

for any business.”

No queuing: Matt Brooks gets his hair

cut the stress-free way pre-lockdown.

Queue-busting app has social

distancing role

An app designed to avoid

queues is being repurposed

as a social distancing

tool during the coronavirus

pandemic.

Tairua-based Matt Brooks

came up with the Tuipoint app

when he got fed up with waiting

in barber shops.

The premise is simple: download

the app, notify the barber,

wait in a virtual queue for

prompts letting you know how

much longer you’ve got, and

arrive at the designated moment

- spending your time more constructively

in the meantime.

You can also prepay for

the service, and there is a web

browser option. It typically costs

$1 to join a queue, with the store

owner choosing how much to

pass on to the customer.

“I'm in the queueing business.

I queue people,” Brooks

said. As queues lengthen outside

supermarkets and pharmacies,

that sees his business take on

new meaning during the lockdown.

Such a system means users

are more easily able to maintain

social distance, reducing their

exposure to the coronavirus by

waiting at home or in their car.

“I couldn't afford to sit in barbershops

waiting for a haircut,

so I developed a time-saving

app,” Brooks said. “And now

it's becoming a social-distancing

app because the climate's

changed.”

He has been approaching

essential service providers

including supermarkets, while it

could also be of value to others

including vets and pharmacists.

“If we can help, we’re here

to help.”

With many essential service

providers too busy to pause and

consider the app during the lockdown,

the biggest uptake may

come afterwards as barbers,

cafes and retail stores look ahead

to the post-lockdown future.

“Life's going to be totally different

now. We're going to have

to be queuing virtually somehow,”

Brooks said.

He said he’s treating the fourweek

lockdown like a Christmas

break - speaking, appropriately

enough, via phone from his local

beach.

“When everyone breaks for

Christmas, that's when they get

a chance to really look at what's

going on in the world and business

people look how they can

run their business smarter.

“I've now got four weeks

where I can get this out to people.”

Brooks took the app to market

last September, after two

years of development, and is

looking at adding further products.

Guy Howard-Willis,

Manta5 founder and Torpedo7

cofounder, is on board as an

investor.

Brooks sees global potential,

but said in terms of building the

brand, his focus is New Zealand.

“The sky's the limit, but right

now we're just looking at ways

that we can help the current situation

in New Zealand.”

Pre-ordering app helps

cafes, retailers under

level 3

For cafes and retailers

desperate to start selling

again after a month-long

lockdown, a Hamilton developed

app may have arrived on

the market at the right time.

The app allows easy ordering

and payment for pickup

under Covid-19 level 3 restrictions

while face to face interactions

are still banned.

The new offering is part of

the established StampnGo app,

used as a digital loyalty coffee

card by cafes including Cafe Inc

and Sugar Bowl Cafe in Hamilton

and others in Auckland,

Tauranga and Australia.

The addition means customers

can pre-order online, specify

the time they want to pick up

and prepay once the cafe has

accepted the order.

It became available a month

ago, after about six months of

development by Hamilton’s

Ryder Technologies, while the

virtual coffee cards have been

available for a year and a half.

They are part of a wider loyalty

programme, most of which

has been overseas. As Covid-

19 takes hold, the company is

turning its attention to the local

market.

“We're not doing as much

stuff overseas and obviously we

won't be in the next two years,”

says product designer John-Paul

Mclean.

“So we've got to change our

angle and focus more on New

Zealand.”

The company also does a gift

card offering, for outlets including

Repco and Heathcote Appliances,

which Mclean says has

been decimated by Covid-19,

placing all the more emphasis

on StampnGo’s new product.

“We're going out to our customers

to say, at Covid-19 alert

level 3, this is a great product

for you to have because customers

can book in a time and pick

up the product.”

One of their customers,

Flaveur Breads in Tauranga,

is planning to use it for bread

Ryder Technologies director Stacey

Mclean picks up a pre-ordered coffee.

pickups, while non-food retailers

could also introduce it.

“Anyone who can offer a

pre-order and pickup service -

it's not restricted to any demographic.”

The app and platform is free

to download and use. StampnGo

charges a 5 percent fee

on transactions, and payment

gateway Stripe charges a further

transaction fee of around

3 percent which is dependent

on the country and plan chosen.

Mclean says that works

out cheaper than PayPal, and

considerably cheaper than the

likes of Uber Eats, which he

says charges 35 percent plus

delivery.

“Obviously it's a great time

for us to get our name out, but

it's certainly not a monetary

thing for us at this point of time

- it's more about, hey, we can

help people out.”

https://stampngo.com/


WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

9

Wintec students launch virtual agency

free for businesses

There’s a saying that something great

can come out of a crisis and for Waikato

businesses looking for a post-Covid-19

lockdown boost, the “good” could be free

communication and marketing services.

Abby Dalgety teaches

digital marketing at

Wintec School of

Media Arts. With Wintec

remaining open during the

lockdown and delivering

education online, Dalgety

and her teaching colleagues

were challenged to deliver

education in different ways.

“Our Communication

degree includes a substantial

work-based component

to give students real-world

learning,” she said. “Because

of the Covid-19 lockdown,

the industry partners we usually

work with have all had

to cancel. Some have closed

and others are working from

home or at a reduced capacity.”

With an agency background

she is well aware that

during a downturn, paid public

relations and marketing

take a hit.

So she came up with a

solution for her third-year

Communication students

who would normally be

working on client assignments

for their ‘own’ agency

during the next term.“Our

students will be providing

help to businesses that need

it due to Covid-19. We know

that marketing, advertising

and public relations are usually

the things that companies

cull in a crisis, so here’s

an opportunity for businesses

to get some fresh thinking for

free, while helping students

get some work experience at

the same time.”

Working online during the

lockdown is second nature to

Wintec communication and

journalism students who are

honing their skills for careers

in the online space.

For some time now, journalism

students have published

their work to Waikato

Independent, an online news

hub. The students have also

started a public blog, Waikato

Now , a window into student

life at home during the lockdown.

Media Arts group director

Sam Cunnane says that

when Wintec redeveloped its

Communication degree and

relaunched it in 2018, the

need to respond to change

and future-focus teaching

was a top priority.

“Not so long ago we were

talking about preparing students

for a rapidly changing

workplace. The past few

weeks have seen more change

for students and staff than we

could ever have anticipated,

and they are responding with

innovation and enthusiasm.

This period is going to

have a great influence on how

we teach, learn and interact

with our community.”

In the first week of teaching

and learning online

during the lockdown, Wintec

staff and students spent

the equivalent of 1,020,307

minutes or 708 days participating

in 2,720 Zoom meetings

involving 38,000 participants.

Waikato businesses that

would like to know more

about working with Wintec’s

virtual agency, can

email Abby.Dalgety@

wintec.ac.nz. Find out

more about studying

Communication at Wintec

School of Media Arts.

Abby Dalgety and her students have

launched a virtual agency during lockdown.

Experience care as it

should be, experience

the Braemar way.

New support centre buffers

Waikato businesses

Waikato business are

benefitting from a

new phone-based

support centre that is providing

advice and assistance to

organisations affected by the

COVID-19 crisis.

Targeting small to medium

sized firms, the Waikato Business

Support initiative is a

partnership with councils and

led by Waikato’s regional economic

development agency, Te

Waka.

The new service is part of

cohesive and growing efforts

by the Waikato community to

support businesses hit hard by

COVID-19 Alert Level 4 and

the lockdown period, together

with a focus on business recovery

beyond lockdown.

The Waikato business community

is strong and will continue

to rally to protect its own

from the COVID-19 fallout.

Te Waka’s job is to help

Waikato businesses survive,

revive and grow post COVID-

19. That means pooling our

resources and working together

with others to accelerate business

recovery and enhance

business capability.

This project is also about

taking a longer-term view and

thinking about reviving economic

activity and growth in

the region post COVID-19.

The Waikato Business

Support initiative strengthens

Te Waka’s existing Business

Growth Service. It offers

Waikato business owners

access to a first point of contact,

with the knowledge and

skills to help them access an

even broader range of skills

and expertise at a time when

they need it most.

Waikato Business Support

will provide an effective way

to connect Waikato businesses

to local and national government

support resources. It will

also reassure business owners

that help and resources are

available to help them navigate

their way through this uncertain

time.

For more information about

Waikato Business Support call

07 929 4673 WBZ HOPE or

visit the website www.waikatobusinesssupport.nz

to register

for a call back.

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WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

11

‘Make-or-break’: Gym takes it online

By RICHARD WALKER

In terms of timing, it couldn’t have been

much tighter: Hamilton’s newest gym

was set to open just four days before

level four lockdown, waiting only for the

final council tick.

Journies, on Victoria Street,

was already fitted out with

gym gear, and its coaches

and clients were set to go.

Then, like so many others,

owners Opal and Sam Higgins

had to pivot as New Zealand

went into lockdown.

“With gyms closed, and

remaining closed even at level

three, we have been working

hard to develop our online services

because, well, we had to,

it was either make-or-break,”

Opal says. “We also noticed

that, although things have been

crazy for most people, a lot of

them have used lockdown as

an opportunity to reflect and

re-evaluate their own health

and wellbeing.”

Social media was key; they

quickly built membership of a

Facebook group from the initial

half dozen who had already

signed on to an impressive

400-plus within two weeks.

They even had participants

from Australia and the US in

their 21-Day, At Home Transformation

Challenge, which

drew a strong response that

saw them cap numbers at 25.

Journies is using the Trainerize

app to keep clients on

track, with coaching from Sam

and their staff member Monic.

Opal says their system is

comprehensive yet simple,

including individualised nutritional

support and a motivational

on-line community.

“Sam and Monic develop

the programmes for each person.

We have a conversation

with them, we find out their

goals, and we figure out what

the lifestyle is, so what's going

to fit for them, and they get a

programme that's specific to

their goals through this app.”

The app has participants’

workouts programmed into

it, coaches can monitor their

activity, and clients can use it

to ask questions.

“Accountability is probably

the thing that makes a difference.”

As well as regular catchups

through the app, Opal and

Sam are running Zoom classes

from their home gym in Ngāruawāhia.

Clients join a virtual

workout, with coaches able to

see them training and help with

their technique.

“A lot of them have said

that just knowing that there's

other people in that class -

Opal Higgins

even though the other person

is probably gasping for breath

and can't even see what they

look like - knowing there's

other people there helps them

keep going,” Opal says.

Among those participating

via Zoom is a group of six sisters

doing their own challenge

in a private group from their

living rooms around New Zealand

and the Gold Coast.

“It's really cool because

they can give each other a bit

of flak, they can pump each

other up.”

Innovation is the name of

the game when it comes to

home workouts - not all are

fortunate enough to have gym

equipment, and some have to

resort to the likes of towels,

broomsticks or chairs.

“So there's a few equipment

hacks going on and some people

get quite creative.”

The occasional child or

even startled dog find themselves

lifted up and down

during bodyweight training.

With the extended reach

Journies have built online, they

are now developing post-lockdown

plans.

Sam Higgins

“We do have some that are

loving this [the online offering]

and it's helping them to

push through,” Opal says. “But

there are some people that just

prefer that social interaction.

And we've got those six members

that were waiting for the

gym, saying: ‘this is awesome,

thanks it's keeping me on track

but I can't wait for the gym to

open’.

“But it can obviously grow

a lot bigger outside of our gym

and internationally like we've

already got.”

They are developing a

hybrid model for when the

gym re-opens, giving people

the option of training in the

gym, training on-line from

anywhere in the world, or a

combination of the two.

“We have been working

hard, and although it's still

early days and there is much

to do, we are super stoked with

our achievements so far.”

Raglan business sponsoring

free coffee for health workers

Raglan business Isobar

is showing its support

for hard-working health

professionals by serving up free

coffees since level 3 started.

The community-minded

business has teamed up with

Ozone Coffee and Dreamview

Milk in the initiative, aimed at

thanking and supporting health

professionals working on the

frontline throughout continued

lockdown conditions.

Isobar owner Matt Taggart

is one of many hospitality business

owners severely impacted

by the sudden Covid-19 business

closure, compounded

by the fact he invested in and

opened his new business just

four months earlier.

“Everyone has their own

story and struggles on how

they’ve been affected, but

we’re always looking to find

and create something positive,

so for the two weeks of Level

3 operating conditions we’ll be

taking online orders for doctors,

nurses and other frontline

health workers and serving their

coffee orders at no cost.”

The scheme is supported by

two of Isobar’s key suppliers,

Ozone Coffee and Dreamview

Milk.

“I’d love to see this become

a nationwide scheme that other

Matt Taggart

businesses pick up on. It’s been

a long, tough four weeks for

many, but particularly those

who have been working at the

frontline of the health sector,

and this is our way of saying

thanks and showing our appreciation,”

says Taggart, who is

also the co-founder and owner

of Ozone Kites.

The Isobar coffee scheme

will run from 7am-10.30am

when the breakfast and takeaway

lunch menu is available

from Monday to Sunday, kicking

off when the doors re-open

on Wednesday April 29 and

continuing until May 13 2020.

(Follow Isobar Raglan on facebook

or Instagram for information

on how to order.)

The business is also developing

Tradies Lunchboxes for

builders to collect with their

morning coffee.

“Builders and construction

workers won’t be able to leave

a property once they arrive

for work for the day, so we’ll

be putting together some fab

$10/$15 lunchboxes for them

also, as well as looking at ways

to continue supporting our own

staff by bringing a version of

our day and evening menu

options to locals.”

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12 WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

Beer bread on menu as

restaurant gets creative

Does the thought of gallons of beer going

to waste send shivers down your spine?

The owners of Rototuna’s

The Keg Room and Eatery

bar and restaurant

have come up with their own

creative solution to the prospect

of so much waste, as beer

supplies potentially approach

use-by dates.

Chef and co-owner Andrew

Pietersz says: “I just couldn’t

face it. The idea of all that

investment going down the

drain is bad enough but when

it’s beer, that’s a whole different

ball game.”

The Keg Room and Eat-

ery is operating a takeaway

and delivery service during

the next stages of the Covid-

19 enforced lockdown. So, to

minimise the number of litres

that will have to be disposed

of while they wait to welcome

back bar customers, they will

be adding beer bread to the

menu options.

“It’s not usually something

we offer but it fits perfectly

with the kind of dishes we’ve

chosen to put on our takeaway

and delivery line-up,” Pietersz

says. “Knowing our regulars, I

have a feeling it’s going to be

pretty popular.”

There has been a lot of talk

about the need for resilience

in business over the last few

weeks, and those who can support

that resilience with smart

thinking and creativity will be

the more likely to survive. Pietersz

and his partner, Melissa

Renwick, have had to call on

their reserves more than most

over the last few years.

The kitchen, bar and restaurant

were severely damaged by

fire on Christmas Eve 2017 and

the couple were forced to close

for almost six months, much

of that time during their busy

summer season.

“We learnt the hard way that

you have to think differently

about how you operate in challenging

times, especially if you

want to retain great staff and do

all you can to be there for the

Keg Room and Eatery

owners Andrew Pietersz

and Melissa Renwick.

customers that have been loyal

to you over the years,” says

Melissa, who opened The Keg

Room and Eatery with Pieterz

in 2013.

As their builders worked

hard to refit the fire-damaged

premises, Andrew and Melissa

came up with ways to be able to

serve thirsty customers through

the 2018 summer, organising

regular pop-ups on the forecourt

areas outside the bar.

“Neighbouring restaurants

and shops were incredibly

supportive during that time,”

Melissa recalls, “and the same

spirit continues today, especially

as we are all facing this

latest challenge together.”

Like other hospitality operators

around the country, the

team has been planning since

the levels were first outlined

to work out how to reconfigure

the space and menu to work

within Level 3 restrictions.

“It’s not exactly been easy,

with the uncertainty of guidelines

developed on the fly, the

stress of lease negotiations,

and getting to grips with new

web and app ordering options,”

says Renwick. “It was really

important to us to make sure

we follow the rules, look after

our staff and still be true to

what our customers expect

from us.”

Existing wait staff are being

redeployed to deliver orders

and the venue is set up safely

for contactless pick-up.

“It’s so great to see our customers

again and we’ve been

overwhelmed by the support

they’ve given us over the last

few weeks,” says Melissa, who

has been busy filming Andrew

cooking some of the favourites

from The Keg Room and

Eatery menus for their social

media pages, while also using

videos to share her own extensive

wine knowledge.

“There won’t be high fives

or pats on the back like normal,”

says Andrew, “but we

hope the beer bread and their

usual favourites will keep our

customers happy until we can

welcome them back through

our doors.”

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Contactless

Takeaways

Arrange a free meeting to see if we’re the

right fit for your business 07 870 1669

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WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

13

Are you sitting comfortably?

All but essential workers are in self-isolation

at home where another danger lurks.

As I write this, New

Zealand is at Covid-

19 Alert Level 4. Only

businesses that are essential

may remain open during the

Level 4 Alert period. Non-essential

businesses may still

work, as long as this is from

home. Most, but not all, businesses

can start to open under

Alert Level 3. They must take

health measures to keep their

workers safe. Workers must

work from home if they can.

Physical discomfort, pain,

or injury can result from

incorrect workstation setups,

warns the Accident Compensation

Corporation (ACC) in

Guidelines for using computers.

Other risks include visual

discomfort, stress and fatigue.

Good workstation set up

is the key to avoiding these

dangers.

Good lighting is crucial.

Ensure that the monitor is not

placed in front of a window

or a bright background. Also,

look out for glare from behind

you reflected in your monitor.

This can cause fatigue and

headaches.

The top of your computer’s

screen should be level with

your eyes and at arm’s length

away from you. If you have a

laptop this means either placing

it on a stand or plugging

it into an external monitor.

Otherwise, a TV screen could

work too, providing you have

the right cables.

If you have a laptop you

may need an external keyboard

and mouse so that

you can move the screen far

enough away to avoid overreaching

with your fingers,

hands and arms. Your arms

should be relaxed by your

sides. Your elbows should

be at or just above your keyboard.

Wrists should be in a

neutral position. While sitting

at a desk, a person’s knees,

hips and elbows should each

be resting at 90 degrees.

Keyboards should be

directly in front of you with

the centre of the keyboard

aligned to the middle of your

body so that you don’t need to

frequently turn your head and

neck.

Mice must be placed either

to the left or right depending

on whether you are left or

right-handed and as close to

the keyboard as possible.

Have your chair as close

as possible to your work desk.

This will help you avoid leaning

and reaching.

Good office chairs have

lumbar support. If you don’t

have access to one of these at

home try adding a cushion or

pillow to support your lower

back. Try not to slouch. Avoid

sitting in a way that places

body weight more on one side

than the other.

You might also like to

stand and work. Adjustable

desks are the order of the day

here, but if you don’t have

one perhaps your breakfast

bar will do.

It’s easy to get engrossed

in your work, but remember to

take regular breaks from your

desk and screen. This might

mean taking a phone call in

TECH TALK

> BY DAVID HALLETT

David Hallett is a director of Hamilton software specialist Company-X.

the garden.

If you’re caring for children

while you work you

might be tempted to take the

afternoon off and work later

when the kids are in bed.

Avoid working into the wee

hours, if you can, as the blue

light from the computer and

television screen keeps the

brain pumping up to an hour

after you switch it off. This

makes it difficult to sleep.

Most computers and smartphones

these days have settings

that dial-back the blue

light.

Assess your workstation

on a regular basis as bad habits

can easily sneak in.

Look after yourself and

stay safe.

Looking to the future – risk and resilience

A

risk is the possibility

that something may

not go as planned and

involves uncertainty about

the effects or implications,

often focusing on negative or

undesirable consequences. I

expect that, apart from a select

few in the health sector, the

majority of business owners

and managers would not have

contemplated the risk that a

global pandemic would force

the sudden closure of their

business for weeks, forcing

them to manage ongoing costs

and staff, all with a significant

reduction in, or lack of, revenue.

Now that this unforeseen

event has crystallised into your

number-one issue, how are you

going to respond in order to

minimise the short-term negative

impacts and implement a

strategy that will have a longterm

positive impact on your

business?

A key message throughout

these last weeks has been to

look after your people. As a

business, your people are your

greatest asset. Retaining staff

has been a financial challenge

for most businesses at this

time. Businesses should ensure

that they have explored what

government assistance may be

available to them. Staff will be

key to being prepared for, and

taking advantage of, future

opportunities as we progress

through to level 2, and eventually

to level 1.

Cashflow is key to sustaining

business operations. Preparing

a robust cashflow forecast

and talking this through

with your bank is important.

The more prepared you are to

talk with your bank the more

receptive they are likely to be.

Key things to consider include:

• Create a range of scenarios

(at least three), based upon

optimistic to pessimistic

outlooks.

• Outline what measures you

have taken to manage cash

flow.

• Identify any surplus assets

that could be converted to

cash.

• Focus on short-term rolling

cash forecasting.

• Identify key suppliers and

critical payments.

• Establish supply chain visibility

in order to manage

delayed lead times and

demand volatility.

• Assess whether there is an

opportunity to negotiate

pricing or fixed costs such

as rent.

• Review any funding covenants

and renegotiate.

• Consider salary cuts.

• Review discretionary

spending.

• Small business owners

should review the level of

drawings or dividends that

they take out of the business.

Communicate with your

employees, key customers and

suppliers, and your bank on a

regular basis. This will provide

confidence that you are managing

the situation and is likely

to put you in a better position

once lockdown restrictions

ease. Talk to other business

owners and operators. Find out

how they are dealing with the

current situation and consider

whether there are ideas you

can adapt and apply to your

own business.

Identify and manage your

operational risks and ensure

that your employees can work

safely. Ensure that you have a

Covid-19 safety plan in place,

along with robust health and

safety processes and practices

that align with your industry

requirements under each

Covid-19 alert level. Templates

and guidance are available on

the Worksafe website. It is up

to each business to self-assess

whether you can operate safely

for both your customers and

staff.

Adjusting your business

operations to the new economic

and business environment will

require ongoing flexibility

to manage the impacts of the

different Covid-19 alert levels

and a level of uncertainty

TECHNOLOGY SECURITY

> BY AARON STEELE

Aaron Steele is a senior manager at PwC Waikato.

Email: aaron.e.steele@pwc.com

of the effects of Covid-19 on

the economy over time. Consider

the impact of maintaining

social distancing on productivity

and day to day activities.

Consider a change in focus

from areas of the business

where there may be lower

demand into more productive

areas. This may require training

employees to cover skill

gaps in the more productive

areas of the business. Where

you have seen a reduction

in revenue from an industry

sector particularly affected

by Covid-19, consider your

options for replacing that revenue

from those industry sectors

that are less affected.

Take the opportunity to

review your business costs.

In good times, businesses can

support discretionary spending.

Focus on minimising

expenses that are not directly

related to producing your core

product or services. You may

want to review your expenditure

approval levels to ensure

that expenses are minimised in

the short-term.

Take this time to review

your business operations and

identify any efficiencies you

can make in order to reduce

costs, improve customer interactions,

and whether digitisation

and automation solutions

could have a positive impact

on your business.

Covid-19 has presented significant

challenges for many

businesses, but it will also

create opportunities. Having

a robust Covid-19 response

plan will enable businesses to

work through the related issues

as they arise and be in the best

position to take advantage of

opportunities that are created.

Use the lessons learnt from

the Covid-19 pandemic to

build resilience within your

business. Review your strategic

risks and build in the

impact from the changes to our

economic environment, both

locally and globally.

As we move from level 4 to

3, we can see that there is light

at the end of the tunnel, take

every opportunity as you head

towards it.

Further information on

managing Covid-19 impacts is

available at www.pwc.co.nz/

publications.

The comments in this article

of a general nature and should

not be relied on for specific

cases. Taxpayers should seek

specific advice.


14 WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

Covid-19: business

communication

during disaster

PR AND COMMUNICATIONS

> BY HEATHER CLAYCOMB

Heather Claycomb is director of HMC Communications, a

Hamilton-based, award-winning public relations agencys.

The Covid-19 pandemic has hit many

businesses hard. Economists are now

predicting we will enter a recession that

could be worse than the global financial

crisis we experienced in the mid-2000s.

Operating a business

under these circumstances

creates enormous

stress for some and

many business owners have

lost their companies entirely.

If we think about what’s happened

to the world’s airlines,

most tourism businesses, retail

and hospitality, this ‘crisis’

is incredibly devastating. In

fact, it’s not an exaggeration

to say it has reached ‘disaster’

proportions for many.

If we accept that a proportion

of our business community

is operating from a disaster

mindset, how do we begin

to assess where our clients,

staff and stakeholders are at

on the spectrum of ‘needing

rescued’ to ‘fully recovered?’

And then once we know where

they are at, how does that

impact the way our organisation

communicates with them?

Disaster Survivor’s Hierarchy

of Needs

One way to gauge how your

business audience is faring

is to discover where they are

at on the Disaster Survivor’s

Hierarchy of Needs. This is

a theory developed by Dr

Karin Jordon at the University

of Akron in the US and

is something communications

professionals who have led

teams through natural and

other disasters would likely be

familiar with. It’s aligned to

what most of us have probably

seen before – Maslow’s Hierarchy

of Needs.

The basic gist of the Disaster

Survivor’s Hierarchy of

Needs is that when a disaster

strikes, people are going to

be thinking about their basic

needs first – “where will I

sleep tonight, how do I get

clean water and food?”

Once those basic needs are

satisfied, disaster victims will

begin to think about their own

safety and wellbeing and secondly

of others. As time goes

on, stress will manifest itself

in a range of reactions from

anxiety to anger and eventually

grief and loss for what has

been left behind.

And finally, disaster survivors

find a new way of being

and assimilate into a new pattern

of normal life.

Business disaster survivors

and communications

planning

So, when we are thinking

about the Covid-19 crisis and

economic recession, we can

look to this Disaster Survivor’s

Hierarchy of Needs to understand

what stages of recovery

business owners/managers,

our staff, our customers and

suppliers and our business

community colleagues are

going through.

You need to understand

where people sit in this hierarchy

so that when you are communicating

with them, you do

so in a way that makes sense

for them today. And the tricky

part is that every business will

be in a slightly different phase.

If you find your clients,

for instance, are in a market

that’s been heavily affected by

Covid-19, you need to offer

support, advice and products

that can help them today. Messages

must be focused on basic

needs, about providing ‘rescue’

and all about giving hope

for today and tomorrow.

On the other end of the

spectrum, say you have clients

in the IT sector who are run off

their feet with new business -

they may already be in the

assimilation/accommodation

phase. This means your communication

with them can be

more future-focused, complex

and visionary.

The risks of making a

communications mistake of

mis-matching messaging that

doesn’t sync with your audience’s

stage in the disaster

journey include: frustrating

or even angering them, being

perceived as irrelevant and

being seen to be out of touch

with the reality of the situation.

Alternatively, the benefits

of getting your communications

right during a disaster

can create huge opportunities

for long-term brand loyalty,

increased trust and solidifying

your reputation as an industry

leader.

Staff are disaster survivors

too

This theory and the considerations

you must be mindful of

also relate to how you communicate

with staff during this

time. Even if your company

is not making people redundant,

you need to remember

that people are dealing with a

range of change all at once and

that creates anxiety for many

people.

You may have staff who

love working at home, have

no children at home and no

other distractions and they are

just getting on with work and

doing well. For these staff, you

can communicate with them as

you normally do without much

change.

On the other hand, you

may have staff who have small

children at home, a spouse

who has been laid off and a

range of other personal change

that is causing huge stress.

These two staff members

are going to be at opposite

ends of the disaster survivor’s

hierarchy of needs. These

examples show that when you

are communicating with your

teams – one size does not fit

all, so be sensitive to tailoring

messages, work hours and

expectations. The end result

will be more engaged and

loyal staff when the disaster is

well and truly over.

Connecting communities will drive

growth, employment and wellbeing

The Government’s new

appetite for investing

in infrastructure, along

with encouragement for bold

thinking on productivity, connectivity

and sustainability,

presents the Waikato with a

unique window of opportunity.

As the Government looks

to kickstart the economy by

fast-tracking ‘shovel ready’

projects, Te Waka is pushing

for investment in seven key

infrastructure projects across

the Waikato region.

There is no denying the

impact of Covid-19 is severe.

Economic activity has stalled.

There is strong debate about

the sustainability of businesses

and sectors. And there

are growing concerns about

the well-being of people and

communities as unemployment

rises.

But despite this, the crisis

also has the potential to

unleash a wave of innovation,

new-thinking and disruptive

business models. The

Waikato region has the industries

and talent to embrace

this change and to lead economic

recovery by creating

employment and growth.

We need to create stronger

connections between our

communities and complete

key infrastructure projects to

make this happen.

Te Waka has identified

those for which we are

seeking Government

funding:

1. Finish the Waikato

Expressway by completing

the Piarere Extension

2. Accelerate the Hamilton to

Auckland Corridor project

3. Enable rapid rail – Hamilton

to Auckland

4. Complete the Southern

Links project

5. Invest in improvements to

State Highway 2 to open up

the Coromandel

6. Enable a regional logistics

strategy via connecting the

Ruakura Inland Port

7. Investing in technology

and business infrastructure.

You can find more detail

on our website www.tewaka.

nz about each of these projects

and why, more than ever,

they warrant an injection of

capital.

While completing these

big ticket projects is critical,

we also need to support projects

from around the region

that will have a meaningful

impact on local communities,

and we will work with local

stakeholders to do that.

The Waikato region

encompasses some of the

most productive parts of New

Zealand, with key industries

that are world-class. We also

have a history of innovation,

a quality and growing skills

base and world-class educational

facilities.

Despite this strong foundation,

our region is not

well-connected to the population

centres of Auckland and

Tauranga, nor is it well connected

internally.

These connections are

critical if we want to create

growth, employment, community

prosperity and wellbeing,

and to leverage our

natural strengths as a region.

The new normal will look

quite different, and now is the

time for us to come together

as a connected region. We

must leverage a unified

vision which underpins a

healthy and thriving future

for Waikato communities.

Te Waka believes the road

to recovery must start by connecting

major employment

and population centres. This

includes central business

districts, growing metropolitan

and employment areas,

rural and coastal towns and

adjacent regions. It is only

by making these connections

that we can successfully drive

economic growth, resilient

communities, employment

and well-being.

DRIVING DEVELOPMENT

> BY MICHAEL BASSETT-FOSS

Chief executive, Te Waka: Waikato’s economic development agency


WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

15

The more things change, the more

things stay the same

TELLING YOUR STORY

> BY VICKI JONES

Vicki Jones is director of Dugmore Jones, Hamilton-based brand

management consultancy. Email vicki@dugmorejones.co.nz

There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that

whatever your business sector, life will look

very different in New Zealand and around

the world.

For months to come, the

way we move around and

interact with people will

colour the way we make purchasing

decisions. Our bank

balances may not allow us the

flexibility to make the retail

choices we did before. We may

be faced with less options, a

complex purchasing environment

and a long-continuing

world of uncertainty.

Ouch. That hurts, doesn’t it.

And for marketers needing to

connect with customers wading

through the mire of all that

uncertainly, everyday marketing

challenges have taken on a

new look too.

Please be patient with

advertisers, especially our

SMEs. Not everyone will get

it right under pressure of these

new challenges. Remember

they’re all trying to do one

thing – keep their businesses

afloat.

But as you plan your next

campaigns, consider carefully

how different your marketing

really needs to be compared to

before the pandemic.

There are some fundamental

questions to revisit as you

approach marketing in the

‘new normal’. Has your product

or service had to change

and how? Has your audience

changed, in terms of how your

brand appeals to them as well

as how they engage with it?

Does the true essence of your

brand need to evolve?

If any of the answers are

‘yes, but just a little’, don’t be

tempted to throw the baby out

with the bath water and rethink

strategies that have worked

before.

Your customers may want

to feel they are living in the

‘old normal’, not be reminded

that things are different. The

familiarity of your storytelling

voice could be the comfort

they’re looking for.

Marketing generally needs

to achieve a combination of

three things – to engage, entertain

or inform. For many, to

‘inform’ is currently a higher

priority than normal, especially

to clarify changes in retail

behaviours, or variations in

products or services. Even if

customers appear to have more

time on their hands, be succinct

in your explanations. Clarity is

more important than ever.

The ‘entertainment’ factor is

the greyest area during heightened

sensitivities. In the early

days of the crisis, we saw some

brands play fast and loose with

the idea of appropriate humour.

That was their decision, made

with (we hope) assessment of

what they felt their particular

audiences would find appropriate

too. They didn’t care

if Grandma was offended,

because Grandma was never

going to be a customer.

Now, with the severity of

the situation all too apparent,

humour has rightly been redirected.

We laugh at ourselves,

at our unruly hair and Zoom

meetings interrupted by children

and pets. We look for joy

in positive stories and champion

our communities. Humanity

is being leveraged in marketing

with great effect. Nice

work, New Zealand.

One of the shifting changes

is the advertising options available,

particularly for those

whose customers engage

through print media. With

many smaller community publications

restricted – hopefully

only in the short term – some

advertisers have had to explore

digital advertising that might

have previously been outside

their comfort zone.

Always ask yourself where

your audience are ‘hanging out’

and have a clear understanding

of how you want your brand to

be perceived there, whatever

the medium you’re using.

Email marketing, particularly

in a business-to-business

context, has been a contentious

topic recently. In my view, if

you use it regularly, keep calm

and carry on. If you have content

you are confident your

audience will be interested in,

use it. If you’ve never really

used it, approach with caution.

Consider your content and frequency

as carefully as if you

were paying for ad space.

One interesting boom has

been in video content. I’ve

always been careful suggesting

video to clients, particularly on

a budget, wary of undermining

perceptions of a brand by risking

poor production quality.

But those pressures are lifted at

the moment. If wobbly phone

footage is fine for national

news, and mainstream programming

is being filmed in

offices and living rooms, it’s

OK, right? For now, at least.

Give it a go, only if you feel

confident. If your audience will

forgive a nervous delivery or

dodgy editing and fuzzy sound

quality, why not? But bear in

mind those three important

factors – understanding how to

connect to your audience, articulating

your offer and being

true to your brand.

The lockdown environment,

changing behaviours and

long-term effects on the economy,

all require us to think

differently. But the need to be

authentic to your brand and relevant

for your target audience

will never change.

Rising up to the ‘Mighty

Local’ challenge in Level 3

Waikato residents are

stepping up to support

their “Mighty

Locals” as the region rallies to

support businesses hit hard by

the Covid-19 pandemic.

With the move to Level 3,

businesses are finding new

ways to trade with customers,

through contactless delivery

and pickup services.

Punnet, a popular Tamahere

eatery, opened for contactless

pickups as well as free local

delivery of their Punnet at

Home prepared meals range,

with a $5 delivery charge to

Hamilton and Cambridge.

“We have worked really

hard to offer this new service,

from designing the app, creating

the menu, and completing

all the testing over the weekend,”

said owner and operator

Haley Bicknell.

“For us, it has been so

lovely to see our regulars again

and to give them a wave from

the window.

“Their support is absolutely

what is keeping us going at the

moment. We couldn’t be more

thankful for the people who

live in our community for getting

behind us.”

“What we are seeing is this

innovative thinking is drawing

in customers keen to ‘support

local’ in the Waikato right

now,” says Jason Dawson,

chief executive of Hamilton

Waikato Tourism.

“We are strongly urging

Waikato people to really think

what they can do personally to

support businesses, by buying

local, eating local and experiencing

local.”

Waikato artisan ice cream

maker Duck Island has also

seen strong support as they prepared

for deliveries in Hamilton,

Cambridge and Auckland

the first week of Level 3, as

well as a click and collect service

from their Hamilton East

and Auckland stores.

“The support and the influx

of online orders has just been

incredible,” says co-owner

Kim Higgison. “It is really

heartening to see.”

Frank’s Sausage, a gourmet

sausage producer in Paeroa, is

reporting a 400-500 percent

increase in sale on its online

store, in the last month.

The business is also donating

free packets of sausages

to foodbanks for every online

sale.

“We just feel very grateful

that we are up and operating,”

says director Sheryn Cook.

“So far we have been able to

donate four or five 20-kilogram

boxes to the local foodbanks.”

For their online store, they

have reduced the delivery fee

to just $5 nationwide.

Te Waka chief executive

Michael Bassett-Foss said the

‘support local’ message was

critical, especially as businesses

from across sectors in

the Waikato have staff returning

to jobs this week.

“A big adjustment is

required from small to large

scale businesses across the

Waikato economy, and they

require support to get through

this time.”

It is a matter for survival

for many businesses, who

have been able to get through

with the Government’s wage

subsidy scheme but who have

severely affected cashflow.

They need sales to pay

their outgoings like rent,

wages and supplier costs – as

well as secure their long-term

viability.

The Mighty Local campaign

– a collaboration

between Hamilton Waikato

Tourism and Te Waka, the

regional economic development

agency, is strongly pushing

the ‘buy local’ message.

The website mightylocal.co.nz

lists Waikato food and beverage,

entertainment, retail and

service-related businesses customers

can purchase from.

It also features recipes

from local chefs, profiles virtual

tours from local attractions

and shares the stories of

many Waikato businesses and

how they are adapting to the

changes and their plans for

recovery - now and beyond.

www.mightylocal.co.nz

#MightyLocal #Mighty-

Waikato

“Receive the child in Reverence,

Educate the child in Love,

Let each go forth in Freedom.”

– Rudolf Steiner

Waikato Waldorf School

Providing holistic, contemporary and lifelong

Waldorf Education in an inspiring environment

now and into the future.

Our curriculum is based on

Rudolf Steiner’s pedagogical

model of child development;

which is unhurried and age

appropriate, interconnected

and inspires a reverence for all

of life, including nature, society

and the larger world.

Our curriculum reflects our

unique setting in Aotearoa New

Zealand, while acknowledging

and valuing the cultural

backgrounds of our diverse

community.

Enquiries welcome

07 855 8710 office@waikatowaldorf.school.nz

85 Barrington Drive, Huntington, Hamilton 3210

www.waikatowaldorf.school.nz

204115AA


16 WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

Driving change at Ebbett Toyota

By RICHARD WALKER

Richard van den Engel arrived at Ebbett

Toyota 18 months ago during challenging

times. Challenging enough that they had no

chance of winning dealership awards at the

annual black-tie Toyota awards evening, held

at the Dunedin Town Hall at the start of March.

But things have been

improving for the

Waikato firm, and CEO

van den Engel was given an

unexpected leadership award

in Dunedin.

The win was for the team, he

says, after a year in which they

reclaimed top spot in Waikato

for car registrations, which they

hadn’t managed for some years.

“We set out at the beginning

of 2019, knowing that Toyota

was number one nationwide

and has been for 31 years, but

hasn’t been number one in

Waikato for a very long time.

So we wanted to reclaim the

prize. And we did.”

Van den Engel pays tribute

to his predecessor who he says

had done an “incredibly good

job”. His own appointment was

intended to be short term, after

he switched from dealer principal

at Ebbett Volkswagen. But

he’s “absolutely loving” the

new role, and isn’t in a hurry to

do anything else just now.

He says with the difficulties

the firm faced, the temptation

could have been to trim sails

and cut costs. Instead he and

the management team looked

for a different way.

“I shamelessly borrow the

saying from Richard Branson:

‘If you invest in your people,

they’ll look after your customers.’

“When we sat down as

a management team at the

beginning of 2019, we really

embraced that. It took some

deep breaths, because when

you want to grow a business or

when you want to perform better

than you are, your natural

tendency is to look for ways to

cut costs or drive people harder,

or be more aggressive.

“Instead of doing that, we

said, let’s try and understand

what our unique selling position

is and build a strategy

around that. And if we do that

well, and have a singular focus

and a singular vision, then we’ll

trust the process and that the

results will follow.”

He says they focused on

customer experience, and giving

people reasons to choose

them rather than the competition.

That meant, he says,

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empowering frontline staff who

are engaging with customers to

deliver the best experience they

can. “The role of management

becomes to serve that frontline

in terms of eliminating roadblocks,

making it easier for

them to serve the customers, to

make the process efficient.”

The process involved trying

to define up front what success

would look like for each staff

member.

“My attitude is, we all come

to work and we don’t want to

fail, we want to do a good job.

“We set a vision; we said,

this is where we want to head,

this is what we want to do as

a team. And then we set about

defining what winning looks

like. We said, ‘in your role, how

do you contribute to that overall

vision?’

When it comes to the award,

van den Engel says he sees it as

recognition for the leadership

team as a whole.

“I would accredit the award

to the leadership of the management

team rather than to

myself,” he says.

“I guess as we look back on

the year, we’re satisfied with

where we’ve ended up, and the

growth continues.”

The van den Engel family

owns Ebbett together with the

son of the founder, Richard

Ebbett, and Richard van den

Engel finally joined the family

firm after initially setting out to

do architecture, combining his

love of art and proficiency in

maths, then turning to accounting

(when he initially sought to

join the family firm, his father

said: “we don’t need architects”).

As an accountant he

Richard van den Engel accepts the Bob

Field leadership excellence award.

worked for Deloitte for some

years, in London, Auckland

and Hong Kong, and then made

the transition to Ebbett.

With Toyota, he says he has

joined a brand that he says has

been No 1 in New Zealand for

32 years, with almost double

the market share of their nearest

competitor.

“When you look at a brand

like that from the outside, you

go, ‘wow, they must be doing

some things right. There must

be some things that are going

on in that network that I can

learn from.’

“I guess that was my attitude

all along. I was excited to

engage with the brand and learn

what I could.”

He says Toyota is “incredibly

focused” on investing in

its staff. “People that I’ve met

at Toyota New Zealand are

absolutely passionate about the

brand and where it’s heading.

“There’s a real connection

with Kiwis. Toyota have a clear

value proposition, that they’ve

stuck to. They’re not changing

it every year, they’re not even

changing it every decade.”

The volume of sales also

creates an opportunity in terms

of service and parts, simply

because of the number of Toyotas

on the road.

Van den Engel says they

are seeing a growing interest in

lower-emissions vehicles.

“We’ve got consumers coming

in saying: I want to own a

hybrid, I want to do the right

thing by the environment.”

That sees Toyota’s hybrids

taking off at a surprising rate.

The newest RAV4 model,

released midway through last

Richard van den Engel has helped

Toyota reclaim top spot in Waikato.

year, has a hybrid option.

“We expected If we were

lucky, maybe every second

RAV4 would be a hybrid. But

it turns out the demand for

hybrids is so significant, that

number was more like 80-20

[80 percent hybrid].”

He says Toyota is thinking

about the future in other ways

as well, and has showcased its

e-Palette, “which is essentially

this autonomous electric pod,

which can be used as a motel

room or a shop or a shuttle bus

or anything like that.

“So you’ve got Toyota

thinking well into the future

and asking questions around

how will people get around in

the future and what part can we

play in that?

“It’s a really exciting future,

and all sorts of ideas are coming

through.”

As for the changes he has

helped drive in his short time

at Ebbett Toyota: “I’ve really

enjoyed having faith in the process

and actually seeing some

results. Taking the plunge and

saying, do you know what,

we’re going to invest in our

people. We’re going to start

with the engagement of our

people, we’ll trust that to follow

on to customer experience and

we’ll trust that to deliver the

results - and it’s worked. That’s

something that is incredibly

exciting.”


WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

17

Cannasouth aims

to raise $3m

By RICHARD WALKER

Hamilton listed medicinal cannabis firm

Cannasouth is forging ahead with a share

offer to raise $3 million after a new regulatory

regime kicked in at the start of April.

The offer, which closes on

April 30, is to existing

shareholders and aims to

accelerate development of the

company’s key initiatives.

Chief executive Mark Lucas

said the early uptake signs were

promising. “Without going

into details, I'd say we're very

encouraged with the response

so far.”

Cannasouth wants to raise

funds towards a range of projects,

including registration and

launch of imported medicinal

cannabis products. The company

says it is currently well

capitalised with more than $7.3

million of cash on hand and no

debt. Its wholly owned subsidiary

Cannasouth Plant Research

New Zealand is about to lodge

new medicine licence applications

for its first products.

The Covid-19 lockdown

has seen construction halt

on its greenhouse cultivation

facility but any possible

delays from the lockdown

will not be “material”, Lucas

said, as the company moves as

quickly as it can to bring products

to market.

Mark Lucas says any delays from

Covid-19 will not be “material”.

“There’s a reason that [the

medicinal cannabis sector] is

developing - people are looking

for these types of medicines

and products, and ultimately

that won't have changed post

Covid-19.”

The regulatory change

means GPs can now prescribe

medicines containing THC

without sign-off from a specialist,

and also introduces

stringent standards that Lucas

believes will be good for the

industry.

He said registering medicines

to meet good manufacturing

process (GMP) requirements

is complex and difficult.

“Ultimately, it's going to be

a benefit for the patients. It's

going to be a benefit for the

industry because it means

the market’s not going to be

flooded with substandard products.”

GP education around

medicinal cannabis remains

a challenge for the industry,

and Lucas expects prescribing

of the new medicines to begin

slowly and then reach critical

mass as prescribers gain confidence

around levels of risk.

He said that has happened

in Australia, where numbers

ramped up “really, really fast”

and where there is a more complex

prescribing process which

varies from state to state. New

Zealand will have the benefit of

a single system.

“I think the ministry [in

New Zealand] wanted to learn

from other jurisdictions and I

think they have. And so we're

confident that the system here,

once fully bedded in, is going

to be a good one.”

While the first products to

market will be imported, Cannasouth

aims for vertical integration

with a medium-term

goal of producing raw ingredients

in New Zealand and taking

them from seed to sale.

That is assisted by its acquisition

of a 60 percent share in

Hastings-based Midwest Pharmaceuticals,

which already

operates in a GMP medicines

environment and has continued

operating the essential services

part of its business during the

lockdown.

Lucas said Cannasouth

has been building the foundations

of a successful business,

including recruiting the right

people. “I'm really pleased with

the structure that we've got.

The Cannasouth Cultivation

operation is going to be world

class. It's not going to be oversized,

but it has the ability to

scale up quite quickly,” he said.

“Our quality is going to be

about as high as you can get

and yet our production price

point is going to be much better

than some of the more traditional

approaches for producing

that material.”

Cannasouth is keeping an

eye on the recreational cannabis

referendum, which Lucas

says could have pluses and

minuses whichever way the

vote goes.

Tour operator optimistic as deal kicks in

A

deal that was the best

part of two years in the

making could hardly

have come at a better time for

Hamilton-based tourism operator

Leisure Time Group - and

for Waikato’s tourism industry.

It has acquired Auckland

events company Lime & Soda,

adding valuable extra domestic

capability to its offerings as

borders are closed to overseas

travellers.

With a strong emphasis

on inbound tourism, which

saw relatively fallow months

through winter, two years ago

Leisure Time Group decided

to start looking for an events

company to augment its offering

and address the seasonal

dip.

After a lengthy search,

managing director Scott Mehrtens

says they were able to

clinch a deal with boutique

firm Lime & Soda to kick in

on April 1 this year. It went

unconditional on February 28

“and then the whole world

changed”.

As the coronavirus pandemic

took hold, a busy looking

March through to June for

international visitors came to a

sudden stop. “It was devastating

to our international tourism

just like everyone else's.”

That makes the domestic

market all the more important,

and the Lime & Soda acquisition

all the more welcome.

“We looked at it long and

hard all the way through. And

the reason why we wanted to

do this was to de-risk our tourism

business. Lime & Soda is

very domestic-based, they've

got a wide range of clients

Scott Mehrtens

from different industries.”

Mehrtens says that gives

them some assurance around

lines of revenue over the next

nine months when international

markets are very uncertain

- particularly as domestic

events are largely being postponed

until later in the year,

rather than cancelled.

Lime & Soda’s owner,

Debra Dufty, has joined Leisure

Time Group and heads

the Events/MICE (meetings,

incentives, conferences,

events) team. She and her

team will remain in Auckland.

Mehrtens endorses the government’s

actions in closing

borders, despite the immediate

impact on his own business.

“It had to be done. We don't

begrudge what's happened,

it is for the greater good.

You know, we are all in this

together.

“Obviously the greatest

risk to New Zealand was

people coming in from other

countries, so you can totally

understand and endorse what

we've done and and I think it's

going to be better for us in the

longer term.”

Tourism Minister Kelvin

Davis has announced a rethink

of the industry post Covid-19,

and has tasked Tourism New

Zealand to lead the project.

““We have an opportunity

to rethink the entire way we

approach tourism to ensure

that it will make New Zealand

a more sustainable place,

enrich the lives of all our people

and deliver a sector which

is financially self-sustaining in

the longer term,” he said.

Hamilton & Waikato Tourism

chief executive Jason

Dawson welcomed the move.

“We will be an active participant

to help develop the

plan – domestically and internationally,”

he said.

“It’s giving us the chance

to pose questions around our

previous visitor arrivals and

expenditure growth, what

does success look like for the

future and how do we move

our sector from a ‘boom and

bust’ cycle?

Mehrtens says New Zealand

is already being written

about positively by some

international travel writers,

citing a BBC Travel section

article that puts New Zealand

in the top five countries when

it comes to bouncing back

from the pandemic.

He says Leisure Time’s

agents around the world are

keen to discuss New Zealand

offerings because the country

is considered a bucket list destination

but also a safe one and

well respected for the decisive

action taken in recent weeks.

“Of course,” he adds, “this

accounts for nothing until we

feel it is safe to re-open borders.”

In the meantime, as domestic

tourism becomes more

important, the Lime & Soda

acquisition will be helpful.

“We've got products that

we can sell to New Zealanders

now and into the future. And

we're definitely ramping that

up to be able to offer that to

the traditional supply chain

because there will be travel

agents around New Zealand

going, what are we going to

sell?”

In the absence of overseas

options, those agents will be

turning to local offerings and

that will involve the whole

industry, he says.

“We all need each other.

I can't offer a tour without a

hotel chain. A hotel chain has

to be a viable proposition,

though. And there's a lot of

infrastructure and a lot of private

enterprise that have got

a lot of money tied up in the

tourism industry; it is in a lot

of respects very capital intensive.”

Away from the Air New

Zealand headlines, he says

there are plenty of “ma and pa

operators” with a lot of money

tied up in tourism operations,

often with large bank debts.

“And they were a viable

business until two weeks ago.

So it's pretty heartbreaking.

“No one wants to be in this

situation but it is what it is.”

In the case of Leisure Time

Group, that included making

tough decisions early on. “We

went through a first wave of

redundancies a few weeks ago

prior to wage subsidies being

fully announced and available.

So we did have to make

an initial cut, which wasn't

pleasant.”

He says, however, that

staff understood it wasn’t

Mehrtens’ or the company’s

doing, but the impact of the

virus.

“Because we need to know

that we are going to survive

this - and we will survive

this.”

He expects to see mergers

and acquisitions over the next

few months to make businesses

more viable. Leisure

Time Group’s growth strategy

has been around acquisition,

and he says they are likely to

be looking for those opportunities

themselves.

“We've been around for 33

years. This is by far the worst

thing that we've had to deal

with in terms of contingency

planning. But we're very optimistic

that we'll get through to

the other side of this.”

- By Richard Walker


18 WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

FROM THE GROUND UP

Security solutions for business owners

You love your home and you’re proud

of your business. Every security solution

created by Armstrong Smarter Security is

developed with these truths in mind.

It doesn’t matter what sort of

business, Armstrong design

and specify security systems

for offices, shops, malls,

warehouses, factories, hospitals,

education institutions,

apartment buildings and many

others.

The security functions

required can be multi-faceted

and include after-hour intrusions,

daytime intrusions, staff

theft, access control and monitoring,

panic buttons, master

key systems, CCTV, safes and

more.

Armstrong have 40 years’

experience of installing business

security systems. They say

today’s technology has a limited

life as criminals get more

sophisticated so it pays to have

an annual service and review.

And they say the problem is

getting worse with Hamilton

city experiencing 7561 “theft

and related” incidents last year,

up on 6365 the previous year.

Armstrong’s ICT systems

will control a wide range of

diverse systems in office, factory,

apartment block, hotel,

retail outlets and much more.

It will control:

• Automated access control

• Multiple user access

• Integrated intruder detection

• Scheduled arming

• IP monitoring

• Emergency egress

Armstrong technicians will

ensure that installation is fit for

purpose to keep building, contents

and occupants safe, protecting

against burglars, petty

thieves and vandals as well

as helping to meet health and

safety options.

After installation Armstrong

provide a maintenance service

to ensure the smooth running of

an ICT system.

Armstrong Smarter Security

will be contactless trading with

pick-up or courier delivery

during Covid-19 Alert Level 3.

Customers can call or email

to arrange delivery or book a

collection. Collection payment

can either be made over the

phone or by contactless Pay-

Wave, with goods for pickup

placed in a collection area.

If you don’t have security

installed or think you need an

upgrade book a free consultation

by calling Armstrong

Smarter Security on (07) 850

5555 or 0800 506 111

- Supplied copy

Waikato (07) 850 5555

577 Te Rapa Road

Te Rapa, Hamilton

www.armstrong.co.nz

YOUR LOCAL LOCKSMITH AND ALARM SPECIALIST

• LOCKS • KEYS • SAFES

• ALARMS • CCTV

• ACCESS CONTROL

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INSTALLED, SERVICED, MAINTAINED


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FROM THE GROUND UP

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WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

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20 WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

FROM THE GROUND UP

Coresteel Waikato win 2019 Franchise

of the Year Runner Up Award

Coresteel Buildings Waikato was presented

with Franchise of the Year Runner Up award

at the annual Coresteel Buildings National

Conference, held 9-11 March in Fiji.

Led by Gary and Trina

White and John Morrow,

the Waikato franchise

pride themselves on

providing their clients with

a great building experience

from design to building completion.

“The team at Coresteel

Waikato were pleased to be

one of the top-performing

franchisees for 2019. Congratulations

to the Northland

team for another great battle

of the regions,” says Trina

White, Co-Director of Coresteel

Waikato.

“A massive thanks to our

team and our customers.

Without you, we would not

make the regional impact and

achieve the quality-driven

service that makes us stand

out of leaders within the construction

industry.”

Since joining the Coresteel

network in 2008, Coresteel

Waikato has grown from husband

and wife duo to a construction

company with over

40 staff, ready and able to

deliver cost-effective design

and build projects.

In the past decade, the

team has built an impressive

range of buildings for a variety

of satisfied clients around

the Waikato region. From

designer homes to large-scale

commercial buildings, this

team can build it all.

“Gary, Trina and John are

consistent performers. The

Waikato business continues to

go from strength to strength

under their leadership. Congratulations

Waikato team,”

says Simon Archer, Coresteel

Buildings Commercial Manager.

Coresteel Buildings specialise

in the design, manufacture

and construction of

large scale steel buildings in

the commercial and industrial

market. Coresteel is 100 percent

New Zealand owned and

operated, with over 25 locally-owned

franchises located

across the country. Unlike

others, Coresteel isn’t confined

to set sizing due to two

unique building systems - the

patented Bracketless Portal

System and Tapered Box

Beam.

- Supplied copy

Return to work a great relief

Thousands of construction

workers returned to the

tools on April 28, playing

their part in cranking up New

Zealand’s economic wheel.

Classic Builders director

Matt Lagerberg – who heads

one of the country’s largest

home building companies –

says being given the green light

to return to work under New

Zealand’s Covid-19 Level 3

structure was a great relief.

“It has been a tough time for

everyone in the construction

industry - and others too - with

income streams at a stand-still

and outgoings to service.

“Our staff are geared up,

ready, and itching to go. They’re

keen to get back out there and

get the wheels turning,” says

Lagerberg, who has a staff of

260 covering the Waikato, Bay

of Plenty, Auckland, Northland,

Christchurch, Queenstown and

Wellington.

The fact the construction

industry is back at work comes

with many positive downstream

effects, says Lagerberg.

“It’s great for the supply

chain and breathes life into

many small and medium-sized

businesses. Bricklayers, labourers,

electricians, plumbers,

roofers, tilers, those involved

in earthworks and drainage,

and product suppliers… all

represent subcontractors and

suppliers relieved to be back at

work.”

He says Classic Builders

has hundreds of homes underway

and staff are eager to finish

these so Kiwis can move into

their new homes.

Classic Builders Waikato

regional manager Paul Caton

says the branch has clients

waiting patiently for their new

homes.

“Our clients are incredibly

important to us and being able

to recommence work on their

half-built homes will hopefully

relieve any uncertainty they had

during the lockdown period.

It’ll show that we are back on

the job and will deliver them

their new home soon.

“The way we work is going

to be quite different, but we are

confident we can get the job

done safely and deliver quality

homes. While the majority

of us will continue to work

virtually from home hosting

meetings and client consultations

via video conferencing,

our construction managers are

very keen to head back to sites

and do what they do best,” he

said, speaking just before Level

3 kicked in.

Classic Builders says it has

been involved in Government

discussion around establishing

the construction industry’s

Covid-19 on-site protocols and

Matt Lagerberg says his industry

is perfectly poised to operate

under Level 3 restrictions. It

already has stringent health and

Matt Lagerberg

safety rules in play, with relevant

protocols like signing in

and out of every site being the

norm. Setting up sanitisation

sites and managing the flow of

subcontractors onto sites is easy

to achieve with single level

Paul Caton

homes, he says.

Lagerberg says a Covid-19

vaccine and the re-opening of

borders will spell great things.

“We have received world-wide

attention for our handling of

Covid-19. There will be immigration

demand and expats

wanting to return home. We

will be seen as a safe haven –

the Switzerland of the South

Pacific.”

- Supplied copy

Rural Waikato towns poised for

construction frenzy post-lockdown

Leading home building

company Golden Homes

is expecting a surge of

interest in small Waikato towns

as New Zealanders adjust to a

new way of life post-lockdown.

Golden Homes Waikato/

North Waikato/Taranaki CEO

Wayne Smallwood says people

may now shun high density

housing developments in

favour of larger residential sites

with more physical space.

“Towns like Ngāruawāhia,

Morrinsville and Matamata

have become increasingly popular

in recent years as people

are priced out of the Hamilton

and Auckland housing markets.

But I expect interest in those

towns to increase even further

now.

“What’s become very obvious

to everyone in the past

month is that a lot of people

can work remotely and face-toface

meetings aren’t a necessity.

We’ve learned to use video

conferencing and the idea of

living in a small rural town,

where land is much cheaper,

will grow in appeal.”

Building new, rather than

buying an existing dwelling, is

also a popular choice for first

home buyers who can use their

KiwiSaver accounts to access a

HomeStart grant from the Government.

Smallwood expects rural

communities to bounce back

quicker economically than

main urban centres as primary

producers lead the recovery,

aided by New Zealand’s low

dollar.

“Our Taranaki office, for

example, has been incredibly

busy with sales enquiries

throughout lockdown. The

region has a lot of primary

producers plus a dairy works,

freezing works and fertiliser

works.

He says Golden Homes

builds healthy homes to withstand

New Zealand’s harsh

conditions. Locally made

ZOG® Steel Framing System

is used which does not rot,

warp or harbour allergens such

as mould, dust or gases released

from preservative chemicals.

A large number of house

and land packages are either

available or coming on stream

shortly throughout the Waikato.

“Our region is well-placed to

emerge from this lockdown

and bounce back relatively

quickly. Golden Homes is certainly

looking forward to helping

provide some much-needed

economic stimulus in our communities.

“We’re also proud to

sponsor a number of sports

and healthy lifestyle events

throughout the Waikato including

the RIDE cycling festival,

the annual i-Float event in

Whangamata and Morrinsville’s

Rugby Sports Club’s

premier team.”

- Supplied copy

cjwbuild.co.nz


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22 WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

IP strategy and portfolio

management during an economic crisis

The shock of Covid-19 to the business community has been

sharp and severe. The lockdown in New Zealand has challenged

all businesses, and the evolving situation overseas is creating

additional problems. We’ve seen a surge in clients seeking advice

on how to manage their intellectual property (IP) portfolio to meet

these challenges.

I’ve been working in the IP

industry long enough to

remember the economic

shock during the 2008/2009

global financial crisis (GFC). It

created significant pressures for

established exporters and startups.

While the Covid-19 situation

is not the same as the GFC

there are similarities.

Many businesses across

the country are currently

questioning how they can

respond to, and manage, the

challenges that Covid-19 is

having on our business.

There is no one-size-fitsall

plan. Much depends on the

business and its stage of development.

Some industries, like

healthcare, are ramping up while

others have come to a screaming

halt. Irrespective of where you

find yourself, considering the

following issues when managing

your IP portfolio will help

you navigate your way through

an economic crisis.

• Cash is king. Having cash

on hand means you can meet

your obligations, keep the

doors open, retain key staff

and continue to trade. With

that in mind, businesses may

be considering whether it is

sensible to invest in assets,

such as IP rights, or whether

to delay this. For some,

choosing not to invest will

be the best option, however

this depends on the circumstances

and a variety of

complex factors.

• Assess how existing IP

rights relate to your business

and if they are essential.

This can highlight if

an IP right is superfluous

and does not require further

investment. If a right

captures your business’

competitive advantage, is it

really worth letting it lapse

to reduce short term spending?

You should balance this

question carefully.

• Have a contingency fund

wherever possible. Being

able to accommodate

unplanned costs or variations

will reduce stress

and improve your chances

of coming through this

unscathed.

• Ensure you have good

systems and communicate

with your team. This

includes thorough budgets,

clear instructions on what

costs can be incurred, and

decision-making criteria for

potential investment in IP

rights. Know when the next

actions for the rights in your

portfolio are likely to be due

and plan accordingly.

• Determine whether immediate

action is necessary or

if it can it wait. Your best

option may be to delay filing

an application or product

launch. Failure to meet certain

IP deadlines can result

in the right lapsing. But

deadlines can be extended in

many circumstances, so use

extensions of time to delay

costs or decisions.

• Pivot or partner. We’ve

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ISSUES

> DAVID MACASKILL

Senior Associate at James & Wells with expertise in all areas

of intellectual property and a particular focus on Intellectual

Property Strategy. Contact: 07 957 5660 (Hamilton) or 07 928

4470 (Tauranga), and davidmacaskill@jamesandwells.com.

seen in the US that Ford has

started producing respirators

to meet local demand. Australian

company Medtronic

has openly shared the IP

rights to its portable ventilator

and is rumoured to be

partnering with Tesla. Closer

to home, there are the distilleries

who are changing

from gin and whisky to hand

sanitiser. Think outside of

the box and adapt. Look for

new partnerships where you

can provide value to another

company, who in return will

help you. Or, change your

focus to a different product

or service.

• Revisit your IP strategy.

If your business strategy

changes then so too must

your IP strategy. Don’t be

afraid to make hard decisions

on investment in IP rights,

but also be prepared to commit

to continuing your existing

plan or investing in a new

one. Understand how Covid-

19 will affect all the markets

you operate in - don’t assume

that what applies for New

Zealand customers will also

apply in other markets.

• Look after your team. The

significance of people to a

business is frequently talked

about, however they are

often overlooked as a form

of competitive advantage.

Communicate what is happening

with the business,

engage them on problem

solving, and help with their

personal challenges. You

will need your team members

to help the business survive

during the crisis and to

recover during the eventual

market rebound.

Good businesses will survive

and may even thrive during the

Covid-19 pandemic. How you

respond will determine whether

you succeed or are left by the

wayside. Getting input from a

range of experienced sources

will improve your decision

making and outcomes.

Stand up New

Zealand, you

deserve a

huge round of

applause

Covid-19 has certainly

caused a massive

change in our worlds

this last month or so, hasn’t

it? Who would have thought

heading into 2020 we would

experience such a shift in how

we run our businesses, how we

work, and how we keep afloat

during a crisis? Many of us had

to make changes that we never

planned to make – from closing

long-established businesses,

letting staff go who over time

have become like family and

halting all previous trading

patterns. Aside from the global

financial crisis in 2009, I have

never experienced anything

like this in my 50 plus years on

Earth.

As I write this column,

New Zealand has just moved

to Level 3 in the pandemic.

Many employees and employers

are tenuously starting back

on the journey of working for

the first time in four weeks.

Other essential workers and

businesses having been slogging

it out and keeping us fed

and healthy during this time.

The hysteria of the first week

seems to have calmed down

and we have created new

patterns and behaviours that

ideally will serve us well as

we move forward. Yes, we

are still in the early stages of

Covid-19 response in New

Zealand but right now – we all

deserve a huge pat on the back

and acknowledgement of the

exceptionally hard work everyone

in the country has contributed.

Nice work Kiwis!

But as I reflect on the past

month, I am also saddened by

some of the deep pain I have

seen employees and employers

experience. Mums and dads

both losing their incomes, kids

and teens losing their social

connections and essential

workers put under immense

pressure by the selfish actions

of some idiots. Large tourism

and hospitality businesses folding

and small business owners

taking on night work to keep

their staff employed. The grief

we have all experienced is palpable.

As business owners that

have been through such massive

change in a short period

of time, how do we take on

board those experiences and

move on? How do I lead from

the front and ensure my team

are engaged and understand

what we are trying to achieve?

How do I remain positive and

optimistic when I may not be

feeling positive and optimistic?

So, here are some tips from my

period of reflection as a leader,

business owners, chair of the

Waikato Chamber and trustee

in a not-for-profit. Firstly –

every single person in New

Zealand has been impacted one

way or another by this virus.

No matter how low or despondent

you are feeling right now,

chances are someone in your

team will have felt the same in

the last month. It is OK to show

vulnerability and it is normal

to have bad days. Secondly,

communicate, communicate

and communicate. Talk to your

team, talk to other leaders, talk

to your advisers and get help

if you need it. If you have not

done it already, make a plan.

Then show your team that you

have a plan. Take time out

for yourself and give yourself

some thinking space. Acknowledge

the days and things that

PEOPLE AND CULTURE

> BY SENGA ALLEN

Managing Director, Everest – All about people TM

www.everestpeople.co.nz

have gone well for you and

your team – celebrating those

small wins is even more right

now! Be humble and be kind.

I think we have all learned that

from our Prime Minister, right?

Lastly, we are all in this

together – we will get through

this and while you might experience

more bad days than

good, that soon will change.

Reach out to others who are

running small businesses to

see if you can support them in

any way too – buy local, support

local and think about what

you really want to do differently

in your business and at

home. Now is the perfect time

for a sea-change that none of

us really planned for or even

expected – perhaps that is a

sign we just cannot ignore? Kia

Kaha New Zealand.


WAIKATO BUSINESS NEWS April/May 2020

23

ACCOMMODATION TAUPO

PUMICE

Rated EXCEPTIONAL 9.9/10

(highest rating in Taupo) by Booking.com

Situated within 26 km of Orakei Korako –

The Hidden Valley in Taupo, Pumice offers

free bikes and a terrace. Located around

2.7 km from Lake Taupo Hole in One

Challenge, the bed and breakfast is

also 3.2 km away from Wairakei Natural

Thermal Valley.

There are two large bedrooms that have

private access both with en-suites, decks

and lake views.

Rooms include fridge, tea and Nespresso

coffee making facilities, toaster, complimentary

wine and beer on check in, together

with seating areas both inside and

outside.

Electric fires and underfloor heating

together with satellite TV channels are

provided. The rooms look across the lake

towards Acacia Bay in the west providing

spectacular views and sunsets.

Continental breakfast is available in the

rooms for an additional charge. Taupo

Events Centre is 3.5 km from the bed and

breakfast, while Volcanic Activity Centre is

6 km from the property. Taupo Airport is

three km away.

2/15 Boundary Road,

Waipahihi,

Taupo 3330

021 931 253

booking.com

Commercial Property

Management & Valuation

At Bayleys, we believe relationships are what businesses are built on and how they succeed.

We understand that to maximise the return on your property you need:

Professional property management

Expert valuation advice

A business partner that understands your views and goals

James Harvey

Commercial Facilities Manager

P 07 839 0700 M 027 425 4231

james.harvey@bayleys.co.nz

Mike Gascoigne

Branch Manager

P 07 834 6690 M 027 430 8311

mike.gascoigne@bayleys.co.nz

Curtis Bones

Senior Commercial Property Manager

P 07 834 3826 M 027 231 3401

curtis.bones@bayleys.co.nz

Matt Straka

Registered Valuer

P 07 834 3232 M 021 112 4778

matt.straka@bayleys.co.nz

Joe Healy

Valuer

P 07 834 3232 M 027

223 8069

joe.healy@bayleys.co.nz

SUCCESS REALTY LTD, BAYLEYS, LICENSED UNDER THE REA ACT 2008

A LT O G ETHER B E TTER

Residential / Commercial / Rural / Property Services


Property Developer, David Chafer

Foster Construction recently completed Stage

2 at Te Rapa Gateway – adding another six

industrial trade units to Hamilton’s prime

industrial park. Developer David Chafer is

well pleased with the quality of the finished

buildings, noting the build process was

exceptionally smooth.

“We chose to work with Fosters because they

are local and well established with a strong

reputation,” says David. “Plus, the build price

aligned with our budget.”

The new Te Rapa Gateway industrial park is

a subsidiary of Chalmers Properties. Located

on either side of Arthur Porter Drive and Clem

Newby Road, it is well situated for business.

Each unit consists of clear span warehousing

and well-presented glass-fronted offices over

two levels, plus allocated car parks.

Stage 1 (which included the first six units)

was built by Fosters in 2017. Stage 2

was completed over 9 months, ready for

occupation in March 2020.

“Fosters were involved with the project

from the beginning” continues David. “They

bought good knowledge to the table around

buildability and cost-effective materials,

effectively making the job more affordable.

They also oversaw the building consent

process.

“In terms of the actual build, we gave them

free licence to get the job done. We know

industrial builds are Fosters speciality. They

have the internal resource, experience and

contacts to see this sort of detail through,

meaning there was little need for us to get

too involved.”

Would he build with Fosters again?

“Absolutely” David confirms. “As an investor,

you want a smart design and you want it

built well. Fosters delivered on both value and

quality.”

FOSTERS.CO.NZ . 07 849 3849

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