Last day to complete Auckland Chamber of Commerce Business Confidence Survey!

Complete our Business Confidence Survey TODAY and go in the draw to win an iPad

We’d appreciate your input to our Business Confidence Survey. We want to know how business is going for you.

Please take the time to complete our latest survey before 5pm today and you’ll automatically go in the draw to win an Apple iPad.

Please click here now to complete the short survey, or copy the following link into your browser:

The information we collect is not only useful for our purposes, it can provide you with information about the present market conditions.

Attend our Economic Briefing on 22 August 2013 at the Northern Club to hear the analysis of the results and expert economic commentary from Bernard Hickey.

Diversity Breakfast with Professor Grant Schofield- Thursday July 11th


Professor Grant Schofield talks brain hemispheres- at the Diversity breakfast

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce and EEO Trust host a monthly ‘Diversity’ breakfast event, and the content at this morning’s event, in the Sir Paul Reeves room on the AUT Wellesley Street campus, fitted the billing.

Professor Grant Schofield spoke to invited guests about human potential and plasticity of the human brain. In the modern working environment, Schofield reminded us, the neurons in our brain need adequate sleep and proper food. Professor Schofield used slides to make his point- a photo of the food that an American family eats in a week screamed ‘obesity epidemic’.

Schofield spoke with a distinct and enjoyable touch. This was a memorable breakfast and also an opportunity to network and meet new potential customers. If you are interested in further networking events please visit the Chamber website on

Our next Diversity breakfast is on September 12th and is being held at the Northern Club. The guest speaker is Bunnings managing director Jacqui Coombes. To register for this event please email or call us on (09) 309 6100.


Chamber Market Update on July 18th


Chamber update at the Airport Precinct

Are you up-to-date with current business confidence levels and how the 2013 Budget will affect your business? Are you aware of the latest employment law changes?

We invite you to our Chamber Market Update on 18 July in our Airport precinct, for an update about how these developments may impact your business.

Michael Barnett will provide the latest business confidence survey results and discuss how these and the 2013 Budget will provide opportunities and challenges for your business.

Lisa Mackay will provide advice about current employment law issues and requirements that all employers need to know.  Topics will include:

  • Trial Periods – what case law is showing, and minimising the risk of an employee challenging a trial period termination.
  • $18 “Living Wage” – how businesses may be impacted.
  • Changes to Employment Relations Act – focusing on the proposed changes to rest breaks and meal break provisions.
  • Medical certificates – what the medical council is saying, and how to deal with sick leave issues in the workplace.

You will also receive a “Quick Guide to Identifying and Dealing with Sick Leave Issues” to help you deal with sick leave in your workplace.

Complimentary for Members, and for Non- members if accompanied by Members (registration is essential). Register today!

To register email or call us on (09) 309 6100.

From the marketing team,

Auckland Chamber of Commerce

Michael Barnett – Women-only plan ignores diversity


We have moved beyond gender balance as the sole differentiating criteria for selecting people of merit to top jobs, says Auckland Chamber of Commerce head Michael Barnett.In a diverse society in which everyone has an equal opportunity, selecting people to top jobs based on merit is the primary consideration.

He was commenting on the Labour Party’s proposed changes to its selection processes to block men from running for some seats in a bid to lift the proportion of women in caucus to 50% by 2017.

“The issue is about diversity. For a broadly representative group such as a political party ensuring a balanced representation covering ethnicity, age, youth, skills and sexual preference is surely the overriding consideration.”

“To say it is just about women versus males is archaic and wrong,” said Mr Barnett.

“More and more women are becoming available for selection to top jobs based on merit, and that’s to be applauded. But where our effort now needs to go is to find ways to ensure that the diversity in our society gets the full representation it deserves in top positions across society,” concluded Mr Barnett.

The EEO Trust and Auckland Chamber of Commerce run a series of ‘Diversity Breakfast’ workshops for employers, each time focussing on a different topic; join us for the next breakfast which takes place on Thursday 11 July, click here for further details and bookings.

Customer Service Training on July 15th

Customer Service

Great customer service- it makes all the difference!

Customer Service Skills – Vital  Training  workshop on July 15th.

This course will help you understand or reinforce why customer service is so important to your business and your customer, by focusing on customer behaviour and expectations. You will be given skills and ideas around creating a customer experience that exceeds your customer’s expectations – creating loyalty, repeat business, referrals and bigger sales. The group is a small one- the class size is capped at 12 attendees.

You will learn:

  • The cost vs. benefit view of a great customer service experience and how it makes your life easier
  • How people buy today
  • To understand the type of customer you are dealing with, their expectations and frustrations
  • How to create great customer experiences on a shoe string budget
  • Addressing issues ‘up front’
  • How to build customer loyalty
  • How to be proactive in managing relationships
  • The importance of creating significant connection points
  • How to handle complaints and tough customers
  • The need for systems and processes.

Location: Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Level 1, 100 Mayoral Drive, Auckland CBD.

For more details email or call Stephanie on (09) 375 3940.  To find out more about the Auckland Chamber of Commerce visit our website

Make new connections at speed networking

Speed Networking is a fast-paced and fun way to meet potential customers and business partners in a friendly atmosphere.

You will enjoy one-on-one conversations with up to 50 business professionals. This is a quick and cost-effective way to meet potential customers, showcase your business, expand your support network and generate leads with other businesses.

Places are limited and allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Secure your spot now!

Due to the format of this event and to ensure its success, all participants must be at the venue at 5.30pm.

This is a really popular event that usually attracts a waiting list – so get in quick to register your spot for Wednesday 24 July – click here to be redirected to our booking page 

Proudly sponsored by Mercury Energy.

Please note: Chamber members only – limited to two people per company
* Complimentary drink on arrival – cash bar available


Auckland lobby behind Key’s about-turn

Alignment of central and city leaders on infrastructure projects now needs to happen in Christchurch.
Prime Minister John Key’s decision to suddenly back Auckland on big infrastructure investments wasn’t simply designed to steal a march on his Labour opponents in the country’s largest voting catchment.

Behind the scenes, leading Auckland-based business lobbies – particularly the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce and the NZ Council for Infrastructure Development (NZCID) – had a lot to do with persuading Key’s inner circle that they need to get behind game-changing infrastructure developments in New Zealand’s economic powerhouse.

The NZCID has held meetings with Finance Minister Bill English (who holds ministerial responsibility for infrastructure) to emphasise the need to get on with projects that will enable and service business growth in the city.

The lobby had good feedback from English who has been emboldened, not simply by the business case for the projects, but also because the fiscal track is turning positive much quicker than the Treasury has forecast.

The windfall gains from Meridian Energy’s sale of wind farm assets in Australia – which were unveiled this week – have helped.

But that is just one of several factors in play.

The NZCID – led by chief executive Stephen Selwood – has been the leading advocacy group lobbying for investment in roads, public transport, electricity projects, digital infrastructure, social housing and more to close the national infrastructure deficit that National inherited from Labour when it came to power in late 2008.

To be fair to Labour, former Finance Minister Sir Michael Cullen had already begun this process by instituting work on the Waterview project in Auckland, investigating the electrification of Auckland rail, buying back KiwiRail off its Australian owner as well as a range of other projects.

But when National took power it brought forward some projects – particularly the “Roads of National Significance” – to stimulate the economy and keep construction workers employed in the post-global financial crisis environment.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown lifted the tempo when he swept to power in the first elections for the Auckland Super City in 2010 on a platform of introducing three transport projects: the Central Rail Link, another harbour crossing and an Auckland Airport-CBD rail link.

On the Government’s metrics these projects did not stack up – at least in the short term.

But the business cases have been reworked by officials from Government, the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport. If growth rates in the Auckland CBD move faster than projected, then the Central Rail Link in particular may be brought forward according to a pledge Key made on Friday.

The Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce also alerted the Government – particularly John Key – to the growing concerns in the city that decisions that should be made on Auckland’s big issues were not happening. Key was urged to show some leadership and take the opportunity to put his Government back in the box seat at a time when it was losing its own positioning in New Zealand’s commercial hub.

In April, Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett put a case to Key to address four areas: Auckland’s long-term housing shortage, where there was an opportunity for the Government-Auckland housing taskforce to set a game-changing housing action programme; funding the completion of the strategic roading network, in particular the AMETI/East-West Link that is so essential to the movement of freight across the city’s manufacturing and logistics hubs; giving priority to the Central Rail Link to allow a doubling of train services through Britomart station coupled with improved bus services (Barnett stressed the strong public support for the service and the need to realise the benefits of the Government’s investment in rail electrification and loan for new passenger rolling stock); the need for a confirmed agenda to finalise the Auckland Unitary Plan in a way that accelerates the delivery of Auckland’s growth plans; and confirmation that the International Convention Centre would be built as soon as possible.

Both the NZCID and the Auckland Chamber have made strong business cases for the completion of these projects and for the Government to pony up with the billions of dollars necessary for it to pay its part – alongside the council – in bankrolling the projects in future years.

It has not been plain sailing.

Sources suggest Cabinet ministers – notably Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee and his predecessor Steven Joyce – were not easily persuaded to move on Brown’s big-ticket numbers.

The NZCID reckons the proposed route for the Central Rail Link does not take sufficient account of vital traffic nodes such as the Auckland University precinct or Wynyard Quarter.

Given that the project is not slotted to start for another seven years, there is time to investigate further options on the route.

Barnett has also suggested investigating a fast rail link between Auckland and Hamilton. This would enable Hamilton to become a dormitory city for Auckland where workers could commute to the big city in less than an hour’s travelling time either way and live in more affordable housing.

Both ideas are worth pursuing.

What is good from an Auckland perspective is that pragmatism has finally reigned.

Now the same formula needs to be applied in Christchurch so that both the city leaders and central Government are singing from the same hymn sheet.

Small Business: The art of the elevator pitch


Learn how to perfect your ’30 second elevator pitch’ with Vital Training expert Mark Robotham.

Q: What is an elevator pitch? Do I need one?

A: Your elevator pitch is your hook. If you’re going fishing you need one, and it needs to be fit for purpose.

Your pitch is the explanation of what you do, who you do it for, how you add value and why people should engage with you, buy your product or become a customer or user.

Everyone needs a pitch and the elevator pitch is the short and punchy version of it. It is named after that opportune moment where you find yourself standing next to your ideal customer/investor/hot date in an elevator and you want to make an impact. The purpose of an elevator pitch is to do just that, and prompt a connection and opportunity for a follow up.

The art of the elevator pitch is to spark a keen interest from that person or group that you get 30 seconds in front of. Make them want more.

Telling them all about the intricate features of your website, or the amazing back story of how your business got started in your garage in suburban Rotorua is a waste of time here. Save it for a captive audience, or when you make the Business Hall of Fame. Your elevator pitch consists of who you are, how you are making your customers love you and why it is totally amazing/extremely profitable/profoundly game-changing.

Being able to deliver a punchy and engaging elevator pitch in 30 seconds is one of the hardest things a business founder will do. But when you do it, and you get a sale or a lead (or a date) every time, you will be well-armed in any situation. Yes, you need one.

At its essence it describes the value you give the customer in a short and succinct message. When delivered it will create interest from potential clients who want to engage with your business to find out more.

More importantly – beyond its use as a promotional tool – it should guide your business strategy and all your activities in your business. Based on the premise if it’s not adding value to your clients why are you doing it?.

Yes you need one, and more than likely you will need a hand in crafting it. Check out our upcoming Vital Training course – Power Pitching your Business with Mark Robotham, small business growth expert

Article published 20 June 2013.  Fairfax NZ News.

Business groups lay into Unitary Plan

"The Unitary Plan seems a little arrogant"said chamber chief executive Michael Barnett.

“The Unitary Plan seems a little arrogant” – chamber chief executive Michael Barnett.

Business groups have joined the chorus of complaints over a new planning rulebook for the city – although the Property Council has declared the first draft a pretty good effort.

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce and the Employers and Manufacturers Association are highly critical of the Unitary Plan which has got communities rebelling against intensification in the suburbs.

In a submission, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce said the draft Unitary Plan was a complex, badly deficient document with a lot of rough edges that needed to be fixed.

“It seems a little arrogant,” chamber chief executive Michael Barnett said on TV One’s Q & A.

The Chamber’s submission said the draft Unitary Plan appeared to take a blanket “we know what’s best for you” approach.

The Chamber and the Employers and Manufacturers Association urged the council to take more time with the plan. Said the chamber: “The issues are far too critical to allow council to sweep them under the carpet.”

The Property Council urged the council to resist the temptation to water the plan down to appease those resisting change. Chief executive Connal Townsend said it was a pretty good first draft that needed insight into market realities and industry experience.
By Bernard Orsman, published by NZ Herald
Wednesday 12 June 2013

Export training workshop on Thursday 7th June 2013

On Thursday morning the Auckland Chamber of Commerce hosted an export training workshop at Westpac headquarters in Takutai square. International manager Fuimaono Tuiasau hosted forty attendees to the half-day event, which covered a range of topics. The workshop was the first of a series of practical training sessions  provided by the Auckland Chamber of Commerce for the benefit of exporters and those interested in taking this step.

After a cup of tea and a spot of business networking Fuimaono Tuiasau welcomed participants and outlined the key elements of the export cycle. John Hackett, partner of IP law firm AJ Park, then gave advice on how to protect products and services brands to ensure uniqueness and identity. New Zealand Customs Service officials outlined the extensive services offered by the Customs Service to ensure regulatory and quality requirements were met, and how these contribute to New Zealand’s international reputation of high health and safety standards being met.

Westpac’s International Finance Manager Trevor Farrell then systematically covered the importance of and processes for Letters of Credit issues and their alternatives, which generated quite a lively discussion. Methods of finance insurance and government support in international finance arrangements were discussed by Tim Robertson of the NZ Export Credit Office. Important freight forwarding do’s and don’ts were addressed by Scott Wilson, Export Trade Manager of freight forwarding company Ocean Bridge.

During the Q & A sessions participants discussed their own experiences.

The Chamber wishes to take this opportunity and seek feedback on the workshop- this helps us develop further ‘business advice’ training in the near future, which supports new exporters and those businesses intent on opening export markets. Please note that we promote and collect positive feedback on our LinkedIn company page – do leave your comments.

From the marketing team at the Chamber.