Shoring up the essentials
More than 2500 businesses were impacted by the Maui gas pipeline failure in October, prompting the Auckland Chamber of Commerce to call for a review.
Michael Barnett says the thousands of businesses, along with hospitals, were affected by the leak in the pipeline carrying gas to the upper North Island.
Some essential industries and services able to access limited gas flows available were still unable to operate because they depended on supplies from other businesses that had to shut down because they weren’t considered an essential industry. “We need to get this tidied up so that in the event of a future event, whether an energy breakdown, drought or some other cause, to ensure that the definition of ‘essential industries and services’ extends to key suppliers,” Barnett says.
“With these kind of events and interruptions to businesses occurring more frequently, it is time we looked at updating what is an essential industry and come up with a better definition and hierarchy that aligns with today’s business environment.
“These days, most businesses are dependent on a cluster of suppliers; maybe the definition of ‘essential’ needs to be expanded to take into account groups or clusters of inter-dependent industries.”
Queen St project
One of Queen Street’s most visible corners is getting a multi-million dollar facelift to transform it into a business and shopping haven. A group of investors have pooled their resources, expertise and vision with plans to revitalise Queen’s Lanes into a modern luxury shopping destination, with 42 retail stores. The goal is to make Queen’s Lane a shopping experience that sets the benchmark for retailing in Auckland.
Within the complex there will also be a new arcade, called The Lane at Queen’s Lane. This aims to be an international quality arcade with 20 luxurious shops featuring imported arabescato marble floors and macassar ebony walls.
Sadly, the former Queens Head Tavern facade will go. This façade was a beautiful reminder of Auckland colonial architecture, but was increasingly looking out of place among the modern buildings nearby it.
The project supports Auckland Council’s initiatives to redevelop the Aotea Quarter into the city’s civic core, entertainment and cultural heart.
Planned to open in early 2013, the 42 Queen’s Lane shops can be secured on a 10 percent deposit and are being sold on a freehold unit title basis, with prices ranging from $195,000 to $835,000 with projected rental returns of between seven and 10 percent when leased. Westpac will provide finance to qualifying investors purchasing shops in the upmarket Queen’s Lane development.
China and New Zealand’s business, education and tourism links have been getting stronger and stronger over the past decade. Direct flights from Auckland to Guangzhou (formerly known as Canton) began three times a week in April this year. They have been so successful that the flights began a daily service at the start of November.
“This is great news for the travel industry and should provide an estimated $100 million boost to the New Zealand economy,” Auckland Airport general manager aeronautical commercial, Glenn Wedlock says.
“The new China Southern Airlines services arrive just in time for our high season and after the Rugby World Cup will help us continue to drive the 20 percent plus growth we have been seeing in this market.”
The new daily service will add another 90,000 seats per year. “The Free Trade Agreement and other Government initiatives around visa processing, air-services policy, tourism partnerships and trade development have been instrumental in building a market structure for growth as demonstrated by the $410 million in expenditure from Chinese visitors for the year ended June 2011,” Wedlock says.
“The increase in services from China Southern Airlines, along with the expanded Air New Zealand services from December, will open up more of China to New Zealand tourism and trade than ever before, and should help push China ahead of the United States as our third largest tourism market in the very near future.”
In 2011 the number of Chinese visitors into Auckland Airport grew 26.5 percent on 2010 figures, and that’s expected to continue. Chinese visitors are also high-value, spending around $300 per night, more than European, North American and other Asian tourists.
“China is a key market where we are looking to build high value travel to New Zealand with our joint marketing campaigns. The June 2011 Hurun Report indicated there are now over 950,000 millionaires in mainland China so there is a fantastic opportunity to build tourism and trade values to New Zealand by targeting this market,” Wedlock says.
Making a mark on the waterfront
The chance to make a mark on Auckland’s waterfront is up for grabs for the right architect. Waterfront Auckland is seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from architectural companies for a design to enhance Shed 10 on Queens Wharf to better cater for cruise ships.
Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) is developing a ten year Visitor Plan that will set-out the bold steps to significantly grow Auckland’s visitor economy, and the cruise sector is an important part of this.
ATEED tourism operations manager Jason Hill says the cruise facility on Queens Wharf is the first important step to help enhance the visitor experience. Auckland is set to host 200,000 passengers and 80,000 crew during the current 2011-2012 cruise season. In 2009-2010 the cruise industry contributed nearly NZ$300m to the New Zealand economy.