Business is great - yeah right!
Saturday, December 11, 2010 at 11:03AM
Bill Barclay

Businesses in Thames are hurting, if not just closing down.

But hold on, Liquorland has just opened a new emporium in the old No 1 Shoe Store - things can't be so bad after all. More about the booze barn later.

Don't be fooled by the opening in the new "No. 1" in the box store over the road - that is purely a short term lease "Summer Store" selling el cheapo summer gear - it will be gone in the flash of an eye, together with its temporary banners. PGG Wrightson appears to be on the way out having outlived its ability to meet the needs of Plains farmers from Thames.

No, it is all an illusion - there are many who are hanging on by the skin of their teeth. Subbies in every trade are just living day to day, and long term employees may find the post Christmas situation extremely difficult. I am told that December cash flows are as slow as they have been for many years, and that there is considerable anxiety within the banking community.

It may not be Council's role to intervene, but councillors cannot continue to have their head in the sand - it will only need a few more major businesses to close around Thames for the entire rating base to take a beating like never before. Only two elected members ranked economic development as the most important Council activity.

Something has to be done, and urgently to re-inspire a level of confidence around this town. Other towns have done it, and and so can we - there are enough planning staff around the TCDC building to conjure up long term plans for 50 years out. If some of them still want to have a job in 5 years, it may be time that some of that effort was directed into planning for the immediate future of Thames in particular, but other towns as well that are curently entirely dependent on tourism and the retirement industry.

Lets get on with the Kopu and aquaculture plans without any further delay. Promotion of the town as great place to retire may not bring in the young and vibrant, but in the meantime, house prices will continue to fall. House prices are dropping by the day, and no amount of real estate supplement hype can alter that fact. Very little is selling and certainly there is minimal building activity on either side of the Pennisula.

If you doubt this for one moment, just follow the money in the Development Contribution figures in the Council Financial Statements - there is nothing happening - full stop.  



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