Spring update from
Hutch looking at the
current Hawke's Bay
business climate

In my role as an independent business advisor I get to speak to many different people in a wide range of industries across Hawke's Bay. So this update looks at my take on the current state of the Hawke's Bay economy, what next, and where the pain points are.


COVID-19 has dominated our lives and businesses since February. It's been eight crazy months where we haven’t really known what's going to happen month to month, or sometimes week to week. But I get the feeling the fog is starting to slowly lift (for most industries).


Government's economic response has helped


Original concerns were around managing cashflow and there is no doubt the government's Wage Subsidy and Small Business Cashflow (Loan) Scheme have been a great buffer (although the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme, managed by the banks, has been an abysmal failure). These government schemes have definitely allowed businesses to take a breath and work out where to next. Government funding into the Regional Business Partners Scheme has also assisted businesses in a number of key areas. And interest rates were also so much lower than during the GFC in 2008.


Hawke's Bay business confidence optimistic


In my opinion, business confidence in Hawke's Bay feels cautious but optimistic. In the run up to Christmas we’ll see the same ‘need it by Christmas’ mentality, which will boost demand. There also seems to be plenty of money being spent in the local economy that previously may have headed overseas.


So, what do I see as the pain points right now?


  • Finding qualified and experienced staff across a range of industries.
  • Supply chain issues – getting goods and raw materials into the country.
  • RSE workers to pick the fruit and keep the horticulture economy humming.
  • Businesses dependent on overseas tourism.


What am I hoping for in the next 6 months as we run up to March 2021?


  • That business volume continues to be no less than it is now.
  • People keep spending.
  • Experienced staff continue to deliver productivity.
  • The new government looks to stimulate business activity rather than try and tax our way into the future.