Aitken wants Council to establish a Small and Medium Sized Enterprises portfolio

Labour’s Onslow-Western Ward candidate Malcolm Aitken most recent press release is calling amongst other things, a dedicated council Small and Medium Sized Enterprises portfolio:

“A number of simple changes to Wellington City’s local business policy could help generate jobs and voters may want to back candidates with policies in this area,” says Onslow-Western Ward Wellington City Council candidate, Malcolm Aitken.

“Council’s done some great work in attracting investment into Wellington. Destination Wellington’s marketing Wellington and it looks promising.  In terms of international business we’ve got some great things going on,” Mr Aitken, the Labour candidate, says.

However, as unfashionable as it is to say it, existing local businesses have been somewhat left out by council and I’m one of the new faces on the hustings keen to do something about this.

“I’ve talked to a number of local business owners and I ask voters in Onslow-Western Ward who support local owned stores as well as branches of the big chains and new, overseas investors setting up shop – to consider a few simple ideas I’m promoting to help local businesses.”

  • A council portfolio dedicated to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
  • A one-stop shop for businesses: not having to go from pillar to post when dealing with council.
  • A renewed commitment to having council works that interrupt retail trade completed on time. Penalties clauses for missing deadlines can be dialed up.
  • Reduced penalties for non-payment of rates within specified time (I’m supporting this for residential ratepayers too).

He’s floated some Interesting ideas (and with the recent Kilbirnie shopping centre debacle in mind, make a lot of sense) that also got the support of a few other candidates on social media. It would be good to know how it would fit with or why it needs to be separate from the current Economic portfolio.

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13 responses to “Aitken wants Council to establish a Small and Medium Sized Enterprises portfolio

  1. Celia has raised the SME portfolio possibility also. I too believe that a separate portfolio could be beneficial. Suburban businesses in particular are struggling, and groups representing SMEs are not being consulted; for example, the Small Business Association have not had contact with the Economic Portfolio leader this triennium.

  2. Sorry to spoil the party but the discussion around creating a small/medium business portfolio leader was introduced by me around 12 months ago. It is an area of special interest of mine and considering the overwhelming number of SME,s is a logical move. I have had quite supportive conversations with the economy portfolio leader, the mayor and more recently the CEO. I would be disappointed if there was not a position responsible for the SME’s in the incoming council.

  3. It’s my idea, its her idea, no it’s my idea… Who cares who’s idea it it was – point is there’s a few of you that support it, businesses want it, so just make it happen (hopefully sooner than 12 more months(!) of convos)

  4. You know Swampy, your reply really bugs me! It just shows you as one of those stand alone, self centred, ineffective councillors, eh. You could have seen this as support for your idea and be glad that you might have like minds around the table. But no …

  5. That picture is almost worth a caption contest – I believe the song goes something like – “It’s time to play the music, it’s time to light the lights…”

  6. A dedicated Council portfolio for SME’s is a great idea and I hope it gets wide support. Like many candidates I’ve been talking to a variety of business owners, and many of them have their own answers as to how they could grow, and ideas too about new businesses they would like to see around them.

    Council can’t do everything, but I believe Council can do more. For example in Kilbirnie, why is there no sign at the top of Constable Street telling people that the Kilbirnie shopping centre is to the left? Even a sign with a stunning photo? What about the council advertising the Kilbirnie shops to visitors to the pool? Or ASB centre? In the school holidays, mums with older kids from out of the area might love to treat themselves to a small stint of retail therapy, while their kids are happily otherwise engaged.

    What about a start-up package for new businesses which could include lower rates for the first year, help with IT, help with networking?
    What about another look at the cost of parking?

    Thanks for your article Malcolm, there’s obviously a good discussion to be had in this space.

  7. lol that Sarah wants a sign on Constable Street Newtown, to advertise retailers in Kilbirnie. I think that Malcolm is fabulous, and I wish that he was in my ward with Paul Eagle. Those two with their bright ideas could really turn this Council around with their vision of people as the priority.

  8. This proposal is just cookie cutter blah. First off among whom is it unfashionable to say that local businesses have been left out by the Council? No one as far as I’m aware other than maybe sitting councilors of which many are on the Labour ticket or in the wider Labour family (Ritchie and Lester).
    As for the details penalties clauses and reduced penalties will put the council budget further in the red, and Aitken and fellow Labour ticket candidates don’t seem to have any firm budget balancing plans (Peck won’t even engage on his spending plans on facebook).

    Until this proposal identifies some actual changes that will make life easier for business it’s just puffery – can anyone name the last time a Minister for Small Business did something of consequence?

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