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Business backers still fighting

Last updated 05:00 19/12/2012
Mike Shaw
MIKE SHAW: "We gave it a good shot."
Steve Sangster
STEVE SANGSTER: Defeated but not giving up.

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It's thumbs down to the Kaikohe Business Association's attempt to create a business improvement district for the town.

The move has been defeated in a postal ballot that closed on Friday.

Chairman Steve Sangster says the association has to acknowledge that the process failed to convince enough business and commercial property owners that the benefits would outweigh the costs.

"A longer period of engagement with the business community may have seen better discussion and perhaps a different outcome."

The exercise sparked considerable debate.

"Now we will need to harness the positive feedback and good ideas received to build unity, and move Kaikohe forward. Our membership believes that a stronger local economy will help to improve the social fabric of our region by increasing jobs and the money in circulation," Mr Sangster says.

A strong message coming from both sides of the debate was the amount of rates demanded versus the services and infrastructure delivered by the Far North District Council.

"Clearly the business community wants to take the council to task and hold it accountable to the people and ratepayers of Kaikohe for a fair deal," he says.

The result of the vote was 31.7 per cent in favour and 68.3 per cent against.

Independent Election Services ran the ballot for the association.

The Kaikohe Business Association's economic development group will be meeting again before Christmas to work on positive strategies to improve the business performance of Kaikohe.

Chairman Mike Shaw says: "An American president said, ‘It is hard to fail but it is worse never to have tried to succeed.'

"We gave it a good shot. Not everyone could see the benefits of the business improvement district. However, failing to gain majority support does not change our determination to find other ways to successfully increase economic growth and job opportunities."

He says he takes his hat off to the local businesses.

"Many are facing tough challenges. As an association we need to find ways to foster a cluster of local businesses for their mutual support.

"We need sustainable business development for the socio-economic benefit of Kaikohe and moving forward together is our chance of succeeding."

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