Myth: A recently received $900 000 grant to Banyan Park Child Care Centre will drive other facilities out of business and is a waste of money.
Truth: The grant secured from Federal government through the Building Better Regions Fund will help Banyan Park comply with Australian standards of child care. The money will provide for a facility that Norfolk Island can be proud of and a facility that is safe, secure and modern. Other businesses are welcome to apply for funding or reinvest and also bring their businesses up to Australian standards.
Myth: It is always cost prohibitive to meet Australian standards.
Truth: Many businesses are already complying with the standards and just don't know it. If it means just check-listing the requirements and complying on paper then the exercise is worth it. Other businesses such as accommodations and restaurants now are required to filter and treat their water ensuring all harmful bacteria is eliminated. This is a cost that can be built into business and one that is essential for the protection of visitors. I think you would agree, you wouldn't fly on an airline that wasn't certified to minimum standards and the same can be said for the hospital you attend and the food and water you consume.
Myth: Business Confidence is down since the governmental changes in July 2016.
Truth: Whilst it is true that some individual businesses are still struggling to turn a decent profit, there are many that have improved greatly. Since July 2016 nearly 100 properties/businesses/houses have sold to locals and investors. This is unprecedented on island and indicates that consumer confidence is up substantially. Many businesses have closed but also many have reopened, rebranded and have seen considerable reinvestment. This is the natural way of an open economy. With a closed and insulated economy previously, monopolies were established and prices were driven up due to a lack of competition. Business confidence may have been high but consumer confidence was rock bottom. There was no balance. We are seeing a correction now with the natural attrition of long held businesses and more to come. With their failure will come new ideas and investment. Growth in a word.
A recent survey conducted by a private individual on island though the Accommodation Assn and The Chamber of Commerce (two organisations with limited membership and almost solely populated by the old guard) showed that business confidence was slightly down. This is to be expected among this membership as many have been holding onto businesses that really should have failed years ago and are finding it hard to sustain them in the new competitive environment. This is a hard fact of economic change and one that could have been avoided if previous governments didn't discourage competitive practices.
An increase in tourism to almost 30 000 visitors a year is also having an impact on small businesses, some of whom are worried they might get too busy into the future.
Myth: With the potential loss of the New Zealand flight service in January 2018 the tourism economy will take an unprecedented and massive hit.
Truth: The New Zealand market has always fluctuated and in recent years has comprised anywhere from 15-19% of visitors to Norfolk. Some of these of course would be staying with friends and family so the numbers are relatively small compared to the Australian market. A market which is growing and a market that Air New Zealand are committed to growing. That's not to say the the New Zealand market will not be missed, it certainly would and many accommodation businesses who rely on this price sensitive market will feel the pain first. If they aren't willing to adapt and change their marketing strategies then they too will fail.
At this point we are unsure if Norfolk Airlines will carry on with the Auckland to Norfolk route. They have declared they will cease this service not immediately but in four months time (strange considering their declared loss of revenue on the route) . Many on the island believe it is potentially a business strategy to get better terms from the local Council, Time will tell.
It is possible another airline will step into the breach. Once again time will tell.