Wellington business confidence hit hard post-quake

Earthquake cracks ground at Wellington's Centreport
A crack at in Wellington's Centreport (Newshub.)

Wellington business confidence has crashed in the wake of the Kaikoura earthquake.

Confidence has nearly halved, with only 34 percent of companies expecting the region's economy to improve over the next year, according to the latest Wellington Chamber of Commerce business confidence survey.

That is a significant decrease from the positive outlook 62 percent of businesses had during the previous survey in September 2016.

Chamber of Commerce CEO John Milford says the knock isn't surprising.

"The major factor was the 14th November shake and the weather bomb that followed the day after," he says.

"More than 62 percent of those surveyed across the region were impacted in some way, ranging from damage to premises, damage to stock, staff disruption, freight disruption, premises closed for days or weeks, a reduction in business activity and sales, and significant loss of income anticipated over coming weeks or months."

Businesses cited infrastructure, leadership, and transport issues as other contributing factors to the downturn.

"Businesses felt that the confidence had dropped by about 40 percent from the previous result. Having said that, the previous result was an all-time high for both confidence in business in the region and New Zealand."

However Mr Milford is staying hopeful.

"Their own views on their own businesses are still fairly confident, which leads you to believe that once we get through the issues that the quake has caused that things are going in the right direction. We believe this is a blip - we look forward to more positive results."

When asked about their own business situation, 50 percent say they expect to see an improvement over the next 12 months - a slight drop compared to 61 percent in September and 57 percent in June.

"I want to reiterate that the results were compared to the previous survey which was a pretty good survey when Wellington was on a bit of a roll," Mr Milford says.

The survey was conducted with more than 700 businesses over a two-week period in mid-December.