Valley chamber growing, as Wgtn numbers fall

Hutt News, December 22, 2015

The Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce now has more members than Wellington’s chamber.

A rough few years for the Wellington Chamber saw its membership drop to 606 in August, according to documents obtained by Fairfax.

This compared to a membership of 669 at the end of 2014/15 year for the Hutt Valley Chamber, an increase on 2013/14 of 13.

A majority of the Hutt Valley Chamber members were sole traders or those employing five or fewer staff.

Chief executive Mark Futter said that corresponded with an 11 per cent increase in membership revenue.

“Our membership numbers from Wellington have doubled in a couple of years.”

Futter attributed that membership increase to the quality of the Hutt chamber’s events.

The Chamber had copped some flak for holding three region-wide events – its business expo, business awards and business hall of fame induction.

Futter said people with geographically limited attitudes needed to grow up.

“Our area is defined by our membership… We really are a regional chamber.”

Futter doubted those events would be organised by anyone else. “Let’s face it, someone has to show leadership.”

The Wellington Chamber’s legal; action against Wellington City could help explain some of its difficulties, he said.

“It’s not our place to sue the council.”

Futter was committed to representing his members’ interests to councils, but wanted to avoid such combative approaches.

“if we lose the ability to have a conversation over a cup of coffee there’s something fundamentally wrong.”

He said it was great the Hutt City Council had attracted a 4.5 star hotel to southern High St.

“We’ve got to applaud the council for having the balls to do 9stuff) like that.”

There was one issue, though, on which the various arms of government should work far more closely – transport.

“The biggest disappointment is the lack of transparency on transport investments.”

Futter questioned why millions was being spent on the Haywards interchange when SH58 itself was so dangerous.

He also doubted the government’s priorities for projects further down the valley.

“The cross-valley link is far more important than (the) Petone to Grenade (link road).