CEO comment 17 November 2020

17 November 2020

Virginia webProgress is being made on the merger of the Otago Southland Employers’ Association and the Otago Chamber of Commerce into a single, unified entity.

This follows the unanimous approval of a resolution to merge by our members last month, and a majority approval by members of the Otago Chamber of Commerce.

An interim board has now been established to oversee the merger.  The board comprises twelve members, half of whom were nominated by OSEA and the other half by OCC.  The OSEA nominated Nina Klemm, Andrew Leys, Will Martin,     Darryl Munro, Emily Richards, and Michael Turner.  Those nominated by OCC are George Benwell, Mark Cameron, Neil Finn-House, John Guthrie, Grant McKenzie and Bex Twemlow.

The chairperson elected by the transition board is Neil Finn-House.

While the merger operations continue in the background, both OSEA and OCCI continue to operate on a “business as usual” basis under their respective existing board – so you will still see the OSEA name used for the foreseeable future.  This will leave the interim board to focus on more immediate and strategic priorities following the recent incorporation.

No decision has been made regarding the name of the new organisation and there will be no changes to membership fees until at least 30 June 2021.

We look forward to building a strong, unified organisation that not only continues the work the OSEA has done to support business in the region for more than a century, but builds on it.

We will keep you updated on progress and invite you to contact us if you have any questions about the merger or are concerned about how it might affect your business.

We are supportive of the small business support which is a priority by the new Labour Government.  This will include the small business loans which will be extended for three years and interest-free loans for two years.  There will also be a further roll-out of the flexi-wage scheme for training and re-skilling before Christmas.  The Government is investing an additional $311 million into the programme to increase the average subsidy paid to employers to take on a worker and enable an additional 40,000 unemployed people to take advantage of the programme.  Some infrastructure projects will go through the RMA fast-track process and there will be a focus on options to boost exports.

Kirk Hope from BusinessNZ discusses the Prime Minister’s new Cabinet and what this might mean for the business community.  You can also see the full Ministerial list here.

With the recent Covid-19 community case, we would like to reinforce the need for the Covid-tracer QR codes along with regular scanning using the app.  The covid ‘Leave Support Scheme’ is also available for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who are told by health officials to self-isolate and can't work from home.

We look forward to seeing you in Invercargill for the White Ribbon breakfast on 25 November.

As always any feedback is welcome.

Ngā mihi nui \ with kind regards,


Virginia Nicholls | CEO |

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