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Helpline initiative set for region’s businesses

Business Wairarapa is trialling a helpline to support its members with legal and employment advice.

The service puts chamber members directly in touch with employment lawyer Alyn Higgins and human resources consultant Trace Higgins. The pair are based in Wairarapa based and have experience in advising large and small businesses.

Business Wairarapa general manager Nicola Belsham said this was a unique initiative for a provincial business chamber.

“Both the Wellington and Auckland business chambers have a legal helpline, but for a small chamber, this is quite unusual.

“Hutt and Kapiti don’t have a business helpline, so they’re looking to see how our trial goes.”

Belsham said that at the end of the trial, the board would review how much the service is used, and for what, before deciding on the helpline’s future because “we don’t know what we don’t know”.

There is likely to be a healthy demand for the helpline, however: “Many Wairarapa businesses don’t have an HR team or a legal team. Often there are challenges to get and retain staff,” Belsham said.

The initiative is primarily intended to help smaller businesses, Business Wairarapa chair Marie-Claire Andrews noted.

“Wairarapa has a higher proportion of small and medium-sized enterprises than the national average, and those businesses don’t have the advantage of HR specialists on staff.

“We believe a helpline will fill a real need for our members and look forward to seeing the results of the trial.”

The trial of the legal and human resources advice helpline began on Monday and will finish on February 28. During that time, the advisers will be available between 9am and 5pm on 0800BIZWAI [249924].

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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