Call me naive, but I always thought the bank was my friend.
In 2012 I started Hanging Gardens when I ran out of garden space.
I looked around for a larger property and found a cross lease property three houses away but developing this was a nightmare as the cross lease neighbour refused to allow any development. So I started going up the wall and covering my home with vertical garden prototypes.
I did not intend to start another business, but this very quickly turned into a successful operation and in 2014 Hanging Gardens was recognised by EY as one of the winning entrepreneurial companies in NZ.
The ASB claimed to support entrepreneurial winning women, so I moved my banking.
Now after a nine year battle ending in the High Court, I am finally able to develop my property as the Court ruled the property be freehold.
At much the same time Hanging Gardens was awarded the contract to put up the vertical garden for the Ports of Auckland. As this project is a large project, a Performance Bond was required. The banks may be used to performance bonds for large multinational projects, but for local start-ups this was not something they were comfortable with.
I had to use my current home as security. So when I asked the bank for a short term loan so that I could finally build my dream home, the bank said no. Now I am selling my old home.
Fortunately I have a home to sell but what about all those other startups? How are we supposed to create an entrepreneurial culture when our laws and regulations make it impossible to do so?
Not only does Andrew Little need to reform the legal system (and get rid of this appalling cross lease system) but Grant Robertson needs to do something with the banks so that they support and encourage entrepreneurs who are trying to make this a better world – otherwise we are simply killing the very businesses we need for the survival of our planet.