Reflections upon a busy year for the FANZ

David Foster, Chairman of the Board, Franchise Association of New Zealand

David Foster is a specialist franchise lawyer with Harris Tate in Tauranga and a champion of franchising around the country. He was first elected to the Board in 2004 and served as Vice Chairman from 2008 - 2010. His election to the Chairmanship at the Annual General Meeting in July last year was the first time that the Chair had come from outside the Auckland region.

As his current year of office draws to a close (FANZ Chairs are elected by the new Board at the initial meeting after each AGM and can only remain in office for three consecutive terms), David reflected on the achievements of the Association over the last year.

He said that after his election last year he remained committed to continue the development of FANZ as a strong Association, but partly as a result of his regional experience, he was keen to see the reinvigoration of regional branches in all
parts of the country to enable franchisors and franchisees to access local expertise. With the Auckland and Bay of Plenty branches well supported and the newer quarterly Waikato meetings gaining support, attention was successfully turned to rebuilding Wellington and New Plymouth and reinvigorating Christchurch after a lengthy period where post-earthquake rebuilding took up more of the time of the local franchising community.

On the subject of developing standards for service providers (Affiliate Members) David said, “The approval and introduction of new standards for affiliate membership this year, requiring members to demonstrate their commitment through attendance at a minimum number of FANZ events, was a great step forward on a pathway to ensure that those seeking assistance from
professionals in the franchise sector receive proper advice.”

In keeping with a focus on education and knowledge, David said that the Board continued to support the programme of research initiated by the joint Massey University of Auckland and Griffith University of Queensland survey in 2010. As reported in the last issue, the collection of data for the 2012 survey is well underway and once again, FANZ will be the principal sponsor of the survey.

“Improving educational opportunities for potential and current franchisees remains an important role for FANZ, and so far we
have supported two sets of training courses delivered by franchise experts during the year,” David said. He went on to say that FANZ was still working hard on the possibility of developing an online course for potential and existing franchisees that
will be available through the FANZ web site. “Discussions are continuing with universities capable of delivering the programme in conjunction with FANZ,” he said.

“Whilst the FANZ campaign to encourage the government to develop a Small Business Growth Scheme for New Zealand and
through it, provide increased opportunities for budding franchisees to obtain bank finance has not yet received government
backing,” David said, “the concentrated approach to Ministers and Members of Parliament from both the government and
opposition benches had paid dividends in raising the FANZ profile as the voice of the franchise community.”

At the time of writing this article he said that both the Minister of Commerce and the Minister for Small Business had undertaken to review the proposal based on the information FANZ gained from around the world on the successful schemes being run in other countries. “It is interesting to note that our colleagues across the Tasman, the Franchise Council of Australia, are now similarly picking up the gauntlet to advocate with their Federal Government for such a scheme.”

“In a previous issue we highlighted the international evidence of the potential for micro - franchising to both stimulate economies, act as agents of social change and provide opportunities for the less welloff sectors of communities,” David said.

“As part of this opportunity for New Zealand franchising to become involved there have been some productive meetings with senior figures in Iwi and the Association has made a submission to the Maori Economic Development Panel on this issue.”

The year has been an exciting and challenging one, David Foster says, in which he has, along with Franchise Association
Executive Director Graham Billings, represented the Association internationally. Firstly, by way of an invitation to speak at
the Taiwan Chain & Franchise Association Forum in Taipei and secondly, in Mexico City for the meeting of the World Franchise Council, of which FANZ is the secretariat. FANZ organisation of the WFC meeting has been well praised by the international delegates there and David is proud to note that this has raised the international profile of our Association and New Zealand franchising in general.