Kāpiti economy outshines region and most of NZ
Kāpiti has outstripped the region and the country as a whole in terms of its economic performance over the last year, setting the base for future growth in the district.
Details on the Annual Economic Profile for Kāpiti, provided to Council’s Environment & Community Development Committee today, reveal the district is outperforming the rest of the Wellington Region and the national averages for New Zealand in several key areas.
Environment & Community Development Committee chair Cr Penny Gaylor says the key areas where Kāpiti is “significantly stronger” than the region are in terms of GDP growth, GDP growth per capita and business size growth.
“Areas where the district outshines New Zealand are in GDP growth and employment growth,” Cr Gaylor says.
Since 2013, Council has commissioned consultancy Infometrics to provide an annual economic profile of Kāpiti. The first profile for the year to March 2012 established the baseline to monitor trends, with official data coming from Statistics New Zealand.
The findings are providing a boost to the new Economic Development Strategy for Kāpiti, which was released in January.
Corporate Business Committee chair Cr Gavin Welsh, who has spearheaded the new strategy in collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce, iwi and the business community, says the analysis shows Council’s policy for establishing the base for sustainable economic growth is already paying dividends.
"Compared to the rest of the region and most of New Zealand, the economy in Kāpiti is – to borrow a John Key phrase - going ‘gangbusters’. Over the last three years we have been building growth on the back of some major projects which have brought employment to the region, such as the airport development, the Ryman’s retirement village and the Expressway.
"Council’s own infrastructure work has played a part and we are seeing underlying positive trends such as renewed growth in housing, increased occupancy of shops and offices, and a higher visitor spend. These pointers are fantastic in confirming we are on the right path.”
Cr Welsh says the most important thing is to “not rest on our laurels”.
“Part of our Economic Development Strategy is to recognise the challenges we have and to deal with them pro-actively, in order to sustain the growth we are seeing.
“We currently sit below the national average for median annual income. This is an area we will focus on intensively.
“Our more affordable housing prices provide people with an incentive to come to live in Kāpiti. We can make this work for us. The more we grow, the more jobs we create in diverse business sectors.”
The new Economic Development Strategy aimed at sparking greater growth and prosperity in Kāpiti identified four areas of focus, namely open for business, building capability, positioning Kāpiti and leadership.
To enable the district to be open for business, Council will foster an economic development perspective across all its work, engage openly with businesses and work to ensure its processes help facilitate growth.
Areas of focus for building capability include Māori economic development, youth skills and workforce development, and targeted support for small businesses and ICT (information communication technology).
Positioning Kāpiti is about refining its ‘story’ – the way the district attracts both businesses and visitors to the region.
Cr Welsh said the depth of this strategy seizes the opportunities that economic development delivers and creates a climate for growth.
“We are buoyed by the results we are getting, but it is the future action we take that will ensure these results are sustained.”