Rotorua Daily Post: Rotorua region continues trend of strong growth

Saturday, December 12, 2015

There is a really positive mood around town, for good reason. Our economy continues to grow, investment in the region continues to increase, there are more houses and commercial buildings being built, and our tourism industry is having one of its best years for some time.

Rotorua’s economy continued to record strong growth in September. A report released recently by Infometrics backs this, with a strong performance by Rotorua across most of the areas the report covers, and GDP growth, up 3.8 per cent, was higher than the national average once again.

Rotorua’s key industries are thriving, and tourism, which is our largest employer, has again led the way.

Local operators and accommodation providers will be welcoming the 8.5 per cent increase in guest nights compared to the same time last year. Apart from the result in June 2015, this is the fastest growth in the last 15 years, and the accommodation occupancy rate has increased to its highest levels since 2008/09.

More people visiting for longer also has positive spin offs for other local industries. Retailers will be celebrating the 5.6 per cent growth in spending in Rotorua, which is twice as high as the national average.

Those of us living here already know that Rotorua is a great place to live, and as our economy continues to grow, more people will opt to leave the big cities and relocate to Rotorua. In turn, the growing population feeds the construction industry as demand for new homes and commercial premises increase.

And as the economy grows, there will be more investment, more jobs and ultimately higher wages and opportunities.

This year we’ve seen large scale investment in Rotorua. Ultra-Fast Broadband, new roads such as the $450 million Tauranga Eastern Link, and a new urban cycleway are all significant projects that make doing business a lot easier.

And it’s important we continue to upgrade old infrastructure. During the week Mayor Chadwick and I announced that we would be working together in 2016 to free up land around Te Ngae.  

Upgrading roundabouts and widening roads in a number of places along Te Ngae Road will reduce journey times, and relieve congestion. When combined with the 25 minute saving on a return journey thanks to the Eastern Link, this puts businesses much closer to New Zealand’s busiest Port – an attractive proposition for exporters.

2015 has been a great year for us in Rotorua, and all the signs point towards more positive growth next year. I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday and I look forward to seeing many of you over the summer.