Rotorua Weekender: Merry Christmas from your local MP
Summer is here and Rotorua is starting to heave with holiday-makers and visitors enjoying the many things we have to offer. It's certainly been a busy year that's gone by quickly. With Christmas tomorrow and the year drawing to a close, for many it’s time to take a break and reflect on all that has been achieved.
I've decided to have two Christmases this year. The first is with volunteers at the Rotorua Community Christmas lunch at the Events Centre. Combined churches provide lunch and a little Christmas cheer for hundred of local people each year. I'll be rolling up my sleeves and serving food, clearing away plates and maybe even doing the dishes to do bit on Christmas day. My second Christmas will be a BBQ with family, and weather permitting, at one of our amazing lakes.
2015 has been a good year for Rotorua and the Bay of Plenty as a whole. We’ve seen major investments in infrastructure, with the $450 million Tauranga Eastern Link opening bringing Rotorua closer to NZ's business port, Ultra-Fast Broadband rolled out to homes and businesses, and millions spent on improving tourism.
There's been significant levels of GDP growth locally over the last two quarters. At 3.8 per cent this is the highest growth rate in the country. House sales and prices have improved and Rotorua's population has grown. Momentum is building and employers say they are increasing in confidence.
Economic growth has meant more jobs and higher wages for local people - Rotorua’s key industries are doing well, and tourism, which is our largest employer, has again led the way.
Local accommodation providers have had an 8.5 per cent increase in guest nights. This is one of the fastest growth rates in 15 years, with occupancy having increased to its highest level since 2008.
More people are visiting for longer and they're spending more. Retailers will be celebrating the 5.6 per cent increase in spending in Rotorua, which is twice the national average.
All good news, and there is more to do in 2016. As your local MP, I will continue to represent your views in Wellington - Investment in infrastructure with a focus in roading, supporting our schools to drive educational excellence, making sure our doctors and nurses have the tools they need to keep us healthy, and working with the local community to see our lakes continue to improve in health will all be priorities.
2015 has been a good year for Rotorua, next year will be even better!
Nadene and I wish you a safe and enjoyable holiday period and a happy New Year. Please be careful on our roads.