Rotorua Daily Post: A great start to 2016 for Rotorua

Saturday, March 19, 2016

There is a very positive feeling around Rotorua at the moment. The local economy continues to trend upwards, there’s more investment happening, more houses and commercial buildings popping up, and town was buzzing over the weekend as the best mountain bike riders in the world came to town.

Rotorua’s economy continued to record strong growth in in the final three months of last year. 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 2.9 per cent. All indicators of spending, investment, and labour market activity were in expansionary territory, and reflect the hard work of local businesses and people.

Our region is gaining momentum – we are open for business, and ready to achieve a sustained period of growth. We know that tourism is a big part of our economy, it’s our biggest employer, and the industry continues to go from strength to strength. Visitor expenditure in Rotorua has increased to $600 million, and it looks set to exceed $1 billion in the near future.

There is still more work to be done, to continue this momentum, and ensure our economy continues to grow.

Last weekend Rotorua hosted Crankworx for the second year, and the early reports are the event was well received by locals and international visitors alike. Last year the event pumped in $3.7 million into the local economy and it’s expected to be more this year. 

Having Crankworx in Rotorua is incredibly exciting, even if you are not a mountain biking fan. The event is well known around the world, and is part of the coveted Triple Crown series, which is also hosted in Canada and France.

Crankworx will put Rotorua on show on the world stage. In addition to the extra visitors, the event will be filmed for international TV, showcasing our rugged and challenging mountain bike trails, attracting more people to come and visit. 

Events like Crankworx are good for Rotorua businesses, many of which rely on tourists visiting and investing their money in the city. I’m glad that the Government also recognises this by backing the event last year with $225,000 contributed to building an international standard track on Mt Ngongotaha and a $420,000 investment from the Major Events Fund towards the running of Crankworx both this year and last year. 

My thanks to Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson, organisers, and committed volunteers for making the event successful – your hard work has ensured a successful Crankworx, and more jobs and investment in our city.

Another important part of keeping our economy moving forward is ensuring that we have world class infrastructure that can keep up with population growth. 

Recently the Transport Minister, Simon Bridges, and I announced $24 million into upgrading Rotorua’s eastern and central roading corridors. The announcement will mean a new roundabout at the Te Ngae Road and Tarawera Road intersection, as well as a new four-lane section of Te Ngae Road, and improved walking and cycle connections.

These improvements will future-proof our city’s transport network, resolve congestion issues, and address challenges for surrounding local road access. Not only will this reduce journey times for local people, but it will also reduce the journey times to New Zealand’s busiest port, Port of Tauranga, making it easier for businesses to get their goods to market. 

2016 has started well for us in Rotorua, and all signs point towards it continuing this way. By attracting large events that bring more tourists here, and investing in our roading infrastructure so goods can get to market easier, we show Rotorua is open for business and ready for more investment.