From mid-2016 Bay of Plenty businesses have a new voice, Bay of Plenty Business News. This new publication reflects the region’s growth and importance as part of the wider central North Island economy.
2 BAY OF PLENTY BUSINESS NEWS January/February 2017 Rotorua likely to embrace Easter trading After a long campaign Rotorua is on track to gain parity with other tourist resorts such as Taupo and Queenstown and introduce Easter trading this April. By GEOFF TAYLOR Previous legislation has not allowed many shops to open on Easter Sunday but a Government amendment to the Shop Trading Hours Act passed in October enables councils to set their own policies. Councils across the country are starting the process of formulating policies but Rotorua Lakes Council is one of the few planning to introduce a policy in time for this Easter. Tauranga City Council has decided to put off a decision until next year. In order to meet a legislative requirement giving businesses sufficient time to consult with staff ahead of Easter, Rotorua Lakes Council fast-tracked its processes. The council went out for submissions on the plan on December 19. When submissions close on January 27, hearings will be held before a decision is made in February. The timing of the consultation will enable retailers and employees sufficient time to prepare ahead of Easter Sunday which falls on April 16. Employees would have four weeks (February 19 to March Rotorua deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson. 19) to advise employers if they don’t want to work on Easter Sunday. Rotorua has long been trying to gain parity with tourist resorts Taupo and Queenstown which through a quirk in law have had exemptions for Easter trading. Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick and former Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh presented submissions to a select committee last year while the mayor has made two unsuccessful attempts to change Easter trading laws when she was an MP. Current Rotorua MP Todd McClay’s attempt in 2009 was also unsuccessful. With my economic growth hat on I will be very surprised and disappointed if it doesn’t proceed. Deputy Mayor Dave Donaldson said that wearing his “economic growth portfolio hat” he believed that Easter trading would be of great advantage to Rotorua in levelling the playing field with the likes of Taupo and Queenstown. “I’ve lived in Rotorua since 1969 and the place fills up at Easter. We have hungry mountain bikers coming out from the forest and the supermarkets are closed and tourists all around looking to shop and it just doesn’t add up. Among other things we are a tourist resort. In Rotorua tourism leads the way as our biggest employer.” Mr Donaldson said he expected the submission process would show widespread support for Easter trading among the community although there would no doubt be people strongly against it. “With my economic growth hat on I will be very surprised and disappointed if it doesn’t proceed.” Mr Donaldson said he hadn’t heard “one iota” of criticism of council for bringing its consultation process forward and asking for submissions over the holiday period. Because of the timing the council had tried to be as transparent as possible with lots of publicity about the process. Retail NZ public affairs general manager Greg Harford said having 67 councils with different processes regarding adopting Easter trading is “a bit of a mess”. “Our sense is that most councils are going to be looking at it but not this Easter because of the tight timeframe. “Our position is that shops should be allowed to have the option to open on Easter Sunday. We are supportive of a permissive approach which allows the business and the employee to make the decision.” Tauranga City Council is one of the majority which has found the timing too tight to consider trying to implement Easter trading this year. Tracy Plane, manager strategic and corporate planning said the council had originally planned to consider Easter trading in time for April. “However, bearing in mind the tight timeframe and with a new council in place since October, precedence has been given to reviewing strategy and policy priorities for the council and its new committees. The Easter trading issue was therefore placed on hold.” “A comprehensive community engagement process is required on this topic – pre-engagement to gauge community views, along with formal consultation, hearings and deliberations if a policy is required to be developed. We will plan for this to take place in 2017/18.” Focus for 2017 on strengths and opportunities Rotorua Mayor says A focus on Rotorua’s strengths and maximising opportunities will be key to the district’s ongoing progress in 2017, Mayor Steve Chadwick says. “After a year when we’ve seen the district continue to thrive, in 2017 we need to focus on our strengths and identify opportunities that will help us enhance and maximise those strengths,” she says. One such opportunity recently saw the council decide to continue its financial support for the Crankworx mountain bike festival, which last year boosted the local economy by at least $8 million, up from $3.7 million the previous, inaugural, year. The decision was made to support proposals for ongoing hosting rights and Rotorua subsequently signed an unprecedented 10-year deal with the event’s Canadian owners to secure hosting rights until 2027. Mayor Chadwick says the council dealt with the matter confidentially due to commercial sensitivities involved in negotiations underway at the time, but has confirmed a decision to support Mountain Bike Events Limited for Crankworx Rotorua for the next five years (to 2021). Council will provide $75,000 per year for the event and continue to act as underwriter to a maximum of $500,000 over the five years. These are the same amounts as agreed to for the three years Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick. to 2017. “This past year has seen Rotorua continue to thrive and it’s important to make the most of opportunities like this,” Mayor Chadwick says. “The benefits of Crankworx will go well beyond just the week of the festival.” Council’s underwriting support for 2015 was $94,000 and for 2016, $39,000 with repayment to be made through profits once the event becomes self-sustaining. “I’m confident council’s continued support will be a great investment,” the mayor says. “Given the economic benefits more than doubled in the second year, I’m very confident about the ongoing success of this event, along with the benefits it will bring given the worldwide exposure it gets.” Last year’s Crankworx mountain bike festival boosted Rotorua’s economy by at least $8 million. Photo: Chester Boyes. The mayor says councils have an important role to play in helping to secure events which bring economic benefit and ensuring their success. “It will be up to Rotorua to make the most of the opportunities this creates to ensure we maximise our investment.” Crankworx is an event that will contribute to Rotorua’s ongoing progress but other opportunities also need to be identified and actioned, Mayor Chadwick says. “The local economy is performing above the national average, unemployment has been dropping and sectors like tourism and retail are doing extremely well with business operators feeling very positive. It’s important we keep building on that increased activity. “Rotorua is a place of interest for businesses and investors from outside the district and people looking to move to the region. Our population passed 70,000 during 2016 which is a reversal of a decade-long decline pre-2014 so we’re a growing, as well as thriving, district,” Mayor Chadwick says. “However, that’s not to say there aren’t any challenges or that there’s not more to do. With growth and progress come pressures – on infrastructure like roads, on housing stock and accommodation and on service and hospitality sectors so we need to front these.” Early 2017 will see council setting a direction aimed at continuing Rotorua’s progress. “We need to make sure we’re focused on maximising Rotorua’s strengths and identifying and acting on opportunities and we’ll ask for the community’s input in defining those. “We’ll also continue with projects already underway, such as working with our lakes communities on wastewater schemes and ensuring adequate ongoing central government investment in roading,” the mayor says. Encouraging the development of residential and commercial zoned land in Rotorua will also be on the 2017 agenda. “Council will continue collaborating with government agencies, businesses, developers and the community to deal with challenges and work on projects and initiatives and we’ll use new ways to have important conversations with our stakeholders. I’m looking forward to another year of progress for Rotorua.”
BAY OF PLENTY BUSINESS NEWS January/February 2017 3 Papamoa's coastal ambience is a strong factor behind its popularity as a place to live. Papamoa’s boom set to continue Papamoa’s status as the place to be has been confirmed with its naming as one of the biggest “hot spots” in New Zealand. By GEOFF TAYLOR And Infometrics’ latest regional hotspots report predicts no let up in the coastal suburb’s boom in coming years. The economic analysis company has predicted that Papamoa’s population would have grown by 74 percent (5190 people) in the decade ending 2023, making it one of the country’s top future population growth areas. Only Hobsonville (254 percent), Central Christchurch (105 percent) and Southwest Christchurch (85 percent) rank higher in the list which also features Orewa/Albany, Central Auckland, Beachlands/ Drury, North Hamilton, Central Otago and Central Wellington. Infometrics says Papamoa has undergone a transformation from a rural and holiday community to a suburb of Tauranga over the last 20 - 30 years as the city has grown substantially and, particularly during the 2000s, the popularity of coastal property increased immensely. “However, the area’s growth is far from finished, with development expected to continue spreading eastwards over the next decade and beyond.” The report describes how Tauranga has undergone a transformation from a popular retirement destination to a more broadly based growth city. The success of the Port of Tauranga has coincided with strong business growth in the city, while Tauranga’s lifestyle has proved a strong drawcard for families. The spread of population growth across all age brackets has seen major expansion in Tauranga’s social infrastructure, businesses, and employment opportunities – a trend that has been largely self-reinforcing in terms of attracting more people to the city. “Papamoa is one of two main growth hubs in Tauranga, and we expect it to outperform the area south of Tauranga around Pyes Pa. Completion of the Tauranga Eastern Link last year has helped increase the attractiveness for both businesses and households to be sited at Papamoa, providing more direct access both into the city and towards eastern Bay of Plenty. “The more coastal nature of Papamoa also holds strong appeal from a lifestyle point of view for families as well as retirees. By June 2016, the area’s population was only running slightly ahead of Statistics NZ’s low projections, but with Tauranga City’s population recording one of the fastest growth rates in the country, we expect further acceleration in Papamoa’s prospects over coming years.” Infometrics does see challenges for Papamoa, principally because of its “long and thin” geography. “Currently, retail facilities are mainly located in the older Papamoa Beach area, with fewer services available further east in more recently developed areas. The “ribbon-like” nature of growth will make it more difficult to justify a single large urban hub within Papamoa East; instead, retail and other services are likely to be based around a number of smaller neighbourhood centres dotted throughout the area. “Over the longer-term, as residential construction spreads further east away from the older Papamoa Beach area into the Te Tumu area, there may be scope for a more significant retail centre to be developed.” Papamoa does have industrial and commercial development planned but is probably less well suited to this compared to an area like Tauriko which caters well for freight and logistics-related activities involving Hamilton and Auckland, says the report. “Nevertheless, Tauranga City Council’s focus on ensuring that new residential development is accompanied by employment opportunities within Papamoa suggests that business and job growth will take place over the medium-term, particularly in the areas bordering the Tauranga Eastern Link.” New jobs portal promotes life in the Bay A new and unique online portal has been launched to promote Bay of Plenty as a thriving destination, with ample jobs and lifestyle opportunities. Better in the Bay promotes job vacancies, lifestyle opportunities, and business and community support, as well as a profile section for prospective job candidates. Site creator Kellie Hamlett says the portal is timely in terms of the growth currently being experienced in the region. “The portal is essentially a job board promoting the diversity of Bay of Plentybased jobs and industries. But it also provides information on what else we have to A visual from the Better in the Bay website. offer – what people look at when they’re considering the whole package of work-life balance. “We have a hugely diverse range of careers in the region and with economic growth being so on-point at the moment, we have lots of opportunities to promote and get excited about.” She says the region has seen steady growth in the jobs market over the past two and a half years, particularly in Rotorua. “This is not a flash-in-thepan type of growth, but more permanent and we should see it continue.” The portal aims to appeal to both locals and those outside the region looking to move, featuring information not only on available careers, but also opportunities such as lifestyle and adventure, outdoor activities, affordable housing and schooling, as well as community and business support services. The portal also features a section which job candidates can upload their profiles for prospective employers to peruse. “One of the unique features of the site is that people can profile themselves directly to employers. Other sites have similar functionality, but Better in the Bay has a more direct approach, where employers don’t pay to view candidate profiles and can contact them directly.” Employers can pay to advertise on the site, with varying packages available, while candidates can pay just $30 for a 30-day profile listing. Job listings also feature on the Better in the Bay Facebook page, while job seekers can sign up to receive job updates directly to their inbox. “We have a truly unique offering in the Bay and we need to celebrate and promote it while the region is in such a strong growth phase. Better in the Bay is about connecting all the pieces and bringing them together in one place.” To find out more or check the site out for yourself, visit www.betterinthebay.co.nz.