Māori, youth and small businesses targeted in new economic plan
By Alan Tristram
The Kāpiti Coast District Council (KCDC), and community groups are targeting Māori development, youth skills, and support for small businesses and information technology in a new economic plan.
The new Economic Development Strategy aims at sparking greater growth and prosperity on the Kāpiti Coast.
The new strategy has been developed by the Kāpiti Coast District Council’s Economic Development Working party.
This comprises representatives of the business community, Māori/Iwi, Councillors, Community Board members and Council officers.
Four focus areas
Four focus areas are identified:
- ‘open for business’
- building capability
- positioning Kāpiti
To enable the district to be ‘open for business’, the Council says it will foster an economic development in all its work , engage openly with businesses and work to ensure its processes help growth.
And the of focus areas include Māori economic development, youth skills and workforce development, and targeted supported for small businesses and ICT (information and communications technology).
Working party member Liz Koh, Chair of the Chamber of Commerce, says the strategy is a true collaboration with the whole district’s interests at heart.
The next step
She says the next step is establishing a leadership forum to implement it.
“Positioning Kāpiti is about refining its ‘story’ – the way the district attracts both business and visitors to the region,” says Ms Koh.
“A project to work on this will start this month. Strong leadership will enable the district to respond to emerging opportunities and ensure strong advocacy and representation.”
She says success will be measured by:
- improved household income
- more people living and working locally in higher skilled jobs
- improved GDP growth
- more balanced spread of large and small businesses
- more balanced population (including more 18-35 year old residents).
Chair of the working party, Cr Gavin Welsh, says the district is poised for growth and the Economic Development strategy provides a high-level plan for achieving this.
He says potential projects will be looked at to see how they can done in line with the new Economic Development Strategy.
Key elements, including funding requirements, will feed into the Council’s Long Term Plan, which opens for consultation in March.
Councillor Welsh says:“Significant projects already underway, such as the Expressway and town centre development, are bringing more people and opportunity here, but the strategy acknowledges more needs to be done for the district to reach its full potential.
“Kāpiti has many natural advantages such as its spectacular environment, temperate climate and strategic location between Wellington and Palmerston North, but needed a clear position on encouraging growth.”
He adds: “Achieving the economic goals will require good connectivity and infrastructure, more training and development for workers, and better access to markets and investments. Strong partnerships and a collaborative approach between Council, businesses and the community will be crucial.”