Kāpiti Coast mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton says concerns raised by Infrastructure New Zealand and Civil Contractors New Zealand about the drop off in work following the end of major roading infrastructure projects are particularly relevant to Kāpiti, with the completion of both Transmission Gully and the Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway in late 2020 fast approaching.
“Managing the drop off in employment and economic activity after Transmission Gully and the expressway projects are completed is a significant challenge facing Kāpiti, especially as over the past six years our economic growth has been largely underpinned by these projects,” says Mr Compton.
“It’s not just construction jobs that will be impacted - there will be flow on effects for our retail, hospitality, and accommodation sectors too.”
Gwynn says that while the roading construction boom has been good for Kāpiti’s economy, with the end of this in sight the district needs to address the underlying lack of diversity in our local economy.
“Aged-care and retail will continue to play important roles in Kāpiti, but in order to avoid becoming yet another commuter suburb of Wellington we need to continue to invest in our economic development and support local businesses.”
With the Kāpiti Coast District Council currently developing a new economic development strategy, Gwynn has previously spoken about the need for the district to have an ambitious vision that sees Kāpiti as more than just a retirement mecca or a coffee stop for tourists passing through.
“Kāpiti has huge opportunities to grow our tourism, food and beverage, ICT, and creative sectors, with our location midway between Wellington and Palmerston North, and good air links to Auckland and the top of the South Island, giving us access to a large pool of potential visitors and customers,” says Mr Compton.
“If we’re to keep thriving as a community we need to have an economy that’s diverse, vibrant, and sustainable, and that creates the jobs and higher incomes needed for future generations to continue to be able to afford to call Kāpiti home.”