Media release: Out-of-date kapiticoastnz.com website a $35,000 embarrassment for Kāpiti

With the kapiticoastnz.com website meant to promote the Kāpiti Coast to New Zealand and the world, mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton says the lack of up-to-date information on the website gives potential visitors, or businesses looking to invest in the district, the wrong impression, and calls into question the value of the $35,000 spent developing what is basically a scaled down version of the existing wellingtonnz.com website.

“We get one chance to put our best foot forward for those looking to visit or do business in Kāpiti, and it’s an embarrassment that right now we look like a district that doesn’t have our act together given we can’t even keep our flagship website up to date,” says Mr Compton.

With the Kāpiti i-SITE at Coastlands now permanently closed, the promotional website kapiticoastnz.com had been touted by Kāpiti Coast District Council as being able to fill the gap for visitors. However, with content on the site out of date, low visitor numbers, and $35,000 having been paid for what is essentially a scaled down version of Wellington’s wellingtonnz.com website developed by the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency, Gwynn Compton says that “serious questions need to be asked about the value Kāpiti’s ratepayers and businesses are getting out of what looks to be a digital white elephant.”

Figures released to Gwynn Compton under the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act reveal that Kāpiti Coast District Council spent $35,000 on developing kapiticoastnz.com. They also reveal that in the 10 months since the website launched in July 2018, an average of less than 950 unique visitors per month have found their way to the website.

“Having been involved with website development for nearly two decades, it’s hard to see how the kapiticoastnz.com cost $35,000 to develop, especially when it was built off the back of the existing wellingtonnz.com website and seemingly little effort has been spent keeping content on it up to date. For example, when visitors eventually make their way to the site’s hard to find events page, they’ll find that only Coastella, the Ōtaki Kite Festival, and Māoriland Film Festival are listed, and even then those listings don’t contain links to the main websites of those major events,” says Mr Compton.

“There’s also no mention of the regular fairs and markets held from Paekākāriki to Ōtaki, the Kāpiti Food Fair, the various gigs and theatre productions that take place at great tourist locations like Tuatara and North End breweries or Southward Car Museum, and the dozens of other smaller community events that take place throughout the Kāpiti Coast every month.”

“Things don’t get much better when you navigate to the ‘Do business’ and ‘Meet in Kāpiti’ sections of the website,” says Gwynn Compton.

“While Enterprising at 50 plus has been added in recent months, the website still refers to 2018’s Kāpiti Startup Weekend and Electra Business Awards, even though the 2019 edition of Startup Weekend has just taken place. Likewise, if you go searching for any demographic or statistical information about Kāpiti, no additional quarterly economic updates have been added since March 2018. Meanwhile, the venues page still lists Whitireia’s old Kāpiti Road campus even though the site has been closed since the start of 2019.”

With competition for visitors and business investment fiercer than ever, and the closure of the i-SITE taking away a key information channel for tourists, Gwynn Compton says that Kāpiti Coast District Council needs to urgently update the kapiticoastnz.com website, commit to keeping content on it relevant, and explain to Kāpiti ratepayers how it cost so much in the first place.