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Forecasts to help District plan for growth

Forecasts to help District plan for growth

New population, household and employment forecasts will help Horowhenua District Council develop its next Long Term Plan in preparation for the significant growth as a result of the state highway upgrades between Wellington and Levin.

New Zealand Institute of Economic Research’s revised growth assumptions for Horowhenua are that between now and 2036 the District’s population will increase by 8600 people, the number of households will increase by 4900, and 3000 new jobs will be created.

Council will use these figures to inform and set a platform for future work programmes, planning, evaluation, modeling and analysis leading up to the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan process.

A set of actions to realise and maximise the projected growth assumptions will be established. These are to:

1. Strengthen and leverage the District’s competitive advantage platform, including:

(i) Comparatively low cost land (residential and industrial).
(ii) Comparatively low cost operating/low cost living environment.
(iii) Greater business productivity through proximity to Wellington (including customers, infrastructure, and labour market reach).

2. Ensure infrastructure, policy provision and planning is in place to enable the District to fully leverage its competitive and comparative advantages.

3. Attract business investment and new industry to drive job growth and to broaden the economic base of the District.

4. Foster more intensive co-operation with neighbouring districts.

5. Lift firms’ and households’ openness to change and development.

Council’s Chief Executive David Clapperton says the growth assumptions provide a stake in the ground to enable a framework for the District’s strategic planning.

This includes looking at implications of the number of vehicles that will be on the District’s local roads, capacity for housing and infrastructure, particularly water, wastewater and stormwater.

Mr Clapperton says the actions are also fully supported and endorsed by the Horowhenua Economic Development Board.

Board member Barry Judd says the Board is also reassured by the work that had been undertaken so far, particularly with the formation of the Growth Response Team.

“There are opportunities this growth will afford our communities - jobs for the District’s young people, greater community wealth, and a larger ratepayer base to share the load of the cost of infrastructure that will be required in the future.

To do nothing is not an option. It is critical that we embrace this and move forward so that our District is prepared,” he said.

Fellow board member and District Councillor Wayne Bishop says Horowhenua will be closer to a massive population to the south.

“These growth forecasts sharpen our focus, highlight the challenges and opportunities, and will help define how we going to achieve what we need to achieve. This is not business as usual; it’s transformational change.”

ENDS

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