Diverse economy, more jobs, higher wages at heart of plan
With road infrastructure projects winding down in the next two years, Kāpiti Coast mayoral candidate Gwynn Compton has announced his economic development plan which seeks to create a more diverse economy by backing local businesses to deliver more jobs and higher wages.
“Kāpiti has benefitted immensely in the past six years from the construction of the expressway and Transmission Gully, but looking ahead we face a significant challenge to maintain economic growth as these massive infrastructure projects wind down,” says Mr Compton.
“We can’t go back to just being dependent on the aged-care and retail sectors, hoping tourists see us as a coffee stop, or waiting for the next big transport project to arrive. We need to do more to back Kāpiti’s businesses so they can grow, deliver more jobs and higher wages, and create new opportunities for locals.”
Gwynn Compton’s plan calls for the creation of a new contestable Economic Development Fund that will assist growing businesses by co-funding resources, projects, and training where doing so will help deliver new jobs and higher wages. It also seeks to ensure the currently underway refresh of Kāpiti Coast District Council’s Economic Development Strategy is completed and implemented using a community-led governance model that will help oversee the Economic Development Fund.
“Over the past two years I’ve been involved in helping Kāpiti’s entrepreneurs and community groups as they’ve worked to take their business or project idea to the next level. One of the biggest hurdles for them has been the lack of any locally focussed fund that can help them access things like facilitators, project managers, training, and other resources. This is where small grants from an Economic Development Fund would make a huge difference,” says Mr Compton.
“Another significant hurdle has been the lack of a functioning economic development strategy, with the previous strategy having been largely discarded and discredited long before it expired in 2018. It’s why it’s vital that the refresh of the Economic Development Strategy continues to have the backing of the community, as we can’t create a vibrant and diverse economy that provides opportunities for everyone if we don’t have a community-led plan to get there.”
Gwynn Compton has also flagged that he intends to review the Town Centres Project to make sure it’s still fit for purpose and is delivering genuine value for Kāpiti’s communities and ratepayers. He also supports the scaling back of the proposed Kāpiti Island Gateway Centre and biosecurity check-in facility at Paraparaumu Beach to a smaller and more sensible option than the hugely expensive $15 million proposal that has previously been bandied about by Council.
In his Economic Development Plan, Gwynn Compton has also indicated he is supportive of initiatives such as the development of a National Whale Museum and Marine Discovery Centre in Kāpiti, as well as re-opening the recently closed i-SITE in a suitable location that works better for visitors to the district.
Other economic development initiatives Gwynn Compton intends to pursue include working with government to identify opportunities for more departments to locate new teams out on the Kāpiti Coast - similar to the Police Digital Communications Centre, expanding the ongoing work with iwi to support Māori businesses and to better tell and celebrate Kāpiti’s rich Māori heritage, and build on the successful Kāpiti Arts Trail to create a broader “Creative Coast” year-round programme of events to support both the arts trail and highlight Kāpiti’s creative sector.
“Backing local businesses to deliver more jobs, higher wages, and new opportunities for Kāpiti Coasters will help create the sustainable and diverse economy we need to ensure Kāpiti remains the best place in New Zealand to live, work, and raise a family for years to come.”
Gwynn Compton's full economic development policy is available at www.gwynncompton.co.nz/policies