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Horowhenua Economy Stronger Than Pre-COVID-19 Pandemic

Recently, Council heard that our local economy is thriving despite the challenge of a global pandemic. The Horowhenua New Zealand Trust (HNZT) Chair Antony Young and The Horowhenua Company Limited (THCL) Chief Executive Catriona McKay reported to Council’s Finance, Audit and Risk Committee showing that across a range of economic indicators, Horowhenua has improved on nearly all indicators between 2018 and 2021.

While still below the national average, we are earning more, have increased job opportunities, and are exporting more than we did in 2018.

Encouragingly, economic indicators for Māori have performed particularly well year-on-year, with mean earnings increasing by $4,443 over the last three years and employment opportunities for Māori increasing by 137 since 2018, a positive change based on historical performance.

Muaūpoko Tribal Authority CEO Di Rump was encouraged by the statistics but felt that this was only the beginning. Di said, “We look forward to partnering with The Horowhenua Company, as we have done with Horowhenua District Council, to deliver economic development initiatives that are by Māori, for Māori, but will benefit all.”

THCL CEO Catriona McKay commented that “While it is great that the data shows that there are improvements for our local Māori, we know that there remains much to be done. This starts by developing relationships with our local iwi and hapū groups to understand their aspirations, and identify specific initiatives where working together will accelerate outcomes for Māori. It is critical that this work is led by iwi and hapū, and The Horowhenua Company is making those connections now, to start the conversation. We welcome the opportunity to be part of making a difference for our Māori communities.”

Since 2018 Horowhenua GDP has increased by $57m. There are 481 more jobs in the district, unemployment has seen a -1.1% decline. Exports as a percentage of GDP have grown by 1.2% and mean earnings have grown from $46,490 to $50,159 in 2020, an increase of $3,669.

Horowhenua District Mayor Bernie Wanden commented that “the positive growth in our local economy is heartening to see and a result of both the growth we’re experiencing and the dedicated investment in our economic development capability through our partnership with the HNZT.”

The report went on to highlight the relationships built, partnerships strengthened, and subsequent level of investment secured from central government. This investment totalling $3.8m has accelerated economic development in the district and contributed towards the development of the Horowhenua Business Park. The Business Park will house 12 businesses, both new, and existing businesses, looking to expand.

Just over $800,000 of central government investment has also gone into the Get-Go initiative, which is tasked with improving labour market outcomes in Horowhenua. HNZT reported that 600 students attended the Get-Go Futures day, connecting students with future employers and supporting candidates into employment.

THCL in partnership with the Horowhenua District Council has been tasked with developing an Events Strategy and Implementation Plan by 30 March 2022. A welcome development, given the strength of domestic tourism in the district and the opportunities posed as a result of significant and ongoing growth in the area.

To view more statistics on the health of our economy, visit https://hnzt.org.nz/data-insights

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