The Kapiti Chamber of Commerce says that while increased local unemployment is of concern – Kapiti needs to continue to focus and work towards creating the right conditions to encourage local job growth.
"There's good things happening in Kapiti" according to the Chamber, "including the airport and business park, clean tech business park, Whitireia campus, investment in communications and infrastructure such as water and the aquatic centre, the Council treating economic development as an area of priority and the fact that we have several exciting local businesses developing and doing well." Overall, the Chamber says that "Kapiti is getting onto the front foot with economic development".
The figures also reinforce the need for the Kapiti economy to diversify away from a historical reliance on the retail and construction sectors to provide local employment. "As the Economic Visioning 2031 document shows, all sectors of the Kapiti economy have good potential in their own way – if we work together to help make Kapiti a good place for businesses and employers to be."
But they also caution that times are difficult and there is a way to go. "The last few years have seen difficult trading conditions for many businesses – confidence has been down, consumer spending is down, house sales and building are down – and these things flow through to jobs."
The Chamber comments that many factors have contributed to the increase in unemployment figures – with the underlying economic conditions being the key driver at present. "Expenses can't exceed revenue for long and if sales are down something has to give – the arithmetic is simple" says Chamber Chairman Mark Ternent. "Business closures are normal, and while we are seeing more than we would like we also point to the fact that many businesses have opened on the Coast in the same period and we have seen several (smaller) businesses relocating themselves here".
"Just this morning I spoke to a business owner at the Whitireia Kapiti Campus opening" says Mr Ternent "and she is moving her (small) business here from central Wellington because her work does not actually require her to be located in Wellington, and she saves the commuting time and cost each day. She was also in a large unreinforced masonry building."
As a final point the Chamber finishes "if the people of Kapiti want more local jobs, then they should try and support more local businesses by spending their money on the Coast. If they are employed outside the District, then they should talk to their employers about the benefits of relocating here – a free information pack is available from www.kapitibusinessparks.com"