Development in Waipā outpaces rest of Waikato

15 August, 2018

The economic growth in Waipā, particularly Cambridge and Te Awamutu, is outpacing the rest of the Waikato and the country.

That's what a recent economic update from Waipā District Council's business development manager Steve Tritt indicated.

"Waipā's consistently outperforming the Waikato region in GDP growth," Tritt said in his presentation to district councillors and mayor Jim Mylchreest.

The increase for Waipā in the year ending March 2018 was 4.2 per cent, compared to 3 per cent for the rest of the Waikato region. Meanwhile, New Zealand itself was well behind on 2.7 per cent.

"Dairy farms have experienced higher payouts this season, and data estimates that the total payouts in the Waipā district will approach $500 million," Tritt said.

The $500m payout was the highest increase since the record 2013-2014 season, where the payout topped $600m.

Agriculture, forestry and fishing still made up the lion's share of the total GDP figure, at 18 per cent.

"Population growth has pushed up demand in the construction sector and in retail and food services," Tritt said.

Cambridge now provides 3.1 per cent more jobs. Te Awamutu's job market grew by a greater amount, with a 3.4 per cent increase in jobs. Looking at the rest of Waipā, there are 1.5 per cent more positions.

The construction industry added 325 of the extra jobs to Waipā, consistent with the need for new development as the population of the district increases.

Tritt held up examples of new buildings as indicators of this, including retirement villages, canoe racing facilities at Lake Karapiro, Lakewood Cambridge and surrounding retail next to Lake Te Kō Utu, Visy Board at Hamilton Airport and the Podium Lodge, all of which became realities in recent months. Te Awamutu also had the construction of The Powerhouse, Cosana and Red Kitchen buildings.

The economy in Waipā was also stimulated by visitor expenditure of $166m, despite a slightly reduced occupancy rate to the previous year.

Ultimately, the report noted that Waipā's economy has achieved a sustained period of growth, with investment on the increase and new jobs becoming available.

But 18 per cent of the population is currently 65 or older, meaning "retiring workers will need replacing to keep the lights on", which will become a challenge for industries throughout the upper North Island.

- Waikato Times

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