2019 11 26 Coast Community Comment

Community Comment

Coasters value and respect their region, and are proud to live, work, and operate businesses here. We have diversity in our region, and an inter-dependent economy. Most importantly, what we do, we strive to do it well.

There are many reasons Coasters choose to live, work, play, invest and raise families here.

Just like years gone by, our region is rich with opportunity, but with opportunities come challenges, and this will be the same for future generations of Coasters.

Coasters understand the need to be both economically and environmentally sustainable. At times, balancing that can be a challenge.

Our region needs a strong economy. A strong economy means security of work for small to medium sized businesses supporting large industry. It means thriving communities, with strong school rolls, sports clubs, community facilities, shops and restaurants.

We are fortunate to have such diversity in our business sector. It’s essential we retain this, and also attract new business and innovation to the Coast.

Land-based and primary-sector industries are the backbone of our region. On the Coast, primary industries make up 23 percent of our GDP, compared to only 7 percent for New Zealand.

This shows how dependent on our land and environment we are and why we must operate in a sustainable way.

We know tourism is also a vital economic driver for our region, relying on good infrastructure and products from our land.

Our region is unique. Despite its long geographical spread, only around 16 percent of land is rateable. Add a low population base of 32,600 and it can be a perfect storm.

Access to market is essential for the West Coast – our roading and rail networks, ports, and electricity supply are key to our economic success and resilience.

No matter what the industry, we know Coasters can operate businesses whilst also being good custodians of the land. We are aware of the environment we operate in. We understand our constraints. We are innovative in our thinking, and can adapt and find solutions.

Coasters have always been trailblazers with a real entrepreneurial zeal, and our business community demonstrates this in spades. We may have less than one percent of New Zealand’s population, but that has never stopped Coasters punching above their weight and succeeding on the national and international stage - not just in business, but in sporting success as well.

We have a provenance stories to be proud of. Reefton Distilling Co. has won awards nationally and internationally, and Maruia Hot Springs recently won two awards at the World Luxury Spa Awards. We also have New Zealand’s best butter, New Zealand’s best bacon, and New Zealand’s best toastie sandwiches! The list goes on.

With access to the resources our pristine natural environment offers, our innovative businesses can produce value-add products and services from the purest sources and our industries can continue driving our economy.

Working collaboratively with all stakeholders is essential to achieving good outcomes for our region. Our region is a large footprint with a small population – and while we have it all, we need it all.

(DWC Chair - Renee Rooney)