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Business growth and planning

Business growth in Rotorua

Rotorua has many of the aspects tourists love about New Zealand: hot pools, geysers, adrenaline sports, and opportunities to partake in Māori culture. The thriving tourism industry in Rotorua is supported by the Rotorua District Council, which is always keen to attract more businesses to the area.

The council uses a range of census information (including home ownership, and household access to cell phones, Internet, and motor vehicles) to give businesses a better understanding of the community. Several businesses from the growing service sector – such as hostels, cafés and restaurants – have opened after working with the council and reviewing this information.

For example, potential restaurant owners reviewing 2006 Census information would know that there were 312 chefs in the Rotorua district. Of the full-time chefs, around half were earning over $30,000 annually. Census data also showed that 654 people had a post-school qualification in the field of food and hospitality. This informs potential restaurant owners about the running costs involved in the business and the availability of qualified staff.

The valuable census information the council provides helps to encourage the right businesses to invest in the region. The tourism industry and its supporting businesses are vital to Rotorua’s economic well-being. Increased tourist numbers translates into a more vibrant economy and further employment opportunities for the community.

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Business support in Clutha

Clutha is full of friendly people, spectacular scenery and wildlife across a range of landscapes. However, like many rural areas in New Zealand, Clutha’s population is declining. This means that small businesses in particular will struggle to survive.

Fortunately, Enterprise Clutha, a charitable trust sponsored by the council, was set up to encourage successful and viable local businesses to continue trading. It also focuses on prospective businesses looking to set up in the region, using census information such as average income levels and age structure to identify potential markets. For example, Enterprise Clutha saw that there was a need for affordable, frozen goods in the area, and so they supported the start-up of a frozen product store that is now looking to expand.

By encouraging sustainable and prospering small businesses, the population decline will hopefully reverse. Increasing population figures can in turn improve business and employment opportunities.

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Move to the Country campaign

The Rangitikei district in the central North Island has been experiencing a population decline over the past few decades. This has led to a reduction in services for locals and a decrease in potential business opportunities.

Every summer though, thousands of visitors flock to the area for the beautiful river valley views, camping, white-water rafting, and adrenaline sports. The Rangitikei District Council wants to encourage some of these tourists to stay and live in the area.

Figures from the 2006 Census showed that 46 percent of local residents were living elsewhere in New Zealand five years earlier. This indicated a large transient population, especially those of employment age. So, the council is also looking at ways to encourage working-age people with families to move to the area.

The council has created a promotional website, www.movetothecountry.co.nz, to showcase the district. Travellers on State Highway One between Bulls and Taihape will see roadside billboards promoting the Rangitikei lifestyle to Kiwis. Reversing the population decline will increase the likelihood of more funding for local schools, and improve employment rates and business opportunities.

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Planning for the future in Whangarei

The population of Whangarei is growing at a faster rate than most of New Zealand. Its beach lifestyle also attracts peak numbers of tourists during the summer months, which puts pressure on local infrastructure such as roads and sewerage.

The Whangarei District Council knew that community groups, some areas of the council, and local businesses needed more information to plan for this expanding population. With an increase of 6,369 people (or 9.4 percent) since 2001, the population of Whangarei is expected to grow further.

The council developed a growth model for the Whangarei district using development trends and population projections. This growth model shows the likely areas of population density and distribution to 2041.

The works and services department of the council uses the growth model to predict future infrastructure needs, like the potential size of a wastewater treatment plant being planned for Bream Bay. A local church group has also used the population projections to apply for the funding of a new church or congregation area as they are rapidly outgrowing their existing facilities.

Developers and consultants, on the other hand, use the number of dwellings to assess potential property sales and demand for future developments. A wide range of people in the community are benefiting from the freely available information from the local council and can now plan more effectively.

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Thames-Coromandel planning for the peak period

Warm weather and pristine beaches make the Coromandel Peninsula an attractive Christmas holiday spot for thousands of New Zealanders. Each summer, the population in the Thames-Coromandel District peaks, particularly in major holiday destinations such as Whangamata, Pauanui, Whitianga and Matarangi.

The Thames-Coromandel District Council needs to assess the impact this population influx has on local services including water supply, sewerage treatment, roads and parks. Information from the 2006 Census was a starting point to determine the number of dwellings in the district and its major holiday destinations.

This was combined with data on the number of building consents, and a door-to-door survey during the busy summer period to help estimate a peak population. This research showed that 137,700 people crowded the peninsula's beaches, towns and campgrounds on New Year’s Eve in 2007. This was over five times the usually resident population of about 26,000.

All residents and holiday goers to the district will benefit from the council’s effective planning for peak periods. For instance, knowledge of the peak population numbers helped determine the required capacity of wastewater treatment plants being built along the eastern seaboard in Whangamata, Tairua/Pauanui and Whitianga.

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