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Council a 'barrier' to Kapiti growth

KAY BLUNDELL
Last updated 09:45 31/03/2014

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Kapiti

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Kapiti Coast District Council is one of the biggest barriers to economic growth in the area, business leaders say.

Kapiti Coast Chamber of Commerce has welcomed the council's review of its economic strategy saying its members find the council one of the biggest stumbling blocks to economic development in the district.

"The council needs to focus on making their processes and practices more business friendly . . they are cumbersome, too slow and bureaucratic," chairwoman Liz Koh said.

"If we want to attract businesses to Kapiti we have to make it easy for them. If it is not, we are in danger of businesses going elsewhere."

The recently released Economic Profile of the Kapiti region carried out by Infometrics showed local business growth was -1 per cent for the year ended March 2013, ranking Kapiti in the lowest 10 per cent of economic growth districts in the country.

The Chamber wants to work with the council to develop its new economic development strategy.

"There is a significant economic opportunity for Kapiti over the next few years but we have to work together and have the right processes in place or opportunities will be missed," she said.

Coastlands chairman Richard Mansell said they were alarmed at other statistics in the report including o.2 per cent employment growth, compared with o.8 per cent nationally, -0.4 per cent business unit growth compared with -0.1 per cent nationally and 0.2 per cent population growth compared with 0.9 per cent nationally.

"We feel the council could be more friendly to business and should be actively improving the infrastructure of the district to allow business to locate and stay in the district," he said.

The council almost lost its right to issue building consents last year when International Accreditation NZ, which assesses councils' ability to deal with building consents, found 13 major flaws in Kapiti's building department.

The council was given four months to correct the problems or lose its accreditation.

The problems were resolved by July.

Council's community services group manager Tamsin Evans said the council started reviewing its regulatory services 18 months ago to see where improvements could be made.

"In 2014 our focus is on being open for business. We welcome the opportunity to work closely with the Chamber on building a strong and resilient local economy."

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- The Dominion Post

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