INDEPENDENT NEWS

Population growth estimates reinforce Rotorua direction

Published: Thu 15 Nov 2018 02:10 PM
15 November 2018
Population growth estimates reinforce Rotorua direction says Mayor
Confirmed population growth estimates for Rotorua reinforce the need for future-focussed projects and planning to cater for ongoing change, Mayor Steve Chadwick says.
Stats NZ has today released its finalised annual subnational population data which estimates Rotorua’s population at 72,500 (at 30 June 2018), an increase of 800 (1.1%) on last year (71,700). The district’s population has increased by a total 6% since the 2013 Census.
Today’s confirmed estimates follow last year’s updated Stats NZ 10-year urban growth projections which saw the Rotorua district move from low to medium growth status under the National Policy Statement for Urban Growth Capacity.
“Ongoing growth is a positive for our district – without it we will stagnate and go backwards,” Mayor Chadwick says. “During the past five years we have set out to actively change how Rotorua was trending, establishing a long-term vision for the district and building a strategic framework to deliver the vision, all with an eye on the future.
“That’s not to say we still don’t have challenges but we are certainly headed in the right direction. We are reversing a previous trend which had Rotorua declining and we are now seeing increased confidence in our district as a viable and attractive place to not only visit but to live, do business and invest,” the mayor says.
“The evidence of that is everywhere to see with new commercial buildings, new developments and new businesses appearing across the city in recent years, along with reinvestment in existing businesses and tourist attractions. Other economic indicators also point to ongoing growth.”
Latest estimated GDP growth for Rotorua, for the year to June 2018, was 4% (Infometrics) while Telfer Young surveys show an ongoing reduction in both vacant space in Rotorua’s CBD (2017 survey and September 2018 Insight report) and industrial vacancy rates which are at their lowest since 2004 (2018 survey).
Mayor Chadwick says the confirmed population figures suggest the growth assumptions made for Council’s 2018-28 Long-term Plan are correct, reinforcing the need to ensure Rotorua is well prepared for further growth by progressing infrastructure and other projects that will cater to ongoing increased growth and demand.
“The growth we are seeing also highlights the need for ongoing Central Government investment in our district and confirms the need for the Rotorua spatial plan which Council adopted this year to ensure that as we keep growing, we will do so in a sustainable, planned and well-considered way.”
Housing and a need for more industrial land remain a key challenge in the face of growth, although this is not unique to Rotorua, Mayor Chadwick says.
“We continue to do what we can to encourage landowners and developers to unlock land for housing and industrial development – Council consenting staff report there is quite a lot in the pipeline so presumably it is a matter of timing for landowners, developers and individuals. It would be my hope that confirmation of ongoing growth and demand will be another reason to prompt them to push the green light on their plans.”
Rotorua population graph
(Note: Stats NZ started annual population estimates for territorial authorities in 2007, prior to which these were done only during Census years)
For further information: news@rotorualc.nz
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