A region on the move
I was asked to give a speech recently on some of the Governments achievements in the Bay. As I started to list them I realised how extraordinary the last few years have been.
Since 2008, Tauranga’s population has grown by the size of Oamaru and the Western Bay has grown by a decent few thousand. This migration to our community is welcomed because it has brought with it the highest economic and employment growth in the country.
Part of the reason people come here is that our place has lots of space, good infrastructure and great services. People come here because not only are we investing in roads but because we will continue to invest in the quality and the capacity of our roading infrastructure. We have invested in ultrafast broadband and will continue to ensure smaller rural communities are also connected. We have invested in significant increases in elective surgeries and we will continue to do so because our community requires it. We have built new schools, added new classrooms and more will come to support the population growth.
But in a very real sense the biggest difference of the last 8 years is one of attitude.
In 2008, I think even the most optimistic of us was worried about the future. We could see the impact of the global financial crisis throughout the world and were concerned how it was going to affect us and our families.
Our community feels very different now. There are pressure points and housing remains a challenge to respond to as a community with the pace that people are arriving here, but I sense genuine optimism when I’m out and about. We can feel the region moving and we can see the opportunities, both locally and internationally. I sense that people are focused on what is possible rather than what currently challenges us. That change in attitude needs to be nurtured because it shows that our region has something special.