As part of its role advocating for the local business community, Kāpiti Coast Chamber of Commerce hosted an event enabling people to reflect on, evaluate and ask questions about the progress of the district’s Economic Development Strategy, which was adopted by Kāpiti Coast District Council last year.

The well-attended event, which was the final in a speaker series event for 2021, saw Neil MacKay, Chair of Kāpiti Economic Development Kotahitanga Board and Mark Ward, Council’s Economic Development Manager present an update on the strategy and its progress to around 50 people, followed by an interactive Q&A session hosted by Kāpiti Law’s Jane Stevenson.

The Economic Development Strategy covers key outcomes for the district, including a Destination Management Plan – which supports tourism sector growth and resilience, a Workforce Plan to help develop, attract and retain a skilled workforce to boost the local economy, as well as planning around major events. It also focuses on strategic partnerships, such as with the Chamber, business facilitation and creating groups to support industry sectors.

An ‘economic dashboard’ for Kāpiti, shared at the event, showed some positive traction, such as domestic tourism expenditure increasing by 12.5 percent, compared with 7.3 percent in the wider Wellington region and 5.4 percent nationally, as well as a 4.5 percent rise in consumer spending in the district compared with two years ago.

Questions from audience members focused on areas including the opportunity to pursue alternative funding avenues for business, such as from individual investors, and the need for more hands-on support from Council to assist business looking to relocate to Kāpiti, with ways various groups can all work together proving to top of people’s minds as we head towards the end of a second challenging year of Covid-19 impacts.

Mark Ward says the overall takeaway message from the event was that all were in agreement there is a lot of progress to be made together, with different groups and organisations working cohesively.

“We have some joint plans, and the capability in place to [achieve them],” he says.

“We must keep up the momentum and be strategic together, supporting all our initiatives”.

Chamber Co-Chair Monique Leith says it’s vital for organisations to work together and utilise their strengths to achieve the best possible outcomes for the district.

“After much investment in preparing the Strategy, it’s good to see the progress that has been made by the Board around the different industries and bringing business to Kāpiti. It’s also heartening to see a full working economic development team within Council who are committed to talking to communities and business. A team that is interactive with us as a Chamber and most of all listening to us”.