The Kapiti Coast Chamber of Commerce submits as follows.
The Chamber supports the deferring of projects to ensure rates increases are kept under control.
The Chamber acknowledges that the prioritisation of projects is not easy, and will not always be welcomed by community segments, but nevertheless encourages Council to continue in this vein. First priority should be placed on essential civic infrastructure such as water, sewerage, roads, etc.
The Chamber encourages Council to take active and visible action to save money and address deteriorating public perceptions of local body internal spending efficiency, effectiveness and ethic. It is crucial that Council, as a monopoly provider of services with a guaranteed source of income, should constantly seek to be as efficient as possible, doing every more with ever less. This includes an on-going assessment of the effectiveness of major spending decisions and projects to drive costs down, while keeping core function delivered as great as possible. Central government departments have at various times over a long period been asked to make baseline savings without reducing key services delivered – and Council should voluntarily attempt to do the same.
Economic Development Strategy
The Chamber broadly supports the draft Economic Development Strategy, and congratulates Council for taking a leadership role and for making this an area of priority. The focus being given to economic development at this time in Kapiti is, we submit, a vital and practical step to help get Kapiti moving forwards, generating increasing local employment options. The Chamber particularly applauds the five principles which underlie the strategy, and with cognisance of the comments below, the two strategic purposes as well.
An essential element of the Economic Development Strategy needs to be the creation of a competitive advantage for businesses located in Kapiti – plain and simple. The strategy speaks of building on strengths and natural advantages and this is agreed, however the aspect of ‘competitive advantage’ needs to be more explicit or the strategy risks long term failure. Unless there are solid reasons to be in Kapiti, businesses will tend either not to remain or come here, or will be disadvantaged if they do. Thus clear recognition of the importance of making Kapiti a ‘good place for business’ is crucial.
The Chamber cautions that economic and business development are not core council competencies and thus care must be taken for Council not to become over-involved in specific solutions, instead primarily focusing on creating the conditions within which businesses and industries can flourish and therefore the desired economic outcomes can be achieved. As an organised funded body with the public good at heart, Council has a unique and valuable opportunity at this time to act as a catalyst for economic growth.