Firms eager to relocate to the Bay

By Kiri Gillespie

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Priority One is working with 16 firms that have the potential to create 327 jobs and pump $13.4 million of capital expenditure into the Bay - new data shows.

Figures from the economic agency also reveal that in the past six months four outside companies had relocated or started in Tauranga or the Western Bay of Plenty and invested about $1,150,000 into the local economy and created 29 jobs.

Business relocations manager Max Mason (pictured right) said 13 of those staff members had relocated from Auckland, Waikato or Christchurch.

The firms that had relocated were in manufacturing, professional services, local distribution and national distribution, he said.

"We receive about three to four inquiries per month, and most are long-term prospects with possible relocation prospect timeframes of a year or more. The smaller the company the quicker the decision making, and vice versa."

Realistically some of the 16 companies it was in negotiations with would fall through and choose other locations "or for business reasons decide not to relocate or set up a branch office here".

But it was pleasing to see the number of manufacturers and distributors attracted to Tauranga, Mr Mason said.

Priority One projects manager Annie Hill said there was strong job growth across most business sectors, but most specifically in the areas of business services, construction, health services, technology horticultural and export manufacturing sectors.

"Our economic performance and job growth is as a result of a number of things, including that our competitive advantages as a place from which to do business are being increasingly recognised."

There was a very positive feeling in the local business community at the moment, and the Bay was topping most polls for business confidence, she said.

Earlier this week, the Bay of Plenty was named the most positive region in New Zealand for the fifth quarter in a row according to the June Westpac McDermott Miller Regional Economic Survey.

It found 41 per cent of households believed the region's economic fortunes would improve over the coming year.

"The positive mood has been attributed to the recovery and predicted growth of the kiwifruit industry, and that we are not as exposed to the uncertainties of the dairy industry as other areas," Ms Hill said.

"In addition, issues in the Auckland housing market are seeing increasing numbers of people moving their businesses and themselves to Tauranga, particularly in light of our enviable lifestyle and competitive advantages for businesses of being based here.

"The inward migration is also boosting the construction sector, with a strong corresponding growth in professional services."

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said the work Priority One was involved with measured tangible and real change results.

Council's role was to make sure there was land supply for businesses to grow, infrastructure for them to utilise and it had a user-friendly regulation regime, he said.

"We have to make sure there is not too much red tape, you have to have red tape but keep it minimal."

It also funded Priority One "to the tune of 60 per cent", and council worked closely with the organisation with new businesses, he said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chairwoman Toni Palmer said Tauranga could provide all the amenities required for a business.

Priority One had become the portal "that enables this feed into our local economy".

- Bay of Plenty Times

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