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Hawke's Bay to gain from Auckland pain

A coalition of five Hawke's Bay councils is spearheading a campaign to turn Auckland's pain into their region's gain.

The "Great Things Grow Here" campaign was launched in June and has already been credited with attracting a number of high-profile businesses and former Aucklanders to the region.

Photographer and businesswoman Fiona Tomlinson arrived in Hawke's Bay in March.

"I moved because I got to the point where I was working 100 hours with two businesses, spending four hours a day driving through traffic."

"I got sick of just feeling like I was existing and not really living and not enjoying life," she says.

Tomlinson says the move has transformed her life. Housing and commuting issues now a thing of the past.

But equally important is the positive impact it's had on her macron business.

"Getting product out is cheaper because the facilities are better and cheaper. It's also easier to get staff and there's not so much time driving everywhere."

"Great Things Grow Here" marketing advisor Sam Jackman say Tomlinson isn't the only business person benefiting from the region's strong economy.

"Turners & Growers had two pages of ads the other day. They were all well-paid marketing jobs that would suit young professionals and their families," he says.

Jackman points to improved business infrastructure, the arrival of Jetstar and the low cost of housing compared with Auckland as key to the region's success.

"I saw a beautiful villa available on the outskirts of Hastings, that would compare to a villa in Ponsonby, for $390,000 on a full section with four bedrooms."

"In Havelock North there's a five-bedroom house with a pool with easy access to the village that's going for $570,000."

"So what it does is allow Aucklanders to come here, to buy a house for a fraction of the cost and enjoy the lifestyle and maybe even set up a business," says Jackman.

Auckland house prices have rising 85 per cent in the past four years, so it's a compelling argument for many.

According to a recent survey, one in three Aucklanders is seriously considering leaving the city.

Those behind the "Great Things Grow Here" campaign hope their next home will be Hawke's Bay.

- NZ Herald

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