Katie Holland is the Rotorua Daily Post deputy editor

Opinion: Aucklanders - it's not you, it's us

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PHOTO/FILE
PHOTO/FILE

Aucklanders, I'm sorry if it seems we're giving you mixed messages. It's not you, it's us.

On Wednesday, Destination Rotorua, a council-controlled organisation, revealed its next big campaign. Following on from the hugely successful Famously Rotorua campaign to attract Auckland holidaymakers, it launched Love Life. Live Rotorua. Don't just come for the weekend, it says, why not come and live here, too?

The campaign is aimed at Aucklanders of mid- to high-socio-economic status. Presumably the advertising in Auckland will be strategically targeted at such people, who we hope will come and fill highly skilled job vacancies and maybe even set up their own businesses.

Which all sounds like a good idea. Attracting highly skilled people with money who will help the district's economy grow can only have positive flow-on effects for the population as a whole.

But shortly after posting the story, the backlash began on social media.

I acknowledge social media reaction to an issue does not always accurately reflect the feeling of the genuine population.

But it was a very strong consensus of annoyance, confusion and even anger. Where will they live? Where will they work? What about the issues facing people already here? In short, many people wanted Aucklanders to stay well away and the council to invest that money in its own residents first.

And experts have echoed some of these concerns.

Chamber of Commerce chief executive Darrin Walsh told us yesterday while the chamber was in favour of the campaign, his concern was around making sure we have enough infrastructure in place first, such as jobs and property.

Recruitment expert Kellie Hamlett said more industry would be needed to cope with a growing population, while today GJ Gardner's Trevor Newbrook says while there is some land available for subdividing, that development is not going to happen overnight.

The good news is, the "influx" of Aucklanders rocking up in Vegas is unlikely to happen overnight either, something Mayor Steve Chadwick has been quick to point out.

Even if the campaign is a roaring success - and I hope it is - moving city's is generally not a quick process. Hopefully it will plant a seed that will see some of the target Aucklanders relocate when the time is right, for them and for us.

Preferably, when we have a few of those potential 1000 new houses built.

In the meantime Aucklanders: Please keep visiting us and in time, when we're ready, maybe, just maybe, you can move in.

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