Many are waking up to Rotorua as a good place to do business rather than just a great place to live, according to the local Chamber of Commerce president.

Westpac's latest Regional Roundup survey showed regional economic confidence in the Bay of Plenty was the second-highest in the country.

Rotorua Chamber of Commerce president John McRae, who is a partner at Deloitte, said many clients were looking for good business and property assets to buy.

Mr McRae said he thought there would be significant growth in the central city in the next year or two.


More jobs were already being created, he said. Deloitte itself had doubled in size: from 20 to 40 people in the last two years.

"That's a significant number of new jobs we've created and, of course, incomes that are going into the economy," he said.

Tourism had an "absolutely bumper" year and wasn't expected to slow down.

"Just generally, the economy is building. We're getting more and more tourist attractions working and some really good-quality attractions."

The dairy price had lifted, forestry was solid, and professional services and retail had also lifted, said Mr McRae.

"This is the time that business should be investing into their growth and making the most of the wave of opportunity that we've got at the moment."

One of Rotorua's challenges would be making sure it had enough investment into infrastructure and assets, he said.

"That requires a very planned and dedicated approach to reinvestment both from council, regional government and even national government, as well as individual entrepreneurs," he said

"Rotorua's in a fantastic place at the moment and I see a really bright future for the city. For the first time in a long time we've got real growth, that's sustainable growth.

"Aucklanders and other cities are waking up to the fact that as well as Rotorua being just an awesome place to live, it's actually a really good place to do business now, too."

Westpac's latest Regional Roundup said employment confidence was positive in the Bay of Plenty region.

The unemployment rate continued to trend down and was in the mid-5 per cent range, compared to 6 per cent a year ago and an average of 6.5 per cent in the past five years.

Passenger vehicle registrations, commercial vehicle registrations, house sales and prices all remained strong.

House prices were up 27 per cent for the year, the fastest growth of any region.

The population was expected to continue experiencing strong growth for the next 12 to 18 months. That would support house prices, retail spending and business confidence.

"As a result, we expect to see strong growth in construction-related employment and in the services that support construction.

"Consent numbers are expected to remain strong. This activity will also help keep the unemployment rate low."

The report said it was possible the Bay of Plenty might benefit as tourists were priced out of some of New Zealand's other tourist destinations.

"Tourism is one area where the region has not grabbed its share of the growing pie."

It said the Bay of Plenty had flattened a little after a year and a half of having the most promising outlook of any region.

The Roundup said nationwide, business confidence and hiring were on the rise and the pipeline of construction work was strong.

Migration, as a major driver of population and GDP growth, remained remarkably strong. Half of that migration growth was due to a reduction in New Zealanders leaving.

The outlook for the country overall was a lot more positive on the back of a happier dairy sector.

Other commodities, such as horticulture, wine and forestry were recording strong export growth.