Hawke's Bay 'ideal option' for 'living and working the dream'

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Tukituki MP Craig Foss is positive about the opportunities offered by Hawke's Bay. PHOTO/FILE
Tukituki MP Craig Foss is positive about the opportunities offered by Hawke's Bay. PHOTO/FILE

Tukituki MP Craig Foss is confident more businesses will look to Hawke's Bay as an ideal option for setting up shop.

"Our lifestyle, wine, food, weather and stunning landscape are the envy of many in New Zealand and around the world," he said. "Why wouldn't you start or move a business here?"

The Minister for Small Business said the region was already attracting businesses from small retail shops, to large international companies - with Xero the most recent.

"You can live and work the dream in Hawke's Bay, and run a national and global organisation with the very good connectivity we now have," he said.

He cited the move of Kiwibank in 2014. Although it had raised some eyebrows, the company paved the way for other businesses by bringing its service centre and 200 jobs to Hastings.

"Ultra-fast broadband is enabling these companies, and hopefully many more like them, to move to the beautiful Bay to live and work the dream."

Other organisations were considering Hawke's Bay for their operations, Mr Foss said, and when they did make the move to the region, like Xero, they became "magnets" for other businesses.

"If you're... in the ICT industry and you're thinking of either leaving Hawke's Bay or wondering where to operate you'd probably go 'well, gee whiz, Xero's over there and I'm going to be somewhere near Xero so we can develop a relationship with them'.

"It's exactly how the tech clusters in Wellington have grown, its just people in the same sector chilling out, working together and it becomes infectious and gathers its own momentum," he said.

As well as businesses advertising Hawke's Bay as an "ideal option" to do business, the needed infrastructure and supports were either already in place, or being developed.

A Hawke's Bay focused approach amongst local councils to attract business was increasingly happening, Mr Foss said.

"Our councils have gotten a lot better other the years ...they used to compete with this kind of stuff and now, by and large a gain in one area of Hawke's Bay is seen as a gain for all Hawke's Bay."

Mr Foss noted the Matariki - Hawke's Bay Regional Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan, through which local councils, central government, and iwi were working together to create an environment for business, growth, and jobs.

"That's a huge step forward," he said.

As well as aiming to create 1000 jobs over three years, there would also be investment in infrastructure - such as the Whakatu arterial link. Ground was broken on the roading project improving connections from Whakatu to Hawke's Bay expressway earlier this week.

Infrastructure like this would "remove any barriers to success and make a more attractive proposition for business to, most importantly, stay and grow in the Bay, as well as attracting businesses to the Bay".

Overall, Hawke's Bay was "doing so well at the moment", Mr Foss said.

"I'm confident more and more business will look to our region, not just as a viable option, but as an ideal option. There is a very real sense of positivity and opportunity for our businesses, for our families and for our region as a whole," he said.

"You have to look pretty hard to be negative about the prospects for Hawke's Bay at the moment, everything I see is very positive."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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