Editorial: Economic initiative applauded

By Andrew Austin

1 comment


The announcement that a $50 million "food hub" will be built on the outskirts of Hastings is a positive move if it does actually provide hundreds of jobs as promised.

In these gloomy economic times any economic investment and job creation is good for our region.

We have put the announcement on today's front page because we think it is a significant boost for Hawke's Bay.

The Hastings District Council's hearings committee has allowed for the rezoning of land to enable the development to take place. The committee made its decision after hearings where some opponents of the development voiced concern with the loss of more of the rich horticultural lands of the Heretaunga Plains.

Trevor Taylor, who is director of the developers, Elwood Road Holdings, said a feature of the development was that, by providing shared-services with as many as 20 businesses involved, the hub would help avoid duplication of under-used facilities which would otherwise be spreading across the plains.

It included such things as research facilities, warehousing and other aspects which firms may have or plan, knowing they would only be used for some of the time.

But it's not just for the smaller businesses, with Heinz-Wattie's expected to be a significant participant as the hub develops on its 16ha site during the next 10 years.

Hastings District Council hearings committee chairman Mick Lester said the economic prosperity of the region remained dependent on the agriculture and horticulture sectors and the committee had taken that into account.

As part of the decision, half of the 16ha will remain available for cropping until it can be conclusively shown it is required for industrial expansion.

I think the hearings committee has made a sensible decision and has put enough conditions in to ensure that we won't see rich agricultural land developed for nothing. We do not need white elephants in the region, only strong industries that can grow our economy and provide jobs for our unemployed.

While I understand the concerns of the scheme's opponents, I think creation of jobs and establishment of industries is important to our region. I agree that there should not be development for development's sake, but if that development is worth something, then why stand in its way.

It is time to be bold and visionary and I think council has done that.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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