Wow, 2014 is upon us. How time flies. I could swear it was just the other day that we were entering the new millennium and here we are well into the teens already.
On behalf of the management and staff of Hawke's Bay Today I would like to wish all our readers a Happy New Year.
Last year was an interesting year, but this year is looking even better. Economically things are looking up with some positive signs towards the end of 2013. Retail sales, always an indicator of consumer confidence, lifted over the Christmas period and we are poised to finally shake the effects of the Global Financial Crisis, which has dogged our economy for the past five years or so.
Goodness knows, we need something.
Hawke's Bay is a fantastic place to live. It has everything going for it from a lifestyle perspective, but our economy is in crisis.
Any comparative economic table you look at shows we are lagging behind other provinces and we desperately need a boost.
This is the year our politicians, at local and regional level, and our business brains need to put petty differences aside and work together for the good of the region. Last year's local government elections were quite divisive and quite hostile at times. Normally this is not a problem - it is the nature of the beast - but given the dire straits we are in with a stagnant future awaiting us, it is time to change tack.
Whether you believe in amalgamation or not - and this newspaper has not taken a position on it - regional co-operation in some form is an absolute must.We need to work on ways to build the Hawke's Bay brand instead of fighting each other.
We also need to look at all economic opportunities we have and not just dismiss them out of hand. However, they need to be the right opportunities, things that will grow our economy, not burden us with debt.
We need a game changer, but more importantly we need to be actively looking for one.
Let's hope we find one in 2014.