West doing best at job creation - mayor

By Audrey Young

Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey said yesterday that West Auckland was leading the region in terms of delivering jobs through major projects.

In introducing Prime Minister John Key to a meeting of the Waitakere Enterprise Business Club, he cited three major projects that were job-rich and for which many smaller firms in the area have or would be tendering.

"In the whole of the Auckland region, it is the West that is delivering the jobs."

The $300 million New Lynn transit station.

It had 300 construction jobs on site now and in June there would be tenders for another $20 million of roadworks associated with the station.

The New Lynn civic development in conjunction with the transit station.

With partners Infratil, plans would be unveiled in March for the demolition and rebuild of the entire New Lynn centre.

The Hobsonville Land Company.

By October, stage one of the enormous Hobsonville housing development would be under construction.

Mr Harvey described Hobsonville as the largest development of its kind in New Zealand.

"It is like the entire city of Invercargill moving up here - without Tim," he said referring to Mayor Tim Shadbolt.

Mr Harvey said there were also 160 jobs on the upgrades of State Highway 16 and 18, a $220 million project.

And he referred to the $600 million major development at the end of the Northwestern Motorway in partnership with New Zealand Retail Property Group.

It was not just another town centre. "It is a mini-city under way."

Mr Harvey said 80 per cent of the economy of the region was driven by small to medium business enterprises which, however, were led by large projects - "big sub-dividers, big exporters, big film, big TV, big boats - and when the big jobs fall hundreds of small firms worry.

"And when hundred of small firms worry thousands of staff go home greatly concerned."

Mr Harvey said that Waitakere Enterprises would conduct a campaign to contact 5000 businesses across the region to offer support and mentoring. That will be linked to a private equity network.

Mr Harvey congratulated Mr Key on appointing Waitakere MP Paula Bennett as Minister of Social Development. He said she personified "Westie chic".

- NZ Herald

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