Time we pushed Rotorua as great place to live

By Roger Gordon


The Census statistics make for some interesting reading.

I've gone back to the 1996 Census to get a longer perspective of the trend.

This is a 17-year period and indicates the result that has been reported in the media is not a recent phenomenon. Rotorua has been static in its population over that time, growing by just 771 residents - an average of 45 per year.

This is an annual growth rate of 0.07 per cent. As a comparison, Hamilton has grown by 29 per cent with an increase in population of 31,830, or an annual growth rate of 1.65 per cent. But even that stellar performance is put in the shade by Tauranga. An annual growth rate of 2.45 per cent, given a total increase of 37,008, or a growth of 47.6 per cent in 17 years.

Put in other words, Tauranga has increased its population by nearly half again in the past 17 years.

There does not appear to be any reasonable rationale to justify Rotorua's stagnation in population. We keep finding excuses why this is the case.

We say it's because of the weather, we're an average of 2 per cent cooler than Tauranga.

There's a perception Rotorua is unsafe with a high crime rate, above our neighbouring cities.

I've heard it quoted that Rotorua's secondary education offering is poor and people will not move here because of the low quality of education. Bulls***!! (Sorry - but I get very irate at these kind of comments.) I can think of no better place that I would have chosen to bring up my family.

I think it's time we went on the front foot and talked about all the great things we have in this city. There is a fantastic publication being produced by Rotorua District Council.

It is available as a download from the chamber's website. It's called Famously Rotorua Lifestyle Profile and it features all the positive aspects of living in our city. I encourage everyone who reads this column to have a look at the publication.

We need to begin talking about all of the really great reasons that people should move to Rotorua. Not the least, that Rotorua has really affordable housing given the current concern about Auckland house prices.

Of course, we need to attract business to grow employment opportunities. We need to develop an aggressive campaign that offers a strong incentive package for companies to move to the city. Make them an offer they can't refuse!

Roger Gordon is chief executive of the Rotorua Chamber of Commerce. This column reflects his personal opinion and not necessarily that of the chamber.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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