ELECTION2020_DIGIBANNER

As you might expect, the Bay of Plenty electorate is home to some of New Zealand's best beaches. But the electorate is an odd one, at least in terms of shape.

Despite its name, the Bay of Plenty electorate only covers an outer ring around Tauranga City, so it should possibly be called Tauranga Outskirts.

From its eastern tip near Maketū, the Bay of Plenty electorate stretches along Pāpāmoa, Maungatapu, Welcome Bay, and west to the Kaimai Ranges and Te Puna.

The Bay of Plenty electorate is home to some of New Zealand's fastest growing suburbs and a large area of rural land used for farming and agriculture. Tourism is also vital to the region.

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"The lifestyle of the Bay of Plenty does attract a lot of people so it has a natural attraction, you don't need to build something for them to come," Pāpāmoa Beach Resort owner Bruce Crosby said.

"Pāpāmoa's now the biggest suburb of Tauranga city and our holiday park fronts the middle of it. Thirty years ago, 'Oh you live way out there', so it's changed."

Like its neighbouring electorate of Tauranga, the area's older, Pākehā demographic has traditionally voted National. And even more than the electorate next door, the area has experienced continued population growth since the 1980s.

"We've got a great mixture now, it's not just retired people. It's young people trying to get on with life - got a section, a house and get on with their job, it's good," Crosby said.

Much of that growth can be attributed to Tauranga's largest suburb, Pāpāmoa and its popular 16km golden sandy beach. Domain Rd separates Pāpāmoa West from the burgeoning East, which will one day house an additional 15,500 people, if plans for the Te Tumu township get the green light.

Ahead of the nation going to the polls in September, transport, housing and tourism will be key factors to debate for locals.

"What Pāpāmoa does need, which we've suffered for over the years, is we have to go to Tauranga, Mount Maunganui or Te Puke for services or to buy things. We are getting more facilities here now... building merchants, plumbing merchants, electrical, big Mitre 10s - so we don't have to travel down that road.

"We do need medical facilities obviously, 24/7 services."

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The Bay of Plenty electorate serves up an idyllic mix of coastal, rural and city lifestyles. The secret's out though and the surge in growth isn't about to slow anytime soon.

The question is, can infrastructure keep up with this demand? And will the Government help foot the bill?

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