Rotorua's population is steadily increasing according to new figures. The percentage of people aged 65 and over is also up to almost 15 per cent. Jean Bell finds out what a rising population means for housing, health and the economy.
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The population of Rotorua is steadily increasing together with the wider Bay of Plenty region, according to new figures from Statistics New Zealand.
The estimated population of Rotorua sat at 75,100 as at the year ended June 2019, a 1.4 per cent increase from the same time last year.
Percentage of people aged 65 and over was also estimated to increase to 14.7 per cent, up 1.2 per cent from 2013.
This comes as the Bay of Plenty was highlighted as the third fastest-growing region in the country.
An estimated 324,000 people live in the Bay of Plenty as of the year ending June 2019, a 2 per cent increase from 2018.
This compared to Northland, which enjoyed a 2.3 per cent increase, and Waikato's increase of 2.1 per cent. The national average was 1.6 per cent.
Rotorua mayor Steve Chadwick said the city's growth brought both benefits and challenges.
Chadwick said the focus was now on increasing housing supply and the council was working with stakeholders to create a housing plan to address the growing need.
Jobs and wellbeing support also needed to be available to the growing population.
"Our diverse economy is ever-expanding and our focus on partnerships with iwi and local organisations is helping to develop opportunities for employment and development for our people," she said.
Lakes District Health Board chief executive Nick Saville-Wood said a larger population generally resulted in increased pressure on healthcare providers across the board, including the hospital, DHB-provided community services and GP clinics.
Saville-Wood said the extent of the impact depended on whether the population increase occurred in particular demographics, including the elderly and deprived groups.
The DHB continually reassessed its resource requirements in order to provide required health services.
Retirement Villages Association executive director John Collyns said the increase in the older population across the Bay of Plenty was to be expected.
He said the area was an attractive retirement option and was reflected in the number of retirement villages and village developments.