Rapid population growth, well above the national average, and economic growth of 2.8 per cent in the past year have resulted in a strong demand for housing.

That has generated a response from the local construction companies, generating new jobs and growing local businesses including tradies, while building more houses than ever before.

The boom in business growth is led by Speldhurst Lifestyle Village, which experienced a growth rate of 216.69 per cent in the last two years and made the Deloitte Fast 50 this year, in 33rd spot overall.

For the lower North Island alone Speldhurst was number four. Robert Nicholson of the BNZ, who partner with Deloitte in this project, said that to his knowledge it is the first time any Levin business has made the list.


"I know others have tried in the past."

The Deloitte Fast 50 has been compiled annually for the past 19 years and lists the country's fastest growing businesses. The number one spot went to Smart Membrane Solutions in Canterbury with a growth rate of 1295.04 per cent. The numbers 16 to 40 all had growth rates between 200 and 300 per cent.

"I have been watching Speldhurst for the past two years and thought they might be doing well enough to make the cut, so I suggested they enter," said Nicholson, who lives in Levin.

For Wayne Bishop, who had no idea the Deloitte fast 50 even existed, took the opportunity to have a few yarns with fellow business owners on the list and compare notes.

"The Deloitte Fast 50 companies contributed $16bn to the nation's economy in the past year. And they support local companies who employ people and put food on the table.

"We all have the same problems: how to find more staff, more resources and more time to do what we do."

For the Deloitte Fast 50 the benchmark is growth of at least 167 per cent.

Horowhenua's population growth, largely fed out of Wellington, is driving up the need for more homes.


"We need 440 new homes each year to keep up with the growth. Until 2014 we were doing 60-70 houses a year. This year the district has 240 new homes, a number we reached only once before in 2004."

Bishop said he has supported local subbies his entire career and has longstanding local links with other businesses.

"I call them my family of subbies. I supported them and they supported me through thick and thin over the years and they have met the demand each time."

Non-residential building consents are up 40 per cent this year and house prices have gone up 19 per cent in the past year.

He said he believed construction is driving the growth in local trade business.
"Until a few years ago many local tradies had to go work in Wellington and Palmerston North. Now they can stay here. There is enough work for them for the next 10 years and many are taking on more staff as well as training apprentices," said Bishop.

His own business has grown from five staff to 75 and his electrician who employed 1.5 people a few years ago now has 13 staff.


"It also means there is more work for local tradies in other towns, now that our guys can work close to home."

Daniel Gunther from Levin heat Pumps said his business had grown since Speldhurst started, from two including himself, to 15 at its height and it is currently looking for more electricians to join his team of 11.

"We have experienced huge growth largely due to Speldhurst. This is our most buoyant time with plenty of work until retirement," he said. While he has largely worked locally for years he said there was no growth on the horizon until Speldhurst started.

"The sub trades there look after us and treat us like family. We are proud to be part of this development. Wayne is forthright about things, gives us plenty of notice and I have confidence there will be more work coming our way. He doesn't fuss and his word is as good as any written contract."

Many new people are moving here, a lot from Wellington and they are bringing their money, boosting local business.

"Our growth is on par with Wellington's outer suburbs. I think we are part of Wellington now much more than Manawatū."


Bishop said he works in well with others and has recently partnered with the Horowhenua Learning Centre establishing a programme with them for tradies.

"It is a great time for young people to enter the trades straight out of school."