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Local News


Economic growth tells compelling story for Central Hawke’s Bay

Despite the double blow of sustained drought over two summers and the on-going impacts of COVID-19, the Central Hawke’s Bay economy remains in good shape, exceeding growth projections and continuing to ride a wave of optimism and positivity, a recent Central Hawke’s Bay demographic and economic projections report has confirmed.

The report commissioned by Central Hawke’s Bay District Council and completed by Squillions Limited, is the first annual monitoring completed by the district to help understand emerging trends in business and pressures from growth, to ensure the district is well placed and planning ahead for future changes.  

As it did in 2019, Central Hawke’s Bay continues to beat forecast growth assumptions, leading the pack across the Hawke’s Bay Region, achieving an average population growth rate of 2.1% over the last three years, ahead of neighboring districts Hastings and Napier.  With nearly 1000 additional residents calling Central Hawke’s Bay home since 2018, the district also continues to gain popularity as an attractive place to live for commuters, with data indicating that 61% of wage or salary earners work for employers outside of Central Hawke’s Bay, a steady rise since 2006 where only 40% of residents worked outside of the district. The district has also achieved an 8% increase in young working-age residents (15 – 39 years), a positive trend for the future of the district.

Business confidence also remained high through to December 2021, where despite the global challenges of COVID-19, the district also showed good resilience, with continued business investment and the total number of businesses growing by 0.3% and employment overall by 1.6 %. 

“It’s not surprising that the secret about Central Hawke’s Bay is out, buoyed with the surge of optimism and positivity we’ve been seeing across the entire district”, says Central Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker. “For those who have always seen the hidden potential of this district and backed it for the long-term, these results should be incredibly rewarding for them.”

With a boom in consenting for new residential dwellings buoyed with a 247 per cent boost in new lots being created in the last financial year, an additional 1700 homes are forecast to be needed by 2031.  While land availability is not predicted to be an issue for development in the short to medium term, the challenges the country is experiencing of labour, material and resource shortages and the longer terms challenges related to COVID-19, will remain an issue to the districts long-term growth.

“While growth brings many opportunities for our district, we also know that it presents a number of challenges for our community in both the short and longer term”, says Deputy Mayor Kelly Annand. 

“The impact on housing, schools and affordability are three issues that immediately come to mind, and collectively we want to continue to work together to ensure that we are prepared and ready to respond to growth, while also holding onto the things that make Central Hawke’s Bay a great place to live”.

The updated growth assumptions, including a short four-page reference document that can be found on Council's website by searching ‘responding to growth’. If you want to understand more on what growth means for business in Central Hawke’s Bay email