Article from Waikato Times:
Hamilton’s central city is out-performing other major centres, according to latest financial figures.
But business and political leaders say the city’s economy faces major challenges and warn Hamilton won’t reach its full potential unless the city council makes some brave calls.
Latest figures from Infometrics NZ show Hamilton’s central city economy is performing better than other major cities, such as Auckland.
GDP is up 8.1 per cent on 2014, compared to Auckland at 3.4 per cent. New Zealand’s GDP is up 3.6 per cent.
The number of people working in the central city is also up 2.9 per cent from 2014 figures, with more than 20,800 workers now based in the CBD.
Hamilton Mayor Julie Hardaker said the year on year trends are “very positive”, especially GDP growth.
I personally don’t feel it’s “very positive” at all. Here’s a quote from me later in the article:
City councillor Andrew King recently used the council’s review of its business improvement district (BID) policy to call for a rethink on the central city.
The city has one BID which the Hamilton Central Business Association runs on behalf of businesses in the CBD.
King said the business association was a puppet of the council and favoured elected members investigating a proposal by the Property Council’s Waikato branch to establish an independent CBD board.
“I was in town at 4pm yesterday and the place is like a ghost town, there’s all these empty buildings, it’s frightening,” King said.
“Over the last six years the council has focused a lot on fluffy stuff, like developing the Ferrybank, and churned out plans that have no income attached. The new District Plan is the most heavily regulated plan ever and it makes it so hard to do anything. The only reason the central city’s figures are improving is because the overall economy is improving.”
King said if the council was serious about rejuvenating the central city, it would address the rating differential for businesses.
Read the full article on stuff.co.nz