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News

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Porirua economy on the up during challenging times

Porirua City aerial.JPG

Nearly a third of Porirua’s working residents have taken the chance to work from home during the Covid-19 pandemic, giving a boost to the local economy.

In a report prepared for Porirua City Council by economic consultants Infometrics, there is cause for optimism in the city’s business sector, with figures in employment, education, domestic tourism and overall spending in Porirua trending upwards.

The report was commissioned to gauge the effects of Covid-19 on the city’s economy.

Figures show 32 per cent of working residents in Porirua now work from home, compared to 28 per cent nationally.

The flow-on effect has been good for local businesses, with consumer spending in the city up nearly 2 per cent in the year to September 2021, while it declined 9 per cent in Wellington City over the same period.

“Our push for residents to Love Local has paid off – working from home means spending close to home,” Porirua Mayor Anita Baker says.

“I’m buoyed by these numbers because while we know it is tough out there during this pandemic, our workforce and our business sector are adapating – we have tough, resilient, hard-working and motivated people in Porirua, who are determined to succeed, no matter what is thrown at them.

“And it’s up to us consumers to continue to support local.”

Entrepreneurship in Porirua is trending in the right direction as 135 new businesses started in the three months to June 2021, compared to 101 in this period a year ago.

However, on the downside, 52 businesses closed in the quarter to June, compared to 28 a year ago.

People’s willingness to start a business is still strong, Mayor Baker says.

“When you talk to people in the business community, there is still optimism, you can be sure of that. It’s important, then, that as a city and a Council we have the right building blocks for new starters to flourish.”

In recent times, big employers such as Presbyterian Support Services have moved to Porirua, while a craft brewery, Thai restaurant and large car dealership are also to open their doors soon. Alsco, Brendan Foot Motors and Mag & Turbo are based in the city now.

The Infometrics report concludes that Porirua has ridden out the complexities and difficulties that Covid-19 brings better than other centres. Other key stats include:

  • Porirua employment grew 2.3 per cent in the year to March, compared to 0.8 per cent nationally, and is forecast to grow 2 per cent each year. Jobseekers have consistently declined in the past 12 months
  • Unemployment peaked at 5.6 per cent in September 2020 but currently sits at 4.5 per cent
  • The strongest industries growing are construction (316 more jobs created in the July 2021 quarter than at the same time in 2019), education and training (249 jobs) and health care/social assistance (213 jobs). Residential construction has helped this, even while heavy and civil construction numbers have declined nationwide
  • Building consent levels have reached all-time highs in the city, driven by Kenepuru Landing, Whitby and Aotea
  • Tourism spending in Porirua over the year to July 2021 was $5 million more than in 2020 ($52m versus $47m – it was $46m in 2019)
  • Many of Porirua’s other industries – such as retail, professional services, and health – maintained their size through the pandemic and have continued to grow.

The Infometrics report also notes Porirua faces a strongly ageing population, which will drive demand for healthcare services in the city. The population aged 65-79 is projected to grow from 5600 in 2018 to 8100 in 2028, and keep growing until reaching 10,000 in 2038.

Meanwhile, enrolments at Porirua primary schools have grown in the past four years, consistent with a growing primary-age population, while secondary school numbers are also on the rise.

8 Nov 2021