The Hastings economy continues to bounce back from COVID-19 with retail spending surpassing the same month last year.
At the same time, government financial support coming through for new projects coupled with buoyant consenting activity is contributing to creating employment opportunities for Hastings.
The Marketview report for the week ending July 5 shows that retail spending was $2m higher than the same time last year, continuing the upward trend recorded in the week ending May 31 when spend was up $1m on the year prior.
Home and recreational spending contributed the most to the overall increase, followed by hospitality and then food, liquor and pharmacies.
The 11.4 per cent increase is compared to a national increase of 3.9 per cent in the same week.
Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said there was a real sense of cautious optimism across Hastings’ business district.
“Most business owners I speak to are experiencing an increase in sales. While export prices aren’t as high as other years there is a strong demand for our produce overseas.
“Our community is getting behind the ‘Buy Local Campaign’ which is helping to keep our economy moving, and the Hawke’s Baycation campaign is attracting many visitors to the region who are spending in our hospitality and accommodation sectors, wineries and retail stores.
“The construction industry and civil infrastructure have a positive pipeline of work ahead.”
Hastings City Business Association manager Anita Alder said the recent installation of an artificial ice rink was another big boost to activity in the city centre.
“We welcomed over 3900 visitors across the 10 days, people got great joy from it and it was wonderful for us to bring such a unique experience to the CBD.
“It also led to increased foot traffic to the area, and greater exposure to our existing Shop & WIN campaign currently running until August 31.”
At the same time, after an initial decline in building consent numbers at the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, the volume has now increased to pre-COVID-19 levels, as have residential resource consent applications.
Housing is still a significant issue for Hastings, however, with a high need for emergency, transitional housing as well as conventional homes.
Mrs Hazlehurst said “Council remains focused on providing homes for our people and we are working hard on providing long-term housing solutions for our community – especially those families living in motels or struggling to find emergency accommodation.
“We are working with the likes of Kainga Ora to provide transitional/emergency housing, to provide affordable housing, and to free up appropriate land to build other conventional housing”.
This weekend, the sod will turned on a new housing development at Tarbet St in Flaxmere where Council has made land available to build 17 houses, and two lots have been put aside for 18 social/transitional houses.
This is just one of a number of housing projects underway across the district, including subdivision, greenfield and infill developments in appropriate locations, and papakainga.
Economic activity is also being stimulated with Government funding received recently to support shovel-ready projects that will generate employment, including $15m for local roading projects estimated to create about 220 jobs.
In addition, Council is bringing forward $130m of capital work for infrastructure upgrades including our CBD, and has invested $150,000 to help market and promote central business districts of Hastings, Havelock North and Flaxmere.
“Hawke’s Bay was recently reported to be the most optimistic region in the country in terms of the economic recovery from COVID-19.
“There are still some challenges ahead but there are also a lot of opportunities, and we want to do what we can to take full advantage of them.”
Media Release – 16 July 2020