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Scotts Column of 14 November 2014

BY Scott Simpson

Mercury Bay | Thu November 13, 2014

Labour weekend marks the start of the summer season. Here in Mercury Bay, in our surrounding districts and coastal communities, the weekend signals the first big influx of visitors to our region and the benefits that come with those visitors for our local businesses. The seasonal cycle of our economy is dependent to a large degree on people coming to visit over the summer months. It is often a struggle for businesses to juggle low cash flow levels during the winter months with peak demands over a relatively short summer season. These are challenges that most have learned to manage as part of doing business in paradise.

An important focus for the incoming government is to continue providing an environment that encourages business growth. A strong local economy means more local jobs and stronger communities.

So, with Parliament now sitting again following the elections, MPs have a busy time leading up to Christmas. The Government is getting on with the job of locking in the gains our country has made in the past six years.

For us here in Whitianga and in other parts of the Coromandel Electorate, programmes such as further investment in the Rural Broadband Initiative and Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) will be welcome.

The plan is to extend UFB from a target of 75 per cent of New Zealanders to 80 per cent of all New Zealand. I was delighted that the National Party committed to this extension during the election campaign, because it means towns such as Whitianga will be likely candidates for inclusion, along with other Coromandel Electorate communities including Thames, Te Aroha, Waihi, Katikati and Paeroa.

The order of roll-out will be determined following a competitive bid process which will include amongst other things, strength of consumer demand and assistance from local authorities.

This means it is in our best interest as a local community to make the case for Whitianga’s early inclusion. It will be up to us to prove that we are enthusiastic starters ready, willing and hungry to have access to the benefits UFB will bring to our local economy, businesses and individual internet users. To a degree the ball is in our court and I know that along with the local Mercury Bay business community, we will all be ready to rise to the challenge....

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