A business attraction campaign which could help create hundreds of Western Bay jobs has announced its first major success.
An Auckland manufacturing firm, aligned to the horticultural sector, is relocating to Tauranga and will be operational locally by July 2013.
The firm, which cannot be identified because of ongoing negotiations with Auckland-based staff, has purchased 2000sq m of land at Tauriko and will soon begin construction of its new premises. Up to 40 new jobs will be created.
The news represents a significant triumph for Priority One's Business Attraction Campaign. There are 11 businesses engaged in the scheme. Of these, five are classified as 'progressing positively', another five as 'progressing' and one, an independent surveyor, has already relocated.
The firm with the greatest employment potential is an international dairy products manufacturer. It is deciding between a South Auckland site and one in Tauranga. If the Bay is favoured it will mean a $120 million spend to establish a plant which would employ more than 100 staff.
Andrew Coker, chief executive of regional economic development organisation Priority One, said he was delighted with the progress of a campaign which was only launched locally in December. It went national in April.
Businesses looking to expand or relocate were being targeted with a compelling business case for the Western Bay, he said.
"We have availability of industrial land; a quality pool of employee talent; ultrafast broadband; good infrastructure in the road network and access to the port; access to Auckland; and a willing business community which is receptive to receiving new businesses.
"We are 2 hours away from 50 per cent of the country's population and there is enormous potential for growth here. It all stacks up to what we call the business case: profit, people, place and potential."
The campaign seeks to rebrand Tauranga as a business destination as well as a holiday destination.
Mr Coker said a firm's growth potential was key.
"Our focus is around export businesses because of their ability to grow. They're not linked to a domestic market so they have substantial potential for growth."
Other firms on the move include a Wellington import/export company setting up in Katikati. The company has leased a site large enough to accommodate future growth.
"They have a new product line which has global export opportunities so that's an exciting development," said Mr Coker.
Another manufacturing business had purchased land but was not intending to move for another two years.
Mr Coker said no incentives were being offered to relocating companies.
"We are promoting the region to businesses that would find a natural competitive advantage for being here as opposed to trying to fund businesses to come here. If the business case doesn't stack up on its own they are more likely to move on again in any case."
Tauranga National MP Simon Bridges said the campaign could help unleash the region's potential by attracting "more profitable businesses paying higher incomes".
Max Mason, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the campaign should be supported by all local firms "by urging their contacts and suppliers in other cities that Tauranga is a great place to relocate, and to contact Priority One".
Tauranga City Council interim chief executive Leigh Auton said local commercial growth was good for both the region and the nation by creating a "better arrangement of New Zealand's resources".
He said the region's "cheaper land, good infrastructure and great environment" were strong pull factors for businesses to relocate.