The little region that can.
The days of needing an office “in the city” are long gone and many companies are eyeing the regions as workers seek cheaper housing, family friendly lifestyles and that feel of New Zealand as it used to be.
Advances in technology now allow people to live wherever they want and for some that is among the truly stunning landscapes of the West Coast. This gradual migration of workers from the traffic jams and stress of the city will likely find work with unemployment levels on the West Coast well below the New Zealand average, at only 3.3 percent. This means business owners are always on the lookout for skilled staff.
Data from Statistics NZ shows Aucklanders spend about 450 hours a year in a car. Why waste your life stuck in the traffic when instead that valuable time could be spent on the West Coast with your family cycling, fishing, hiking, surfing – or just sitting back and watching a glorious sunset.
“The West Coast is no concrete jungle,” says Development West Coast chief executive Heath Milne. “There are no traffic jams, no motorway congestion - but nor is it isolated. It has high speed internet, two airports and good roads and rail. Those who live and work here are easily connected to their clients and customers around the country and the world.
Development West Coast works closely with local and central government, other economic development organisations, and business support providers, to encourage and support business to set up in the region and to promote sustainable employment. The assistance the agency gives ranges from commercial finance to business support and capability development through business mentoring, workshops and training assistance.
“The West Coast is home to thriving industries in IT, manufacturing, agribusiness and so much more,” Milne says. “Thanks to the region’s natural beauty and rich history, it is one of the fastest-growing tourist areas in New Zealand.”
Coasters are renowned for their pioneering spirit: they have always led the way in New Zealand, from goldmining to blockchain mining. Now, digital technologies are allowing the Little Region That Can to be competitive in international markets: software for many leading gaming companies such as EA and Disney started here, and can-do locals are carving out niches for successful online businesses.
You don't need to be a maths wizard to see the advantages of moving from a big city to the West Coast. Auckland's median house price is around a million dollars. In comparison, on the West Coast the quarter-acre section is still a reachable reality. Median house prices hover around $200,000 and each window is likely to offer a view of magnificent mountains, primeval forest, deep and silent rivers and dramatic coastlines.
This is a region that boasts what are arguably some of the New Zealand’s most stunning landscapes: a drive up the coast towards the world-famous Punakaiki Rocks on the edge of the magnificent Paparoa Regional Park will offer a different perspective and mood every time. Life is simpler on the West Coast and it is easy to see why people love to live and work here, says Milne: “You can live by the sea and still have views of the snow-covered alps – with thriving cafes just a walk away.”