Beautiful Hawkes Bay Vineyards

A Smart Economy in Harmony With The Environment

In Hawke’s Bay right now the cafes and restaurants are full and tractor and car sales are in good heart. In fact it been a very long time since our region has experienced such sustainable growth and prosperity.

When looking at our economy, it’s important we don’t fall pretty to our economist friends obsession with judging our economy on house prices, which seems to be the current obsession of their profession. This is an illusionary monitor as it contributes to nothing except a perception that the current property owners are all well off.

In fact many of us are disturbed that house prices are sadly inflated against real incomes making it difficult for our young families to get their first home. The higher mortgages required to access these homes may help the bankers numbers and gratify their shareholders but they are a destructive influence in our economy. Perhaps our visiting economists should pause for a second and think about this and suggest ways to correct this imbalance.

For their reference we judge our economy of real things generated by the productive sector creating jobs and wealth for our community. This is influenced by innovation by our horticulturists , farmers, viticulturist and their service industries who help drive this economy and have made us market leaders in many of their respective industries.

We do understand the realities of the international commodity markets as an important influencers in this matrix but for the moment at least they are mostly exceeding our expectations as the growing markets in India, China and the rest of Asia opens their doors to us.

Many of our regional business leaders have been clever in hedging the effect of these global fluctuations with leading edge innovation and production efficiencies. To discover a simple example of this I would encourage both these visiting economists to take a drive up Te Mata peak. They will look down on the most competitive and most profitable pipfruit industry in the world. Growers that have invested huge amounts of capital into their businesses and have driven up production per ha by 20% over the last five years.

They have also invested in developing some the world’s best apple varieties which puts them in the front of the retail queue and hedges them against commodity shifts.

And they are just one example of world best standards which they will also find in other sectors of our economy.

I personally predict that our growth will go on a lot longer than that as we add another economic driver by building capability and capacity into our tree nursery sector to enable the Kahutia Accord to proceed.

I agree that we need to keep our eye on the future as serious disruptive influencers are on the way, and we will need to understand these threats and embrace the changes to make them work for us.

I have absolute confidence that our local business community and entrepreneurs will keep our region internationally competitive and vibrant for many years to come.

And may our party continue for some time yet.

Rex Graham
HB Regional Council


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